A wimp plays a horror game

by Paige Bourquin

A new indie horror game named Poppy Playtime released on October 12 recently caught my attention. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a huge wimp when it comes to anything scary. So what did I do? I sat alone in my room and tried not to cry for three hours. The game was less than an hour of gameplay.

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Poppy Playtime by MOB Games is a horror puzzle adventure game set inside an abandoned toy factory. You complete puzzles using a Grabpack as you try to make your way to the door with a flower on it. As you progress on your journey, you meet a vengeful toy known as Huggy Wuggy. I decided to call it Noodles.

I first started out by getting a letter stating that all the employees of Playtime entertainment, who mysteriously went missing when the factory shut down, were still there. You sneak in at night, and as you look for a way in, there was an ominous video message telling the player about the company’s security system. As I unlock a door to the security room, I find the left hand of the grab pack. Before you can grab the hand though, you’re forced to watch a small training manual, emphasizing how you do not aim the grab pack at others. It might cause injury.

I soon unlock the entrance into the actual building, where a 10 foot Huggy Wuggy (also known as Noodles) stands smiling blankly at me. My response to seeing this was to try and give it a high five. The grab pack hand got stuck and I stopped breathing for a hot minute. The hand soon came back and my response was to try and give it another high five. 

As I try to enter the next hallway, all the power goes off. I start panicking and hear a small “plink” behind me. Noodles now had the key to the maintenance room, and I grabbed the key with a smile and a high five. I think we are going to be great friends.

A special feature of the grab pack is that it is also a great electric conductor. So to try and get power back on, you have to maneuver your way to the other outlet. This was where my first scare came in. Turns out you had to remove a cover before you were able to close the circuit, and I did not know this. 

Turns out the sound of a cover being ripped off the wall is able to give you a panic attack. 

After that first scare, I managed to get the power back on, but this causes some issues. I noticed that Noodles wasn’t on their stand anymore, and with that, I panicked and closed the game. This marked the end of part one of my videos, and I took a five-minute break from the game. 

5 Minutes Later

After I got my nerves back, I continued the game from where I left off. My first response to seeing the empty stand was to become Noodles.

We continue the journey by opening a bright hallway with some building blocks at the end of it. There were two doors at the end of it, a locked one that led to the staircase with “To Hell” written on it. The other one I just saw a fuzzy blue slithering thing enter.  The hallway was dark and had a quick jumpscare that got me good.

The end of the hallway leads to a storage room where you look for batteries to power up a machine. There we find a mysterious tape of two men talking about how there were an obscene amount of boxes that seem to never be organized, and the partnership with the orphans causing more and more work on them. Once you find all the batteries you need, the red hand on the grab pack drops down and you gain the ability to unlock the conveyor belt, and soon learn I had the ability to crouch this whole time.

As I travel through the vents, flashing lights and falling doll parts give me mild cardiac arrest, as well as a small puzzle that took me a lot longer than I would like to admit. I then slid into another part of the factory where it makes a toy for you.

I soon approached a poster that talked about how the toy company is trying to get people to foster and adopt children. As I read the poster, I learned a new fact: The factory is somewhere in the Midwest! Sleep easy tonight.

As I solved another puzzle in the rafters, I fell off and freaked myself out thinking that I was about to be attacked, so my physical reaction was to nope out and log off for two hours. In this period, I had long talks with my friends about fear. Originally my plan was to just stop altogether and ditch the article, but my friends helped me push forward and finish the game.

Two Hours Later

A slight problem I had with this game was my headset. The volume on my headset is all wonky, and the lowest sound was about the highest volume on AirPods. This changed the experience dramatically, making the game seem more real, with screams and alarms making me panic. My way to deter this was to take off my headset to try and get through a new part.

I found a new tape about an interview of a woman talking about why she joined the company. You’re quickly able to tell that something isn’t all there about the woman, as she goes on to talk about how adults are big children who just keep growing until they die.

The puzzle in the rafters powers up the machine you need to make a toy to progress. The only way you could leave the room is if you made a toy. The one I got was a lion-bee-dog thing that I quickly fell in love with, but it disappeared as soon as I tried to pick it up.

I unlock the door and it leads to a bright light hallway with a pitch-black end. This was not a good sign. I walked forward and soon came face to face with my old enemy. NOODLES. Noodles was the security system mentioned earlier and is used to kill intruders. 

The chase was on. I sprinted the other way into the vents where I thought that Noodles could not reach me, but as I sprinted forward, Noodles was there on the other side. The vents were a maze of twists and turns, with deadly dead ends at every turn. When you failed to keep running, Noodles would catch you and kill you.

I died 4 times.

Two of which I ran right into, just accepting my fate. 

Eventually, I got to the end, where I collapsed a box on top of Noodles, making it fall to its death with a glorious air high five with myself. 

As I continued on the catwalk, I encountered the final tape. A man was speaking all crazily about how his experiment was not a success, but not a failure at the same time. People were screaming in the background, with the sound of a monster in the background, leading me to believe this was the creator of the Huggy Wuggy monster that attacked me. 

I approached the door I was originally here for, with countless signs saying to turn around and run. My response was to run straight forward into the room.

What was in there was shocking. It was what looked like a Victorian nursery, with a soft music box playing in the background. It was a soothing place that you could easily believe belonged to a little girl, with the only thing breaking the illusion being a industrial door poorly hidden by a cabinet. 

There was one more door to go through. In the last room was a small glass cabinet with a sleeping doll who in the intro was revealed to be a moving doll named Poppy. The room kept the same style as the other. This time the room made me feel like I was safe, in a completely different game, and the music box was more apparent now. 

I eventually got the nerves to open the case with Poppy in it. The music stopped as I heard an eery little girl’s voice saying,

“You opened my box!”

And the credits rolled.

Thank you so much to my friends for putting up with me being a wimp, and MOB Games for making this wonderful game. I don’t like much in the way of horror, but I had a good experience. If you want a quick scare, Poppy Playtime is a good game for that. I’m excited to see where the story is heading, and I’ll be sure to get the next chapter when it comes out!

On a side note, when going back through to get better footage, I found a glitch in the game that makes the experience so much better. I somehow got thrown up into the catwalk when Huggy Wuggy started chasing me, and it made me feel like I had the original Noodles who grabbed my hand back. 

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