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15 Jan 2024

REVIEW: SPIDER MALL! (2023 Video Game) on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
SPIDER MALL! is a fun, choice-based Full Motion Videogame (FMV) that transports players back to the 1990s, providing a nostalgic experience with a unique blend of horror, humour, and interactive storytelling. Developed by Ghost Dog Films and available on Steam, the game follows the escapades of urban explorer 'X' (played by Aaron Jeffcoate) as he infiltrates an abandoned shopping mall, only to find himself trapped with both irate security guards and a gigantic arachnid.

The storyline is engaging, weaving a tale of survival as X attempts to escape the eerie mall while contending with security guards and a hungry spider lurking in the shadows. The choice-based live-action FMV gameplay adds an interactive layer to the horror, allowing players to decide X's fate and influencing the destiny of other characters in the game. The VHS/body cam-style video footage, complete with 80s lo-fi effects, adds a nostalgic touch to the overall experience.

The game's major strength lies in its replayability, offering over 13 combinations of game endings based on player choices. Each play-through, lasting 30-40 minutes, promises a different experience, ensuring that players can enjoy multiple rounds of excitement. The humour injected into the survival horror theme lightens the mood and sets SPIDER MALL! apart from other FMV games out there.

However, like many FMV games, SPIDER MALL! suffers from a relatively short playtime. Despite the variety of endings, the necessity to replay the game multiple times to explore all outcomes may feel tedious for those not enamoured with the genre. This is a common drawback inherent to FMV games, and SPIDER MALL! is no exception.

In conclusion, SPIDER MALL! delivers an enjoyable and nostalgic experience for fans of FMV games. The game's blend of horror, humour, and interactive storytelling, combined with its multiple endings, makes it a standout title in the genre. While the short game time may be a drawback for some, the overall fun factor and replay-ability make SPIDER MALL! a solid choice. I rate it an entertaining 8 out of 10, especially for those seeking a trip down memory lane with a dash of horror and humor.

Out now on Steam

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