This Hallows' Eve, trick or treat yourself to some festive console games. Here are 7 titles that'll surely put you in the Halloween spirit.
Call of Cthulhu Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
This chilling tale is inspired by an H. P. Lovecraft short story as well as the table-top RPG adaptation of it. Does it provide enough atmospheric horror to give you a few frights this Halloween?
Call of Cthulhu has you play as Edward Pierce, a private detective who accepts a case to find out what caused a deadly house fire that killed an entire family. Along the way, he comes across some strange occurrences and eventually encounters a deadly cult. The sense of danger offered by the immersive atmosphere will keep you on the edge of your seat while the well done voice acting and detailed environments pull you in ever further. That being said, the character models are quite weird and dated.
When it comes to gameplay, you basically explore large areas in a first-person perspective. The first half of the campaign will have you piecing together clues and recreating crime scenes in your mind which is very rewarding and satisfying stuff indeed. However, the later parts of the narrative force you to sneak around and run from cult members which is as tedious as it is frustrating. If one even touches you, it's game over without any sense of struggle. What makes this laughable is seeing the camera regularly zoom into enemies' heads during these death scenes thus making it look like their eyeballs are suspended in mid-air. Did anyone even test this game?
The engaging atmosphere and detective aspect of Call of Cthulhu are phenomenal yet it manages to devolve into an irritating mess.Call of Cthulhu gameplay video →
Halloween Forever Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
If you love retro games then here's a silly 2D platformer that the whole family can enjoy.
Halloween Forever stars a pumpkin man who goes on a 2D adventure similar to the old Ghosts 'n Goblins games although much more simplistic and old-school. You basically run and jump around stages that contain branching paths and rewarding secrets while attacking enemies by spitting candy corn out of your mouth. The bosses are enjoyable to battle and its visuals and sound will surely make you smile with their charm. There are some annoying aspects like the fact that you can't pan the camera up or down so jumping down a pit may result in you taking damage because you couldn't see the spikes below, for example. All in all, it's still a cute and enjoyable game that I recommend for anyone who enjoys retro 2D platformers. Plus, the unlockable characters are a treat to discover.
Games don't need deep stories and intricately rendered game worlds to be fun and Halloween Forever proves this through and through.Halloween Forever gameplay video →
Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle Review Switch ★★★★☆
Controlling Jason Voorhees to murder innocent children seems like a terrifying premise for a game. However, Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle's goofy sense of humour and over-the-top violence is much more funny than scary.
If you're a parent then let me warn you: although Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle looks kid-friendly, it definitely isn't. With that out of the way, I'm delighted to say that this is one super-fun puzzler. It's by the creators of Slayaway Camp and features almost identical gameplay although this time; it's an actually licensed Friday the 13th game. For the unfamiliar, you basically slide Jason around grid-based stages in order to murder everyone which makes a final victim appear who you then must kill to complete the stage. There are tons of stages to work through and oodles of unlockables which makes this an ideal puzzle game for both living room and on-the-go fun.
Fans of Slayaway Camp will feel right at home with Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle and newcomers are sure to appreciate its clever puzzles and rewarding gameplay. Do as mommy would want you to do and download this crazy puzzler now!Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle gameplay video → Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut Review
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Owltimate Edition Review Switch ★★★★☆
As if the Nintendo Switch didn't have enough Italian siblings, here's a 2D platformer that provides a familiar yet satisfying adventure.
The Great Giana Sisters debuted in 1987 and was basically a Super Mario Bros. rip-off. In recent years, the game has seen a revival for some reason but I'm glad that it has because Twisted Dreams is a fantastic game. By the way, I haven't played the vanilla version much so I'm not quite sure what's new in this Owltimate Edition. Anyway, you play as Giana who's on a mission to rescue her sister.
The journey ahead consists of many stages where you run, jump, and perform various acrobatic and attack moves in order to overcome enemies and platforming challenges. The coolest part of the gameplay is that you can shift between two worlds which switches Giana from a cute to a punk version of herself as well as changes the stage in various ways. Its gameplay is tight and there are many fun collectible secrets to be found as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Giana Sisters and hope they keep this series alive.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a fantastic 2D platformer and this Owltimate Edition is a great excuse to give it a try if you've never played it before. Its unconventional and often creepy stages are a perfect fit for Halloween, too.Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Owltimate Edition gameplay video →
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption Review PlayStation 4 ★☆☆☆☆
With the term "Souls-like" being thrown around, it's surprising to see a game that's an undeniable rip-off of FromSoftware's masterpiece.
