We’re getting closer and closer to Halloween every day, which means everyone’s gearing up to watch their favorite horror movies, make weekend trips out to pumpkin patches, and do all kinds of other, fun seasonal stuff before this month ends and everyone looks toward Thanksgiving.
If you’re in the midst of all your Halloween activities and you want to take a break with some games that match the spirit, we’ve got good news for you. There’s a bunch of great games on the App Store that can get you in the mood for Halloween, and we’ve compiled a list of the six best ones in a handy little list. See below:
Oxenfree - download for iOS
Oxenfree is an adventure game with a paranormal storyline that is sure to make your spine tingle a few times as you play it. In addition to being a bit creepy though, Oxenfree really shines because of its writing.
You play the game as a group of teenagers that get stranded on an island for the night when a bunch of weird stuff starts happening. While it might not sound like the most original plot out there, the voices that tell it are remarkably authentic. Your group of teens actually sound like teens. They make fun of each other, tell lame jokes, get embarrassed, and freak out as things around them go south. This sounds like really straightforward stuff, but most games fail to create believable dialogue in the way Oxenfree does.
Simulacra - download for iOS
Out of all the entries on the list, Simulacra is probably the most hardcore horror experience on this list. In it, you happen upon the phone of a woman named Anna, and it’s your job to snoop through her phone to figure out her story.
As you sift through emails, text messages, and other files on Anna’s phone, you discover some deeply disturbing stuff and experience moments of both overt horror and subtle, unsettling tension-building. What helps sell the scares here is that the game takes place entirely through a simulated phone screen, so you feel like you’re really just using a phone you found as you play. Simulacra definitely won’t be for everyone, but if you want some legitimate scares in a mobile game, give this one a shot.
Radiant One - download for iOS
Looking for a more bite-sized dose of creepiness? Radiant One may be your best bet. It’s a short little adventure game, but it’s a remarkably effective tone-piece that uses some really simple tricks to create its atmosphere.
In the game, you play as a man who teaches himself how to lucid dream, and this goes wrong almost immediately. This setup allows Radiant One to play with your expectations and make it hard for you to separate dreams from reality. On top of it all, Radiant One ends up telling a pretty poignant story by the time it wraps up. This one’s a great pickup if you want something short but sweet.
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville - download for iOS
This list wouldn’t be complete without a zombie game, so I had to include Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville here. As played out as zombie games are, Rebuild 3 takes the idea of the zombie apocalypse and does something way more interesting than just make you kill or run from the undead.
Rebuild 3 tasks you with figuring out how to create a new semblance of society in the wake of zombie hordes roaming the lands. The result is a 4X game in the vein of something like Civilization, but with added complications like building fortifications to keep wandering zombies out, deciding what to do with new survivors that stumble into your compound, and how to deal with other groups of survivors that may compete with you over resources. It may not be an explicitly scary game, but Rebuild 3 is still a solid, seasonally-appropriate addition to include on this list.
Crypt of the NecroDancer - download for iOS
I’m not sure how much it’s meant to be associated with Halloween, but Crypt of the NecroDancer takes the aesthetics of creepy dungeon-crawling games and combines it with some really creative rhythm game mechanics. It’s also probably the most hardcore game on this list.
Playing Crypt of the NecroDancer is a bit like playing Space Grunts or Sproggiwood, but you need to time all of your movements to the beat of the game’s excellent thumpy soundtrack. This is definitely a game that you should play with headphones, though there are options to play a non-rhythm version of this game as well.
Stranger Things: The Game - download for iOS
The release of Stranger Things: The Game last year was one of the oddest things I’ve seen on mobile. The game was basically a huge tie-in ad for the second season of Netflix’s hit series, but it was devoid of any and all monetization schemes that usually accompany games of this ilk. What’s more is this free game was actually a pretty robust and enjoyable game in its own right.
If you imagine something like The Legend of Zelda—or perhaps more accurately the Jurassic Park Game Boy game—but honed for touch and starring the characters from Stranger Things, that’s more or less what Stranger Things: The Game is. And, although the show itself can get pretty scary, the game itself has a colorful, retro aesthetic, which can let you enjoy the game and evoke the Halloween spirit without worrying about being creeped out.