Released all the way back in 2018 on PC, Nun Massacre has finally made its way to consoles following a brief stint on mobiles last year. Puppet Combo have been steadily building a reputation with their video nasty style horror games, can they still offer up some scares when on the go? Lets take a look…
A letter is delivered to your house under mysterious circumstances at night and it seems your daughter has fallen ill at her boarding school. As you make a trip to pick her up, a storm blows in and the road is blocked. You now have no choice but to continue on foot through the woods, and upon reaching the school, soon realise nothing is at it seems.
The opening trek to the school can actually be skipped, a nice touch if you are beyond your first death, and you’ll start in the school basement. There’s no expansive story here given the games trashy video nasty vibe, though you can find notes & tapes to add some, but you can at least meet your end in several ways while looking to piece everything together. The games story can end in multiple ways too, the Nuns identity was a nice surprise in what seemed a ‘good’ ending to me this time.
Remember I mentioned video nasty? Well that vibe certainly carries over to the presentation. The game succeeds in building a great atmosphere with its grainy PSX style graphics and audio, complete with wobbly textures and eerie sound effects, but it doesn’t just end there. You can even apply filters, defaults to VHS that adds a convincing effect, but you can choose others like PSX that looks convincing enough to anyone that played games back then.
There aren’t really any performance woes to speak of thankfully, docked or portable is pretty much the same, aside form one quirk. The game has a tendency to massacre battery life when left in sleep mode, one time I left for work in the morning and when I returned the Switch battery had gone from around 80% all the way down to 12%! Sometimes it wasn’t so bad when using sleep mode which makes it even weirder, so its not something to worry about too much.
Easiest way to describe this game is as a hide & seekathon as you spend pretty much all your time hiding under beds or panicked running in the opposite direction of the Nun. Once the screen starts filling with static, something which can be disabled too for the foolhardy, the Nun is nearby and you’ll need move carefully. It’s not always obvious where she can be either, jump scares are also a part of the game, so slowing your pace and moving carefully doesn’t always help. Sometimes its best to just hide somewhere for a little while, just make sure you aren’t seen heading into that hiding place.
Staying alive isn’t the only thing you will have to worry about when playing as the game will occasionally throw the odd puzzle your way or put up a barrier to progress. Early game has you stopped by a barb wire pit, but you can get over that by finding a plank to use as a bridge and progress up to the next floor. These kind of situations crop up often enough that you’ll need to keep them at the back of your mind as a possibility when moving around, don’t wanna get cornered by the Nun and end up trapped. Personally the gameplay as a whole wasn’t really for me, it’s stealth focused and slow paced, but that isn’t really a detriment to the game overall as it could be right up your alley.
If you are a fan of the developers’ works, or a bit of a Grindhouse nut like myself, then Nun Massacre should be something to pique your interest. The grainy VHS presentation sets the perfect tone for the game and its story for me, and the game ran well on the Switch. Unfortunately, the gameplay didn’t really click with me. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it, in truth, but it was more the mystery of the Nun that kept me interested throughout, as opposed to the hide and seek gameplay. Still, there’s a good little horror game here that will likely find many suitors on the handheld and should put Puppet Combo on more people’s radars.
Head back to the 1970’s with this jump-filled, hide-and-seek focused, homage to the ol’ video nasty.