Great premise, but lack of variety, bugs and an unclear story taints the effect.
I am not going to bash this game as it does have good points but it is equally balanced with a lot of negative points. So I am going to be critical this is also a long review.
*** spoiler tags in this review ***
The good points
The game looks fantastic, for an indie release the visuals are almost as good as a AAA title, there are some texture issues here than there but the level maps are nicely detailed and it does feel like a large open world especially when looking over the mountain in chapter 4. The map boundaries while obvious do feel realistic at the same time by not using invisible walls but scenery items like fences or overturned trees. The Slender Man looks far more menacing as he can move his arms he can look right at you and he can slowly move towards you and the animations are not too bad while a little buggy sometimes.
The sounds are mostly very good too, all the environments have a rich layer of ambient noise such as wildlife, wind and rustling of flora, there is a good minimalist soundtrack at key points in the game to build tension and the ambient music used in the original game is also there.
Atmosphere. The game is generally creepy which is amazing, there is a constant sense of foreboding which makes you feel anxious or paranoid about what you see in the game.
Now sadly the bad points
The game mechanics are very repetitive, this is the games biggest flaw. All you do is pick up objects, the breakdown of the game is below to show how repetitive it is (you can skip this part to avoid spoilers)
*** Spoilers here ***
1 Prologue - Go to see the characters friend in a house (Kate), find out she is gone, see a mysterious figure outside, hear a scream and go and investigate you pick up notes to get cryptic information.
2 The Eight Pages - The level from the beta, collect all eight pages see the mysterious figure (Slender Man) get caught by him wake up somewhere else
3 Into the Abyss - wake up next to a mine go into the mine to get to the radio tower that is cryptically implied with various notes. Turn on generators to activate lift to get to the surface. Here you get chased by both Slender Man and a proxy of his
4 Flashback - you make your way to the tower and along the way find a TV in a shack with a videotape showing what happened to Kate, you play a flashback where you try to close the windows and doors before Slender comes inside, Kate fails and jumps out a window to escape him.
5 The Arrival - Slender Man is out in full force and you make your way to the tower, the forest starts burning, you make it into the tower see a burned corpse with a video camera, you listen to the tape. It is implied that someone had tried to help Kate but failed her, he either kills himself or is killed by Slender. You see horrific flashes on the screen as the lights go out then the battery on the camera dies.
*** Spoilers End ***
Essentially all you do in the game is collect notes/activate things while something chases you this would have been good if it was only for one or two chapters but not the whole game.
The story is way to vague. You find various notes from letters and e-mail printouts that vaguely describe a woman called Kate meeting some man who also has Slender Man problems. Sadly it gives very little to go on, now I know the writers of Marble Hornets worked on this and it shows as what you do find out in the game looks really promising but the delivery of the story in the game is poorly done, it feels like elements were intentionally left out to create "mystery". The same goes for the ending, if you skipped over the breakdown of the game all I can say is it ends that is it, just ends. Just something x happens effect y happens, the end.
Game length. I completed this game in less than 3 hours and I was taking my time playing it. I am not a "hardcore" gamer by any stretch I play games regularly including all the AAA titles, but I don't have time to become pro at games any more. I have watched people on YouTube do this game in less than 1 hour, now for the full $10 it is not worth the spend sadly. I pre-ordered so I only paid about £3 ($5) which for me didn't feel like a rip-off but the full price I think is steep for the amount of "game" you get
While the game is generally creepy the only real threats are jump scares I was expecting a little more. I wanted the game to generally mess with my head as I played it, some games tried to do this in the past like F.E.A.R and to some extent it worked. I got a slight whiff of this in level 3 but it was only that a whiff not much else. So after a while you get used to seeing Slender Man pop up around the corner or just spawn in-front of you. Chapter 5 adds a little tension to it but it is still the same thing.
Bugs, oh boy there are some in this one. these however these can be fixed in time so are not a permanent issue. In Chapter 3 I watched Markiplier play on YouTube and at the very end he fell through the floor, I personally never ran into this glitch but it is out there. Also at the end of Chapter 4 from several players there is a game breaking bug where a scripted event gets disturbed and essentially breaks the game. This I know is being looked at now so the odds are if you are reading this a few months from now it has already been fixed
Overall this game had the potential to be really good, it had all the right ingredients but somehow it just fell short of the mark by being too "safe" with the game design. I think the Slender mythos is becoming a victim of it's own success.
The creator of the the game wants to create a series of Slender games which adds solidity to the games episodic feel, This is both good and bad, it's good that a whole new genre of horror games can come to surface but it needs to be a lot better than what was offered here. If the current game is not updated with new content the next one needs to do something new. New horror mechanics, new gameplay mechanics, clearer story just a couple of ideas
In short watch some videos on YouTube however what you see is what you get.