[Game Review] Selewi's Cannibal Abduction
No worries, no spoiling of the storyline. There will be a warning in red with dotted lines about gameplay and some other technical stuff. If you want to keep everything a surprise, skip the dotted part when you get to it. Any updates or patches to game at release will be listed here since they may not be represented fully in this blog. Thanks for reading!
Game Developer Tomás Esconjaureguy (Selewi) brought you the terrifying serial killer known as "The Snipper" in The Night of the Scissors back in 2022. In 2023, they're back with another sadistic serial killer and this one... seems to love playing with his food. Will you be running for your life or become another meal at this cannibal's dinner table?
"After borrowing his father's car, Henry is ready to finally have a weekend trip to escape from his parents house. Everything was on tracks until the engine stops running in the middle of nowhere and a humble local offers to tow Henry to his farm in order to fix the car problem, but he and his family had other plans for the young punk."
Cannibal Abduction is a survival horror game inspired by not only other PSX survival games but also classic slasher films from the 80's (personally, I'd add in 70's as well!). You start off the game playing as Henry (voiced by Zane Schacht), who is making his way to have a weekend trip and currently driving in the middle of nowhere when suddenly, his car breaks down. A friendly stranger by the name of Uncle Bob (voiced by YouTuber PopsArcade) drives by and offers to tow Henry's car to his farm since Bob just so happens to be a mechanic. At the farm, Bob sees that Henry has a toolbox in his trunk (which actually belongs to Henry's dad) and asks him for a simple favor of fixing a closet inside his home in exchange for fixing his car. I mean, doesn't sound too bad so far, right?
Well... I might have lied about Uncle Bob being a friendly stranger. If you've seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you already know how it goes with some strangers you run into in the middle of nowhere. Even though Cannibal Abduction is inspired by 80's slasher films (as mentioned on Steam), I definitely can see how some elements in this game took inspiration from films like 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and even Leatherface himself and the family when it comes to this new killer and his cannibal family members (aka The Tuckers). For the story or the lore (no spoilers), you can find out more about who this family is and what they do as you pick up notes around their home which some of the notes will actually help you progress through your gameplay so keep an eye out for the notes!
This section gets a bit into the gameplay, how the game handles and some tips I found useful for my own gameplay. Still no storyline spoilers but if you really want to keep it all a surprise, I'd recommend skipping this next part between the dotted lines. You've been warned.
Play time, controllers and puzzles
Cannibal Abduction can be a short game depending on your play style. If you are used to these kinds of games with puzzles, the chase and hiding mechanics, the controllers and all, you would be able to complete at least 1 ending in 45 mins - 1 hour. 1 ending you say? Well yes, then you'd have to play it again to get the second ending! It took me a bit to figure out one of the endings but I needed to know how it would all end so I went back and sunk in almost 3 hours into the game. The puzzles are not too difficult once you get them set up and the dev did a great job at explaining how to find your next piece or hint to advance in the game (which I greatly appreciated as I'm awful at puzzles 90% of the time).
The controllers for this game are pretty standard to what we already may use in other PC games, regular use of WASD to move around and SHIFT to sprint but keep in mind, it will feel a little different because of the fixed cameras in game. I admit, I'm not a huge fan personally of these cinematic fixed camera angles in horror survival games so I was a little hesitant when jumping into this game (even after playing The Night of the Scissors which has the same camera style). But in this game, it just worked so well to help the tension of not knowing fully where the killer may be roaming around or getting surprised by him being behind a door you can't see straight ahead. I kept thinking at times that the cameras felt like the killer's home surveillance system and that in itself was pretty cool. So if you're not used to these kinds of cameras in games or it's been a while, definitely test the controllers around right at the start of the game so you don't freak out when it's time to run for your life.
Difficulty and inventory
You get the options to play on "default" or "hard" difficulty. In the hard difficulty, your stamina isn't as great so sprint when you really have to, your inventory space is smaller (you can carry about 3 things at a time, remember this) and healing bandages will only heal you partially, not fully. I found the killer to be about the same in both difficulties, but personally to me, he did seem more attentive and slightly faster in the harder difficulty. Back to the inventory, you are able to carry a few items at a time and in order to make space for a new item (that you may not want to use or need anymore), you will have to go back to the room where you were repairing the closet as your toolbox is your extra storage. Now, as some games will make this room a "safe room" where the bad guy can't come in or harm you, this game gives you no safe rooms and he will come in when you least expect it to slash you to pieces.
As you go further into the game and explore more areas, you will start to catch up on things you may need to keep on you such as VHS tapes (this is how you save in the game), bandages or items to help you advance to the next step. This game is all about planning carefully for your next move so make sure to get familiar with the house layout, the hiding spots and where some items may be left behind for use another time. As for those VHS tapes, use them carefully as you don't get many saves in the game. Did I mention you can't pause either? So when pressing ESC on your keyboard, make sure you saved right before that!
I have some personal beef with this killer. The amount of times it blocked me inside some rooms or going up/down stairs, or just decided to open doors I was going to walk into with no warning, I wanna fight him if the game would had let me. The killer loves to roam around the whole house and I mean, the WHOLE HOUSE. Tiny room you think he won't go into? Wrong. Think he won't surprise you in your hiding spots? Well surprise, he will. I played this game multiple times (cause who doesn't love getting some achievements) and I was surprised how he would appear into the game each time in random spots.
The game will tell you if the killer is nearby by using this VHS glitch style alert system. So if your screen is covered to the top with this glitch to the point you can't see much at all, the killer might literally be behind you about to whisper in your ear. But less of the effect in your screen, this means you're safe for now to explore around. There was times I tested my luck where I would be mid-puzzle, the glitch effect wasn't so bad then in a matter of seconds, it would cover my whole screen. Just because you're safe now, doesn't mean that won't change in a few seconds so make sure to be as quick as you can since he can still harm you during a puzzle.
Settings and Audio
I found the audio to be incredibly balanced in this game. From the music, background sounds and even the killer's sounds, it felt pretty nice to not have to change my volume a few times. The game is also available in a few languages (menu, subtitles and controllers) such as English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German which is really awesome to see in a game. I have often seen content creators translating some games for their community so having subtitles available in other languages is a huge win. The VHS effect, you cannot disable this as it is the way the game alerts you when the killer is nearby. I do wish there would had been another option in the game for the killer alert as I know people who cannot play games with the VHS effect so this could be a downside for some.
Overall, this game is fantastic and I recommend it for those who want to give horror indie games a try. I know some games can be intense, we've all seen the clips online of people screaming their heads off but I feel the timing on this one is fair for new and experienced players to get used to the gameplay and overall experience of being chased by a serial killer inside his territory. If you feel comfortable playing this one and you're craving for more games from the same dev to keep the scares going, I recommend checking out The Night of the Scissors which you can buy on Steam or Itch.io.
Rating: 4/5 Knives 🔪
Cannibal Abduction will be available this Friday, January 13th on Steam!
See the trailer below!
Follow Selewi on Twitter to see what they're up to next and follow their Steam page for upcoming games to wishlist!
Thank you all for taking your time in reading this review/blog and always, support indie horror ♥ Leave a "heart" in this post if you are planning on playing this game! Until next time! 🔪