Review – Slender: The Arrival 10th Anniversary

It may seem like it was an eternity ago, and we tend to try to forget about it, but the horror gaming landscape was very different ten years ago. That was the heyday of the “horror walking simulator” craze popularized by Amnesia and Outlast, where you you had no means to defend against whichever monster was stalking you. It was interesting at first, but developers quickly noticed how easy it was to come up with games like these, which flooded the market with average-at-best, terrible-at-worst copycats. Some of those games, for some reason, would end up becoming cult hits, like the game we’re discussing today, Slender: The Arrival.

Slender: The Arrival camera

Why are you holding a camera? Weren’t you supposed to help your friend sell her house?

Based on the internet-bred urban legend of the incredibly tall man with no face wearing a stylish suit, Slender: The Arrival wasn’t exactly a fun (or scary) horror game, but somehow it ended up garnering a sizeable following. That being said, even for 2013 standards, it was considered quite dated. I guess this was the reason behind Blue Isle Studios deciding to remaster/make the game as part of its tenth anniversary celebration, with brand new visuals courtesy of a brand new engine, Unreal 5.

Both the original Slender: The Arrival and its remaster/remake revolve around a protagonist, Lauren, trying to look for her friend Kate. Lauren was supposed to help Kate out with selling her old, very spooky house, but once she arrives at her place, she finds it completely empty. After hearing a scream, she then proceeds to explore the surroundings to figure out what the hell is even going on, only to start being chased after by the Slender Man himself, as well as an additional antagonist.

Slender: The Arrival visuals

Slender: The Arrival’s remake/master takes advantage of Unreal Engine 5 in order to deliver impressive lighting effects.

The only thing you have which can be borderline considered a “weapon” (which only works as a defensive mechanism in specific situations, none of them featuring the Slender Man) is a flashlight. In fact, I think the flashlight is best used as a showcase of the game’s new graphics engine, as Blue Isle Studios did a pretty good job at recreating the once-dated Unity-based visuals into a much more realistic (and creepier) setting. There are some really impressive lighting effects, especially whenever using the flashlight to light up your surroundings. Oddly enough, the only asset of the game which looks completely out of place is the actual Slender Man, looking dopey and dated, standing out like a sore thumb.

If Slender: The Arrival wasn’t exactly scary prior to actually meetings its villain (unsettling, yes, but never scary), getting to look at him face-to-face nearly breaks the tension. He just looks immensely silly. This results in the game as a whole not feeling scary at all, and the occasional jump scare of flashing imagery just being a test of patience. In fact, the jump scares would, more often than not, obliterate any semblance of tension at any given moment. The gameplay loop is still the same as before, revolving around running (very slowly) from area to area, collecting pages and avoiding confrontations. The game might look modern, but it’s still a janky 2013 indie title at heart.

Slender Man

He was just there, looking at me, like a high school creep looking at the cheerleaders from a distance.

This brand new 10th anniversary remake of Slender: The Arrival might be an impressive visual overhaul of what was once a cheap-looking horror game, but at its core, it’s still the same janky and frustrating walking simulator released ten years ago. It may be a cult hit in the horror gaming community, but I didn’t find it very scary, nor compelling. I will give Blue Isle Studios credit for showcasing what Unreal 5 can provide to smaller games and teams, but sadly, mechanic-wise, nothing of not has been added. If you haven’t liked Slender: The Arrival back then, I doubt this overhaul will convince you otherwise.


Graphics: 8.0

Unreal Engine 5 allows for some truly detailed environments with excellent lighting effects. The only asset standing out like a sore thumb was the Slender Man himself.

Gameplay: 5.0

The original Slender: The Arrival was released at the peak of the “horror walking simulator” craze, so all you do is run (slowly), pick up notes, and avoid getting caught. It’s not very engaging, as you can imagine.

Sound: 7.0

Ominous sound effects and the occasional creepy background tune were effective, at least whenever there wasn’t a jumpscare to ruin the tension.

Fun Factor: 5.0

It may be a cult hit in the horror gaming community, but I didn’t find it very scary, nor compelling. On the contrary, it was testing my patience throughout a good chunk of my playthrough.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Slender: The Arrival 10th Anniversary is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Slender: The Arrival 10th Anniversary was provided by the publisher.