The Quarry

In 2015, Supermassive gave us Until Dawn, a horror choose-your-own-adventure wherein a bunch of teenagers collided with a cabin in the woods. Now, The Quarry takes a similar path.

And, what could possibly go wrong when combining a bunch of teenagers with a cabin in the woods – or, technically, lots of cabins as it’s a summer camp? As any horror buff out there will be screaming, “LOTS!” They’d be absolutely right too.

While the technology has leapt forwards since the days of Until Dawn, both that in our lounge rooms and what’s at the disposal of the Supermassive people, at its core the game is the same kind of experience. Do we have a problem with that? No sirree Bob!  We loved Until Dawn, and we enjoyed The Quarry even more.

Wearing all manner of classic horror movie tropes on its sleeve with a beaming grin, The Quarry enters the fray boasting a hot cast of both established and young actors – including David Arquette, Lin Shaye, Lance Henriksen, Ethan Suplee, Ariel Winter, Justice Smith, Brenda Song, Ted Raimi and Skyler Gisondo. The script is scarcely Shakespeare, but that’s kind of the point. This is wonderful cheese with all the requisite plot holes, jump scares and occasional dodginess that inspired it. Expectations of plotty slickness would be just plain missing the point.

The Quarry

Expectations of programming slickness though are a different story, and this evolution of – or spiritual successor to – Until Dawn is smooth-as. From the new-gen gloss graphically – some scenes look seriously real life – to the quality of the motion capture, audio and voice acting, and even imperceptible loading times, lessons learned from that teen horror original and the three subsequent Dark Pictures Anthology games from Supermassive are proudly on display.

Our scary old trip kicks off with two young counsellors heading to the Hackett’s Quarry summer camp a night early to set up. Cue a spot of possible roadkill, not nearly the worst accident you ever seen (sans Large Marge), curious figures in the forest and a creep-ass cop (Arquette) who really sets the tone… and that’s just the prologue. There’s much creepier, ickier and terrifyingier (erm…?) stuff to come.

“The full horror unravels over ten main chapters in several ways…”

The full horror unravels over ten main chapters in several ways, from variously controlling nine different camp counsellors and where they wander, to finding collectibles, tarot cards and clues that aid with the story, to making oodles of decisions as to chosen paths – some of which are inconsequential, while some matter big time. Some may seem by-the-by at the time, but can lead to deadly results – the butterfly effect in action (oh I wish, I wish, I didn’t divide-a that spider…) In all there are a whopping 186 possible outcomes, with some campers living, some dying, all living, all dying etc. Until Dawn had six. If you’re an obsessive completist then prepare to be at this one for the long haul – and if you dig classic ‘80s horror (in particular) then you’ll love every gosh-darned minute of it.

The Quarry

There are various ways to enjoy the action of The Quarry, too. You can go interactive with all the presets, meaning quick time events (boo!), button mashes and split-second decisions, or dial any of the many interactions back as far as completely automating them. Or you can just kick back, grab a choc top (or popcorn if you must) and enter Movie Mode, where you set a few parameters and sit back and watch the story play out just like one of those old school horror outings. It’s also worth rooting about in the options menu to eke out such settings as a rather apt graphical ‘80s VHS look, which is a fun change-up if you’re into that kind of thing.

It doesn’t have to be a solo affair, either. Hook up with up to seven others online for a playthrough, or do pass-the-controller locally, with each participant controlling their own counsellor.

If we have one big criticism, it’s that this game is really dark – we’re talking literally here, not figuratively. We highly recommend arcing up the brightness, unless you’re playing in a completely blackened room.

The Quarry is a really ridiculously good-looking (and often extremely grisly) stab at cinematic-level interactive horror that is memorable and really hits the bullseye genre-wise, plus it also shows some sneaky referential love along the way. Dare we say it’s a camp classic…?

The Quarry is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and Xbox 4.5

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi