HomeReviews4/5 ReviewStay Out of the House Review

Stay Out of the House Review

-

I’m not exactly sure how, but this month I’ve managed to bag two pant-ploppingly scary games to review one after the other. That’s an official term by the way, and I will take no questions on my grasp of the English language.

Anyhow, Stay Out of the House is a sneaky survival horror game which channels those violent slasher films from decades gone by. Before long you discover that the very accurately named butcher has taken you prisoner, as you awake trapped inside his house of horrors. Think something along the lines of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and you’re pretty much bang on. Even the box art channels the same theme.

stay out of the house review 1
You may want to Stay Out of the House!

Much like a horror film of the genre, there’s a distinct pacing to Stay Out of the House. Things start off slow, with lots of trepidation but no clarity around who or what the threat is. You play through a short two part prologue, before the title flashes up on screen which signifies things have properly begun.

At the beginning, you’re on the night shift at a remote fuel station (or graveyard shift if you like). The subtle red herrings followed by noises and strange goings on do a cracking job of ramping up the tension, resulting in a satisfying jump scare. 

The main chunk of the game is a little more open plan, a sandbox if you like. It tasks you with exploring The Butcher’s house to find a way to escape, and perhaps even help a few other unfortunates in the process. You’ll need to hunt around for numerous items not only to progress, but also to defend yourself with.

This is because the house is regularly patrolled by The Butcher and Grandma (yes that’s right, Grandma). If they discover you, it’s very difficult to shake them off. They’ll flip tables and pump gas into vents to flush you out, shortly before carving you up like a plump Sunday roast.

stay out of the house review 2
The lighter may come in useful

It’s not always immediately obvious what to do, or where to go next in Stay Out of the House. This means you’ll need to do a fair bit of exploring, which comes with its own risks. Making use of noise metres and the like is wise, because one loud bang will bring The Butcher running, and you’ll need to hide. Fast.

You’ll not only hear him, but also notice your heart beating faster and more prominently as he searches for you. Knowing this is key to surviving, and being alert is your best weapon. Treat him much like the Xenomorph in Alien: Isolation for your best shot at not getting caught. 

On the subject of sound, it’s used really effectively in Stay out of the House, informing how you play the game. However, there are some truly disturbing low quality screams that come from both yourself and The Butcher (and yes even Grandma). They made me jump a fair few times all by themselves, that’s for sure.

As you can probably imagine, bullets and offensive weapons are incredibly scarce but your captors are not invincible. Taking them on is a risky business however, because if you’re captured you’ll awake once more locked away, albeit in a different part of the house. You’ll only have your lighter on you too, with all other items getting confiscated. The Butcher will have ramped up security too, often installing more cameras to monitor the house. At this point, it is sometimes best to simply load up your last save and go again.

stay out of the house review 3
What could possibly go wrong?

However, much like ink ribbons in Resident Evil, you’ll need to find a VHS tape in order to save. Not only this, but the safe room is hidden up in the vents so getting there is rarely straightforward. This became a little frustrating for me if I’m honest, because the tapes are few in number to say the least. If you are discovered, or killed, it is likely that you’ll need to replay segments of the game numerous times over until you find the next tape to save your progress. Hoarding them isn’t really an option either, because there aren’t many about but also your inventory is limited to five items. Trust me, that’s not a lot here.

As a result, after a few failed attempts I had to step away from Stay Out of the House for a while before going back to play as it was starting to get a tad wearisome. What didn’t help is that despite the AI being pretty fair overall, at times it felt as if there was no way of avoiding capture, no matter what I did. There was also the odd glitch still, such as a padlock code not being what it should be (for which I had to google the correct one).

On the flip side a perfectly executed playthrough doesn’t take too long at all, but the joy of your first is unmatched, thanks to the terrifying unknown. This is supported by the fairly graphic scenes throughout, that really channel those slasher films of yesteryear. What is most striking, however, is how Stay out of the House is presented visually.

Now, I’ve been guilty of criticising “retro” inspired games as lazy in the past, because I have played plenty which have fallen into that trap. However, here the idea fits really well into the overall theme of that VHS quality horror feel. The low-res graphics are straight out of the PlayStation era of the late ‘90s, at a time when Lara Croft was starting out for example.

stay out of the house review 4
Don’t dismiss this one on the visuals…

The difference is that the image quality is distorted to simulate what’s on screen as if it was being played through a VHS player. What’s even better is that you can choose from other filters in the options menu, which imitate similar technologies too. As a result everything ties together in an almost “found footage” feel, adding to the horror of what’s unfolding in the game. Stay Out of the House, er hem, executes this really effectively.

It may be tempting to discount Stay Out of the House at first glance, purely on looks. However, rather than being a simple imitation, it does a good job of putting you right in the heart of the horror. 

Stay Out of the House may have the air of the familiar, but offers an unsettling struggle for survival with The Butcher in one of the most authentic stealth survival sims I’ve played in a long while. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Genuinely chilling experience
  • Sandbox environment offers different ways to play
  • VHS style visuals complement the horror
  • Intelligent use of sound
Cons:
  • Limited saves are punishing
  • The path forward is not always obvious
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Puppet Combo
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch
  • Release date and price - 16 June 2023 | £14.99
Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards
I have been playing games since a very early age, thanks to my Dad's encouragement. I've been an Xbox gamer since the very beginning, the Master Chief is to thank for that. I'm also a big Nintendo geek, and my other half is a PlayStation nut. I'll play pretty much anything in any genre (although FIFA and COD maybe pushing it).
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials

24,000FansLike
1,671FollowersFollow
4,922FollowersFollow
6,870SubscribersSubscribe

Our current writing team

2811 POSTS23 COMMENTS
1280 POSTS18 COMMENTS
1041 POSTS46 COMMENTS
907 POSTS0 COMMENTS
409 POSTS2 COMMENTS
116 POSTS0 COMMENTS
82 POSTS0 COMMENTS
78 POSTS4 COMMENTS
24 POSTS0 COMMENTS

Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Genuinely chilling experience</li> <li>Sandbox environment offers different ways to play</li> <li>VHS style visuals complement the horror</li> <li>Intelligent use of sound</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Limited saves are punishing</li> <li>The path forward is not always obvious</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Puppet Combo</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch <li>Release date and price - 16 June 2023 | £14.99</li> </ul>Stay Out of the House Review
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x