They’re creepy and they’re crawly, hairy and they’re bitey… the beasts in Creepy Tale! I wrote, that, not to the tune of The Addams Family.
Creepy Tale is exactly that: creepy. A bit like Inside, a scenario where you play a child running through the forest with the looming threat of having your face eaten or choked to death. And, just like Inside, you can’t die die, you just return to a checkpoint.
Let’s start as we mean to go one with honesty: I wasn’t too fond of this game.
Creepy Tale Game Review
My immediate first impression was the lack of clarity. There’s no HUD, no tutorial other than a speech bubbles or visual thought clouds that hint at what to do.
There are two actions in the game: jump and interact. However, without any visual clue (i.e. a highlight on any points of interest), it’s confusing and equally frustrating what you’re supposed to do. Worse when you have to repeat the section all over again.
The first few objects in the game were unnoticeable. While the pleasantly drawn scenes and characters were pleasant enough, they were quite basic so in theory, no reason not to notice anything worth interacting with.
If You Go Down To The Woods
There’s no dialogue in the game, making it open for some interpretation, but in summary, you’re out picking mushrooms with your brother when he gets taken away by some forest brutes.
These characters appear both grotesque and mischievous, with a similar aesthetic to Where The Wild Things Are. Ish.
But these creatures are merely a vessel for ethereal forest butterflies that can occupy any living thing. It’s a sinister concept, but oddly, quite enchanting.
With your brother snatched before your very eyes, you have to outwit these creatures to find out what happened to him and ascertain if he’s even alive.
Ambiguity plays a significant role here, as bringing up that little peeve about interactivity once more, knowing what to do can be bothersome.
I got stuck in the first 10 minutes or so where I was repeatedly chased by a nasty scrote-like creature wanting to rip my face off. As elegant and family-friendly as that sounds, it’s not, but my little girl loved watching me scream after each gruesome death.
Her presence was the reason I wasn’t swearing.
But any decent puzzle is well worth it once you solve it, and problem-solving the game is incredibly satisfying, but my smug grin would only last a few moments until the next puzzle. They were quite relentless.
When In Doubt, Shrug It Off
Picking up items in Creepy Tale get added to your inventory which is shown on-screen at all times. It’s an automated system as all you have to do is stand at the object you want to use an item with and it’s automatic.
If it doesn’t work, he’ll shrug. He does this a lot.
In one particular scene, I had to restart on a few occasions when interacting with a doorway. It’s only a quick press of the button to enter a door and descend the stairwell, but when not perfectly aligned, the boy would shrug, allowing his pursuer catch then throttle him.
I repeated this segment about four more times while experimenting with a workaround, but each time I had to restart it, I invested enough that I wasn’t phased with defeat.
Not long after, I finished the game and have to say, it was mostly an enjoyable experience and pleased that I stuck it out.
That’s not to say that Creepy Tale didn’t have its flaws. I’ve already whinged about the intuitive details, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t a fan of the animation either. The boy’s movement that is.
A Storybook For Creeps
When he jumps, gravity feels like it went out to the woods for a slash as it’s a bit inconsistent and unnatural. In the few platforming sections, it’s a bit of a pig to jump without falling and climbing back up, or impaled on some sharp pointy things.
But for the overall aesthetic? I liked it. It was like a cautionary tale aimed at children, except for the face-biting stuff was perhaps something that would get it banned from CBeebies.
While they can’t be interacted with, there will be spirits in the background loitering, or the demon shacked up in a log cabin that, like a spider, who is more frightened of you, than you are of it – they’re all lovely little additions to this spooky adventure.
The score is equally fitting. I really do enjoy eerie tones that aren’t necessarily jump scares but have an ominous presence like a fog sustaining something evil in the air. Either that or the dog farted again.
How long is Creepy Tale going to keep you in the woods? It depends. It always depends on your commitment, interest, ability, whether your partner tells you to spend more time with them than play mind-rotting videogames, or in the puzzle sense, your (il)logical acumen.
When you know the answer, everything’s easy, and a couple of times, I kicked myself at the results, but overall, Creepy Tale can be completed in one sitting. That’s how long it took me, but I don’t sit with a timer.
All I know is I started on Saturday morning and was looking at the credits before lunch.