Everyone is entitled to a good scare on Halloween, but it’s also the perfect time for fun and games. Luckily, the app stores have both bases covered, since they’re packed with chilling horror titles as well as casual Halloween-themed games for those who prefer to keep things light-hearted.
Many of the biggest studios have released great horror games onto Google Play and the App Store. Telltale Games’ Walking Dead series is a hair-raising classic while Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night brings back fond memories of whip-cracking Halloweens gone by. But it isn’t just the mainstream publishers who have released quality mobile fight-fests; the indie crowd is it, too.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best mobile indie games to play during the Season of the Witch, from casual ghostbusting to spine-chilling adventure games that aren’t for the faint hearted.
Spooky Squashers will undoubtedly be the weirdest game of racket sport you’ve ever played, but also one of the most fun. It takes a fresh approach to the concept of ghostbusting, tasking players with defeating a horde of spooks by ricocheting squash balls into them. To make things even more bizarre, you take control of a sentient squash in this novel arcade game.
This is a fast-paced and polished game which promises to keep players on their toes. You’ll need to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the wall more than three times in a row without striking your racket or taking out an enemy. Good luck keeping tabs on this while dodging those oncoming spooks.
There are special ball-modifying power-ups to help level the playing field, one which turns it into a missile and another that transforms it into a bowling ball. Players can also get their hands on novelty rackets shaped like frying pans, shovels and more, adding a fun twist to all that ghost bashing.
A bone-chilling adventure with a striking visual design, Beyond This Side casts players as Sam, a man hellbent on searching for his missing wife. She vanished in an alleyway one winter night and, rather gruesomely, all that was left behind of her was a severed hand. As the story progresses, Sam learns that malevolent forces from another plane of existence were behind her disappearance.
Sam will meet a motley crew of memorable characters throughout his journey across grimy streets and graffiti-covered alleys. There are a good few supernatural adventures games available on mobile, but the hand-drawn art style on display here makes it really stand out from the crowd.
Beyond This Side takes its cues from classic point-and-click titles, but the emphasis is on puzzle mini-games rather than inventory-based conundrums. A gripping narrative plays out across three episodes, the first of which is free and the other two unlocked via in-app purchases.
Like the TV show before it, Goosebumps HorrorTown: The Scariest Monster City brings the work of RL Stine to an all-new medium. It’s a monster mash-up of various different genres in which players are tasked with building a town of horrors, a bit like The Sims but with more monsters.
You can play as a human and investigate monster activity around the town as well as build secure zones to keep the horrors out. Alternately, you can take on the role of a monster and assemble a squad of supernatural nasties to scare the townsfolk out of their wits.
If you were afraid to sleep with the lights off during childhood, you should probably give Dark Echo a miss. This indie chill-fest deprives you of your senses, with the exception of hearing and an uncanny radar capability that will make you feel like Marvel Comics hero Daredevil.
Dark Echo is a sonic experience like no other and it forces players to navigate eternal blackness via the echoes of their footsteps and the sonar-like effects they produce. But there’s a horrifying twist: a nameless evil that devours sound and souls is hunting you in the darkness.
Players will need to have their wits about them if they’re to survive through the game’s 80 soundscapes, all of which include puzzles to solve and hidden paths to explore. Needless to say, Dark Echo is best experienced wearing a set of decent headphones.
Distraint 2 is a game which fully understands that true horror isn’t necessarily about jump scares or fearsome monsters, it’s about what lurks in the darkest depths of our souls. This psychological horror adventure forces us to confront these inner demons, and you won’t be the same afterwards.
The story follows a pint-sized fellow named Price who sells his humanity in exchange for a partnership at a big corporation. What follows is a harrowing experience for the most part, but the game throws in moments of black humour, and the narrative is absolutely gripping.
Distraint 2’s twisted tale will make you cry one minute and laugh fleetingly the next. Certain scenes will haunt you, but make no mistake, the overarching themes of renewed hope and finding purpose are like rays of brilliant sunlight breaking through dark clouds.