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Anything You Say Can And Will Be Broadcast In Killer Frequency

Killer Frequency, Official Launch Trailer, YouTube, 00:36

Sometimes a coincidence can produce excellent results. A friend recently sent me the trailer for a new game called Killer Frequency. When it comes to purchasing video games I usually watch the trailer and then take some time to mull it over in my head. After watching the trailer for Killer Frequency, I did not take any time to think about it, I immediately pulled up the PlayStation app and purchased it. From the trailer alone it oozed with retro neon nostalgia while reminding me of two specific things: one of my favorite films, Pontypool, and one of my favorite video games, Not For Broadcast. Who would have thought an amalgamation of these two ideas would create an overwhelming entertaining horror-comedy game with a high replayability factor?

A nighttime shot of the front of the radio station KFAM, the sign is highlighted by purple neon
Killer Frequency, Official Launch Trailer, YouTube, 00:18

In Killer Frequency you play as disgraced radio host Forrest Nash (Josh Cowdery) who has recently relocated to the small town of Gallows Creek. Forrest and his producer Peggy Weaver (Naomi McDonald) run the overnight call-in show 189.16 The Scream, Gallows Creek’s only late-night call-in show. Soon into their shift, they receive a call from Gallows Creek emergency dispatcher Leslie Harper (Rachel Handshaw), who reports the Sheriff is dead and the deputy is locked in a cell unconscious. That’s when we find out who is behind this: The Whistling Man. And The Whistling Man is planning on enacting their revenge, tonight.

The majority of the gameplay finds Forrest navigating phone calls to make decisions for the citizens of Gallows Creek who happen to find themselves in the deadly sights of The Whistling Man. Each call that comes in is another opportunity to save the life of a citizen, but will you make the right choice? Like Until Dawn, you can save everyone, kill everyone, or end the night with a mixture of the two. The first few calls that will come in are very straightforward with the decisions you have to make, but as the night progresses you will find yourself faced with difficult decisions.

What separates a game like Killer Frequency from something like Until Dawn is how you will need to do specific research to find the correct way to answer the questions. If you don’t tell the group of teens which person needs to do what, or if you can’t figure out which dumpster a citizen is hiding in, then you’ll miss that achievement for saving everyone. On top of having to research to make educated decisions for the callers you are faced with quick time events, but be careful…sometimes the best choice is to not make one at all.

One of my favorite aspects of Pontypool is how the radio crew is stuck to one singular location throughout the film’s duration, and the only information we get is through phone calls. This creates a level of fear and isolation that is hard to get otherwise. In Not For Broadcast you are tasked with live editing a news station, where the wrong edit or the absence of a censorship bleep will lose you viewers, promote an anarchist group, or worst get you fired. Killer Frequency takes these two properties that I love so much and blends them together, packaging them in a neat little bow. Killer Frequency is very straightforward and gives you all of the tools you need to succeed.

A view from behind Forrest's radio desk
Killer Frequency, Official Launch Trailer, YouTube, 00:33

My personal favorite part of the game is your ability to throw crumbled-up paper balls into a mini basketball hoop set up across the room. In my first playthrough, I hit 243 shots, in my second 341. There will be many times when you will be listening to conversations or having long talks with Peggy, so the basketball hoop will quickly become your best friend. I will say though I was a little bummed when I realized there were no achievements for hitting a certain amount of shots in the hoop. Without looking at the achievement list before playing I was expecting a cheevo to pop when hitting 100 shots. Now this is a dumb thing to nitpick and one of the few issues I had with the game.

When the chat bubbles/decision boxes pop up, if you’re playing on controller, you will need to use the directional pad to pick the option you want. Killer Frequency feels specifically designed for VR and the biggest hint for that comes within the decision making. There were many times during my first playthrough where I’d find myself aiming the crosshair at the dialogue option I’d want to pick, only to forget I had to use the D-pad to select what I wanted. I have a feeling that when playing on VR you could make your decision by pointing your crosshair on the selection you want to make and pressing a button (or however VR works). This is just another small thing, and labeling this as a complaint would be wrong as it’s really just user error.

There was really only one other issue I had, and like the previous two issues, they don’t really fall on the fault of Team17. After watching the trailer I hyped myself up too much thinking it would be just like Not For Broadcast, and that’s just wrong. And even my bringing up Not For Broadcast in the opening is possibly giving false pretenses for others who are interested in this game. Like Not For Broadcast there are time-specific things you must do, there are ads you have to play, and you even have a soundboard! Unlike NFB your radio hosting tasks don’t have an overall outcome of the broadcast, the only thing that makes a difference is what you tell the callers to do. Initially, I was a bit turned off by this, but after playing through it twice I’m glad it doesn’t. The idea of being a radio host is just the conduit for the horror, and comedy, of the story. To ask the player to make these life-and-death decisions while also forcing them to do outcome-specific radio tasks would take away from the heart of the game. When raving to friends about this game I found myself talking more about the exploration and decision-making, while going on about how much I adore the idea of having a radio host be a stand-in 911 dispatcher.

A hidden room in the basement of the radio station, a mannequin has neon red x's over its eyes
Killer Frequency, Official Launch Trailer, YouTube, 00:14

By the time the credits rolled all I could think about is how fun this game would be to play with a group of friends, a 12-pack, and a couple of large pies from Ponty’s Pizza, maybe even a burrito from Chalupacabra. Between the retro aesthetic, real-time decision-making, a plethora of references, hysterical rapport, and an ominously mysterious antagonist, I absolutely loved this game. My issues with Killer Frequency are my personal issues and issues that didn’t really have an overall effect on my enjoyment of the game. If you’re looking for a four-ish hour game to play on a Friday night after having a few drinks, this is the perfect game for you. If you are sad that there was never a video game adaptation of Pontypool, this is the perfect game for you. I’ve told 20 different people about this game, and I’ve recommended it to every one of them.

Killer Frequency is out now!

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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