Emily Wants to Play
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2016-04-20 PC Survival/Horror T (Teen) Shawn Hitchcock / SKH Apps

This entire thing about trying to scare me has become a game on its own since a friend gifted me Damned on Steam. Ever since, trying to make me scream louder is like a hobby for them. On an attempt to get back at one of them (yeah Michael, I'm talking about you!), I gifted him Emily Wants to Play and crossed my fingers in hopes he'd be scared stupid. Shortly after, I got it as a gift as well with a note "Your turn."

Seriously, I didn't want to play it. It looked creepy as hell, which is why I picked it as a revenge gift. But eventually I sat to play, and my first attempt at surviving this seemingly empty house ended up in probably my loudest scream ever. Unfortunately, I wasn't recording properly then so I don't have the footage, but if you've seen any of my short Monstrum runs, rest assured, it was ever louder than that.

Emily Wants to Play puts you in the shoes of a random pizza delivery guy who gets locked in this house with no way out. Or at least, I still haven't managed to get out in all my frustrated attempts. The house looks like someone is still in the process of moving in, or is about to move out.

With no explanation as far as story and very little to help me start up, I found the basic commands to move around and interact with things on an inconspicuous note on top of a box, but hardly anything else.

Suddenly, a door opened, another closed, lights went out, there was a giggle. I rushed to where there was light and turned to see what I thought was an extremely creepy anemic-looking girl with black eyes in a black dress standing there. Not moving, not doing anything, just standing there. That was creepy enough, so slowly backed away from that, and to add to my amazement and fear, she just disappeared into thin air. I found a kitchen with a whiteboard that had a message "Don't look at her ;)"

Winking face? Reverse psychology! That's why she went away: because I was looking at her! AHA!

Thinking I had this game all figured out and that one little girl in a black dress wasn't going to be that scary, I ventured past the kitchen and fell into... my worst nightmare. I just about peed my pants and my headset went flying as I rolled the desk chair back. I have never, ever - and I do mean ever - screamed that loud before. Not in any instance of Damned, nor Monstrum nor anything else!

Fast forward to whenever I felt brave enough to try again. I found some voice recordings that told me a bit about the life in this house and that there's definitely something not quite right about Emily. I honestly thought Emily was the creepy looking figure in black I had been seeing, until the basement "incident".

Many attempts later at dodging this little girl, I am now stuck with her and a clown. A clown? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That's my childhood nightmare right there! No wonder my mom said I used to cry when she took me to the circus, I was terrified of the damned things. And I still don't want anything to do with them!

So, now there's two of these... I suppose they're Emily's toys... chasing me around the house, laughing at me in the darkness, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors... and I'm still clueless as to how to deal with the clown. To top it off, another of the things that creeps me out is also coming. I've seen him in the menu, there's a ventriloquist dummy too.

You're probably wondering how can a game that takes place in such a limited space with very little to interact with even draw you in. It's all in the atmosphere, really, and the fact that we know nothing. We're just thrown in there and try to do our best to live through the night, trying to find clues that might point us to a way out or keep us safe. Every time a sound is heard, the squeak of a door, the click of a light switch somewhere, the giggles and evil laughs that mean certain death is imminent.

Emily Wants to Play is one of the most stressful games I've had the pleasure to play. It made me feel lost, panicky, hopeless right from the start, and continues to do so after several attempts. I still don't know how I'm supposed to hang in there until the morning. I've survived the first hour in this hellish house, and that's about it. Unfortunately for me, I am not a quitter, so I will keep torturing myself when I feel brave enough to play. And Emily really wants to play...