Reviewed on Xbox Series X
SuperMassive Games have been pumping out well-oiled choose-your-own-adventure horrors since their 2015 feature Until Dawn. Full of entertaining ensembles, queasy-inducing QTE’s and spooky scripts that are throwbacks to horror across the decades, cosmic or real, they’re always fun, albeit occasionally uneven, ventures to work through solo or otherwise.
And 2022’s The Quarry is another enjoyable entry, with another awesome cast. You’ve got David Arquette, Lance Henriksen, Ted Raimi, Lin Shaye, Grace Zabriskie from across horror through the years. Then rounding off the younger cast you have Skylar Gisondo, Siobhan Williams, Justice Smith, Brenda Song and more — all are entertaining, really sell their characters and are a lot of fun to watch. Even if some line readings here or there feel stilted and awkward.
I had a lot of fun with my two playthroughs of The Quarry. Sure, the directorial style is a bit on-the-nose in that it plays it’s hand early and I guessed the over arching mystery in the game’s prologue – I think a lot of us players did – but much like, say, Midnight Mass, which I guessed early too, it’s not so much about that mystery so much as the experience from the beginning to end, which makes for an entertaining, genuinely funny, often-cheeky and spooky horror/thriller event to play through. As a horror fan it had its jump scares, thrills and sass.
It is ultimately an uneven experience though. Some characters don’t have enough to do in the second and third acts, in favour for other characters. They take a backseat to a plot point and just…..are left alone. No matter which way you twist the experiences – least in my first two playthroughs – it feels like there’s not a balance for everyone to get their time to shine, which is a little disappointing and disheartening.
This wouldn’t hurt as much if the third act and climax of the story wasn’t in a mad sprint to wrap everything up. Ultimately, I think the whole game suffers because of that fact – suffers because the build up of character relationships in the first hour or 2 of the 9 hour story has no real pay off or satisfying resolution. I don’t want to spoil anything but there could’ve been a more emotionally satisfying climax to this whole bloody affair for all characters. And given that that’s a big appeal for these games and its characters is a little disappointing.
But! That aside, I think The Quarry is still a lot of fun for the length of time it runs for. There are echoes in the work and parallels to draw to their Until Dawn here but it remains entertaining. There’s jump scares and gore and laughs and a few tense QTE and after my first playthrough there was enough wrinkles there, enough in-game lore and collectables I missed, that had me wanting to see just how I could tweak the experience. And after a second playthrough, there’s still more to hunt down and find. More scenes to see properly.
For that, new or old fans of the devs, I think it’s worth a purchase now.
J’s Verdict – ☆☆☆1/2