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7 Spooky New Games to Play in October 2018

by Lynzee Loveridge,

The last two weeks I broke down some of the best new horror manga of the year as well as new spooky anime to stream to kick off a Halloween marathon. This week I'm delving into arguably one of my favorite genres: horror video games. Interactive horror comes in just as many flavors as movies and books. There's the Resident Evil/Biohazard zombie franchise that blends creepy environments with fast-paced action, for example. One of my favorite (but unfortunately dead) franchises was Fatal Frame and I'm still lamenting the loss of the Hideo Kojima/Junji Ito Silent Hill entry that never made it past a demo. Horror games don't have to be realistic to leave a last impression. Corpse Party is all pixels and sprites but its underlying story is grisly.

This week I'm looking at eight games to play with the lights off, all released between October 2017 to this Halloween. I tried to play as many of them as currently possible. Let's dive right in!

Doki Doki Literature Club This free-to-play visual novel made a huge impression this year thanks in part to the plot's bait-and-switch. The less you know about the plot itself the better, so I'll try not to give away all of its disturbing secrets. The game appears to be by all accounts your usual romantic comedy visual novel starring a regular guy joining a regular club full of regular cute girls. As the player, you begin to focus your attention on whichever girl most closely represents your "type" as each one fits into the standard harem romantic interest mode. There's a short and spunky tsundere, the happy childhood friend, the brooding intellectual, and the highly capable club president. You'll attempt to woo the one of your choice but the further along your relationship develops the more the you'll begin to question your assumptions about the game itself. Things get particularly twisted. Doki Doki Literature Club isn't a long game, but it's perfect for a night in.

Little Nightmares Little Nightmares is heavy on atmosphere, but it's monsters are nothing to scoff at either. Players control Six, an abandoned girl in a yellow raincoat. Six is hungry and attempting to navigate an expansive, dark world. At it's core, Little Nightmares is an exploration side-scroller. You're waylaid by puzzles on occasion and will find yourself cowering among abandoned child-size cages and beds as you attempt to out maneuver the Janitor. The Janitor is just one of a few human-like terrors lurking around. All are massive compared to Six with long, searching arms. Little Nightmares is knuckle-gripping at times as you take the lead as a character whose only skills are climbing above or hiding from her grotesque captors.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games Kotaro Uchikoshi's trilogy is full of mind-bending, time-tripping terror. Like the title suggests, The Nonary Games are essentially a trio of room escape games that involve interacting and combining certain objects while also making selections that affect the game's outcome. The game play is relatively simple but the trilogy does some interesting things with the format and playing with expectations, like when you attempt to start over from a decision checkpoint. Each game has a mostly new cast of characters from the previous iteration and each group awakens to find themselves trapped in a location under the watchful eye of a rabbit mascot character. The premise has a few similarities to Danganronpa but the tone is completely different and the actual gameplay and story is vastly different. The new Steam release bundles the first two games together for the first time.

Castlevania Requiem: Rondo of Blood & Symphony of the Night Are you ready to hop on Konami's classic and immerse yourself in Michiru Yamane wonderful soundtrack? Both games are being released together for the PlayStation 4 for the first time on October 26. The action-adventure games star Richter Belmont and Alucard. In Rondo of Blood, Richter works his way past the monsters of Dracula's castle before facing the Lord of Vampires himself. In Symphony of the Night, Dracula's son Alucard returns to castle to burn it to the ground but discovers Richter is claiming the castle as his own. Is this pair of Castlevania games scary? No, but both make up in style what they lack is scares. Symphony of the Night is critically considered one of the best video games ever and I can't think of a better time to try it out than now.

Witch's House MV The original Witch's House gets a makeover and continues to prove you can do a lot with minimal elements. Like Angels of Death, Witch's House was produced with RPG Maker and Witch's House MV is the same game but remastered with the RPG Maker MV software. The story centers on Viola, who finds herself lost in a forest and the only means of escape is traversing through a house in the woods.The house itself is loaded with deathly traps and players must avoid certain death by solving puzzles to continue through house. Only after doing so will Viola discover the truth behind her cruel fate and the identity of the witch. Witch's House MV will be released for PC on October 31.

Yomawari: The Long Night Collection Don't let the artwork fool you, there are real terrors lurking in the dark of Yomawari. The Girl leaves her home at night to search for her older sister who in turn left to find The Girl's missing dog. The streets look different at night and armed with only a flashlight, The Girl begins to search the streets to find what matters to her most. The monsters in Yomawari are reminiscent of Gekidan Inu Curry's work on Madoka Magica. There's a mixed media style to the giant teeth, twitching eyes, and scribbling bodies of the beasts that threaten the protagonist. In Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, the game play changes up with a focus on two characters trying to make their way home in the night.

Death Mark Aksys Games will release Death Mark on Halloween and it already looks like an instant-buy for fans of horror visual novels. You play an amnesiac attempting to avoid death after getting a "Death Mark," a brutal looking birthmark that's rumored to appear on people before they die. A strange house is said to protect marked people from their fate but what lies inside could be more horrifying than any death you've conceived. More marked individuals arrive in the mansion and the player's choices, who to pair with and how to proceed, will greatly influence whether they live or die.

The new poll: Which ghost would you let haunt your house?

The old poll: Which character has the coolest monster form?

  1. Alucard (Hellsing)
  2. Holo (Spice and Wolf)
  3. Sesshomaru (Inu Yasha)
  4. Sayaka Miki (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
  5. Naruto Uzamaki (Naruto)
  6. Howl Jenkins Pendragon (Howl's Moving Castle)
  7. Kurama (Yu Yu Hakusho)
  8. Envy (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
  9. Sadao Maou (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)
  10. Haku (Spirited Away)
  11. Eren (Attack on Titan)
  12. Annie (Attack on Titan)
  13. Griffith (Berserk)
  14. Priscilla (Claymore)
  15. Abel Nightroad (Trinity Blood)
  16. Chrono (Chrono Crusade)
  17. Tetsuo (Akira)
  18. Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)
  19. Reiner (Attack on Titan)
  20. Goku (Dragon Ball)

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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