Game

The terrifying toy rabbit returns to scare – but does this sequel live up to its reputation?

The popular impression of iOS gaming is of cheery puzzlers or colorful platformers. Something you can play for a few minutes on the bus. Most people wouldn’t expect to see a game featuring a gruesome, bloodthirsty toy rabbit gracing the App Store, and yet here we are.

Dark, atmospheric and tense, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 brings the series to a close with a bang. A big scary bang.

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Don’t say they didn’t warn you…

For the uninitiated, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a survival horror series in which you play the hapless security guard of a pizza restaurant, trying desperately to survive five night shifts in a row. Sounds uneventful? Well, luckily there are a range of murderous animatronic toys hanging around to keep you on your toes. Each ‘night’ lasts about five minutes – if you live to the end, that is.

The latest – and supposedly last – incarnation of the Freddy’s series is set 30 years on from the previous games, with the murderous happenings at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza are a thing of mere legend. To cash in on these folk stories, a local entrepreneur created “Fazbear’s Fright: the Horror Attraction”, a haunted house homage to the original pizzeria.

Amongst tacky old memorabilia, costumes and decorations, one genuine animatronic from the restaurant remains – Springtrap. Half mechanized bunny rabbit, half rotten human corpse, wholly terrifying.

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Oh man, is that Springtrap lurking in the corridor? Look away quickly enough and you’re safe. Maybe

Springtrap is the only enemy who can outright kill the player but there are also a range of phantom animatronics to contend with, each with their own scares and behavior patterns. These ghostly hallucinations are there to distract rather than dismember, lurking menacingly before messing with your communication systems. Some of them will affect the player’s vision or breathing which makes it a lot harder to keep track of everything and generally encourages a heightened sense of confusion and hysteria.

This game doesn’t involve any combat. It’s pure survival. Our protagonist can’t move from his office and is limited to two main tasks: checking the security feeds for anything strange and rebooting faulty systems when they go offline. That’s the gameplay in a nutshell.

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You’ll be tapping through the camera feeds to check for activity. Nothing to see here… yet

Most of your time is spent waiting, checking and rechecking the video feeds. Just as it threatens to get boring you spot a shadowy figure on one of the cameras. What was that? Before you have time to think, the cameras go offline. As you fumble to turn them back on, you notice something blurry scuttle past through the window of your office. Or was it just your imagination? Calm down. Check the cameras again to discover he’s gone.

Cue panic. Maybe he moved to an adjacent room? Or took refuge in a ventilation shaft? Maybe OH SWEET JESUS THERE HE IS.

Game over. Grab a fresh pair of undies and try again.

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Uh-oh. Without the cameras we can’t keep track of Springtrap. But fixing it takes forever!

The pre-rendered graphics look good for a mobile game, but there is no real 3D or ‘proper’ animation to speak of. The camera footage is really just a collection of still images, with the occasional static interference and general graininess of the feeds adding up to ensure an ever-present horror movie feel.

The general consensus from the franchise’s fan base is that this third installment has the most balanced gameplay and most intense fear factor, which arguably makes it the best standalone experience of the three. It’s not necessary to have played the previous games to enjoy this latest offering – but existing Freddy fans will probably get a little more out of it, especially thanks to the story-based minigames between levels.

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These cute Atari-esque minigames loosely provide backstory. They provide a welcome breather from the pressures of all-night security work.

FNAF is not so much ‘fun’ in the conventional sense – some will find themselves in an uncomfortable state somewhere between fear, confusion and boredom – but if you like tension, atmosphere and the occasional big fright, it’s definitely worth a shot.

Price: $2.99/£2.29
Version: 1.0
Size: 43.2 MB
Developer: Scott Cawthon

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Review: Five Nights at Freddy's 3 - the scariest game on iOS?
Freddy's 3 really delivers in the tension department and will leave players with a feeling that little else on iOS can match
For
  • Immersive setting and graphics
  • Unique, challenging gameplay
  • Provides tension and suspense in spades
Against
  • Gameplay can be repetitive
  • You might soil yourself
4.2Overall Score