October is the scariest month of the year, or at least portends to be. With Halloween on the 31st and a month’s worth of decoration, horror movie releases, etc. leading up to it, this is simply the time when we like to scare ourselves a little bit. And while we tend to do this mostly through movies, television, and the occasional scary story, we can also do it through games. In that spirit, here are eight horror games, across various gaming platforms and mediums, that you might enjoy playing this Halloween season.
1. Outlast 2
Outlast 2 came out in April of 2017 as the follow-up to one of the better console horror games we’ve seen this decade. It was equal to the task and then some. As a first person survival game based largely on psychological thrills, it’s more about atmosphere than anything else, and this is the one aspect of the game – and its predecessor – that simply can’t be questioned. Prepare to be genuinely freaked out!
2. The Land Of Pain
The Land Of Pain is primarily a PC game, and is set up as a 3D exploration adventure. The basic setup is that you’re in first person attempting to escape a dangerous monster in a creepy (though not entirely stereotypical) horror setting including caves, forests, abandoned buildings, and so on. It could easily have been built as a generic escape puzzle, but as one review states, it instead focuses on exploration and running away to satisfying effect. All in all it’s a fine game, gently scary and just challenging enough.
One of this list’s simpler games in terms of design and execution, Granny may also be the scariest. This is a surprise hit of a mobile game in which “Granny,” a freaky old lady wielding deadly objects, is seeking you out within a spooky house. In the first person you must simply hide and try to make your way past her, despite the fact that she hears almost everything you do. As a free mobile game it’s well worth a download, and if you play it with headphones in and the lights off you might legitimately jump in fright.
4. Dark Meadow: The Pact
Like Granny, this is a mobile game, and in this case one that’s been around for a while. Described in the iOS store as a dark fairytale of intrigue and mystery, it’s not so much an outright horror experience as an exploration adventure with a little bit of everything. There’s a touch of humor, a touch of horror, a nice set of challenges, and a beautiful world you get to play around in as you attempt to survive a hunt by mysterious creatures and a strange witch.
5. Year Walk
Yet another mobile game, and another free one, Year Walk is a popular choice, and a true gem in mobile stores. Developed by the somewhat bizarre gaming company Simogo, it’s a nightmarish game in which you basically set out on a quest through spooky woods in the night. Rather than going with generic settings and familiar animations though, the game employs a 2D style and an almost cartoonish look – to genuinely spooky effect. The gameplay is simply that of a point and click, screen-by-screen exploration, but riddling out progression is tricky and there are moments that will actually chill you.
6. Jekyll & Hyde Slot
This is a little different, as an online slot arcade rather than any sort of action or adventure game. However, if you look at prominent online casinos these days most of them boast of extensive game selections, within which you can find all sorts of themes. Among those is Jekyll & Hyde, an iconic horror tale. Nothing about a slot machine’s gameplay is particularly scary, but the theme is well-realized, with a gothic, semi-Victorian backdrop and various characters and symbols reminiscent of the tale. It’s a nice casual play during the Halloween season.
7. Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities
This is a mobile game, and one with a familiar setup that, if you’ve made it to this point in this list, you’ll realize is fairly common in horror gaming. You start off in a strange place with no idea how you got there, and need to accomplish your goal – in this case, finding a missing child – to get out. With so many games following this basic setup it’s the ones with the best atmospheres and most challenges that tend to stand up, and Forgotten Memories stands out in both of those areas. Like Granny or Year Walk, this isn’t a lighthearted horror experience either, but rather a strange game that can actually get you somewhat unsettled.
8. Call Of Cthulhu
This game hasn’t actually been released yet, but suffice it to say it looks like it could be a new horror gaming classic. Designed by Focus Interactive for major consoles and PCs, it’s an adaptation of the old pen-and-paper game, and the gameplay looks extraordinary. We expect a game-changing RPG in an incredibly rendered world, and what should be a genuinely scary setup.