Feast On These Halloween Treats
Halloween is here! Prepare to be barraged by all manner of costumes, be they terrifying, tantalizing or just plain tasteless. But the true spirit of Halloween does not lie in frivolous drapery…these skin deep facades merely ape all that is genuinely dark and twisted. To truly experience the perils of the netherworld, stroll through the darkened streets with these 10 creepy, some even nightmare-inducing indie games…if you dare! (/vincentprice)
Much like how a frightened child will spot monsters where only shadows lie, several of these titles are willfully scant on detail, choosing to present only the bare bones. This allows for the mind to flesh out the madness…
Illustrated in a style that looks like a manic depressive with a sharp pencil, Neverending Nightmares is a bleary, dread-inducing walk through a man’s series of dark dreams – dreams that continually take over his otherwise bleak and humdrum existence in his nice, quiet home.
Every time you wake up, you have the faintest glimmer of hope that somehow you have escaped the visions, and have restored normality. Maybe you have, or maybe you will never have such luck, because the lunatic, is in your head.
A horrendous disease has infected the city. You’ll need to get out to survive…but you need to remain sane to pull it off. Using a decidedly retro palette, developer Jasper Byrne has effectively created an unnerving, nightmarish Lynchian scenario. If you’ve previously taken this game for a ride, a recent major update refines the lighting scheme, and refreshes all the dialogue. It is virtually a new game, so time to revisit it.
A perennial favorite from the wacky minds at Double Fine, though this title is not scary per se, it may be as effective as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” for getting you in the mood. Monsters are quietly sneaking into homes and ransacking them of all candy. Oh, and they kidnap your sibling…so there’s that. Construct costumes and unlock awesome powers on your quest to send the baddies back to where they belong. A whole lot of pure Halloween-tradition fun like no other game in existence.
If you can’t get enough of Costume Quest – there is also a DLC “Grubbins on Ice” and a sequel – Costume Quest 2. Some love the “new and improved” version but others still consider the original the best installment.
A tribute and lampoon to all great horror slasher films, particularly those set in the woods (Friday the 13th, Evil Dead etc). Use your teen type-character skills, and you might actually stand a chance against the creepers that frequent the woods. It also helps if you take occasional breaks from making out with the other counselors.
The SCP Foundation is an organization that operates in secret. Within the confines of the high tech facility live countless supernatural creatures that have been locked away in an attempt to preserve what humanity considers “normal”. You’ve been selected as an unwilling test subject for one of the more fever-dream-esque critters, SCP-173. After an unprecedented security breach, you find yourself trapped in the facility…along with all the malevolent destructive critters that have slipped their containment cells.
SCP – Containment Breach is a free, procedurally-generated survival horror game written in Blitz3D.
The SCP Community is a massive, multi-user wiki. Members all contribute to the lore of the game, and there are thousands of supernatural elements detailed in the archives. Once a creature, area, or occurrence is described, the community can vote to approve of the description, or to consider it non-canon. Once enough down votes are tallied, pages are eligible for deletion. Essentially, the world functions as a gigantic living document.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
You have no memory of past events, and yet somehow you know that something is after you. Amnesia uses sound and suggestion more than gore or violence to create one of the most frightening games ever made. You have no weapon, and no way to defend yourself as you make a desperate attempt to escape a huge, very haunted mansion. Yes, we have heard about the sequel – A Machine For Pigs, but we will never forget the first horrifying, dizzying, disorienting rush, so we choose the original.
After a year of traveling, you expected to be greeted by your family. In a bizarre twist, there is no one to be found, though clues in the house begin to suggest all sorts of nefarious possibilities. In Gone Home, what terrifies most is what your mind can do when you have no explanation for the absence of your loved ones.
While some twitch-gamers have shown off 2-minute or even 30-second speedruns through this title, they are completely missing the real point of the game. In my own experience, I found my heart racing, my palms sweating, and having to continually take off my headphones so that the experience wouldn’t induce a full-blown panic attack. This makes sense, considering Gone Home won Best Sound Design at IndieCade 2013. Oh yeah, and it’s made by a couple of people who worked on Bioshock.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
From the moment you step into the night shift at Freddys Pizza you can tell something might be wrong, especially when the former employee calls you to let you know the animatronic characters can “get quirky” and “tend to wander a bit at night” and how to defend yourself. The problem is you only have so much power in the building, and barricading yourself in uses a lot of it. As does using the surveillance cameras.
How long can you last as the hours tick by?
For just a few dollars, Five Nights At Freddys is a terrifically imaginative way to creep yourself right out, maybe even get a couple of very real jump scares in. What more could you ask for at Hallowe’en?
Five Nights at Freddy’s on Desura
Created by Russian indie developer Serge Noskov, The Train has you spend an hour in the life of another person destined to die. How it all goes down depends on your decisions and the actions you take, with each railcar sinking you into an increasingly more grim scenario. It features beautiful graphics and legitimately dread-inducing set design – all off which conspire to make the already anxiety inducing scenario more nail-biting.
This truly disturbing, low-res journey lets the mind do its worst. A fascinating play on one’s own moral compass that begins in a seemingly innocuous suburban home, turns psychopathic as you head down to check out the basement – culminating in a journey that will stay with you far longer than it takes to finish the game.