I’m one of those lucky parents whose kids happen to be horror fans. It doesn’t matter if it’s about ghosts or goblins, my eight-year-old eats that stuff up. So when the Five Night’s at Freddy’s series kicked off a year ago, my daughter was pretty excited and truth be told, I was too. We had seen the trailers and were enticed at the idea of playing a game that looked like a cross between Paranormal Activity and Chuck E. Cheese.
Since then, we’ve played every game and seen countless videos and fan theories regarding the ill-fated pizzeria and the disturbing events that have plagued the establishment. So when we saw that Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 took place not in the pizzeria or in some semblance of the pizzeria but in a child’s bedroom, we were intrigued. Now, after one night of playing the game, I’ve come to the (repeated) conclusion that Scott Cawthon is a genius and deserves every dollar that comes out of my wallet.
The game doesn’t take long to step into the realm of disturbing, as on the first night the player is already catching glimpses of nightmare versions of the series’ biggest stars (Bonnie, Foxy, Chica, and Freddy). Be it on the bed behind the player, where shining the flashlight keeps plush Freddy from turning into Nightmare Freddy; the closet, where the player must keep plush Foxy from turning into Nightmare Foxy; and to the left and right hallways where Nightmare Bonnie and Nightmare Chica (respectively) must be kept at bay.
Following each night the player plays a minigame where they must get a plush of Springtrap, the main character of FNAF 3, to an X on the floor in an allotted time. If the player can do that they get a head start at two in the morning instead of midnight for the next night. This is different from the first three entries in the series, and is the source of my only gripe (a minor one). This is a game where head starts and cheats don’t do the game any favors. Although the main storyline was concluded in FNAF 3, minigames that contribute to the story of the game are preferred.
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One of the brightest points of the game happens when the game reaches the fifth night, when the player deals with Nightmare Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy until four in the morning, when Nightmare Freddy takes over the roles of the other characters. Upon defeating the fifth night, the player unlocks “Nightmare” night where the characters are almost unbeatable and Nightmare Freddy is replaced by his baddest incarnation yet, Nightmare. Nightmare has a unique Game Over screen compared to the others, one that the player will get familiar with quickly.
Overall, FNAF 4 puts a unique and original spin on one of the scariest survival horror games in recent memory and is one of the best in the series. Just be sure to play it with a light on.