The Texas Chain Saw Massacre offers surprising depth, customisation and undeniable quality in an entertaining multiplayer horror

Slaughter House rules are in effect as one of horror’s most iconic killers is out for blood once again.

Gun Interactive have crafted an asymmetrical horror game which features a group of survivors pitted against the Slaughter family. And yes, that’s everyone from the crazed Hitchhiker, to the poisonous Sissy, and old Leatherface himself.

And probably best for the game’s long-term health, it’s also found a new home on GamePass. Which, being completely honest, is likely going to be its saving grace when the continuous spate of AAA releases keep trucking on in 2023.

Unlike most other releases of a similar vein, though, I found myself coming back to Chain Saw Massacre, game after game. It has some really smart ideas to keep itself fresh, and even a few innovations that mean you won’t be mastering the game in the first couple of rounds either.

As you’d probably expect, Family and Victims play very differently from one another. As one of the victims, you start the game locked up in a room, likely tied upside and having to struggle your way out. Immediately, the game puts you in a button mashing scenario whereby if you end up tapping too much and make noise, you’ll not only alert enemies to your presence, but you’ll also probably trigger Grandpa. More on that in a minute.

You have to be so careful with noises and that extends to staying crouched as much as possible, avoiding traps, not slamming doors or touching little bone traps scattered around. If you catch any of them, you’ll be highlighted on the map and be easy prey. And you’re super vulnerable out there because survivors can either run or they can use one of their perks to try and get out of a tricky spot a little more quickly.

For instance, Leland can knock down a family member but it only stuns them temporarily. Ana can also use a perk where she actually gets a damage reduction boost from an enemy, which can prolong her life in a pinch. And other survivors are no good in confrontations at all, but helpful in other ways. Connie can instantly unlock a door, for example.

But the family are ruthless. Leatherface can kill you in one hit – c’mon, did you expect to be able to withstand a chainsaw assault for that long – whereas Sissy, the Hitchhiker and Johnny can cut you in horrific ways with their knives. The game even shows some gruesome execution screens that, while they aren’t quite as gnarly as Mortal Kombat, will definitely turn the stomach a little bit.

And then there’s good old Grandpa, rocking away in his chair out of view, making life even more dangerous for you. See, the Family can keep feeding their somehow not dead relative blood of victims but also from buckets scattered around the map. And he uses this to detect you, with any movement revealing your position to the family. What’s more, if he is at max level, that means you have nowhere left to hide. Gulp!

So, ultimately, your only hope of survival is escape. And that’s exactly what you must do, get out of the old basement, find your way through the grounds, and make it to the exit before the killers get you or your health fails.

It’s a game of cat and mouse, frankly, and it feels pretty similar to Dead by Daylight and even Gun’s prior horror take – Friday the 13th. The big differences here are the unique builds and skills you can craft for your survivors and family, trying to find the most effective ways to stay alive or take a life.

It’s going to require a lot of experimentation as you progress through the Player Level and individual levels of each character. Equally, you’ll also find some characters you click with better than others as they all have their own individual perks and roles to play.

And you’ll also find that some characters can only do certain things. This mostly applies to the killers, but Sissy and the Hitchhiker can actually use the crawl spaces the same way as the Survivors, whereas Leatherface can actually destroy them and even plunge his saw into some of the cracks in the wall.

So the whole thing about horror films where the survivors shouldn’t split up and stick together actually makes a bunch of sense here, especially when you’ve got different skills to benefit each other. But even the Family can help each other with traps, poisoning health vials, and as mentioned, destroying shortcuts.

This is a smart game, smarter than people may give credit for and there’s a bunch of replayability here with the build potential. This is also one of the most polished, complete games of this nature at launch that I can remember. It took Dead by Daylight a long time to get where it is, but the foundations of TCSM are already very solid.

Of course, if you’re playing with friends who are co-ordinated, have learned the game and know what they’re doing, this game becomes a much different proposition than if you’re a solo artist. It’s possibly to run around the maps aimlessly at first, a bit confused, unsure where you are, and nervous to make too much disruption or miss your opportunity to kill.

But regardless of how you play, there is a lot of fun to be had here. At this point in the game’s lifecycle, I do find the amount of maps a little bit limiting and the unskippable cutscenes do get a tad frustrating after you’ve seen them uncountable times.

However, it’s very exciting and fulfilling to get little in-game rewards saying you’ve survived X amount of times or you’re the last one standing. Or when you do get to kill someone for the first time or caught them with one of your traps.

Each character feels unique, from the animations, walk cycles, the choice dialogue they put out into the world, their actions, even their starting points. You’ll be spending a long time figuring out your person and have a great time developing them over the course of the game.

Because, sure, you could grind out the player level pretty fast but to max everyone and everything, you should be there for a little while. And this is a game best played in blasts or over long sessions with friends, as you discover things together and learn new tricks.

Also, a quick note on the visuals which are beautifully recreated from the sets of the film and are wonderfully presented in a way that makes them familiar, beautiful and daunting all at once. There’s plenty of patches of grass to hide in and closets to jump in, but you’ll also enjoy the views of windmills, sunsets and meadows that stretch out far and wide. All combined creates a wonderfully distinct atmosphere that feels right at home with this franchise.

Quite how the long-term potential of this game is set up is anyone’s guess. Unlike a DBD, it can’t easily draw upon licenses of just about every horror in existence, though there is potential for crossovers and other characters. The game certainly would benefit from a new map, at least.

What’s clear, though, is there’s a finished, mostly well balanced, enjoyable, exhilarating, and sometimes scary game here that really respects its license, offers a different, compelling multiplayer experience, that really makes you think outside of the box, and encourages you to learn its mechanics to become skilful. You can also slice people in half with chainsaws.


The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the most polished, enjoyable asymmetrical horror games I’ve ever played at launch. From its crisp visuals to its grisly kills and smart strategic undertones, it finds a clever balance between vulnerable survivors trying to escape and ruthless killers who have all the tools to get the job done. Limited map variety and a few balancing issues aside, with a long term home on Game Pass this has a great future ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the game continues to evolve in the months ahead.


+ A product really respectful of its license
+ Great selection between characters and excellent individual progression
+ Really fun core loop that works well and makes sense
+ Get the best out of the game overtime when you’ve learned and mastered its basics


– Limited map variety and repetitive, unskippable cutscenes do get a bit frustrating
– Some imbalances to fine tune and tweak

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is out now on PC, PlayStation and Xbox Game Pass

Code Kindly Provided by Gun Interactive for review purposes

Played on Xbox Series X

About the author

Brad Baker

Brad is an absolute horror buff and adores the new take on I.T. He also fancies himself as a bit of a Battle Royale master but never when anyone's watching.
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