Review – Emily Wants to Play Too

There is a current (and annoying) trend in horror games and movies nowadays: people are mistaking true horror for cheap “scarefests”. Paranormal Activity, Five Nights at Freddy’s, those are two blatant examples of immensely successful horror franchises that invest very little in building a true horror atmosphere in favor of releasing quick and constant new iterations featuring the same old jump scares that, for some reason, audiences adore. Suffice to say, a lot of producers have started to jump into the same hype train, be it in the film industry or the gaming industry. This is the best way I can start my Emily Wants to Play Too review, as this game felt more like a cheap jump scare festival for me than an actual horror experience.


Paul Bettany makes a cameo.

The best way I can categorize Emily Wants to Play Too is that it’s a cryptic first-person puzzle game. I wouldn’t call it yet another horror walking simulator as you need to follow certain paths and perform certain tasks in a very specific order just so you can proceed. If you fail you’re instantly respawned at the beginning of the game after being scared by a Five Nights at Freddy’s-esque loud noise. Think of it as Groundhog Day if that movie was produced by Blumhouse Productions .

Your objective in this game is somewhat cryptic. Your main goal is to get ready for a new day at work by doing your typical home chores, as well as trying not to get murdered by a bunch of creepy dolls. The game doesn’t do a very good job in telling you what you need to do in order to survive. It gives you some hints, but you’re most likely going to get murdered (more like getting scared to death) and respawn at the beginning of the day anyway. Given the game’s short length and its “trial and error” structure, dying isn’t exactly emotionally heavy. Getting mobbed by the dolls isn’t exactly scary, it’s actually more of a nuisance than anything else.

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Pretty sure that’s not how shadows work.

The game also suffers from a myriad of technical issues, most notably in its visual and sound departments.

The graphics are a mixed bag: the textures are well-detailed and the game runs at a somewhat high framerate, but its lighting effects are downright abysmal. Emily Wants to Play Too is one of those games that mistakes shadows with “complete absence of light”. It doesn’t matter how well-lit a room might be, any shadow you might find is darker than a black hole. If you end up stuck into a room with no light whatsoever, you’ll be in trouble.

Furthermore, the sound department is faulty. Emily Wants to Play Too alternates between moments of complete silence, occasional creepy child sounds, and your typical insanely loud jump scare. It’s safe to say that this game’s sound design doesn’t help create a creepy enviroment whatsoever, relying on deafening noises in order to shock people for a millisecond. I talked about this (and many other gameplay elements this game does wrong) in my article regarding the many mistakes commited by modern horror games.

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Gotta give credit to the good textural work, though.

Emily Wants to Play Too might provide a few small heart attacks for those looking forward to a few scares, but as a horror game itself, it’s not very good. Featuring below average visuals, subpar sound design and completely cryptic gameplay; this title contains so many horror game (and movie) clichées I could basically play bingo with them. It’s far from being the worst horror game I’ve played in a while, let alone this year, but it wasn’t impressive at all.

Graphics: 5.0

A mixed bag: while the game features very detailed textures, it also features an abhorrent lighting system and an overall “cheap” aesthetic.

Gameplay: 6.5

Very simple and, for the most part, functional. The game suffers with some collision detection and warping glitches.

Sound: 4.5

It alternates between moments of plain silence, some creepy kid voice acting, and obnoxious loud noises. Its sound design department isn’t exactly impressive.

Fun Factor: 4.0

There’s a bit of exploration and challenge in this game, but Emily Wants to Play Too also includes an excessive amount of annoying horror game clichées to the point of exhaustion.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Reviewed on PS4.
Also available on: Xbox One, PC

A copy of Emily Wants to Play Too was provided by the publisher.