Feature

13 Spooky Indie Games To Play This Halloween Season

by Keenan McCall on Oct 24, 2017 at 09:56 AM

It’s time again for spooks, scares, and festivities, and these smaller titles are perfect games to set the mood.

Whether it’s a dark and dingy setting, the uneasiness of being in a new situation, or being pursued by a good old-fashioned knife-wielding psychopath, these games have something to get you in the spirit for Friday the 13th and Halloween. Luckily, 2017 has been a scarily good year for indie horror titles, delivering spook-worthy experiences for an affordable price. Here are 13 of the best, each offering something different to enhance your autumnal gaming experience.

Scanner: Sombre
PC
For those who like: Amnesia or Gone Home
Solitude, silence, and the unknown permeate this VR exploration title from Introversion Software. Tasked with mapping an underground cavern, players set off alone to uncover the secrets of a series of tunnels, lighting up the stone work to a variety of different hues with a geothermal projector. Claustrophobic one moment and breathtaking the next, the game is phenomenal at making a descent into the unknown exhilarating and exciting.

Thimbleweed Park
Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
For those who like: Adventure games like Maniac Mansion or
The X-Files
For anyone who want some laughs mixed in with their dread, Terrible Toybox's Thimbleweed Park is the perfect choice. Players take control of five different characters in this point-and-click adventure game, uncovering the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a local resident in a small town. Poking fun at adventure games of old, TV shows like The X-Files, and a whole lot more, the game keeps its tongue firmly planted in cheek the whole way through, leaving players with a fun twist to the spooky story.

Hello Neighbor
Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Alien: Isolation and occult films
If you heard a cry for help coming from a neighbor’s house, what would you do? Hello Neighbor seeks to answer that question with a stealth-based horror experience from the minds at Dynamic Pixels. Upon entering their neighbor’s house to investigate, players must circumvent traps and outwit the sinister suburbanite to see what lies lurking in the depths of his home. While the game is still in development, it offers plenty of moments that’ll send your heart up into your throat, whether it’s turning around to see the neighbor bolting toward you or making your way to the heart of his chilling abode.

Detention
PlayStation 4, PC
For those who like: Silent Hill or
The Grudge
This Asian indie offers a nuanced take on supernatural horror. Tasked with guiding the student Fang Ray Shin through a ghastly and warped version of her school, players must uncover a tale of fear and guilt tied to the White Terror, a period of martial law in Taiwan between 1949 and 1987. Dodging ghosts of the present and embracing the demons of the past, this title from Red Candle Games matches terror with a thought-provoking story, which will stick with you long after you stop playing.

Friday the 13th: The Game
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Evolve and ‘80s slasher movies
The launch of Illfonic’s multiplayer survival title was far from perfect. Overflowing with bugs, player issues, and dropped matches, the game was a mess on arrival and lost plenty of players as a result. Since release, however, patches and refinements have brought out the potential of this simple throwback to ‘80s horror nostalgia. Hunt down teens as the iconic Jason Voorhees, or try to last the night alongside other camp counselors by hunting down weapons and a means of escape. 

Bendy and the Ink Machine
PC
For those who like: Cuphead and Five Nights At Freddy’s
Fans of old-fashioned art styles will love this horror game centered around ‘30s cartoon animation gone awry. Developed by theMeatly Games, the title places players in the shoes of Henry, an artist returning to his old animation studio at the request of his friend and business partner, Joey Drew. The nostalgia quickly turns sinister as blobs of ink form wrathful manifestations of the company’s cartoons, hunting Henry through halls dripping with an inky substance. Three episodes into a planned run of five, the game is rich with lore and holds an unnerving style of horror, dragging players deeper and deeper into a sepia-toned mystery they’ll be eager to complete.

What Remains of Edith Finch
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Gone Home or H.P. Lovecraft
Something sinister lurks beneath the surface in this story-driven game from Giant Sparrow. The last member of a family cursed to suffer untimely deaths, Edith Finch returns to her childhood home in search of answers and a way to break the curse. Traversing through the manor’s sealed rooms, players uncover the stories of how her relatives met their end, slowly unraveling the sad tale of a family beset by misfortune but taught a valuable lesson in this thoughtfully made experience. 

Observer
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Soma and
Blade Runner
The scariest part of this title from Bloober Games is what’s in everyone else’s head. Set in a cyperpunk society, players guide Dan Lazarski, a neural detective, through the minds of suspects in a series of murder investigations. By diving into their memories, Lazarski pieces together how the murders occurred, working his way through moments blurred by trauma and twisted by perception. You’re only as safe as the suspect believes they were, and the constant threat of not knowing where a memory leads to next will have players ready to jump out of their skin.

Little Nightmares
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Inside and Tim Burton films
Styled after the stop-motion works of Tim Burton, this game tasks players with delving into a bad dream come to life. As a young child in a yellow raincoat named Six, players dodge and duck away from twisted monstrosities that dwarf the player, swiping at them with lengthy limbs and chasing after them with a ravenous focus. Brief as it may be, not many other games will get your heart racing the way Little Nightmares does with its straightforward approach to fear. Hats off to developer Tarsier Studios, and happy hiding to players.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
PlayStation 4 and PC
For those who like: Hack n’ Slashers, puzzle games, or psychological thrillers
Ninja Theory’s ambitious project sought to portray the challenges presented by psychosis. To an extent, they succeeded: Constantly surrounded by the voices in her own head, attacked by hallucinations, and stalked by fear, Senua’s journey is a harrowing and stressful experience. While not your traditional foray into horror, the game will leave you on edge, your heart racing and the gears in your head turning as you face down the demons that inhabit Senua’s mind.

Night in the Woods
PlayStation 4, PC
For those who like: Oxenfree or H.P. Lovecraft
From the fine people at Infinite Fall comes a game that celebrates everything the Halloween season has to offer. Exploring the town of Possum Springs as recent college dropout Mae Borowski, there are plenty of eerie activities to keep you busy: Dress up as a witch and take part in a historical reenactment for the town’s “Harfest,” stake out abandoned buildings to find a ghostly miner with your friends, discuss monster movies with an aspiring special-effects artist, or navigate your way through ethereal dream sequences. It may be a weird autumn, but it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless.

Perception
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
For those who like: Alien: Isolation and Outlast 
Echolocation isn’t a common gameplay mechanic, but it’s the concept that drives this title from The Deep End Games. Playing as a blind woman named Cassie, players use the tapping of a cane or the falling of water droplets to determine what’s around them and where to go next in an abandoned manor. The twist is they must also stay silent to avoid alerting a spirit haunting the residence, moving carefully and keeping louder actions to a minimum. It’s a fun take on the run-and-hide gameplay of titles like Alien: Isolation, and it’ll have your adrenaline pumping in no time. 

Outlast 2
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
For those who like: Run-and-hide games and occult horror films
The sequel to one of the breakout horror hits of 2013, Outlast 2 from Red Barrels Studio puts players in a whole new thrill ride full of gore, terror, and the supernatural. The game follows Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist looking into a cult based out of a rural Arizona town with his wife. After their helicopter crash lands, he awakens to find her missing, and their pilot skinned and crucified. With only his camera and a handful of batteries, he ventures toward the town, finding his way deeper and deeper into the mystery of the cult’s intentions, how they became so crazed, and the madness that dwells inside his own head.

Interested in the history of some other indie survival horror games? Check out this feature on the cult hit that inspired Resident Evil