If you define how scary a game is by the number of jump scares it has, then Emily Wants To Play is at the top of the list. Created by indie developer Shawn Hitchcock in 2015 and available for just $4.99 on nearly every platform, it’s almost guaranteed that the game will really make you freak out.
As Emily Wants to Play begins, the clock in-game reads 11 PM. You are a pizza delivery man, and you’ve just been called to a mysterious house that a pair of people were found murdered in a month ago. Stupidly enough (or perhaps it’s just your job), you deliver the pizza and walk right in, following instructions on a note found on the ground. Upon entering, the door slams shut, locking right behind you.
From there on, there are 7 long hours that remain until you can leave. These “hours” last 6 minutes of real time, and each hour presents a new challenge towards you. It seems as if a deceased “ghost girl” named Emily has called you in to play a few games with her.
Emily has 3 dolls – Chester, Mr. Tatters, and Kiki. These dolls will make different noises that warn of their presence, all trying to kill you in different ways. Their games include peek-a-boo, tag, red light green light, and hide-and-seek. In order to avoid death, beat the dolls at their games and they’ll stay away from you. Figuring out which doll plays which game takes some practice, so patience and a good memory is a necessity to survival.
As the night progresses and morning nears, Emily will come out to play with you as well, engaging in her own respective game. Additionally, if you have the guts to let your focus draw away from the dolls, pay attention to the various video recordings and letters scattered throughout the house’s rooms. They provide valuable details necessary for understanding more of the background story.
If the dolls do end up beating you, you won’t realize it until your heart is pounding through your chest. The dolls will approach you, and a jump scare will ensue. From there, Emily will show herself, which is even more terrifying. Thankfully, the 7 hours don’t reset upon death – only the hour’s 6 minute period of survival does.
Once reaching 6 AM, Emily lets her captive pizza man go, and more of the story is explained through a series of notes and television broadcasts at the end of the game. The graphics in Emily Wants to Play are somewhat simple yet very complete, and little is left to the imagination. The playable area is very large, which can be utilized to your advantage.
Plot-wise, most details are filled in and complete. Despite having a relatively simple plot, the game doesn’t feel like it lacks anything. It serves its purpose as strictly a horror game that is meant to scare the crap out of you. Especially considering it was made by a single independent developer, it was produced extremely professionally. That being said, it’s no surprise it has become one of the most commonly respected horror titles in terms of pure jump scares.
Emily Wants to Play is available on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Oculus Rift, iOS, and Android.