When you think of October, your first thoughts might not be about video games. We get it. You want cozy flannel and pumpkin spice and fuzzy socks. But when those autumn must-haves are combined with spooky and atmospheric video games, you’ve reached peak spooky season. Grab that steaming mug of tea and get ready to play.
If you plan to stay in this Halloween, bring the treats to you with these five indie video games that are eerily perfect for the spooky season.
Forget subtle spookiness. Phasmophobia is here to jump scare the crap out of you and your friends. This four-player co-op psychological horror game puts you and your buds in the unlucky roles of ghost hunters. Enter dimly lit and foreboding buildings, check the spiking readings on your instruments, talk to spirits, and peek around every corner as you wait to get the pants scared off you. (Check out this playthrough to watch some of your favorite YouTubers shriek like they’ve seen actual ghosts.)
Ten different terrifying specters are waiting for you in the dark buildings. If you’re the cautious type, stay outside and provide support as your friends use interactive equipment to hunt inside. No game is ever the same, so you will never know what to expect the next time you and your friends set foot inside the haunted house, hospital, or prison.
Phasmophobia is currently in Early Access on Steam. Play it in VR if you never want to sleep again.
Split Hare Games
Being a ghost is lonely. You need Polter Pals! Naturally, that means someone will be meeting their untimely end, but hey, you get a new best friend forever. Polter Pals is a delightfully morbid puzzle game that pits you against the living. Find a way to turn them into ghosts—in other words, kill them—so that you have some buddies in the afterlife.
The imaginative game was picked as a PAX 2020 Indie Spotlight title and currently offers a free demo to introduce you to the ghostly world. Colorful, oddly cute, and packed with humor, Polter Pals definitely fits the bill of spoopy fun.
Black Tabby Games
If cryptids are your monster of choice, drop everything to play the free first episode of this horror visual novel. Scarlet Hallow sends you to a crumbling small town for the funeral of your estranged aunt. A new friend drags you into the woods for a lighthearted hunt for an urban legend, but fun quickly turns to fright when grotesque creatures appear in the trembling beam of your flashlight.
You can play the first episode of the story for free right now, and add your support on Kickstarter to make sure you don’t miss another installment. Smooth gameplay, an impressive number of choices, stunning and atmospheric artwork, and an immediately interesting story make Scarlet Hallow a can’t-miss experience for fans of visual novels.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road
World of Darkness
Are old school Choose Your Own Adventure books and interactive fiction your cup of tea? Curl up with Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road this autumn for a text adventure with bite. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) This interactive fiction game puts you in the driver’s seat of a low level vampire courier who has been on autopilot in recent years. When a job gives you the opportunity to impress the local Elder, what choices will you make? Choose your clan, choose your powers, and choose your personality in this Vampire: The Masquerade interactive novel.
You’ll be surprised at the length of the game—over 650,000 words were written for the interactive horror story—and how replayable the text-only experience is. You might choose to be a by-the-book Ventrue the first time you explore the story and a vicious Gangrel the next. The options change the tale and immerse you in the World of Darkness just in time for Halloween.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest
World of Darkness
If you’re unfamiliar with the World of Darkness, which includes Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Heart of the Forest could be the introduction you’ve been waiting for. Text-based and immersive, this role-playing game uses gorgeous artwork and realistic sound effects to heighten the suspense. Based on real world events, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest takes you to the uncommon setting of a small village in Poland.
It’s atmospheric and tense. The game lets you choose how much rage-fueled damage you want to inflict as the story unfolds. Players of tabletop role-playing games and visual novels will notice familiar gameplay elements. All together, Heart of the Forest is a short but unique experience. What happens when you’re the monster in the scary story?
Featured Image: Black Tabby Games