Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by Gina Thompson
Halloween hasn’t really taken off in Australia as much as it has in the northern hemisphere, but that won’t stop costumer-lovers and scare-enthusiasts alike from celebrating! Whether that means dressing up, baking some tasty treats or hosting a movie marathon that’s bound to be a scream; the spooky season is here!
For the geekier among us, October is a great time to check out the latest frightening additions to the Horror genre on game libraries such as Steam. With just a few bright minds working as a team, some of the most interesting (and downright demented!) titles come from indie developers as opposed to the industry giants.
We’ve rustled up a scare-lection of horror games that are bound to get your heart thumping!
Night in the Woods
To start out with something that’s heavy on the atmosphere but light on the scares, Night in the Woods is a quirky, cartoon-style mystery adventure with dozens of characters populating the town of Possum Springs. You play as Mae Borowski, a college dropout who’s come home to reconnect with her old friends who all seem to have changed just as much as the crumbling, old mining town they call home. As the day grows darker, however, one thing becomes very clear: there’s something strange in the woods.
If you prefer to get your fright on, then >observer_ is the game for you! Created by the same team behind Layers of Fear, >observer_ is set in an all-out cyberpunk dystopia where the concept of “thoughtcrime” from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is very, very real. As an elite neural detective, it’s your job to hack into the minds of your suspects, reliving their darkest fears in your quest for clues. Just don’t get too engrossed; the deeper you delve into these intensely psychological experiences, the more likely you are to lose your grip on your own sanity!
While not necessarily a true horror, this short interactive story had such a powerful message about real-world nightmares that we just had to keep it on the list. Deeply atmospheric with an unusual graphical style from a small development team, Lydia is a story of substance abuse and broken homes from the perspective of a little girl. While these monsters may not make you jump in your seat, you can expect a profound emotional response as you see Lydia grow up from a child into a troubled young woman.
Due to the time and cost involved with developing fully-animated characters in 3D worlds, we typically expect indie horror titles to use one of two types of camera techniques: first person perspective, or side-scrolling. Darkwood bucks this trend with a top-down camera angle on a massive, randomly-generated world. The lack of quest markers and lingering darkness gives you an eerie sense of isolation as you attempt to survive the sinister landscape. You may meet a kooky character or two on your way – just remember that nothing in Darkwood can truly be trusted!
While Hello Neighbour is still in Early Access (full release is expected in December 2017) we just couldn’t resist giving it a mention! The aim of this stealth horror game is to sneak into your shady, mustachioed neighbour’s house to find out exactly what he’s hiding in his basement. With an artistic style that looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie, what makes this game a real thrill is that your neighbour has advanced Artificial Intelligence that learns from what you do and counters your attempted break-in with cameras and sneaky traps. Once you’re detected (and trust us, you will be) the chase is on and you’ll need to flee to safety – you better hope your neighbour hasn’t learnt a shortcut to catch you before you can escape!
It just wouldn’t be Halloween with a good ol’ fashioned zombie-type outbreak causing a utopian setting to fall into ruin! P.A.M.E.L.A is another Early Access game that already has a massive open-world to explore in the form of Eden, a former paradise that’s home to robotic custodians, security droids and citizens with a monstrous affliction. As your character awakes from cryosleep into a world of darkness and danger, you have no choice but to scavenge and craft weapons to defend yourself as you attempt to survive and uncover the secret of Eden’s downfall. The developers are also hard at work on a co-op/multiplayer mode so you can expect to get your friends in on the action in the future! Full release is TBA, but you can check out the development roadmap here.
Do you have a hair-raising recommendation for a horror title? Tell us in the comments.