When I first saw a trailer for Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, I was intrigued. Its boss fights looked phenomenal and I definitely wanted to give it a try. Right after booting it up, I was immediately turned off due to its visuals and sound as they basically feel as if they're ripped straight from Dark Souls. From the effect of your character's armour clanging around when they run to the way enemies perish; everything is a near carbon copy of a Souls game to the point where it's a shameless rip-off.
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption's gameplay is okay but the entire game merely consists of 8 boss fights and that's it. Battling bosses in the Dark Souls games is rewarding because you use your created character to outwit them in a test of pure skill and hopefully claim victory in the process. Here, your character is preset, there are no progression or customization systems, and beating the bosses requires more memorization than anything. This is especially true considering each boss is a damage sponge that can eventually be defeated after you fight it multiple times while becoming accustomed to its attack patterns. I don't know about you but that's not my idea of fun. Oh, and you have to sacrifice some of your base stats and abilities before every fight which makes things even less enjoyable.
Not only is Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption a shameless rip-off of the Souls series, it also manages to be a downright irritating game with very little payoff. Unless you want to show off your boss fighting skills on Twitch or something, I suggest avoiding this game entirely.Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption gameplay video →
Black Bird Review Switch ★★★☆☆
First, there was Defender. Then, Sega made Fantasy Zone. Now, here's Black Bird which follows the same kind of shooting formula.
Black Bird has you control a black bird (obviously) in order to take out all of the weird little guys that inhabit each stage. If you've ever played Sega's classic Fantasy Zone then you'll know exactly what to expect because Black Bird copies its gameplay almost completely. For the uninitiated, this means that you fly around stages that loop horizontally while trying to take out enemy bases. Once all of the bases are destroyed, a boss will emerge that you then must beat to advance to the next stage. Where Black Bird goes above and beyond is in its graphics and sound. Its mostly monochrome yet detailed stages and enemies are full of charm and the soundtrack is absolutely ridiculous. It's filled with vocal songs sung in a language that I think is made up but the singing is so bad and confidently boisterous that it's hilarious. Anyway, Black Bird is a high score chaser so if that sounds good to you, you'll definitely dig this crazy bird.
Aside from its distinct graphics and hilarious music, Black Bird is basically a copy of Sega's classic shooter Fantasy Zone. I wish Onion Games went further to make it a more original experience.Black Bird gameplay video →
Pinstripe Review Switch ★★★☆☆
You have to hand it to game developers who single-handedly craft their visions. Thomas Brush's Pinstripe tells a strange and emotional story with a few surprising twists but does it make for an enjoyable game?
Pinstripe has you play as a priest named Teddy. The story begins with him on a train alongside his daughter, Bo. After a tragic and mysterious kidnapping, Teddy goes on a journey to rescue Bo. I really can't say any more about the story because it's best if you experience it for yourself. Fortunately, it's a very short game that can easily be completed within a few hours so you won't have to wait long to see the story's conclusion. Anyway, the core gameplay involves solving simple puzzles, basic platforming, and using a slingshot to progress past obstacles. It isn't challenging by any means but figuring out what to do or where to go next can often be problematic. Thankfully, the haunting visuals and soundtrack are enough to keep you engaged even when you're temporarily lost.
Although the story and presentational aspects are exceptional, there were a few components that took me out of the experience. For starters, many of the characters are rather despicable and I found them to be quite off-putting. I guess this is intentional but I would have liked to see more glimmers of hope throughout the tale. Finally, the platforming can be rather annoying at parts as Teddy tends to feel a bit slippery as he runs and jumps and he has the tendency to get snagged on ledges and such.
If Pinstripe were a film, I'd watch it and be glad that I did. As a game, it feels a bit underwhelming but not enough to take away from its powerful themes and character-driven albeit abstract story.Pinstripe gameplay video →