White Noise Online
White Noise Online is an online independent game for the Xbox 360 by developer Milkstone Studios. At first glance, it looks an awful lot like the free to play game, Slender. Both games place you in the woods looking for objects (pieces of paper for Slender, voice recorders for White Noise Online) while trying to avoid a monster that chases you around. Both games have the gameplay element of looking at the monster for too long driving you insane, causing it to kill you.
White Noise does go a bit further with its gameplay however, trying to separate itself from Slender. The biggest difference is the fact that you can pick a character to play as and they each have stats to set themselves apart from each other. There are four characters at the start (you can purchase other games from Milkstone to unlock fourteen more people.) It is also nice that there are multiple levels to choose from, though unfortunate that the landmarks are the same for every one. It would have been nice if each location had it’s own set of landmarks to look for.
The action itself is quite slow, your character walking at a turtle’s pace through the area looking for clues. There are eight clues in total; each is located at a landmark. Landmarks include things like windmills, a graveyard, etc. As you get close to a recorder you’ll hear a faint buzzing sound, hence the title ‘White Noise.’ The only piece of equipment you possess is a flashlight and you certainly need it. The game is very dark, in a visual sense, and you’ll certainly put that flashlight to use. Flashlight battery life is something you’ll need to consider as well, because the last thing you want is for it to be low on batteries when you’re one recorder away from collecting them all.
As a standalone game, White Noise Online is very good, despite being a rather shameless rip-off of Slender. The music is excellent and as you get more recorders, the louder and more nerve wracking the music gets. This is also a fairly difficult game, the creature showing up more and more as you progress. There are four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Nightmare. Even normal mode is quite challenging and I’m hesitant to give nightmare a try.
White Noise certainly relies on two methods of instilling fear in its players. The music and dark surroundings are quite effective at putting you on edge, making you look over your shoulder to see if you’re being followed. The monster itself is mainly a jump scare mechanic; when you spot it, a loud noise is made and it’ll be outlined in white so you know exactly where it is. Adding to the fear factor, the flashlight will begin to dim and flicker the longer you leave it on, making everything less visible. This aspect of gameplay is incredibly nerve-wracking because at that point, you’ve already found several recorders, the music is getting louder and creepier, and the monster is becoming more aggressive about its presence.
Below I will recount my entire experience of playing White Noise Online for the purpose of writing this article. Needless to say, this game definitely got my attention the longer I played and came to appreciate it as its own game. I feel this would be a good game to play with a group of friends at night with the lights off and the sound turned on loud. Take turns and see how far everyone can get and enjoy seeing your friends wet themselves. I give White Noise Online 8.5/10
- Kurt- He is the scout of the group, able to be further away from the rest of the players without going insane. He has no drawbacks and is good for beginners. (+1 Scout)
- Jean Luc- He is good at running faster and longer than the rest, at the cost of losing his sanity quicker. (+1 Speed, +2 Stamina, -2 Sanity)
- Anne Marie- She lacks stamina but makes up for it with a stronger resistance to the monster’s effect of causing insanity. (-1 Stamina, +2 Sanity)
- Sarah- She lacks the speed of the rest of the group, but is better at evading the monster. (-1 Speed, +2 Evasion)
- Evasion- Affects how well you can get away from the monster.
- Flashlight- Affects how long your flashlight can stay turned on.
- Sanity- This is how susceptible or are able to resist the monster’s insanity.
- Scout- Amount of sanity lost when you are away from the group.
- Stamina- How long you can sprint.
- Speed- Your character’s base walking and running speed.
- Giant creepy head statues
- Giant hand statues
- Hangman’s post
- Log cabins
- Several statues of sphinx like creatures.
Hints and Tips
- Avoid looking at or approaching the green glowing statues! It causes your character to start going insane and WILL GET YOU KILLED.
- Do not look behind you too often or the monster may end up appearing in the direction you want to go and possibly block you from getting a recorder. (If this happens, walk away a little bit, and keep looking around, eventually it will disappear and you should be able to get the recorder.)
- Keep your ears open for the ‘white noise’ sound, a recorder will be nearby!
- Find a recorder quick, if you don’t find one within the first few minutes, the monster will start stalking you anyway and appears to be very aggressive from the start.
- Play with the lights off and the sound up, or if you have gaming headphones, use those! The more immersed you are, the better experience you will have.
So for the purposes of this article, I of course played the game. I decided to play the single player mode, thinking I could pause to add things whenever I wanted, which would have been useful when writing down the landmarks to look for. Unfortunately, there is no pausing even in single player mode, so if you find yourself needing to do something, either handle it before you start or hope you can find a safe enough location where you don’t have to worry about the monster coming up behind you.
To start, I picked Isla Grande on normal difficulty, which ended up being hard enough as is; I shudder to think what nightmare would be like. I decided to pick Jean Luc, opting for his speed and stamina and relying on not seeing the monster too much as he is particularly weak to being close to it. Walking around, things were pretty dull at the start. I found the wind mills fairly easily and picked up the recorder. Then the music started and I heard my first growl. Shrugging it off, I kept exploring.
I saw the monster a couple times during my search for the next landmark, but it didn’t bother me too much as it stayed a good distance away. I found these giant creepy statues of heads with long tongues and heard the recorder nearby. Finding that, I wandered away and found the giant arms statues and another recorder. I found myself thinking “This isn’t so hard, Slender was a lot scarier!” Oh how foolish I was….
I came across the sawmill and hangman’s post, the monster starting to pop up more often and closer. The music started to get even louder and my nerves starting to fray a little. It didn’t help that the flashlight was rapidly dying and I couldn’t see very well.
The height of the tension easily came with the log cabins. The monster kept popping up in the door ways and try as I might, I could not locate the recorder. I ran around the cabins several times, went through them, looking high and low and trying to avoid the monster. It very nearly got me too, when I stopped just inside the doorway and looked back to see it right in my face. That put the adrenaline into overdrive and thankfully I finally found the recorder hanging on the wall inside that very cabin. I grabbed it and booked it in search of the next landmark.
At this point, I am completely freaked out, the monster appearing behind rocks and trees, the flashlight hardly useful anymore. Finally I found the cemetery and remembered my first time playing, finding the recorder in a coffin with the lid cracked open. I must’ve spent a solid five minutes looking for the cursed thing but unfortunately, the monster came up behind me and killed me. It was very sudden and unexpected, and in the best way possible, scared the ever living crud out of me for a moment before I groaned and watched my stats roll. I collected six out of eight recorders and lasted roughly fifteen minutes.
White Noise is quite fun and it’s been a good while since I got so engrossed in a game, literally sitting on the edge of my seat and trying not to get killed. I highly recommend this game, it is more than worth it’s $1 price tag.