It's that time of year again so get ready to play plenty of spooktacular games that'll haunt you in their own unique and clever ways.
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FATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water Review PlayStation 5 ★★★★☆
Tecmo's underrated ghost-photographing series is back with a remake of its 2014 Wii U game and it'll send shivers down your spine. v1d30chumz 3-236-138-35
First up, we have this year's featured Halloween game which is FATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water and it's #1 for a reason. Not only is it an incredibly atmospheric and frightening game with a disturbing story, it also features phenomenal gameplay that'll have you hooked. In fact, I'm surprised how the developers essentially combined a horror game with an arcade-style combat system where you take photos of ghosts to attack them before they snag you. Optimizing each shot must be done quickly and watching the ghosts charge towards you and warp around will make you disoriented in the best sense of the word. With memorable scenarios, mechanics that'll constantly keep you on-edge, and a perfectly presented horror atmosphere, this is definitely one horror game that you'll want to play on Halloween.
FATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water blends its haunting world with rewarding gameplay to craft one outstanding horror experience.FATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water gameplay video →
Shadow Corridor Review Switch ★★☆☆☆
Is anything scarier than traversing dim hallways while ancient Japanese ghosts chase you? Probably but here's Shadow Corridor anyway.
Next up, we have another game that incorporates ancient Japanese culture into its horror aesthetic but unfortunately, it's not nearly as good. Shadow Corridor has you walk down hallways while solving simple inventory-based puzzles and running away from ancient demonic spirits. Right off the bat, everything about it feels cheap from its PS1-era interface to its awful texture pop-in and cheesy sound effects. Once you start to experience the meat of the gameplay where the ghosts chase you, you'll quickly realise just how annoying it can be to play. As soon as you see a spirit, you'll have to turn and run away quickly which provides some scares but considering the maps are randomly-generated complete with plenty of dead-ends, these encounters are irritating and require a lot of patience to work past.
If you don't mind reloading over and over again whenever you're trying to outrun a spirit, Shadow Corridor can be a viable horror game.Shadow Corridor gameplay video →
Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
If walking around a mansion to put the pieces of your life together sounds intriguing then you may enjoy Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife.
Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is an interesting game. I was quite hesitant to play it considering horror games in VR can be too scary for me but when I found out that it relies on psychological elements as opposed to jump scares, I decided to give it a go and rather enjoyed myself, too. Again, this title is full of simple inventory puzzles and as you walk around the mansion, many apparitions will show up that weren't there before which is sure to give you some spooks. Perhaps the scariest thing is a corpse that hangs from the ceiling and talks to you. The best part of the gameplay merely involves piecing together the story as you slowly make progress but it can be a frustrating game to play due to the finicky motion controls and I did get lost on multiple occasions with very little sense of direction.
If its controls were tweaked and there was a bit more guidance, Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife would be a top-notch VR horror game.Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife gameplay video → More PlayStation VR games
Corpse Party Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Something's not right at Heavenly Host Elementary School so can you survive a frightening alternative reality with your classmates?
Corpse Party is a cult classic horror game that I remember releasing on PSP back in the day. However, I never played it until this 2021 remake and it's quite an enjoyable 2D horror experience. All you essentially do is walk around the school while finding items, interacting with fellow students, solving puzzles, and occasionally running away from otherworldly monsters. The most stand-out aspect of Corpse Party is how many endings you can discover by playing through scenarios differently. Although this sounds like an excellent aspect, it also has a huge downside because you'll likely get plenty of bad endings which halts your progress then have no idea what to do in order to get the good endings. So, if you don't have oodles of patience then this is one game that you'll want to follow a guide for.
Depending on how willing you are to decipher how to progress, Corpse Party can range from a frustrating to a thrilling experience.Corpse Party gameplay video →
Creepy Tale 2 Review Switch ★★★☆☆
If you enjoyed last year's 2D point-and-click style horror adventure then you'll be happy to hear that Creepy Tale now has a sequel.
Creepy Tale 2 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor but this time, it feels a lot more like a classic point-and-click adventure game and its presentation has been made even more appealing complete with voice acting and more detailed visuals. You play as a boy named Lars whose sister gets kidnapped by a strange and powerful evil entity so you go on an adventure to save her. The quest that follows is full of clever puzzles that may take a while to figure out but once you do, making progress is almost always satisfying. With that in mind, I didn't really feel a sense of horror as most scenarios allow you to take your time as you fumble about with your inventory while trying to combine items and try things on every point of interest that you can. As a result, it's a solid albeit mostly average adventure.
