Jumpscares are very common in horror games. They are intended to have something scary pop up and startle the player. However, when used too often, or too repetitively, this element can be its own worst enemy. The real question is: when is it enough, or too much?
Some games that are known for jumpscares are Five Nights at Freddy’s, the Slenderman games, and other indie horror games. These games center around using the device to make the player feel alarmed and scared. In some of these games, it works. In other, it can become expected after a while.
Using jumpscares too much in a game can easily become repetitive and expected to the player. Five Nights at Freddy’s has many different instances that are all at a random chance, which switches it up and makes it interesting and unexpected for the player.
However, if the jumpscares always happen at an expected time or place, then a game’s scare factor can easily be taken away and it risks becoming silly after a while.
A jumpscare is supposed revolve around fear. That is also the point of horror games. However, when there is only mild surprise and not enough fear, you’ve defeated the purpose of that tactic and made things merely surprising instead of filling the player with adrenaline and fear.
For an effective jumpscare in a game, the jumpscare should not be repetitive or overused. It should be at random and should shock the player as much as it scares them. If the same jumpscare is used too many times, then it loses this desired effect.
Jumpscares can either make or break a horror game — it all depends on how it employs them. When used effectively, they can make for a truly terrifying and thrilling game.