This Halloween, you may be wondering about the best games to play to get in the All Hallow’s spirit. Never fear, Editor Josh and I have you covered! Check out our list below to find your next favorite Halloween game. Even if you’re not looking for something scary, take a read through this list. Josh and I are not fans of jump scares, so there’s plenty on this list that you can play even if you don’t want to be scared — some are even colorful and cute!
I may not love jump scares, but I do love a game with a good creepy vibe. As long as it doesn’t give me nightmares, I’m happy to play it (or watch Dan play it through my fingers as I cover my face in anticipation for something scary to happen)! If you’re like me and you’re looking to be just a tad bit creeped out, check out these games!
Dan and I played this game recently, and there’s no denying that it gives you the creeps! You play an 8-year old girl named Misfortune with an unfortunate family situation. The narrator in the game tells you within the first scene that Misfortune is going to die today, but cons her into playing a game where eternal happiness lies at the end. When will she die? Is the eternal happiness a real prize or just a lie? It sure seems like a lie, but you can’t help but play and find out. Poor little Misfortune reveals more and more about her sad life and the world around her as you make decisions in this game where “every choice has a consequence.” **This game has some very heavy themes and possible triggers. Anyone triggered by death, domestic violence, suicide, or child abuse should proceed with caution.
Night in the Woods
This is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE game of all time. It’s on the shorter side, but it makes a big impact in a short amount of time. In this game, you play a black cat named Mae who is returning to her small town after deciding to leave college. As anyone who has followed an unpopular life path will know, she faces a lot of unsolicited questions about why she left college and when she’s going back. Throughout the game, you learn about some strange goings on in this small town, all while Mae’s physical health begins to decline. What could be causing all of the mayhem? You’ll have to play to find out!
Pro tip: visit the mom character every day at the church to unlock the library, then take a nap in there when she offers. The library nap “scene” is my absolute favorite and brings me to tears every time.
Creepy Tale 1 & 2
The Creepy Tale games are point-and-click games with art that makes them look like you jumped into a creepy story book. You wander around as a young boy trying to complete various tasks and try to find out what is up with all of these damn monsters. Almost every time you move onto the next stage of the game, there’s a different monster you have to evade, making you feel the need to hold your breath as you go through the game. They’re puzzle-type games that take a bit of strategy to complete, so they’re very fun for an escape room enthusiast like myself.
Speaking of which, next we have…
Trapped/Escape room-type games
Looking for games that involve escape room-type puzzles or games where you feel trapped? Here’s a list of some of my favorite games in this category. It’s not the same as going to an actual escape room, but still fun.
Palindrome Syndrome/Tested on Humans/Between Time
These three games are escape room-type games created by a company called mc2games. These games have very little dialogue. Instead, as you navigate these immersive worlds, you are followed by eerie music that makes you feel as though something bad could happen at any second. Nothing jumps out at you, of course, but the overall themes of these games are definitely a tad creepy. There’s nothing actually scary, though, just a bunch of fun puzzles to complete! If you enjoy escape rooms and want to do one while sitting on your couch without pants on, these games are for you!
Please Don’t Touch Anything
Please Don’t Touch Anything is an escape room-type game where you’re placed at a desk with one red button and a screen in front of you. What you choose to do from there is entirely up to you. With dozens of different endings that range from random to ever-so-slightly creepy (you’ll probably have to look them up to complete them all!), this game kept us engaged and on the edges of our seats for hours. This is a great game if you’re not looking for a game with a full story that you can play for a few minutes at a time.
12 Minutes is a unique game with very little direction and a time limit. You play as a man who comes home to his wife and gets brutally attacked by a man claiming that he’s with the police and your wife is responsible for her father’s murder. You need to figure out how to stop the attack while stuck in a time loop that resets every 12 minutes. As you go through the game making different choices each time the clock resets, you start to unravel the mystery piece by piece. Who is the man? Why is he really there? Is your wife really a murderer? You have 12 minutes to discover the truth.
60 Seconds!: Reatomized
Oh look, another game named after time! 60 Seconds! is a bit bleak (yes, even more so than all of the others on this list). In 60 Seconds! you get ~guess how long~ 60 seconds to run around your house and gather everything and everyone you can before going down into a bunker before a nuclear bomb goes off. Once you and your family are (hopefully) all in the bunker, you have to ration the water and food that you have to keep yourselves alive and sane until help arrives. Every day, you have to face new challenges like looters, starvation, and mutant cockroaches while living in your bunker. You can send out one member at a time to scavenge for more rations, but even this is fraught with risk — will they get more of the water you desperately need? Will they break the only weapon you had to keep yourself and your bunker safe? Will they come back sick from radiation? Or will they not come back at all? Who knows!
Helping out the ghosties
These games are all about helping our friends from the beyond. As promised, here are the games for people who don’t want creepy or scary vibes at all. If you’re just looking for colorful games where you help out your ghostie friends, these are for you!
I Am Dead
I just recently replayed this game and I forgot how much fun it is! You go around a lively island as the ghost of a man named Morris Lupton, along with his trusty sidekick Sparky, in search of other ghosts to help tend to the island now that the last ghost who did it cannot anymore. You peer inside the minds of those who knew these ghosts best while they were alive and search for pieces of them. It’s a super colorful and heartwarming game.
