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Play as a radio DJ whose callers are being murdered live on air in Killer Frequency

Trouble on the airwaves

An old school radio booth complete with a turntable, sound board and more in Killer Frequency
Image credit: Team 17 Digital

I am having an absolute riot playing Killer Frequency. It’s a first-person puzzle horror where you're trying to help folks escape a rampaging murderer. Usually, when I read a game description like that, I’m already grabbing my cushion to hide behind and readying my cute puppy compilation video on a second screen, but Team17 have heavily leaned into the campy side of slasher horror with humour serving as the perfect buffer. No safety cushion or puppies needed here, folks.

Here’s the set-up: You’re playing as Forrest Nash, a big-time radio DJ who has found himself stuck in Small Town, Nowhere, USA. While you're working as the host for the town’s local station, it turns out the police chief has only gone and gotten themselves stabbed by a serial killer. With them out of action, you’re roped into acting as a stand-in 911 operator - and with the murderer still on the loose and ready to strike again, that line is going to be pretty busy.

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With each person that calls in, you need to listen to their situation and help them escape the killer, all while being live on air. It’s almost like a text adventure via audio, as you need to listen carefully and figure out the best course of action. During one phone call the caller asked what weapon they should nab: a police baton, a can of pepper spray, or a tazer. The pepper spray was appealing but - like a bolt of lightning to my synapses - I suddenly remembered from an earlier conversation that the killer wears a mask, which would make the pepper spray completely and utterly useless. I told her to snatch the tazer and, after a tense encounter, she unleashed it and fried them, giving her enough time to escape. I have no idea what would have happened if she'd grabbed the baton, and I don’t wanna think about it.

It’s these kinds of decisions that make Killer Frequency so fun. The game rewards you for paying close attention and it's so satisfying. This happens with its puzzles too, which test your nerves. Another caller had just come back from her dance class, and after realising she was being pursued by the killer, snuck her way to a car and needed instructions on how to jump-start it. As she toe-tapped her way across the parking lot, I found a car magazine with instructions on how to hot wire a car and then talked her through the whole process: where to wiggle the screwdriver, which wires to tie together and how she should not by any means cut the BROWN WIRE. After calming herself down with some tap-dancing counts, she followed all my instructions and escaped into the night. Hell yeah!

A multiple choice dialogue tree giving a person directions as they're being stalked by a murder in Killer Frequency
A lovely detail that Team17 didn’t really need to go so hard on, but is fun that they did, is the actual radio station desk where you take the calls. It’s filled with buttons, knobs, tapes, records, and a lavish turntable that you can mess with. There’s even a soundboard you can use to supply your listeners with a little comedic relief. You can also flick through a set of records and decide which tunes to play; it’s all very tactile. | Image credit: Team17 Digital

There are times though, when you could absolutely fudge it up. There was another person - a newspaper editor with the same vibe as the shouty mustachioed EIC guy from Spider-Man - who called in asking for help escaping his office as the killer stalked the corridors. After he faxed me a floor plan, I had to call the different office telephones, distracting the killer as my newsman stealthily scuttled to different rooms trying to get to the exit. Stressful but ultimately pretty straightforward - but I only went fluffed it up, didn’t I? As the final distraction went off, I instructed him to leave his hiding spot too early by failing a QTE, and got him murdered. Oops. Shall we play some Beach Boys to lighten the mood?

Having callers constantly talk you you through their situation as you give them instructions to follow is wonderfully tense. Given the mood of the game, if you do accidentally get someone murdered, Killer Frequency kinda shrugs and moves on. There’s no direct pressure to save all these eclectic folks, but you definitely want to. Successfully saving someone after a nervy back and forth feels so satisfying. Big brain energy. Oh yeah, and it's the right thing to do, of course.

I’m very much enjoying the slasher antics of Killer Frequency. I’ve not finished it yet but I’m keen to see the ending, hopefully one where the killer doesn’t get frustrated at the fact I’m helping his targets escape and then decides to come to the radio station put an end to me. Thoughts and prayers in the comments, please.

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