With the season of creepy stuff and spooks upon us, it feels right to chat about our favourite spooky games, doesn't it? Everyone's got one that stuck with them regardless of the platform. Whether it's the rhythmic drums of Slenderman, the gross mutilated family of Resident Evil 7, or the static radio sounds from Silent Hill 2 (AKA the greatest horror game of all time), everyone's got that one game that rubs them up the right and wrong ways.
In mobile it's a little trickier, only because it's tougher to balance the content and controls in such a way that the experience doesn't feel cheap or underwhelming. That's not saying there aren't tons to choose from, of course. We're very much spoiled for choice.
While the Rusty Lake games have the tendency to unsettle me at times, Corpse Party is my overall winner of the 'I'm not sleeping tonight' award for multiple reasons. I will say, just as a little heads-up to our wonderful readers who might be triggered by murder, suicide, or graphic descriptions, that it's not a light-hearted game and now's a good time to click away.
Still with us? Alright then.
I've played Corpse Party on a number of platforms now, mobile included, and it's still a story that sticks with me years after I'd played it. Similar to the fear I felt playing The Witch's House and The Crooked Man, this is a 2D horror adventure game with puzzle elements, jumpscares, horrendous imagery, and – most importantly of all – a compelling story.
Just putting it out there, I'm actually quite sensitive when it comes to graphic images on TV/video games and get a bit wibbly when reading overly graphic descriptions in books, so me and Corpse Party were never destined to get along. However, after getting over the initial shock I was drawn into the story and wanted to find out where such a long, twisting road was going to take me.
To bid a fond farewell to a beloved classmate, a group of friends at Kisaragi Academy and their teacher unwittingly take part in an occult ritual on school grounds. What's originally supposed to work as a 'friends forever' charm, transports them to an alternate reality and the group find themselves separated.
Eventually they realise they're within the walls of Heavenly Host Elementary, the original school that once stood on the same ground before tragedy struck. It's more than just finding themselves trapped in another dimension, however. Angry, vengeful ghosts of past students roam the halls and they're not looking to take pity on our protagonists.
This is far more than just another haunted house escapade, mind you. The whole reason this stuck with me so vehemently is because of its layers. It's got chapter-based storytelling and eases you along at a decent pace, giving you the freedom to make independent decisions.
Yes, some of the game's pathways are unavoidable, but there are also a few clever bits hidden within the levels that give you the chance to heed warnings or ignore them entirely (at your own risk).
Aside from a ghost story, it's a tale of murder and graphic mutilation told in such a way that it keeps you guessing. It's a bit like a murder-mystery in that sense, and even makes you question more familiar characters along the way.
I could go on about it forever, truth be told. Though, if there's one piece of advice I'd give you it's that this is a game that needs to be played with your full attention. Every screen of dialogue needs to be read and you should explore all available areas, only then will you get the full experience.