The Quarry review – An excellent homage to retro teen slasher movies that carries cringe and cliche perfectly. – Stefan Mieszek

It feels strange to try to write a review for a game without actually talking too much about the game, but this is a title that needs to be entered into blind for maximum effect.

The Quarry is a “survival horror interactive drama” played from the third-person perspective, it’s the story of nine teenage camp counsellors, as they try to make it through the night at Hackett’s Quarry.

Supermassive Games have themselves stated that they view this game as a spiritual successor to their previous title, Until Dawn and so, much like it, The Quarry draws heavy inspiration from teen slasher, horror movies.







The Quarry’s narrative has a primary focus on making choices under pressure, and cultivating relationships between members of the cast
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This is immediately obvious in its delivery and writing style, with dialogue that is intentionally as bad as the movies that it tries to emulate.

Don’t think for a moment that this is supposed to be a negative though – it’s actually the opposite.

The charm of those classic 80s and 90s films was the cliche that they all fell into, which has now been enshrined into popular culture.

It was as though the writers, had no idea how teens spoke and acted, and so they projected these hollow imitations onto the screen from their own imaginations.

The writers of The Quarry have hit this nail square on the head, with the writing and dialogue guaranteed to make actual real-life teens cringe so hard their faces hurt.







The Quarry captures the feel of teen slasher movies perfectly
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When I think of vintage teen slasher movies, the things I think of are the things The Quarry delivers – bad dialogue, exaggerated facial expressions, excessive gore and violence, but fundamentally imaginative and innovative storytelling that creeps you to the core with its delivery.

In order to avoid spoiling the plot as much as possible, I’m going to just paste in the official synopsis of the game. Having played the game, I can confirm it’s pretty spot on, and does a better job of describing it than I could anyway.

“As the sun sets on the last day of summer camp, the teenage counselors of Hackett’s Quarry throw a party to celebrate. No kids. No adults. No rules. Things quickly take a turn for the worse.

Hunted by blood-drenched locals and something far more sinister, the teens’ party plans unravel into an unpredictable night of horror. Friendly banter and flirtations give way to life-or-death decisions, as relationships build or break under the strain of unimaginable choices.

Play as each of the nine camp counselors in a thrilling cinematic tale, where every decision shapes your unique story from a tangled web of possibilities. Any character can be the star of the show—or die before daylight comes.”







The characters come across as cliche at first, but actually have a surprising amount of depth beneath the surface
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The Quarry builds tension expertly, and makes you wonder if the writers are really the full ticket as you think to yourself: “What kind of person manages to think up this twisted stuff?”

The story itself is also solid, even if it sounds like a cliche on paper (which it definitely is, intentionally).

Graphically the game is much the same as Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology, although the animations are significantly better thanks to the full body and face motion capture (mocap) that has been employed this time around.

Previous games had separate face and body mocap, leading to things looking somewhat disjointed, with some of the scenes sitting firmly in uncanny valley.

This isn’t the case in The Quarry, with the characters naturally moving their heads and faces in response to their own hand movements.

The facial reaction to one’s own body movements is something that’s never really crossed my mind before, but when comparing scenes side by side from previous Supermassive Games, it’s suddenly really obvious.







The developers have used full body and facial motion capture for the first time
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Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect score for the animations, however, some of the facial animations look overexaggerated and creepy, but in all the wrong ways.

The audio is spot on, and exactly what one would expect from this developer. The opening credits song, Thorn in My Side, has a really retro feel to it, and perfectly sets the vibe for the Summer Camp the game is set in.

From there, the score continues to be perfect, changing the mood from scene to scene and subtly driving the narrative in a way a good soundtrack should.

In addition, the ambient sounds of the forest, creaky buildings, and even eerie silence are immersive and well balanced. Fans of horror games should know the audio is often what lets them down, but need not fear in the case of The Quarry.

The gameplay isn’t exciting in and of itself, but it isn’t supposed to be. The game is, at its core, a playable horror film, and so gameplay consists of exploring the settings, looking for clues, navigating dialogue, and making choices.

Your choices matter – Until Dawn focused heavily on a “butterfly effect” narrative, and although The Quarry doesn’t seem to openly reference this concept, it’s still very much at play – the tiniest of decisions can set events in motion that ultimately result in one or more characters meeting a grisly end.

Choices that lead to a major turning point in the story are indicated by a “path chosen” message appearing on the screen.







Choices matter – even when they seem like they don’t
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All of this is done alongside quick time events, button bursts, combat, and “don’t breathe” events – moments in which you must hold your breath when danger is near and release only when it’s safe.

The developers claim that “items of evidence you find during the game can really impact the ending of your story.”, and I said in my Preview of The Quarry that I really hoped this claim came to fruition.







Each moment, no matter how seemingly insignificant, could have huge consequences further along the story
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I won’t spoil anything here, but I can confirm it has, and I will say this – sometimes a little knowledge can be a bad thing, and some discoveries are better left undiscovered.

There are some other small great touches too that make The Quarry a unique experience. First is the “filters”, which you can throw onto the game to give it a spookier feel.

There are a few to choose from, from Indie Horror, which changes the colour balance to something a little more “low budget”, to Classic Horror, which is essentially just a greyscale filter akin to horror films from the 60s.

This goes alongside what I’m going to call the “VHS Vibe” – the game hammers home a theme of VHS films and old Cathode Ray Tube TVs, with each of the “paths” you take in the story being named like old VHS horror movies.

This is coupled with an old-style movie synopsis for each one, and even a joke image of a VHS with the characters in question on it looking thoroughly cliched.

This is a theme I absolutely loved, but I will admit has been taken too far in places. The game itself for example, happens inside a box smaller than the screen, with black bars at the top and bottom.







The Quarry needs to be experienced blind to really appreciate it to its fullest
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I think this is supposed to give it an older feel (since the resolution is intentionally janky and inefficient) but in reality, I found it to be a little infuriating – I play on a 35 inch 21:9 monitor, so I had black bars on the left, right, top, and bottom unless I played the game in windowed mode.

This essentially meant the screen was just half the size it should be. Yes, this matched the vibe the developers were aiming for, but it also wasn’t great on my eyes, and the reason I run such a large ultrawide monitor is because I have impaired eyesight.

I don’t want to slate the game for being inaccessible however, the game is full of every accessibility option you can think of, taking into account colourblindness, people who might be hard of hearing, or those who might struggle with unexpected quick time events.

In addition, a “death rewind” has been added, letting you get a do-over when a character died. Initially I thought this was a bad idea, detracting from the “choices matter” theme.

I then remembered the time my PC dropped frames during a QTE sequence in “Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope”, and a character died. I remembered how cheated I felt, and thought actually a “death rewind” feature would be really great for that kind of scenario. It’s also completely optional – you can turn it off in the options menu, and even if it’s on you don’t have to use it.

Verdict: 5/5

I know this review doesn’t really delve much into the game itself, but you really do need to experience it as blind as possible. What little niggles do exist don’t really detract from the game itself, which is just pure perfection at what its trying to do.

If you’re not into story games, and you want action-packed gameplay, this game isn’t for you. If however, you know what you’re picking up, and you’re looking for a narrative-driven interactive movie game, you won’t do any better than The Quarry right now.

If you loved Until Dawn and Dark Pictures Anthology, you will adore this title. If you’ve never played these but you’re into horror movies you certainly won’t be disappointed, as it delivers exactly what you’d expect – Tension, thrills, jumpscares, and the periodic deaths of fundamentally annoying yet somehow lovable teenagers as they hit “rock” bottom.

The Quarry releases on June 10 2022 for Windows, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.

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