I have written about Spiritfarer several times, as it’s one of my favorites. You play as Stella, a young human girl who travels on a boat from island to island gathering spirits and caring for them before helping them to transition to the beyond. They ask you to complete various tasks for them and tell you all about their lives. There is plenty to do in this game as you have to collect various materials to help upgrade your ship and build houses onto it for your spirit guests. You also have to feed them with the food you gather and cook, but you can give them hugs, which is adorbs! This one has some pretty heavy themes, so be prepared for all the feels!
Cozy Grove is a really unique game that has been called a cross between Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Spiritfarer, and Don’t Starve (which I haven’t played yet!). In Cozy Grove, you play a human spirit scout dropped on an island teeming with ghost bears. Each of these ghosts needs you to complete various tasks for them to help them come to terms with the lives they lead and how they died. The neat thing about Cozy Grove is that you can only accomplish so much in one real world day. Once you help all of the spirits that need your assistance, you cannot do very much besides continue to harvest some resources. New quests and other resources will not become available until the following day.
You want old-school? Well, good old (very old) Editor Josh has got you covered. From classic to insane to downright terrifying, let these games help scratch your pixelated itch this Halloween!
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Okay, when you talk about old-school, monster slaying goodness, I’m pretty sure you’re legally obligated to at least mention the Castlevania series. From the Universal monster movie inspired original on the NES in 1987 to 2014’s somewhat controversial Lords of Shadow 2, it has become one of the most influential game series of all time. Hell, the “Metroidvania” genre is partially named after it! The problem, though, is picking one game to represent that entire history.
That said, I have to go with the 2003 GBA release, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (also included in the recently released Castlevania Advance Collection). This game is often considered the pinnacle of the “Igavania” (named for long-time series director Koji Igarashi) design first introduced in Symphony of the Night, it was also the first game in the series to really shake things up in terms of the story. I mean, if there’s one constant in Castlevania, it’s that you’re going to be killing Dracula, right? Nope! Dracula is dead. I mean DEAD dead. According to the game’s opening crawl, he was killed and sealed forever in 1999 in an event called the Demon Castle War (which we’re still waiting on a playable version of, Konami). Instead, you play as Soma Cruz, your typical, white-hared, stoic, Hispanic exchange student in Japan with the power to absorb monster souls. As Soma, you explore the halls of Dracula’s former castle, gaining more and more powers until you discover that [SPOILER ALERT] you ARE the reincarnated Dracula, and you have to fight to defend your castle and powers from a charismatic cult leader who wants to usurp them and become the new Dark Lord. Add to the mix some of the best music in the series, Ayami Kojima’s iconic character designs, and smooth gameplay with hundreds of acquirable weapons and powers, and you have a recipe for the quintessential Castlevania experience.
What? A 2003 GBA game isn’t retro enough for you? Fine, then. Let’s dig way back into the NES library for one of the most “unique” horror games around: 1989’s Monster Party. Just remember, you brought this on yourselves.
Monster Party is a really unique case, as it is a game developed by a Japanese studio (and not just any studio… we’re taking Bandai here) that was only ever released in North America. It wasn’t even until the 2000’s that a Japanese prototype cartridge would surface to even prove that version of the game had existed at one point. But a confusing heritage is just the start.
Imagine a game where you start as a plucky, young boy named Mark. In typical 8-bit fashion, Mark travels across a variety of side scrolling levels hitting various enemies with his trusty baseball bat. Except, you start things off by encountering the flailing, naked lower half of people randomly sticking out of the ground (and this isn’t even weird by this game’s standards). You quickly dispatch the legs with a few swings of your bat, and you keep progressing until, suddenly the entire background changes from a verdant field to a BLOOD SOAKED NIGHTMARE.
Oh, you can also take drugs you find to turn into a laser-eyed gargoyle named Bert. Seriously, how did this game make it past Nintendo’s notoriously strict censors!? And we haven’t even mentioned the plentiful boss battles, including a venus fly trap that spits bubbles after screaming “Hello! Baby!” at you, a gigantic alien tempura shrimp, a pumpkin headed ghost that begs you not to pick on it, and a dinosaur-looking thing that’s literally already been defeated when you find it. And this is all in the first level! This is not an easy game to find these days, but you owe it to yourself to find a way to play it, even if it’s just to prove to yourself that it’s real.
Now, silliness is always fun, but if you’re looking for an authentic “retro horror game” experience, then you can’t go wrong with Corpse Party. This game started out as a low-budget, doujin (ameteur or fan-made) game made in the earliest iteration of RPG Maker.
Its initial release in 1996 saw you take control of several students across 5 chapters with multiple endings each as you explored the haunted school in which you suddenly find yourselves trapped. Unsettling visuals and gore (even from a retro standpoint), creepy sound design, an overall sense of overwhelming helplessness, and gigantic bundles of all sorts of “NOPE!” result in a truly unnerving experience that has, on more than one occasion, led to me smashing alt+F4 as fast as I could before turning on every light in the house. If genuine horror is your thing, though, the original game was just released in an updated form (containing all of the extra material from prior re-releases as well as some new content) just last week on pretty much every platform available.
BONUS: Dan’s picks
In case you’re looking for some actual scary games to play this spooky season, here’s a list of scary/creepy games that Dan (my fiancé) enjoys!
- Resident Evil series
- Walking Dead Telltale series
- Bioshock series
- Dying Light
- Alan Wake
- State of Decay
What are some of your favorite video games to play during the spooky season?