Spooky Games III: Season of the Witch

This series originally ran on our Steam curation group in October 2016.

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It’s time.

Welcome, gals and ghouls, to my favorite time of the year. It’s that time when I dig my courage out of the battered trunk in the basement of my soul and play a whole bunch of scary games for October. This is actually the third year I’ve done this, and while the thread for those events was elsewhere on the internet you can still find the reviews here, in the curator section or my index of reviews.

Every day in the month of October, I’m going to review a different horror (or generally Halloweeny) game. This year is going to be a bit different from previous ones because most of the games I ended up picking are actually good. There’s a LOT of chaff in the horror genre, but thanks to some solid bundles and generous friends, I’ve got a solid line-up for once. I’ll have some headliners, indie gems, genre classics, and a few that you might not have even heard of.

Reviews will be posted around noon PST on weekdays, and whenever I get the chance on weekends. As always, feel free to comment with your impressions, questions, or other games you think deserve to be noticed in this, the spooky season. Titles in each post will link to the Steam review, so if you like what I’m doing please pop over and give the review itself a thumbs up to help visibility. You can also follow my curations if you haven’t yet, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter for additional entertainment.

And so, let us begin! Gird your loins for the #spookygames.

  1. DISTRAINT
  2. Shadowgate
  3. Miasmata
  4. SOMA
  5. Haunt the House: Terrortown
  6. Oxenfree
  7. Vlad the Impaler
  8. Condemned: Criminal Origins
  9. The Last Door: Season 2 – Collector’s Edition
  10. Shadowgrounds
  11. The Last NightMary – A Lenda do Cabeça de Cuia
  12. Kholat
  13. Fran Bow
  14. TRAUMA
  15. Alan Wake
  16. Dark Fall 1: The Journal
  17. Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart
  18. Gabriel Knight – Sins of the Fathers
  19. Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion
  20. The Swapper
  21. Monstrum
  22. Serena
  23. Cry of Fear
  24. Black Mirror II
  25. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
  26. Anodyne
  27. Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden
  28. Noct
  29. Outlast
  30. Dead Pixels
  31. The Cat Lady

 


 

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Well that was a hell of a month. 31 games reviewed, and only three of them bad. Adventure games were the big stand-outs for me this time, and somehow each one managed to be very different and explore its own brand of horror while still being effective. First-person horror might be the most viscerally scary but adventures are probably my favorites, allowing for a lot more latitude in how they toy with you. There’s also a lot of good free horror out there, and that’s something I’ll probably focus more on next year.

With only three negative reviews it wouldn’t be much help to break the list down into good or bad, so let me just highlight the real stand-outs of the month.

Best Exploration Game
Miasmata – Wandering the deserted island and piecing together a map is surprisingly engaging, and then the pitch black night comes and something emerges from the shadows.

Best Action Game
Condemned: Criminal Origins – It’s ridiculous how well this one’s held up, and how such a combat-heavy game can terrorize so effectively.

Best Free Game
Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion – This shouldn’t work as well as it does, but there are just enough spooks and surprises to keep you on your toes.

Best Short Game
DISTRAINT – This one crams an entire tale of guilt and pathos into just an hour or two, with uniquely creepy-cute graphics to sell it.

Best Adventure
The Cat Lady – I’ve never been sucked into a game like this, between the excellent writing and the incredibly effective art style.

Best of the Month
SOMA – A thrilling, terrifying, thought-provoking experience the whole way through.

Honorable Mention
The Last Door: Season 2 – Taken as a whole with Season 1, this is probably the best eldritch horror game out there.

I’d like to thank everyone who followed along, and give a special welcome to anyone joining me for the first time this year. If you like what I’m doing, be sure to follow my curations, and check out my Twitter and Facebook pages if you’re feeling daring.

And with that, we’re done here. Happy Spooktober, everyone!