Jordan Jones suggests some overlooked horror games to play this Halloween…
Everyone has their own traditions in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Some people enjoy bingeing on all of their favorite horror movie classics, while others love to scour their town, or city looking for the latest haunted attractions, and other festivities. For gamers, October is the perfect excuse to dive into some horror games. After all, what better time of year to get lost in Silent Hill, or traipse around Spencer Mansion? While those are tried-and-true classics, why not try something new this year? Here are some fairly recent indie horror titles you may have overlooked.
Back in the ’90s, Sanitarium mixed horror, and isometric puzzle-solving to great effect. Players were tasked with trekking through a horrific environment, and solving puzzles in increasingly macabre ways. Stasis, developed in 2015, absolutely lives in this tradition. Waking up from cryo-sleep (I never said it was original), players assume the role of John Maracheck as he attempts to find his family aboard the derelict “Groomlake”. The game has a very old-school look, and feel which serves it really well. The environments are hyper-detailed, and grotesque. The story is engaging, and the voice acting remains top-notch throughout. Expect to spend considerable time wrapping your head around the games clever puzzles, and reveling in those “aha!” moments. They just don’t make games like this anymore. Luckily, you can try Stasis out right now.
Lakeview Cabin Collection
The slasher genre is truly difficult to get right in video game form. We have seen attempts before, but none have really captured the quirky feel of the genre. The slasher genre is so intrinsically tied to the era in which it was created. To take away that charm, is to take away the genre’s identity altogether. That is why it’s so thrilling to play a game like Lakeview Cabin. Developer Roope Tamminen is clearly a horror aficionado because this game positively oozes nostalgia. From the cheesy B-Grade music to the ’70s, and ’80s aesthetic, Lakeview Cabin provides a picture-perfect slasher experience. Players take control of multiple characters as they navigate sandbox style environments to survive against various deranged killers. Each level is modeled after a specific movie. During my time with the game, I saw clear references to Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s hard to think of a more fitting title to play this Halloween. You can find Lakeview Cabin here.
Billed as the spiritual successor to the Clock Tower series, Nightcry feels like a trip back to 1996. Everyone knows Resident Evil, and Silent Hill, but not everyone may remember the Clock Tower series. Clocktower, and it’s 1996 remake were point-and-click horror titles that told the story of Jennifer Simpson, and her attempts to evade the psychopath known as the “Scissorman”. It is these first two installments that serve as the primary inspiration for Nightcry. Hifumi Kono, developer of the first two Clock Tower titles, wanted Nightcry to feel like a true survival horror experience, and it shows. For better, and worse. Nightcry takes place on the cruise-ship ‘Oceanus’, where strange events are occurring. Controlling multiple characters, players need to explore, and solve puzzles, all the while avoiding various scissor-wielding foes. Sure, the controls are clunky, and the graphics look like an early PS2-era title, but that is precisely what makes Nightcry such an effective throwback. The game has problems galore, but nothing that wasn’t present in almost every survival horror game in the ’90s. The scares are certainly intact, and if you can overlook the games shortcomings, it’s a kooky trip down memory lane. Give it a try.
Claire wears its inspiration on its sleeve, and that’s okay. In every way, Claire feels like a 2D Silent Hill. From the monsters, and environments… all the way down to the weird, surreal dialogue. However, Claire pulls it off well. Claire’s mother awakens in a dark, and empty hospital to find her sick mother has gone missing. Accompanied by her dog, Claire must brave the deserted hallways to find her mother, and uncover the hospital’s mysteries. If you can overlook how much it shamelessly copies Silent Hill, you may find a lot to love in this short, and sweet horror gem. Find out more here.
It’s a wonderful time to be a fan of horror games. So many quality titles have come out in recent years, that it’s inevitable that plenty of games have fallen through the cracks. These are a few games that are sure to put you in the Halloween spirit.
You can find Jordan on Twitter (@JordJJones), and Facebook.