A Haunting We Will Go
Ah sweet autumn – that season by turns melancholy and electric, as the leaves turn, the swimming pools shut down and the daylight is just always a little more glancing, casting long shadows where once there was just coconut-scented tanning oil.
After our original blood-curdling list of 10 Spooky Halloween indie games kept many a pixel-junkie awake at night, we decided it is time for a new batch of zany, macabre, malevolently morbid Boogeyman bath salts.
In compiling this list, I tried to find examples across the spectrum – in mechanics, demographic and tone. Thus we have kart-racing games, first-person shooters, point-and-click adventures and postmodern RPGs. In other words, there really is something for anyone.
So without further ado, here are 10 more great games for getting into the Halloween spirit:
1. Costume Quest 2
It’s low-hanging fruit, but hey, Double Fine does Halloween (and world-building) great. I do sort of prefer the first one, the way I prefer Ridley Scott’s “Alien” over James Cameron’s “Aliens,” but Aliens is more epic and more action-filled. Anyway, lots of candy-getting and goblin-mashing in this big fat sequel to the original sleeper hit. If you haven’t ever played Costume Quest, suffice to say every costume you try/unlock has its own unique powers, which you will use with timed button attacks in encounters. The rest of the time you are playing an adventure title.
The original is also available for iOS for when you need to rock the trickertreatin’ on your next road trip.
If you have already covered this ground, you can substitute Five Nights at Freddy’s 4, which is considered to be the best in the series after the original.
2. Darkest Dungeon
This postmodern RPG sidescroller is quite unlike anything else, because sometimes, the monsters are in your head. From the Lovecraft-inspired themes to the Mike Mignola-inspired art, this dungeon crawler is loaded with enough creepy atmosphere to drive your party of adventurers mad with fear…which is one of the central game mechanics.
Read InfinityWaltz’s review of Darkest Dungeon.
3. Haunt the House: Terrortown
A short but actually quite amusing spin on Dungeon Keeper with a beguiling illustrative style, macabre music and great sound design. Good for a quick pick up and play.
Check out my Haunt the House: Terrortown review.
4. Tormentum: Dark Sorrow
If Myst was written by Thomas Ligotti and then H.R. Giger teamed up with Zdzislaw Beksinski to provide the art, it would end up a lot like Tormentum: Dark Sorrow. The puzzles don’t always integrate perfectly with the story, but the whimsically grotesque art more than makes up for it.
Read Infinitywaltz’s review of Tormentum: Dark Sorrow.
5. Crypt of the Necrodancer
One of the best user-reviewed games in Steam history, Crypt of the Necrodancer has you dungeon crawlin’ to the beat. The mix of death and disco is perfect for Halloween habberdashery.
Read bluebirdplays’ review of Crypt of the Necrodancer.
6. Coffin Dodgers
Mario Kart it is not, but it is also better than most knock-offs. With over the top humor and some fast furious fun, Coffin Dodgers gets some key things right, some things wrong, but it works where it does and it racing is your bag, why not get themed up for the ghosty season.
Check out my review of Coffin Dodgers.
7. Spooky’s House of Jump Scares
This game offers a thousand randomly generated rooms of horror game references, plus adorably horrific mini-games starring your host, Spooky. But are you brave enough to keep going when cute scares like spring-loaded cardboard ghosts give way to darker, deadlier horrors? Spooky’s House of Jump Scares is free on Steam, so what have you got to lose…except your mind?
8. Town of Salem
This online multiplayer title requires that you create an online account, tries to sell you stuff and is linked to Facebook and other horrors. It is, however, also quite popular, as it stands along on its creepy little island as a party game inspired by such offline games as Werewolf and Mafia. In Town of Salem you have to fulfill different objectives depending on what role you are randomly assigned at the outset. You will spend the game trying to figure out friends and foes, as every morning there is a new corpse among you in this game of “murder, mystery and deception.”
From Frictional Games, the makers of Amnesia: The Dark Descent comes a psychological sci-fi horror set at the bottom of the ocean with a mind-bending twist. Well, ain’t that just a combination of words ready to make your pancakes soggy?
Last, but very not least, comes perhaps the most legitimately frightening game of them all. From our 2013 Honorable Mentions for best indie games of the year is Outlast wherein “Once you have made your way into the asylum and get knocked over the balcony where there is no way out but through, you are in for the wild ride of your life.” Can your nervous system outlast the horrors inside? Chances are, you’ll barely make it past the lobby in this mash-up of Fatal Frame and Amnesia…but we dare you to try.
Here’s witching you a Happy Halloween!