The horror genre and scares are pretty much synonymous, but what if you’re not into the freaky side of things? Then again, what if you are, but your scary game of choice falls flat? Do you duck and hide at the thought of Slender Man? Or does the name Freddy send chills of anticipation down your spine? Well, this list will give you some great, thrilling games that won’t leave you looking for a new pair of pants. Others are picks that tried hard, but you should probably avoid if you want a good fright this Halloween.
Do you desperately want to go trick-or-treating, but keep being told that you’re too old for it? Well, run to the store, buy a big bag of chocolate, and sit down with Double Fine’s Costume Quest, a light-hearted romp through a Halloween that takes a decidedly fantastical turn. Featuring turn-based RPG style battles a la the Mario and Luigi series, environmental puzzle solving using “superpowered” costumes, and lots of virtual trick-or-treating, Costume Quest is great for re-embracing your inner child.
One of the lesser-known titles on this list, Dokuro places you in the role of a cute skeleton minion who gets fed up with his evil master and opts to rescue the princess he helped imprison. However, some sort of magic (one would assume) prevents the princess from seeing the skeleton, meaning he must run around each level to clear paths for the damsel in distress. He also gains the ability to transform into a prince, giving new options for traversing the levels and dealing with enemies. What really stands out is the game’s unique chalk-art aesthetic, which occasionally creates some impressively spooky foes. Thankfully, Dokuro has more than enough charm to offset this and remains a lovely little puzzle platformer.
Crypt of the Necrodancer
Exploring a crypt sounds like a pretty spooky way to spend a day, right? Well, how about doing it to some head-bobbing tunes? Throw in groovy ghouls, sashaying skeletons, and strutting swordsmen, and you’ve got a recipe for a hell of a game. Crypt of the Necrodancer is tough, but you’ll be too busy jamming to care.
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
What if you want to spend a day, maybe one like Halloween, with some friends? Well, the obvious choices are Left 4 Dead 2 and Killing Floor , but let’s not kid ourselves. Zombies? Done to death. Mutants? Yawn. You know what’s not overdone? Evil rats, and lots of them. With its gothic atmosphere and glowing-eyed enemies, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide certainly carries an eerie air. However, if you team up with a few friends, you’ll be having too much fun slashing, shooting, and smashing your way through vermin to notice.
Choice of the Deathless
If you’d prefer to curl up with a nice book during your evenings, Choice of the Deathless has you covered. If you’ve ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, that’s basically what this is, except with a plot more geared towards adults. Whether you’re looking for undead legal teams, globe-trotting demons, or student loans that could literally kill you, Choice of the Deathless is a great way to burn away the midnight oil.
Slayaway Camp is a delightful homage to B-movie horror films, even if you’re not into the genre. As one of many unlockable murderers, your goal is to slide around campsites, carnivals, hospitals, and other locations, killing innocents and avoiding cops. Sure, it sounds dark when written out like that, but its blocky, cartoony, over-the-top art style lends lots of levity to the situation. Plus, you can turn off the gore and whatnot if it really bothers you. Take it from me: as someone who’s avoided everything from Friday the 13th to Killer Klowns from Outer Space , I spent all my time with Slayaway Camp laughing hysterically and none of it cowering under my desk in fear.
Hollow Knight combines pale visuals with a mournful soundtrack to create a sobering, yet spooky atmosphere. Taking place in a world populated largely by beetles and other creepy crawlies, what could be unsettling turns out to be exciting and adorable thanks to the wonderful art direction. Having only started it recently, I’m kicking myself for not jumping on Hollow Knight sooner. At the same time, it seems like the perfect game to sit down with come the 31st.