Halloween is upon us, the entire month (or just a single day, if you’re too tired to have fun all-month long), of ghosts, demons, vampires, horror movies, and potentially, elaborate front lawn decorations.
There are many ways to celebrate Halloween month, but the two most important camps are: spooky, for things that get you goosebumps and make turning off the light seem like a bad idea; and there’s spoopy, for a more party-and-fun-oriented take on Halloween. It’s the difference between the Xenomorph stalking you through dark corridors of a dark space ship, and a Chestburster doing a dance number in a diner.
With that in mind, we’ve split the games you should check out on Halloween 2020 into two groups: the spooky and the spoopy. So get the fake blood, light the candle in a pumpkin, and dab like an old-school vampire, we’re diving in
Spookiest Halloween Video Games to Play
The spookiest games to play this Halloween
|Genre:||Action-adventure, stealth, survival horror|
Although Creative Assembly usually dabbles in strategies of the Total War sort, their foray into the horror genre turned out to be really, really good. Based on the Alien license, Isolation follows the daughter of world-famous Ellen Ripley, Amanda. The developers have done an outstanding job capturing the atmosphere and aesthetic of the 1979 Alien movie.
Amanda is stuck on a space station that suffers from some technological problems, in that its technology is unable to contain a fully grown Xenomorph, and then other bits of technology got a bit too murder-happy. If you’re more interested in a good Alien game, Isolation should keep your Halloween night frightful and full of breath held as the Xenomorph paces by the locker you hid in.
|Release year:||2010 (Dark Descent), 2013 (A Machine for Pigs), 2020 (Rebirth)|
|Genre:||Survival horror, adventure|
|Developer||Frictional Games (Dark Descent, Rebirth), The Chinese Room (|
Amnesia is one of the best-known horror games of the generation, and it played a part in popularising the FPP horror with a helpless protagonist. In The Dark Descent this unenviable role falls to an Englishman called Daniel, who wakes up in a sprawling and neglected Prussian castle. In addition to a growing fear of the dark he also has to stay alive, because he is hunted by some dark presence.
Daniel is in no condition to fight, so his only defense against the monster stalking him is hiding, hoping for the best and trying not to lose his mind because of the horrible events and the oppressive darkness. While old Prussian castle might be too elaborate a setup for this year’s Halloween decoration, you can play around with the game’s level editor and make a virtual spooky tour this way.
Dead Space (series)
|Release year:||2008 (Dead Space), 2011 (DS2), 2013 (DS3)|
|Developer||EA Redwood Shores/Visceral Games|
What do you get when you take huge ships straight out of Alien, add in some gruesome body horror from John Carpenter’s The Thing and have it all confronted by an engineer rather than a hardened mercenary? You get Dead Space, and things only get weirder from there. Necromorphs are terrifying enemies, and your best chance against them is cutting off their limb with a plasma cutter.
In addition to undead body horror and huge mining space ships there is also a cult revering the Necromorphs and mysterious alien artifacts called “markers”. The games became a franchise, with comic books and novels fleshing out the setting. If your favorite brand of horror is being faced with incomprehensible nightmares from the far reaches of the cosmos, DS should be right up your alley.
Do you know these reality shows about ghost hunters? And also these movies about ghostbusters? Phasmophobia is kind of like that, except ghosts can mess you up in the long run. There are more than different ghosts whose existence you need to prove with conclusive evidence, and each spectral visitor requires a different approach from your team of ghost-hunting intruders.
Phasmophobia is just the perfect game for a Halloween in 2020: it takes place in mostly down-to-earth settings, it’s best played with friends, and if you have a VR headset: even better! You can get royally scared and have a good time with your friends, all in the safety of your own. The only downside is that after playing Phasmophobia your cozy home may feel a bit more spooky.
Resident Evil (series)
|Release year:||1996 (Resident Evil) – 2020 (RE3)|
Resident Evil games are a treat. They seem to span the full range of possible horror expressions, from a fixed-camera survival horror of the original, through more action-packed, shooting-intensive entries, to the modern FPP immersive horrors. The series has plenty of zombies, mutants, crazed scientists, and body horror of the “eyes, tentacles, and aberrant growth” variety.
