A word of advice: never get a job as a night watchman. If you must, then make sure it's not at a fast food joint that houses a decommissioned animatronic animal pop group. As Five Nights at Freddy's proves, it's a career choice that will frighten the living daylights out of you.
Teddy bears picnic - on flesh
The premise of Five Nights at Freddy's - a port of a popular PC game - is that you take a temporary job as an unsuspecting security guard at a pizza restaurant chain and must make it through the night shift without getting your face eaten.
Normally of course, this wouldn't be too difficult, but Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzas isn't an ordinary restaurant. It's home to an animatronic band of furry creatures who turn evil at closing time, and like to roam around looking to eat people's brains before forcing them into a costume. It's a long way from Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar that's for sure.
When you start the game, you'll get very little information or instructions, other than a haunting recorded message from an ex-employee of Freddy's about the dangers of the job.
You sit in your office monitoring 11 security cameras that are trained on various parts of the restaurant. You need to watch out for signs of movement from any of the four animatronic characters that are apparently turned off at first. If you spot one of the eerie looking critters moving about you might want to turn one of the office lights on to check if they are on their way to munch your eyes out. If one is at the door, then press the button to slam it shut as soon as you can.
Checking cameras, turning on lights, and closing doors all drains electrical power, of which you only have a finite amount. You start the night at 12AM and must make it through to 6AM without draining the power beyond zero percent - or allowing one of the costumed creatures into the office. Each night lasts about eight to nine minutes in real time.
The first night of Five Nights at Freddy's seems easy enough, and you won't spot a lot of movement from the characters - although when you do it's very creepy to watch. As you work your way through the nights, Chica the Chicken, Bonnie the Bunny, Foxy the Pirate Fox, and the enigmatic Freddy Fazbear will become increasingly active. For some of the characters, you'll be able to work out patterns and rules for how they will act. However, Freddy - who is stored behind a curtain away from the rest - is a law unto himself and it's seemingly impossible to predict what he'll do.
Don't be scared of the dark
The trick to succeeding in Five Nights at Freddy's is not to keep turning on lights and cameras, and slamming doors shut out of fear. A lot of the time you'll need to just sit tight to conserve power, which adds to the fear factor, since you feel vulnerable to attack.
The controls are very simple. You can look left or right from your chair by tapping either side of the screen, and activate hall lights and doors using the appropriate switches. The CCTV cameras can be accessed by hitting the large button at the bottom of the screen.
Prepare to jump
The graphics in Five Nights at Freddy's are out of the ordinary yet stylish. The game combines pixelated DOS-like presentation with scary modeling of the four characters. Jump scares are excellently implemented. The way you'll know a character has made it into the office is when they suddenly pop up on the screen accompanied by a shrill shriek - cue you flying several inches out of your seat.
The sound effects in Five Nights at Freddy's help to heighten the game's edginess. From the hiss and the crackle on the cameras, to the ominous clip clop of footsteps, everything about the game's noises is designed to terrify.
Five nights of hell
Five Nights at Freddy's is one of the most terrifying mobile games I've played, and if you're brave enough to try the game, you're in for a tense, tummy-tingling treat. That said, if you like your horror games to have a lot of action, you're best off trying something like Dead Space or Dark Meadow, where you can actually fight back!