I’m kind of a baby when it comes to scary games. I can handle spooky movies and books just fine, but give me a direct role in the action and I become a babbling mess. For some reason that I don’t quite understand I keep coming back to horror games each October, and from what I can tell a lot of you do to. But why? Why do we keep coming back? We may never know, but below are some of my favorite horror games you may want to check out to sate your horror fix this October.
September 1999 possibly requires the lowest investment cost of anything we’ve featured on this blog. Yes we’ve featured other free games on the site before, but September really drops the requirements through the floor with its five minute long playtime. That’s right, you could download and play September 1999 on a quick break and your boss wouldn’t be any wiser for it.
But what is September 1999? Well, like a lot of horror games in a post-P.T. world, September 1999 features a lot of walking around a small area and noticing subtle differences each time. Where September 1999 diverges from the pack is how perfectly it nails its 90s camcorder aesthetic. When I first heard about September 1999 I went to the page and prepared to play a FMV game. As it turns out, the visual filters are really just that good.
But September 1999 isn’t all filters and trickery, only mostly. There isn’t a ton of narrative in strapped into this 5-minute long package --and this might put some people off of the game-- but what replaces plot is an absolutely pitch perfect dedication to tone. My time with September was played with held breath and reflexively staring at the corners of the screen to avoid getting scared, but I made it through. And this is something that I can’t say for many horror games. September takes the pacing of a spooky campfire story and absolutely nails it.
We’ve covered World of Horror on the blog before, but I’d feel guilty if I knew that people were looking for October games and didn’t hear about it. Despite World of Horror’s semi-frequent updates the game is still the same Apple II-looking exploration/ card game hybrid that I fell in love with almost two years ago. World is oppressive and difficult but it’s still fun and interesting. No I’ve never won World of Horror but that’s ok. Each game feels fresh and new while I try to stop some cosmic horror beastie from emerging in town and the surprises continue as you unlock different characters and upgrades. Somehow World of Horror manages to take the replayability of a full roguelike with the depth and style of a beautifully written adventure.
World of Horror recently got picked up by a publisher which hopefully means the march towards 1.0 will proceed a little quicker, but even with that in mind the game is totally worth a purchase. What’s that? It’s free? Now you have no excuse not to try World of Horror this month.
Paratopic is a game that I can’t stop recommending to people. We’ve talked a lot about games that don’t overstay their welcome on this blog and Paratopic really nails this idea. Unfortunately talking too much about Paratopic ruins the experience (frustratingly, this is the case for tons of horror games) but I will say that the game switches things up brilliantly during its near hour long runtime. There’s a good bit of first-person thrills inside of Paratopic and let’s be clear: Paratopic is really scary, but it’s also deeply unsettling-- a much harder tone to evoke. Like September 1999 that I recommended above, Paratopic is really interested in exploring this uneasy tone as fully as it can before its credits roll.
Again, I can’t mention too many specifics of Paratopic without destroying the magic but now there’s even more to love. Earlier this month the team released the Paratopic Definitive Cut which extends the game and adds new scenes throughout. Paratopic might be scariest and best written game that released this year.
What are you playing this October? Let us know in the comments below!
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