There are also sprawling mansions, police departments set in sprawling mansions, and a love of bizarrely complex locks. If you remove all the deadly monsters and extremely toothy dogs and whatnot, many of Resident Evil locations could serve as great horror theme parks, or themed paintball courses, why not. Either way, RE is a great series to give a shot this Halloween.
The spoopiest games to play this Halloween
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell
|Developer||High Voltage Software, Volition|
The Boss was kidnapped by a literal Satan and dragged off to Hell so that they marry Satan’s daughter. Which is a major bummer. Now Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington have to go to Hell themselves and rescue their boss, and, one could argue, friend. In the process you’ll fights devils, grow wings to fly gracefully through the hellscape filled with cameos by the likes of Blackbeard.
The game isn’t exactly wacky, but it IS filled with the irreverent humor expected of the Saints Row series, and the gameplay reflects a lot of the aspects of the bigger installments, like SR3 or SR4. There are plenty of collectibles, side missions, and just a cool-looking open-world romp switching the usual urban environments for, well, Hell. It’s a cool place you start if you want a cheeky Halloween this year.
|Release year:||1998 (first release) – 2019 (MediEvil remake)|
|Genre:||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
|Developer||SCE Cambridge Studio, Other Ocean Interactive (remake)|
MediEvil tells the posthumous history of one Sir Daniel Fortesque, who died an inglorious death during a battle against the armies of an evil necromancer. When the sorcerer came back a century later and necromance’d a new army for himself, he accidentally also brought back Fortesque. Now the now-undead knight can do much more than just die from the first arrow shot in the battle.
MediEvil doesn’t take itself seriously at all, which is clear at every step. The art style is very stylized, to the point of being caricatural, Sir Fortesque’s swordsmanship leaves much to be desired, and the enemies, in addition to skellingtons, include demon plants. MediEvil was partly inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas but feels like it’s a moving Halloween decoration.
Commanding a crew of ghosts is no easy task, especially when every ghost is a creature of odd habits and peculiar tastes. When you add hapless mortals to the mix, things get interesting and pretty silly. Sometimes you just need to scare mortals away, sometimes you must your ghosts’ powers to manipulate the humans into doing something BEFORE scaring them mindless.
Every mission is a different location, with new tasks and new ghosts to recruit, if you can sever the chains that tether them to the mortal realm. GM is filled with humor, from riffing on horror cliches to the names of ghosts and mortals you encounter, and the gameplay is a pleasant mix of puzzles and strategy. You also get a cool mansion as a base, and it only lacks Luigi scared witless in the corner.
|Genre:||Battle royale, platformer|
Your objections are heard and considered, but on the other hands: this game is called Fall Guys, and the game is really into fun costumes for the beans. How is this not considered a Halloween classic? If you need something creepy, just look for the official artwork of the Fall Guy bean skeleton. You’ll be scarred for life. Not speak about the horror of other people from the other teams!
In addition to its obvious Halloween theme, Fall Guys is just a damned fun game, pitting up to 60 “beans” awkwardly waddling their way to victory. There’s a whole bunch of different games, individual and team-based, and they are all great fun thanks to the silly, friendly nature of FG. The winners get crowns for being the beanest on the block and can spend them on cosmetic stuff.
|Developer||Night School Studio|
Have you ever partied so hard you woke up in Hell with no recollection of what happened? The protagonists of Afterparty might have, and now they have to outdrink and outparty our lord Satan himself to return to life. People can only hope to match this level of partying, and you can help protagonists Lola and Milo accomplish this goal, and get one of several possible endings.
Afterparty is a lovely and funny adventure game, which begins with you in Hell effectively challenging Satan to a drinking contest, and goes on to have you prove your strong head to Satan’s buddies, like Apollyon or old chap Asmodeus before challenging the big guy himself. If Halloween is usually a time to party for you, give Afterparty a chance. Just don’t end up like Milo and Lola.
Pick your fright
This concludes our list, but the topic is hardly exhausted. Hopefully, you’ve found something to keep your mind supplied with visions of ghosts, demons, and skeletons when the lights start flickering out on October 31st for seemingly no reason whatsoever.