Gamers who enjoy classic puzzle-filled point-and-click adventure games may get a kick out of Creepy Tale 2 but it's not anything special.Creepy Tale 2 gameplay video → Creepy Tale Review
Tandem: A Tale of Shadows Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Some Halloween games are scarier than others and Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is quite creepy so grab your bear and let's get to it.
For the second half of this year's Halloween games round-up, let's take a look at 5 games that are more fun than they are scary. First, Tandem: A Tale of Shadows has you play as a girl and a teddy bear that she finds in the street and you swap between them at any time. Both characters have 2D movement as the girl moves in an overhead perspective while the bear is controlled like a classic 2D platformer. This twisted perspective shift is where the puzzle-solving gameplay shines because as the girl, you'll have to create shadows that the bear can walk on and as the bear, you'll have to interact with things that let the girl move forward. All of this comes together in an impressively challenging formula that I absolutely loved despite occasionally getting stuck and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Gamers who enjoy practical puzzle games as you swap between characters will absolutely love what Tandem: A Tale of Shadows offers.Tandem: A Tale of Shadows gameplay video →
Skeletal Avenger Review PlayStation 5 ★★★★☆
If you've ever wanted to play a roguelike where you're a skeleton who throws his own head then Skeletal Avenger is a game for you.
Skeletal Avenger is the sort of game that grows on you the more you play it. When I first started, its unconventional progression system kind of perplexed me but as I amassed a wealth of weapons, perks, and permanent upgrades, I found myself hooked. The core gameplay has you traversing overhead dungeons as you smack enemies with a melee weapon and chuck your head which can trigger traps such as a cluster of exploding barrels and you can even leave pools of poison in its path. Mastering the stages and toppling bosses is a joy only to return to the hub area where you can browse all of your discovered perks as well as purchase gear for your next run. What makes this gameplay even more enjoyable is when you experience it with a friend or 3 via local co-op but going it alone is quite fun, too.
Playing Skeletal Avenger is a great deal of fun, especially via multiplayer and it has plenty of nifty perks to discover along the way.Skeletal Avenger gameplay video →
Skul: The Hero Slayer Review Switch ★★★★☆
Have you ever wondered how baddies feel in classic games? Well, you can now experience that first-hand with Skul: The Hero Slayer.
I have the feeling that I just reviewed a roguelike where you play as a skeleton that can throw its own head but here's another one! Skul: The Hero Slayer is a simple yet addictive 2D action roguelike that's surprisingly challenging but once you get over the hump of how to play it effectively while amassing a wealth of upgrades, you'll really start to click with it. Each run has you traverse a series of enemy-filled rooms and you have to slay every foe before advancing. There is an element of randomness which makes some runs more fruitful than others and the bosses can be absolutely brutal but once you beat one, it feels awesome. To put it another way, this is the sort of game where you gradually learn how each enemy operates then slay them at increasing efficiency on each run. I like it a lot!
Not everyone will appreciate Skul: The Hero Slayer's high degree of challenge but I absolutely loved learning the ins and outs of its world.Skul: The Hero Slayer gameplay video → Let's Play Skul: The Hero Slayer video →
BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Fast-paced 2D action games can be a lot of fun if done right so let's see if the BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad is up to the task.
BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad is one of those indies that feels like a long-lost 16-bit game; specifically, one that you'd find in the bargain bin then be delighted that it's not all that bad. The basic gameplay has you control a vampire through multi-layered stages that you can leap up and down at certain points which makes each stage feel like a massive maze. On the plus side, there's plenty to discover as you open doors, explore nooks and crannies, and dispatch the variety of military folks who want you dead. The controls are a bit clunky but beating up foes before they get the best of you is still fun and the best part is transforming into a more powerful monster whenever your blood meter is filled. There are a few additional vampires to play as, too, who each play distinctly which offers some variety.
For fast-paced arcade-style 2D action, BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad offers a solid formula that provides a decent challenge.BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad gameplay video →
JARS Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Ever wondered what sort of horrors await in the long-abandoned family basement? JARS will answer that with its smashing gameplay.
JARS is an incredibly simple tower defense real-time strategy game where the goal of each level is to merely smash all of the jars then deal with whatever emerges. However, not every jar is labelled so you don't always know what's inside; it could be an enemy creature, a helpful critter, or an item. Each stage has a chest that you have to protect and in order to do so, all you need to do is deploy your critters and use items in order to defeat all of the enemies before they destroy it. I imagine this formula would work well on a mobile device but as a console game, it feels a bit too basic although it can still be enjoyable at times, especially with the element of surprise.
It may not be the deepest or most strategic tower defense game out there but JARS' sense of randomness makes it rather enjoyable.JARS gameplay video →