For more than 40 years Nolan Bushnell's entrepreneurship has left a lasting impact on today's culture. Besides founding Atari, he's also the man behind another childhood staple: Chuck E. Cheese's. The amusement chain is recognized for its greasy pizza, being packed with arcade cabinets, as well as its use of animatronic anthropomorphic characters that would belt out tunes as cheesy as the food being served. It's a place where kids can be kids along with housing frighteningly large jerky robotic rat monstrocities. Video games and automatonophobia: quite a scary combination.
Five Nights at Freddy's has you take the job as night watchman at a similar sort of establishment. For 6 hours each night, you have to keep an eye on the animatronic animal band that plays at the run-down place. You have to switch from the 11 surveillance cameras plastered inside the building along with checking around your own office, eyeing the doorways. The company seems to place a higher value on the programmed roaming attractions than you as their budget cuts severely cripple your own job security. There's barely enough electricity to keep the cameras rolling, the lights on, or the shutter doors to your office locked down for long. Every switch of the camera, every flick of the lights, and every shutting of the door whittles at your constantly draining battery power, so it's impertinent to only keep the doors closed only when it's critical. Total loss of power or keeping yourself exposed will prove to be a deadly mistake.
See, the wandering robots see of as a bare endoskeleton meant to be placed into furry suits, even it if means crushing bones and squishing vital organs, so you better make sure they don't get to you before the night's over. Buttons rest on each side of you just out of your peripheral vision, allowing you to close the doors and turn on the lights to see if an animatronic mascot is waiting outside. It's also best to listen carefully for any noise that echoes down the halls as they can serve as a clue of where each of the 4 animal pals might be closing in-- or are there 5 of them... ?
The game uses prerendered imagery for all the environments. The robots are placed as animated overlays that twitch and stare at the camera or suddenly grab you. The 3D modelling is fairly simple, but with clever use of lighting-- or lack thereof-- it helps bring out the uncanniness. That said, there's little variety in terms of visuals as there are only so many set positions the robots will stand. Outside of the few prerecorded messages left by the former watchman, there's hardly any audio but the background noises made by the equipment and animatronics. As the title suggests, the job only lasts for 5 days, though completion adds overtime should you survive. There's plenty of tension keeping your electricity and survival intact, and nothing if worse on your nerves than the fear of a robotic chicken coming to stuff your carcass into a bear suit.