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Five Nights at Freddy's: Ultimate Custom Night takes robo-horror to anarchic extremes

Super Scare Bros Ultimate

Scott Cawthon is an odd fellow. He started out making offbeat genre-blending RPGs before stumbling into wealth and fame with the Five Nights At Freddy's series. Several indie horror hits about surviving the night watch at a haunted animatronic pizza parlor, a line of official toys and a film in production later and what does he do? He goes back to making stuff for free.

Ultimate Custom Night, released today, is the third free Five Nights game and by far the most ridiculous. It mashes together fifty series antagonists into a claustrophobic horror playground for the screaming YouTube face-cam crowd.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Ultimate Custom Night was designed purely as an elaborate act of passive-aggression. There's something cynically self-aware about the entire design, opening on a predictable jump-scare sound test and segueing straight into a sprawling options menu where you choose what enemies are going to be hunting you, and just how aggressively they'll be doing so. Unlike the more story-driven early games, this is pure score-attack, although knowing Cawthon I wouldn't be surprised if it held some secrets too.

Cramming together as many series references as possible, your 'office' is a comically cluttered mess of vent shafts, doorways, twitching machinery and interactive elements, and the controls screen is positively incomprehensible if (like me) you've only previously dabbled in the series. Different killer robots react to different stimuli, like audio, light, closed doors, air temperature and more. Plus, there's random floating coins to collect and a mysterious shop to spend them at. It's a mess, but an intriguing mess.

You can get Ultimate Custom Night for free on Steam here. The previous FNaF spinoff, Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator is also gratis. The unfinished-but-fun FNaF World RPG can be found on Game Jolt, along with a number of variants and mods created by the community. If you want to see what Cawthon's games were like before he got spooky, check out The Desolate Hope, free.

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