Making a sequel is hard. In fact, it could be seen as a frightening prospect. 

On one hand, if a game has gone well and the audience loves it then producing another along the same lines is like printing money. But the downside is that the audience wants a new experience, albeit in a similar world. Sometimes the adventure goes flat and the audience grows bored with the format quite quickly. 

In the case of the Horror Tale games, it feels like only yesterday when I was playing Horror Tale 1: Kidnapper; the first game in the series. That means Horror Tale 2: Samantha has to do something special to keep me hooked. But does it?

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The Horror Tale continues

The Horror Tale game franchise was initially made for the mobile market, but it has slowly made its way over to consoles. The premise is simple, as are the mechanics of this puzzle-solving stealth-based game. 

In the spooky place called Lakewitch, children are being kidnapped by people in rabbit masks. In the first adventure, you ran around trying to solve the mystery of why this was happening, as well as trying to nail down who was the kidnapper. In this second part of the story, you start the game in a prison once more. As you escape you find another prisoner called Samantha – you are tasked with trying to free her and yourself from the kidnapper’s evil charms. 

The story is a good one, even though Horror Tale 2: Samantha is mostly about the gameplay. It doesn’t feel like an adult horror game, but more like a teen one. And throughout, there are some nice twists and some good bits of writing on offer here. It does feel like a chapter ripped out of a book rather than a whole game though.  

Horror Tale 2: Samantha is played in the first person, and it all feels pretty much like the first game. And neatly there is a difficulty level. If you’re one of those who want to test themselves fully in terms of their stealthy skills, you can do so.  

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We love the graphical style

How you move and play is up to you. But the name of the game here is to try to solve some puzzles before escaping, all while avoiding the kidnapper patrolling the area. You do this by stealth-shifting around the maze-like levels of the game; levels that are full of twists and turns. It is when the kidnapper spots you, in which you will have to run and then hide in certain places; bins or selected areas until the danger has passed. Whether you enjoy this game mechanic or not will be the key to your enjoyment of the game. Personally, it’s something I’ve done many times over and am getting a little tired of it. Others will have loads of fun though, able to relish the challenge. 

Other elements at play focus on the collection of items and finding the right place to use them. Solving puzzles to open other areas is also front and centre, as bit by bit you get to unravel more of the narrative and escape the evil clutches of the captives. However, very much like in Horror Tale 1, there have been moments here in which I have been lost as to what to do. While I applaud the lack of hand-holding, a little bit more guidance wouldn’t go amiss. 

Visually, Horror Tale 2: Samantha employs the graphical style of something like a Telltale Games experience; it feels very much like The Walking Dead series. All cartoony yet mixed with realism is the closest I can get to describe it. It works though and the attention to detail in the level design works great throughout. 

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Just. Keep. Running.

The sound is very good too, with high-alert music that makes your heartbeat race when getting chased and a clever, yet tense, soundtrack sitting underneath the game when moving. 

It’s safe to say that if you liked Horror Tale 1: Kidnapper, you’ll do well with this next chapter. The story in Horror Tale 2: Samantha is good and the way this universe keeps adding to itself is cleverly addictive. There may not be much new in terms of mechanics from the original game to this one, but Horror Tale 2: Samantha knows what it wants, delivers its goals brilliantly and provides some great escape room vibes.