The Texas Chain Saw Massacre review

by on August 25, 2023
Release Date

August 18, 2023


Iconic horror franchises have been making their way into a certain genre of video game a lot recently. Whether it’s by appearing as DLC in Dead by Daylight or in the form of whole titles inspired by the classics, those of us who like spooky stuff are spending a lot of time playing asymmetric multiplayer games. Now the end result isn’t always amazing, with games like Evil Dead and Ghostbusters: Spirit Unleashed releasing to more of a whimper than a bang, but that isn’t always the case. Enter The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which at the very least has a lot of promise.

Set in the universe of the 1974 film of the same name, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre pits a team of three members of a murderous Texas family against a team of four victims that they have captured. The goal for each side is simple – the victims need to escape the map without bleeding out horribly, whereas The Family have to murder them before they can do that. As I’m sure you can imagine there’s more to it than that though, so get ready to learn about a whole lot of mechanics.

I was excited to jump into some matches and slice through some teenagers when I booted up the game, but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had other ideas. Without a tutorial to play through, this complex asymmetric multiplayer game expects you instead to watch 45 different videos explaining the mechanics. Now admittedly you probably don’t have to watch every single one, but if (like me) you don’t you’ll be at a pretty significant disadvantage when you jump into a match. It’s one of the least exciting introductions to a game that I’ve experienced in a long time, but once you’re on board things start to pick up.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre gets behind the scenes video and new music track

Playing as The Family is probably the easier option to start with, and once you’ve picked your killer of choice you’ll be dropped into a map and be ready to cause some pain. Finding and killing Victims is easier said than done though, because the maps are massive and the other team would probably rather not be sliced open like a tasty satsuma. To find these pests you’ll need the help of Grandpa, the greatest serial killer of all time who’s a little past his prime. By feeding him blood you gather from The Victims or bags of giblets hanging around the level you’ll power up this master murderer, and gain the power to see the outline of Victims through walls when he lets out a creepy shout.

You’d think this would make catching and killing the Victims easy, but alas that is not the case. The maps in Texas Chain Saw Massacre are massive, and navigating them is a nightmare. Not all characters can traverse all obstacles, which means that unless you’re playing as someone slender like The Hitchhiker or Sissy you’ll constantly be having to find ways around crawl spaces or small gaps. There are also tables that only Leatherface can break with his chainsaw, and doors that need locking and unlocking to ensure the Victims don’t get anywhere they shouldn’t. Because of this, chasing any pesky teens is a nightmare, and you’ll have to constantly watch them scurry somewhere you not only can’t reach, but don’t even know how to get to.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

The same can be said for any objectives or grandpa. By tapping up on the D-Pad you can see the outlines of blood bags, allies, grandpa, and all the potential escape routes on the map, but this isn’t as helpful as it sounds. Picking out the information you need from this mess of white outlines isn’t particularly easy, and even when you see where you need to go you’ll run into dead ends en-route. I lost count of the amount of times I’d see an ally chasing someone in a building nearby, struggle to find a way into said building, and by the time I did realise they were already on the other side of the map. This is especially bad if you’re playing as one of the family members with more limited movement options.

The game’s mascot Leatherface is by far the worst for this. His lumbering form feels far too slow to catch anyone reliably, and his powerful chainsaw doesn’t make up for it. All the characters have different abilities which change up the gameplay, from traps you can set on the floor to the ability to visualise where noise is coming from. It’s worth experimenting with them all so you can find the one for you, but you’d better hope none of your teammates pick them first or you’ll have to make do with another Family member.

Playing as the Victims seems much harder than playing as the Family, because there’s a lot more you have to deal with. All your actions have the potential to make a lot of noise, which can be heard and seen across the map. Slow and steady is the way to perform all these actions and stay alive, whether it’s looking for lockpicks in a toolbox, unhooking yourself from your restraints or opening a new crawl space.

A screenshot of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Escaping is your primary objective as the Victims, but it’s not always that clear how to do that. Each map has a few set escape routes to choose from, some involve finding valves to open pressure gates, whereas others require you to turn off electric fences hooked up to car batteries or find fuses to open doors. Navigation is at least a little easier as one of these teens in turmoil though, because all the different obstacles can be traversed.

Once you’ve played a few rounds of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre you’ll level up, and be given some skill points to put into the skill tree of any of the game’s characters. In these trees you’ll unlock new perks and attribute points that you can use to improve your chances of winning. The variety of perks is decent for the early days of the game, and I soon found some that helped me move through gaps quicker and regain my stamina faster so I’d be able to catch my Victims with ease.

I do have a bit of an issue with the attribute points though, which are used to increase some crucial stats in your Family member or Victim of choice. It just doesn’t feel right that the person who plays more hours will be able to gather blood or deal more damage than the people they play with, and as time goes on it feels like this will only get more unfair.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre technical test details revealed

Perhaps more of an issue though is how incredibly slowly you level up after you’ve played for more than a few hours. Because levelling up is tied to your account and not each character, the points you get slow down before you get chance to power up more than a character or two. In my time playing this has already led to multiple people leaving lobbies when they see that the Family member they’ve invested their points into has already been selected, and I don’t blame them.

Despite all my issues with the game, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre really does have a lot of promise. When you’re playing with a friend and are able to coordinate your movements to trap a Victim between you both nothing feels better, and hiding in the bushes as Leatherface runs back and forth looking for you never stops being tense and satisfying. A lot of the issues I had with the game could be easily remedied (like the slow gaining of levels and the speed of some of the more sluggish characters) and I really hope that Sumo Digital is able to update the game going forward in a way that addresses them.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has more than a few problems, but hidden amongst them is a great asymmetric multiplayer horror game. I must admit I was more than a little frustrated for a large amount of my time with the game, but the moments of success often made it feel worthwhile. If you can gather a few friends to take along with you, then Leatherface and his friends will provide you with a whole lot of blood and even a little fun.


A multiplayer experience with a lot of promise
Great for Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans
Interesting perks and upgrades to invest in


Getting around the map is often a chore
Terrible onboarding procedure
Levelling up takes ages once you've played for a bit

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has a lot of promise, but it'll need some updates before it can truly be called great.