If you’re after something to send chills up your spine, look no further than these nightmarish games.
WHILE going out to collect candy is a big thing with kids in the United States, in this country Halloween isn’t that big a deal — it usually means costume parties and scary movies or possibly, just sitting at home doing nothing.
Well, if you’re in the latter category, perhaps you’d like to get in the Halloween spirit (geddit?) by turning off the lights and getting into a scary game or two.
In light of this, we’ve gathered together a host of spooky mobile and PC/console games that should make you jump out of your seat.
Think you’re brave enough to take the challenge? Try one of these games.
Papa Sangre (iOS)
If you think about it, part of what makes a “scary movie” scary are the sounds — filmmakers have been using the sounds of creaking doors, ominous music and sudden loud sound effects to scare audiences for generations.
Well, with Papa Sangre, the developers took the idea of sound design a step further, by making a game that only has sound — no graphics, no visuals.
In the world of Papa Sangre, you are tasked with navigating a world in total darkness, and the only thing you have to guide you are the sounds you hear as you walk — a faint tinkling sound tells you where you need to head to.
However, in the darkness there is a monster — you can hear it breathing and growling somewhere around you and you want to navigate around it to get to the exit in the room.
The only way to do this is to listen carefully to the sounds in the game and build a mental image of where everything is and find the exit.
When we said that the game has no visuals, that’s not entirely correct — Papa Sangre has a screen showing you two footprints and a compass. You alternate taps on the feet to walk and you orient yourself using the compass.
Needless to say, the game requires that you wear a good pair of stereo headphones so that you can imagine where each object or monster is just from the sound alone.
While early levels are easy, the game eventually ramps up difficulty and situations can get very tense because while you can hear the monster, at the same time, it can also hear you and can come after you!
Dead Runner (iOS/ Android)
As the name suggests, Dead Runner is one of those endless runner games, but with a horror twist added in.
That game is a first-person style runner, and has you running in the woods peppered with tombstones.
Like all endless runner games, the controls are fairly simple — tap on the screen to run and tilt the smartphone to turn left or right.
What makes Dead Runner a better than average game is the spooky music and visuals, which are actually pretty good.
The Walking Dead (PC/iOS/PS3/PS Vita/Xbox 360)
This adventure title from Telltale Games based on the comic and TV series of the same name has won numerous awards.
Like the TV series and comic, The Walking Dead takes place in a world which has been overrun by zombies after an unexplained event turns regular people into the walking dead literally overnight.
The game follows a few of the still-human characters as they come to terms with the world as it is now, while fending off the zombie hordes and trying to find a safe haven.
While perhaps not a really scary game, The Walking Dead is a great game because it forces you to make difficult choices for your characters that will impact the story’s flow and how other characters treat you.
Originally available in episodic format (there are five episodes in total) on PC and then iOS, the game has since appeared on almost every current generation console as a full retail title.
Slender: The Eight Pages (PC only)
The premise is pretty simple: You’re lost in the middle of the forest. All you know is that you have to collect eight pages located in various parts of the forest.
It sounds simple enough at first, but as with all horror survival games, appearances are deceiving — you will find out all too soon that you are being stalked, and by none other than the Slender Man; a tall thin ghostly figure that teleports through the forest.
At first, you may catch brief glimpses of the Slender Man as you progress through the woods. But as you collect more pages, the Slender Man gets closer and closer.
And the really freaky part? As he approaches, the screen starts to get blurry and static grows louder. Look at him too long, and you’re dead.
While the graphics aren’t anything to shout about, the atmosphere is nonetheless chilling as the Slender Man watches your every move.
Go ahead, we dare you to play this game and not have a mini heart attack every time the screen blurs.
Dead Space (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
There are very few science fiction horror themed games, and the original Dead Space probably pioneered this sub genre with its unconventional setting.
Set on board the derelict spaceship The Ishimura, the player must guide engineer Isaac Clarke through the ship as he tries to discover the fate of the crew — which included his wife — whilst fighting off hordes of unspeakable horrors.
Clarke discovers in short order that not only has the entire crew been slaughtered, every corpse he encounters might well turn out to be a Necromorph — dead bodies that have been reanimated by a mysterious alien force.
As if the Necromorphs’ appearance — that of hideously twisted, mutilated corpses straight out of your worst nightmares — wasn’t horrifying enough, these monstrous creatures are also especially difficult to kill, forcing you to use unconventional methods like dismemberment to keep them down for good.
The really unnerving part about Dead Space is that even when there isn’t anything happening on screen, you can’t help but feel that something is watching you from the shadows.
It doesn’t help that the ambient sounds of the ship and faintly audible scratchings of indescribable monsters scurrying through the air ducts create a truly disturbing atmosphere that will keep you awake at night.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC only)
Amnesia was one of the scariest games of 2010 and for good reason. In it, you play a man named Daniel who wakes up in a creepy old castle with no recollection, except a gut feeling that he must descend deeper into the castle.
While embarking on your journey into the castle, you are armed only with your wits and a lantern.
The game’s mechanics are diabolically genius as it forces you to press forward with the full knowledge that danger lurks around every corner.
Most of the castle is covered in pitch darkness, making it near impossible to see where you are going.
To make matters worse, Daniel also slowly loses his grip on sanity the longer he stays in the dark.
While turning your lantern on illuminates your path and helps to keep Daniel sane, it will also render you all too visible to the monsters that roam the halls.
If you do get spotted, your only choice is to run, hide and hope for the best.
(It’s that time of the year again when beasties, ghoulies and creepy crawlies come out to play. If you’re up for a good old-fashioned Halloween fright fest, head on over to www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle to scare up some fun and soak up the spooky atmosphere!)