I’m not really a sentimental person but there’s something about the 80s that always makes me feel good or evokes good memories even though I wasn’t born in this decade. Perhaps it’s because I grew up listening to a lot of songs from the 80s, (thanks to my dad.) It’s just as possible that it’s the aesthetic vibe of this era with the colorful clothes, energetic aerobics videos, blowout hairstyles, and all-around flamboyant appeal. Whatever it happens to be, the 80s is a time that evokes some really great emotions. Then we have Killer Frequency, the game we’ll be discovering today. It’s set very much in the 80s and the vibes are less warm and fuzzy for reasons I’ll come to explain.
Killer Frequency takes some of the best parts of 80s culture and brings it to life in a thrilling murder mystery puzzle game. This isn’t your typical horror game relying on jumpscares or creepy monsters and spirits lurking in the dark. In this title, we’re being asked to do something more realistic as we are tasked with hunting down The Whistling Man, a typical small-town serial killer reminiscent of those from classic slasher films. As radio DJ Forrest Nash, who has zero experience dealing with murderers, the whole experience becomes intense especially when making decisions on the spot using the phone line to gather clues, solve puzzles, and speak to potential suspects.
The fact that Killer Frequency is played in first-person makes this title feel really intense and immersive, though there were some moments where I felt like the narrative dragged. It’s important to pay attention to the dialogue and get a sense of your surroundings at the beginning even when the conversation between characters is dull because the game picks up speed quickly as the story progresses. I was especially impressed by the voice actors who embody the characters and make them believable, almost as if you’re there with them having conversations or guiding them to safety. As with any game, you can pause when you need a breather but part of the fun of this horror game is that decisions have to be snappy. You don’t always have time to think logically and sometimes you regret a past choice, but there are multiple endings available so definitely room for many hours of gameplay.
As I mentioned before, this game is full of 80s vibes from the record player, to the neon lights, to the VHS player, the decor, and other little Easter eggs. I was surprised at the size of the office space, and, as I solved different puzzles, I learned that clues lay waiting for me. During the slower moments, I spent time exploring the radio station, intruding on someone’s private space without feeling guilty since you literally are the main character. Forrest Nash is both entertaining and stereotypical especially with the banter he has with his colleague, Peggy, adding a humorous element to the story which helps ease the nerves while tracking down The Whistling Man.
Killer Frequency may not be the most thrilling horror game around but it is chock-full of campy 80s content and keeps you on your toes, creating an atmosphere that is both familiar and original. It’s an unconventional take on the horror genre and is an indie gem that will leave you wanting more. Check it out on Steam if you dare. Beware the killer, though, you don’t want to end up as a stereotype of 80s filmmaking, now do you?
Pros + Riveting story and characters that will make you want to come back and play again + 80s nostalgia and classic horror themes +Fun puzzles that increase in difficulty as the story progresses
Cons – Slower-paced narrative at times – Can’t skip/speed up the dialogue between characters