Killer Frequency is a first person adventure game set in the magical ‘80s. With its intriguing premise, daft plot, and copious amount of black comedy, I knew I would be more than happy to put Tears of the Kingdom down for a bit to experience some murder solving hijinxes.
In Killer Frequency, you take on the role of the fantastically named Forrest Nash, a one time legendary radio host who is living out the rest of his career hosting a late night radio show for the small American town of Gallows Creek. Alongside Forrest is his producer, Peggy, a lifelong citizen of the town, and they are both in charge of the station KFAM for the night.
On this particular evening, Forrest’s show “The Scream” starts in the normal way, but things quickly take a turn for the worse when he receives a call on air from a local policewoman. They declare the sheriff has been murdered, and they have to leave town to fetch help. She reroutes 911 to Forrest and Peggy and asks them to help anyone who may be in trouble.
It’s not long before Forrest learns that a serial killer is on the loose and is seemingly taking out random people to satisfy their urge, and it’s up to him and Peggy to help the citizens of Gallows Creek survive the night and wait for the cavalry to arrive.
It’s not long before calls start coming in from potential victims. They could be in numerous dangerous situations that they will need help with. It could be someone being chased around a maize maze, or someone trapped in a car with the killer just outside. The majority of these puzzles will require you to leave the studio and explore the station to find items that might aid your quest; it could be a map, instructions on how to hotwire a car, or security alarm codes.
Once you have the information, you have to relay the right instructions or information over the phone. Get it right, and the person will escape and survive; get it wrong, and that person gets it. The twist is that if you do not succeed in saving someone, you just carry on. There’s no game over screen; there’s no reloading from the last save point; that person is gone, and you move on with the rest of the show.
This really adds some jeopardy to the game, and I found myself invested in trying to save these people from these life ending scenarios. I didn’t want them to die, and when I got it wrong, I was genuinely gutted. Not just for myself but for the actual person too. It is a welcome feature and also helps increase the replayability of the game.
The dialogue is all well written in Killer Frequency, connecting you to the characters and world beautifully, and you find out much about them as you go through the game, especially between Forrest and Peggy. They are always chatting between records, with Peggy becoming Forrest’s rock in helping to complete the tasks and giving compassion to the people in these potentially life ending situations. Killer Frequency can get quite heavy in its dialogue at times, but the voice acting helps make this and, in fact, all the dialogue in the game a lot of fun.
Of course, not everything is perfect, and one of my biggest gripes with the game is the finicky controls. They do eventually click, but that first hour trying to get to grips with them was slightly frustrating. In the middle of your screen, there is a crosshair for you to line up to whatever you want to interact with, but with some being small buttons, it can take a while trying to line it up through the sensitivity of the camera. This can be turned down in the settings, but then it affects the exploration part of the game as it will take a while to change directions. The other annoyance is that you can’t interact with the dialogue boxes in the same way as everything else, instead opting for the d pad buttons to choose your selection. This leads to confusion as you naturally go to select your answer by using the crosshair on the screen and end up choosing the answer you were not planning to use. This led to further frustration, and even two to three hours in, I still felt the urge to answer using the crosshair. If there was one feature to add to the game, please let it be this one!
But, these are minor quibbles, and one area in which Killer Frequency gets it just right is in the visuals. The game is perfectly themed to fit the era it is based in, and the cel shaded graphics go great with that too. The studio itself is filled with everything you would expect to see. Heavy equipment adorns the corners on one side of the room, with shelves of vinyl on the other. Your desk is suitably equipped with all the technology you would need. Your trusty mic, buttons to accept calls, a record player, and a tape machine for you to play commercials with. You can leaf through your vinyl box to choose which song to play next, and there is a never ending supply of scrunched up paper for you to throw into the bin across the room during those heavy dialogue sections.
The music itself is fine. Covering many genres, there is a great selection, but I never fell in love with any particular track, and I never once had that feeling of looking the soundtrack up on streaming services. But it does the job it’s intended for just fine.
I had a lot of fun with Killer Frequency. It makes you feel like you are right in the thick of a classic ‘80s horror slasher flick. The twist of being a radio DJ stuck to his desk was inspired, with many of the puzzles being well thought out and interesting. The controls can be an issue at some points, but it’s not enough to make you not want to play to the satisfying conclusion of the plot. You may want to stay clear if a heavy, wordy game is not for you, but if you do decide to help the citizens of Gallows Creek, then you are in for one hell of an evening!
Release Date: 1st June 2023
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5 & Meta Quest 2
Price: £19.99 (PlayStaion), £20.99 (All other platforms)