The Quarry is the spiritual successor to Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures Anthology, but how does it compare to its spooky predecessors – and is it worth your time?
The Quarry is Supermassive Games’ latest interactive horror game, following in the footsteps of 2015’s flawed, but beloved, Until Dawn, and the subsequent Dark Pictures Anthology entries. As with its predecessors, The Quarry is a love letter to the genre and plays out in a similar way to classic “choose your own adventure” books of years past.
This time, Supermassive has traded Until Dawn’s cabin in the woods for, well, a bigger cabin in another set of woods, and the Quarry relishes in its “Summer Camp” setting with a group of councilors trying to survive the night as something hunts them in the darkness.
The Quarry key details
- Price: £64.99/$69.99 – £54.99/$59.99
- Developer: Supermassive Games
- Release Date: June 10, 2022
- Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, PC
The Quarry trailer
What doesn’t kill you…
The Quarry’s setting is inspired by 80s horror movies like Friday the 13 and the lesser-known, but genre-defining, Sleepaway Camp. Yet, The Quarry is set in modern times, despite its aesthetic often resembling a bygone era of horror.
The aim is to play through a scary story, filled with cinematic horror tropes, and guide a selection of teenagers to safety. Your actions and mistakes have consequences, and a small, seemingly unimportant choice could have disastrous ramifications later in the story.
Do you choose to climb the rickety ladder early in the game? Or will doing so risk making it less stable for the next person who climbs it? When your friend throws your cell phone from a balcony, do you catch it? Or is a cracked screen the least of your worries as the night progresses?
It’s all fun and games at first, the biggest concerns the characters have being where to charge their phones and if their summer romances will continue once camp ends. The councilors engage in games of truth or dare and raid the camp’s snacks stash as they celebrate what is their last night at Hackett’s Quarry – but for some, it could be their last night among the living.
Lambs to the slaughter
While the game plays up the horror B-movie vibes, it’s worth pointing out that Scream star David Arquette plays the role of Chris Hackett, the camp owner with more skeletons in his closet than Jason Voorhees. Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), and Ted Raimi (Evil Dead 2) also appear, but we’ll keep their roles under wraps.
We spent most of our time controlling a group of seven camp councilors, each following classic horror archetypes such as jock, the nerd, the comic relief, and, of course, there’s a character who seems to understand the rules of horror more than the rest, and provides exposition and context when the story calls for it.
Some chapters play out as flashbacks, detailing what happened to the two councilors who never made it to summer camp. Their story is very important and eventually collides with the protagonists in some stunning – but chilling ways.
Dead by dawn
The game does a great job of teasing and layering the peril before the big reveal. The group is in mortal danger, but there’s a question mark over what that danger is for the first few chapters. Before this, we hear all sorts of scary stories and rumors, and the game expertly weaves all of its mythology together by the time the credits roll.
Kids go home scared from camp after hearing the ghost story, ‘The Hag of Hackett’s Quarry’, a traveling freak show once caused some difficulties for the area, a fire resulted in the death of some campers several years back, and a creepy family of locals is using the woods as their own personal hunting ground – but for what? There are plenty of disparate, spooky threads to pull throughout.
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Each of these things is scary on its own, and the game gradually raises the stakes so that the threat could come from anywhere. And be assured, there is a threat, and it’s possible for the sun to rise over Hackett’s Quarry illuminating nothing but a trail of corpses. Or will you manage to get everyone out safely?
You will care about the characters as the game goes on, even those you initially disliked, and in our first playthrough, we prioritized keeping as many of them alive as we could over fleshing out the game’s various mysteries. In our second playthrough, however, we were far more reckless, wanting to see how far the rabbit hole went – and we were not disappointed.
Multiple playthroughs encouraged
Like Supermassive’s prior entries since Until Dawn, The Quarry is an experience that benefits from multiple playthroughs. It’s exciting to see what going right leads to when you went left that first time. You could probably play through the Quarry several times and still not see every outcome, and Supermassive should be commended for creating a much richer experience here than they ever have before.
Once you beat the game, you can replay certain chapters or watch them in movie mode. This lets you leave the choices to an AI, which can be a fun way to see it all pan out again. There is also an option to see the AI save everyone and another where it will deliberately kill as many characters as brutally as it can.
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If you do happen to lose a character due to a fumble or set of misplaced steps, you can use one of your three lives and try again. This is helpful, but use them wisely, you don’t know how many you’re going to need. Be warned though, you may also need to play through an entire chapter again.
After every chapter, you’ll be confronted by a creepy old woman who’ll use the tarot cards you collect in-game to give you a glimpse into several possible futures. These all-knowing characters have become a staple of each of Supermassive’s releases, and while her warnings and information seem less useful early on, her importance becomes apparent in later chapters.
While The Quarry is an engaging horror experience, it isn’t perfect. Some sections of dialog are dull and superfluous, and some sections fall flat. Quick time events (QTEs) are used liberally throughout the run time, but they’re usually easy to complete. You’ll even choose to fail some deliberately for narrative purposes, so while they never really become a chore, it does remove some sense of challenge from the game’s tensest moments.
The fixed camera angles can be jarring and annoying to those who are used to a free-flowing camera, but traditional survival horror fans will appreciate them. From a visual perspective, The Quarry looks great. We played it on PC with the settings turned up high and didn’t notice it stutter once.
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The detail is also top-notch; however, our character’s movements could be janky or sometimes glitched in places. A walk in the woods between Nick and Abi turned into a nightmare in body horror, not because of anything hunting us, but because Nick’s neck physics decided to bug out at the most awkward time.
Those who have enjoyed prior Supermassive titles will find a lot to love in The Quarry. The developer has refined its interactive storytelling skills and the game really goes to town with the butterfly effect gameplay, while managing to be a stellar spookfest at the same time.
Horror lovers looking for a creepy night in will also be well served by the Quarry, and with plenty of endings and story permutations, it could be a solid weekend binge for genre aficionados.
Reviewed on PC