FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted is a collection of classic and original mini-games set in the Five Nights universe. Survive terrifying encounters with your favorite killer animatronics in a collection of new and classic FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S™ experiences. “Where fantasy and fun come to life!”
Parents need to know Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror game that uses tension and jump scares in place of blood and guts — and, as a result, is a lot scarier than many other titles. The sense of being trapped and defenseless in a small office quickly becomes real — and when the animatronic characters jump out at you, you’ll jump (and maybe scream). This makes the game much too intense for younger kids — and teens should know what they’re getting into.
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is a game in which you take on the role of a late-night caretaker for a chain of pizza restaurants themed after animatronic stuffed characters — just like Chuck E. Cheese. However, once the lights go out these robotic characters like to move around the restaurants, creating chaos, and doing their best to get to you before sunrise. Your goal is to survive, you guessed it, five nights.
Using security cameras, door control switches, and other gadgets at your disposal you’ve got to keep them at bay without leaving your desk. The catch is that each playthrough is different since they’ll never take the same paths twice and you’re working with limited power usually, so it’s all about resource management. What ensues is a mixture of sheer terror, constantly building suspense, and a twisted game of hide-and-seek mixed with Red Light, Green Light.
The first time you flip the cameras between rooms and notice that one of the twisted furry faces has moved but you can’t tell where it went will send chills straight down your spine. And because of how expertly crafted it all is, just as you start to think maybe you’ll make it through the night and survive — BAM! — you’re dead.
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is a great example of how, if done well, knowing a jump scare is coming can make it 100x more terrifying. Your hands lock up, your arms freeze in place, and maybe you even close your eyes while holding your breath, waiting for the sense of dread to pass. Then just as you start to feel safe again is when it hits. It’s like Freddy and his cohorts are actually watching you, in real life, and know to strike just as you start to breathe again.
Every. Single. Time.
A major contributing factor to what makes Five Nights at Freddy’s VR so successful here is the pacing and overall format of how the scares are delivered. Each passing moment you aren’t doing something means an increase in the likelihood something bad is going to happen. The more tense the atmosphere gets, the more paralyzed with fear you become, and the more powerful the scares feel when they happen. It’s this perfect storm of anxiety and tension that amplify one another with each passing second for a vicious self-feeding cycle of horror.
At its core, then, Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is founded on a super simple gimmick, but adding the immersive layer of VR makes all the difference. Clicking buttons on a screen is one thing, but having to physically reach across a control panel, turn your head to watch doors and cameras, all while reaching to the side to press a button at just the right moment, and taking full advantage of 3D space, is exactly what makes Five Nights at Freddy’s VR work so well.
I know these games have been around for a long time and the original creator likely never intended for them to be playable in VR, but this really does feel like a definitive version of the experience. VR makes these scenarios so much more immersive and so much more stressful.
Reviewing a game like this was tough because I literally had to take breaks to calm my nerves. Whereas other horror games, like Resident Evil 7 VR or The Exorcist VR, have intricate narratives to ponder and detailed environments to explore, Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is more like the world’s most highly-concentrated anxiety simulator. And it’s exhausting.
That being said, I feel like that was the goal here and it absolutely succeeds.