What it lacks in s’mores it more than makes up for in death

As the original Friday the 13th has taught us, camping can be an extremely dangerous hobby. Forest fires and rowdy raccoons present their own threats, sure, but it’s really the masked psychopaths (and their enraged mothers) who will get you in the end. Such is the case in the upcoming Camp Keepalive, only instead of angry parents and masked villains, players are forced to contend with an abundance of different 8-bit monsters, ranging from swamp creatures to chainsaw-wielding lunatics. I don’t want to tell you your business, but you may want to bring a machete or ten.

Camp Keepalive is a turn-based strategy game inspired by the great horror films of the 80’s. The objective of the game (beyond just staying alive) is to protect the campers from the many monsters that threaten their livelihood. It won’t be an easy task, but you don’t really have a say in the matter: you’re a counselor, and there’s more to that occupation than just knowing how to cook a good s’more.

On the bright side, each counselor has a power all their own (one can carry extra traps, another is capable of more actions in a turn, etc.). This is crucial, because the campers in the game are dumb as rocks. They have a tendency to wander aimlessly each turn, and they frequently place themselves directly in the line of danger. Clearly they didn’t watch enough horror movies growing up.

You can get a good sense of how all this works in the game’s demo, which is available for PC and Mac on developer Twofold Secret’s website. There’s both a tutorial and survival mode on offer, and regardless of your experience with turn-based strategy games, you’ll most definitely want to play the former before firing up the latter. It’s not the most complex game, but you won’t be firing on all cylinders if you don’t fully comprehend its (very user-friendly) interface.

The demo will also give you a taste of Camp Keepalive‘s writing style and personality, both of which deserve a mention. I laughed aloud twice during the brief tutorial, and while that’s not always a good thing when it comes to a horror-themed game, the well-crafted strategy elements ensure that players will still be on the edge of their seats while playing – even if they’re laughing in the process.

Camp Keepalive

Camp Keepalive doesn’t have a release date just yet, but considering the quality of the demo, I’m personally hoping it arrives sooner than later. In the meantime, maybe I’ll take another crack at beating that Friday the 13th game for NES! Or maybe I won’t, because that game is really bad!