Camp Keepalive, By Indie Developer Twofold Secret, Embodies Every 80s Horror Flick
Camp Keepalive is a turn-based strategy game that will have all you 80s horror fans excited. The game combines vintage horror and strategy in order to save campers and defeat evil monsters.
Camp Keepalive was developed by Twofold Secret, an indie studio based out of Baltimore, MD. Twofold Secret is comprised of Joel Haddock and Chris Klimas, and I was able to talk to both of them about some of their inspiration for Camp Keepalive while getting to experience the game myself.
The game is based on a camp that has invaded by monsters. This turn-based game allows you to act as different camp counselors who have special abilities that help you save the kinds from werewolves, lake monsters, evil clowns and much more. I found myself loving everything about this game.
What inspired you to create a horror game like Camp Keepalive?
Klimas says, "The kernel of the game came to me when I was camping in Shenandoah National Park. Bears make their home there, so there are a number of precautions you are supposed to take to protect yourself from them -- mainly keeping any food or interesting-smelling items far away from where you camp. Of course, there isn't very much you can do if a bear does come into your tent looking for food -- so the first night I was camping, as I was lying there in the dark waiting to see if I had followed all the precautions correctly, I had the idea for a very basic game mechanic, where campers got to move during the daylight, and monsters got to move at night -- so you had to plan your daylight moves very carefully."
Haddock on the other hand says, "For me, I spent the summers when I was young at a sleepaway camp deep in the woods of Maine, so that was where my mind immediately jumped. And, of course, for any kid who grew up in the 80s, summer camp is inevitably tied to horror movies. From there, it was a natural leap to the idea of the iconic camp counselors tasked with facing down the many evils that lurk in the dark, dark forest."
The characters are also a big part of the game. You have to decide which characters have the best abilities and can help keep you and the campers alive. Haddock says that 80s horror movies definitely tied into creating the characters.
"The jock, the nerd, the cheerleader... they were all the stereotypes we saw over and over again. But here, we wanted to turn things around a bit and turn those stereotypes into strengths; put their powers to use for good. Instead of just preening around waiting to take an ax in the back, the popular guy can actually use his charisma to actually save some people," Haddock says.
I loved the characters. I was able to found what strengths I liked the most, but at some point each character is valuable to the game and tied into the story.
Each level tells a different story. From werewolves attacking the campers to saving the campers during a bonfire, I found myself enjoying the game completely, all facets. Even the characters stood out because of how they tied in with the story. Haddock and Klimas were successful in capturing the feel of an 80s horror flick.
Haddock has been a fan of turn-based games for a while now, and that definitely played into the design.
Haddock says, "There is just something great about being able to take whatever time you need to hatch your master plan. When there is no pressure to react immediately, you can scheme all you want, and if something goes wrong with your plan... well, that's your fault. Also, there is a sort of overwhelming dread in waiting to see exactly what will happen when it *isn't* your turn. What will the monsters do? Is that idiot camper really going to walk over there?"
Klimas says, "To me, a lot of action-based games involve too much memorization -- you have to learn to do each jump in a platformer just at the right time, for example, and the only way you learn is to fail repeatedly. That kind of learning process just doesn't seem that interesting to me anymore. So although I hadn't explored the strategy genre that much previously, it's something that speaks to me now."
I loved the turn-based portion of the game. The idea behind this component was something I hadn't played in a very long time, but I feel like it could use some work. The idea is to play until you die, and try to kill as many monsters and save as many children along the way. During one level I found myself playing until I had saved over 80 campers. I think this portion of the game could be fixed by adding a limit to the amount of campers that need to be saved, or maybe just surviving waves of monsters instead of just having monster after monster come out.
My favorite part of the game, surprisingly enough, was the music. It has so much character and I found myself humming along to it. It definitely kept with the 80s horror film theme. I felt like the music could have been featured in Halloween and Friday the 13th. I really enjoyed it as a lover of horror films.
I give this game a 7 out of 10. I loved playing it and I loved the thought put into it. I definitely suggest everyone buy the game or at least try the demo available on the Camp Keepalive website. The characters, story and music make the game completely worth the $9.99 price.
Camp Keepalive is available on Windows, Mac and Linux so go check it out!