Preview: Killer Frequency

2023-05-23 by Callum Andrews

Gotta love the 80's

In the last couple of years, the nostalgia craze for the 80's has been going strong. Various media productions have made great strides in trying to either make us remember or show those that didn't experience it how great the 80s were. And honestly, the '80s was a great decade in those terms. Cartoons were better, movies were better and heck even the music was better. So it's no wonder then why some of us just can't get enough of this resurgence of 80's themed media. This is something also that the great folks at Team17 have noticed and have made their own contribution with the game Killer Frequency.

You take on the role of Forrest Nash, a demoted radio DJ who for some reason has found himself working the midnight shift in the backwater town of Gallows Creek. Together with his producer Peggy, they run the regular midnight program called The Scream at KFAM radio station.

After a regular start to the show, the night takes a terrifying turn when they receive a distress call from the local 911 dispatch reporting the murder of the sheriff. With a serial killer known as the Whistling Man on the loose and the sheriff dead, it's up to Forrest and Peggy to guide desperate callers to safety. Set in the atmospheric backdrop of 1987, the game initially unfolds entirely within the confines of a radio station, offering a unique and immersive gameplay experience.

Your decisions, their lives

Serving now as the town's makeshift dispatch, Forrest and Peggy will need to help people that call in. However, even though they get to be the local emergency dispatch they still have a radio show to run. So all the regular duties of being a radio DJ still stand. Playing music, running ads, and taking calls from people. This mix of being someone that is set up to be both an entertainer but also an emergency responder had me in a very confused state. But in a good way. Because most characters in video games are pretty onedimensional and usually only have one job to do. Here however you go from helping someone survive a deadly situation to playing tunes on the radio.

Since most of the events that are taking place are conveyed through audio, it stands to reason that good voice-acting is needed. I would even argue that it shouldn't just be good but rather it should be great. Sadly though this is more of hit and miss, which is however character dependent. As far as Forrest and Peggy go the voice actors for them do a pretty decent job for the most part. For some of the characters calling in it varies. I can imagine that being a good voice actor can be harder than being a regular actor who gets the benefit of video and the visual aspect. In that regard, a person has so many more tools to convey different things than what a voice actor has. So with that said, there are quite a few stumbles along the way.

For example, the characters that call in for help, don't sound particularly scared or panicked. Also, Forrest and Peggy just seem to take the whole thing in stride with what is happening. At one particular injunction, I made the mistake of thinking I had to be quick with a decision that led to a character being killed. Once that character was murdered, Forrest and Peggy continued on like nothing had happened. Like I said however this is very character and situation based and there are surely situations and characters that act more accordingly, sadly though it's somewhat inconsistent.

Sound judgment will get you far

How you will be helping people will vary on what kind of situation they find themselves in. In one instance you will help someone hotwire a car while in another you will help someone make a decision on how to defend themselves. There are a few puzzle elements to the decision making but just by applying common sense and sound judgment will get you pretty far.

It looks like there will be other side plots going on as well, which I didn't get to explore during this preview that both involve Peggys and Forrest's pasts. But even the history of the town might be something that gets unveiled further as the game progresses.

My thirst for 80's and 80's inspired media is unquenchable and this is a great addition to the short list of games that use that great decade as as a backdrop. So if your love for the 80s is anything like mine then, make sure to tune in on KFAM, The Scream on June the 1st.