Tattletail is a 90s Furby Holiday Nightmare
Stay on target Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!It’s no Night Trap, but I do have respect for the mechanically similar and massively more successful Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise. Making a horror game out of the inherently terrifying animatronic animals of Chuck E. Cheese-type places is so obvious yet brilliant it’s crazy it took us this long to figure out it. But what isn’t so brilliant are the legions of awful Five Nights At Freddy’s imitators subsisting off of the terrible cottage industry that is racist children on YouTube pretending to be scared by bad video games.Tattletail initially looks like one of those streamer bait games, which is probably a purposeful sad economic reality. Fortunately, the game actually does enough creative and fascinating things with the formula to suggest Five Nights At Freddy’s is a genre that can evolve, not just one game that can be endlessly ripped off. The game is set in, and was released during, Christmas. But like A Nightmare Before Christmas, Tattletail’s bad Furby fever dream works equally well as a special spooky Halloween Game of the Year.Tattletail fits in nicely with our current nostalgic obsession over all things 1990s. It’s the week before Christmas in 1998, and all you want to do is open your presents. What’s the hottest new holiday toy? The cuddly fantasy pet Tattletail from “WayGetter Electronics.” As someone who was basically this kid at this time, I was completely onboard with the quest to obtain these big-eared furry bundles of joy, this ersatz (unshaved) Furby.But while the child can’t wait to play with Tattletail, the game acknowledges that there is something… off about the toy and really all toys of its type. A cheap and creaking mechanical product speaking in an artificial and distorted baby voice shouting that it loves you is uncanny to say the least. There’s nothing behind its big cute eyes. The grainy recorded VHS advertisements are some of the straight-up scariest found footage you’ll see, despite having no typical jump scares.Tattletail nails this very specific era and atmosphere it’s trying to recreate. It’s like Gone Home. And also like Gone Home, Tattletail’s gameplay revolves exploring a detailed suburban home in defenseless first-person trying to suss out its secrets. However, instead of discovering your sister’s sexuality, you’re discovering the demonic nature of the banned Tattletail mama doll stalking you throughout several nights.You actually get a Tattletail toy fairly early on. But while it is cute, like the toys it is inspired by, the virtual pet is more of a shrill burden. The player must manage its hunger, power, and cleanliness by going to the fridge, recharging it, and grooming it. If players neglect their pet, it will start to make noise, and noise attracts the deadly mama who can leap out of any dark corner to kill you. Your flashlight can keep her at bay, and soothe Tattletail who is afraid of the dark, but you must manage those batteries as well.These constant survival mechanics keep tensions high as you spend each night exploring the house trying to help the good Tattletail toys banish the evil mother. This involves finding various items like Tattletail eggs in the living room, original packaging in the backyard, and haunted VHS tapes down in the basement. You also might be tasked with fending mama off for as long as possible while the Tattletails complete their adorable little Pagan rituals. It’s like The Blair Witch Project as directed by Joe Dante.Tattletail doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you aren’t easily spooked, you can blow through the game in basically one sitting. And even by the end the experience starts to feel a little thin given the great potential of the premise. But for only five pucks on PC, it’s totally worth it. Tattletail doesn’t care if you get it wet or feed it after midnight. This Halloween Game of the Year is coming after you no matter what.Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year!