Review: The Assassin’s Anthology


Horror requires a certain degree of unpredictability to truly succeed. This can be tough if you’re trying to maintain credibility, so why not throw credibility into the trash?

An anthology for a killer is a compilation of nine previously available, completely absurd miniature horror titles that made us decide, like many of us, that reality really sucks. But while there’s a hefty dose of comedy mixed in with the rest of the horror stew, the sheer discomfort of the lack of a firm grip is enough to make you sweat. Or whatever people do when they’re scared.

- Advertisement -
Screenshot by Destructoid

The Killer Anthology (computer)
Developer: tekatamity
Publisher: thecatamites
Released: May 29, 2024
Suggested retail price: $6.00

The The Killer Anthology consists of nine related miniature horror films dating back to 2020. They were first available (and still are) on the website Gamejolt for free, but you’ll pay six US dollars for the anthology, which seems like a reasonable fee for not having to juggle executable files. Plus there are some great additions. Plus, the odd art show event that brings the games together is pretty chilly.

Each story tells the story of BB, a woman living in a city where murders are commonplace. Some cities have rat problems, XX City has serial killers. While she and her sister ZZ pay rent, clearing the decaying depths of the city’s dead malls of decades-old kitsch, BB also publishes a zine about terrible events. I feel like this is what anyone going through the process of quitting a YouTube addiction would do.

The stories in the anthology usually focus on her researching content for her zine, which is a great way to get the character to willingly delve into hazardous situations, but that’s rarely how things start.

Killer Mansion Anthology
Screenshot by Destructoid

It is not uncommon for the word “dreamy” to refer to a work of fiction. It is usually miniature for strange and surreal. But I don’t think I’ve seen anyone look more like a dream than The Killer Anthology. Some stories are very evocative of what my subconscious will present to me on any given night; usually when I have a high fever.

In the first story, BB walks you through a day at a call center. The case is confused, the police show up, and the conclusions are rather vague.

One story is about him fulfilling his civic duty and performing in a play. However, the chapter is not formulated like the acts of history. She simply wanders through various scenes connected by winding corridors until suddenly she is given the urgent goal of finding a script that will reveal her character’s motivation.

It’s these disconnected, distorted depictions of otherwise familiar places and things that give the film the feel of something you wake up from in a sweat and clutching the sheets. I would have completely believed it if I had been told that these stories were based on dreams. In my dreams, I was delayed for class, but my high school was connected to the grocery store for some reason. The classroom in question was in the bread aisle. Of course, I don’t know what other people’s dreams are like, but in my case the structural similarities are enough to make me feel the same discomfort I feel on bad nights.

Anthology The Caught Killer
Screenshot by Destructoid

On the other hand, most of the dialogue and narration is piercing and clear. Even in strange environments, the text is very basic, laced with arid, referential sarcasm. I think this is also vital for the aesthetics of dreams. After all, how often does it happen that you wake up from a terrifying nightmare and realize that none of it made sense and was just terrifying in itself?

Chapters that make up The Killer Anthology it’s just walking sims. The only real action and challenge here is escaping from the pursued killers. Most of the time you just walk around and look at things. Observing your surroundings often comes down to entering bubbles floating in the air to hear BB’s thoughts. He’s a great guide to the weirdness of the game, often talking as if the things he sees are obvious or expected. You rarely get the full picture, but she makes sure you don’t get lost.

It’s a little weird that a walking simulation has its character on screen at all times, and I should warn you: you have no control over the camera. It follows you, sometimes in a set direction, but has a habit of getting lost. This is especially observable in the first episodes. Often you will walk past a camera shot and not know which direction you should be moving. Many of the chases require you to run towards the camera, and the camera isn’t well marked as to where to turn.

In many of these chases you’re supposed to get caught eventually, so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

From The Killer Anthology is the culmination of at least three years of work, you can watch them improve mechanically. The problem is that the first few chapters it throws at you are rather rugged. They get better and better over time. The first experience is not bad, and the second is my favorite in terms of narrative, but you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Also be careful with your fingers around the ESC key, as this will cause you to exit the current chapter without warning and without the ability to resume,

An anthology of the killer's media work
Screenshot by Destructoid

One sec The Killer Anthology is disturbing in a surreal, nightmarish way, I would hesitate to say it’s terrifying. At least not in the conventional sense. It doesn’t try to enhance your heart rate, but in some ways it is more effective in that regard. Sketchbook Serial Killers probably won’t be the part you remember the most. Instead, it is a restrained assurance that he is presenting his otherworldly horror.

Short-form horror is well established in the indie sphere, and generally speaking, you can find whatever niche or subgenre you’re looking for. From RPG Maker narrative to raunchy slasher horror, hobby developers have put their fingers in a lot of scary places. But thanks to the skillful and enjoyable writing and its own surreal reality, The Killer Anthology manages to be more than just another corpse on the pile.

Related articles