Rectify Gaming

Review: Emily Wants to Play – Xbox One


Emily Wants to Play. While she tries her hardest, the game isn’t as fun on the Xbox One.
Game – Emily Wants to Play
Platform – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Steam
Developer/Publisher – SKH Apps LLC
Release date – September 9th, 2016
Price – $4.99
emily-wants-to-play_1Emily Wants to Play has all the ingredients of a terrifying experience. There’s a dark empty house sprinkled with unnerving children’s drawings. There is a porcelain doll, a whacked out ventriloquist dummy, and a creepy clown. Then there’s Emily. This all seems great, but the premise and purpose of the game is undefined, and the experience is stunted.
emily-wants-to-play_2The first encounter with the jumpiest parts has to do with the porcelain doll: Kiki. Now without giving away major spoilers, there’s only a handful of instructions in the game. Some of which appear on a giant whiteboard. The issue is that the game is too smart for its own good, and the instructions in the game are frustrating when followed. Once you understand how to play Emily Wants to Play, it’s a revelation, but the game is bound to turn away a lot of players who aren’t interested enough to experience the game to its fullest.
emily-wants-to-play_3The setting itself is well-crafted and the character details are unnerving in the best ways. Kiki’s monochromatic scheme and blank eyes make you anxious. The clown is a clown, which is scary no matter what. Chester is all business in his three piece suit and it’s fitting because you never really have time to see him when he shows up. Finally, Emily is heartbreaking and broken, and her appearance tells an entire backstory without ever needing to trigger the hidden in-game recordings.
emily-wants-to-play_4Where Emily Wants to Play succeeds is in making you terrified for a couple jumps. The object of the game is to survive each hour with Emily and her friends. Every hour adds a different challenge until it culminates in a free-for-all that keeps you scrambling around in the dark for approximately six minutes of playtime. When the novelty of being startled wears off, you’re left with an incredibly frustrating game. Its heightened difficulty in certain aspects feels like a cheap trick made to lengthen the playtime of the game. There are certain characters that spawn and have contradicting methods of defeating them. If they spawn too close together, it’s literally impossible to survive and requires a restart. This greatly diminishes the experience.
Emily Wants to Play is a game that should be more gratifying, but the affects are short lived and the game itself has only a small chunk of gameplay. It reminds me of those startling screaming ghoul videos where the silence leads into a brief jumpy moment. You might try to goad someone else into playing it for that big heart-pounding scare, but then you go on about your day without giving it a second thought.
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