Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for all year: Spooky Season!
There’s a magic in the air that you can only feel during Spook Season. It’s by far the best season, full of treats, coziness, and, of course, HALLOWEEN!
My favorite fall self-care ritual is popping a giant bowl of popcorn, lighting a concerning amount of candles, and cuddling underneath three blankets to unwind with a good horror movie or video game.
A video game with the right amount of spooky imagery and soundscape can definitely elevate the #vibes and get you excited for the season ahead. Here are five of my favorite video games to get you in the Spooky Season Spirit:
Animal Crossing (Nintendo Switch)
How long do you think you’d have to be away from your island for your villagers to organize a search party? It might be time to clear the weeds on your island and get rid of the cockroaches in your house, babes. Unless that’s the kind of Beetlejuice vibe you’re going for, of course!
Animal Crossing is still one of the best games to get you excited for any season, and Spooky Season is no exception. The new update included over 9,000 new items, which includes a ton of new seasonal decor items, limitless Halloween costume possibilities, and fun ways to interact with your villagers. And now that your villagers can visit your place, it’s a great time to turn it into a haunted house!
Night in the Woods (Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox, Windows, iOS)
When I first started playing Night in the Woods, I figured it would trigger repressed memories of growing up in a smaller town. But I was quickly immersed in the game’s idyllic fall scenery elevated by its buoyant and melodic soundtrack.
You play as Mae, a recent college dropout who returns to her small hometown to reconnect with her friends. The town is surrounded by thick and treacherous woods, and most of her neighbors wish she had stayed away (and do not hesitate to tell her as much). Mae quickly discovers a dark secret about the town and how it relates to her missing friend Casey. Mae also has some secrets of her own, and her unreliable narration will have you rushing toward the end in search of more.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Nintendo Switch)
Poor Luigi. Always playing second controller behind his more popular and beloved Mario, he’s now forced to explore a haunted mansion to rescue his brother and their friends after King Boo snatches them.
While Luigi’s Mansion 3 is light on the horror, you’ll still have a lot of fun sucking up ghosts and other malevolent spirits with Luigi’s vacuum. Luigi’s trembles and whines throughout the game will also get you in the right spooky mood for this season. This game is a lot of fun as couch co-op as well. A second player can control Gooigi, Luigi’s slimy clone companion, and Professor E. Gadd’s latest invention.
What Remains of Edith Finch (Nintendo Switch, Windows, iOS, Playstation, Xbox)
This beautiful and chilling game follows Edith Finch as she explores her childhood home in Washington state. The gothic Victorian home is perpetually shrouded in fog and has sprawling additions much like the Winchester Mystery House in San Francisco. Edith believes her family is cursed in a way that only leaves one member of each generation alive, and the bedrooms of the deceased are sealed off and treated as shrines.
Each Finch passed away in a peculiar way, and Edith’s tour of the house allows you to explore each family member’s room. You play as Edith, crawling through hidden corridors and trapdoors into each family member’s room, and also as the deceased during their final moments. There are also some fun easter eggs for horror enthusiasts. The game is endearing, eerie, and at times tragic.
Death’s Door (Nintendo Switch, Windows, Xbox, Playstation)
Work is hell, right? In Death’s Door, you play as a plucky crow and a harbinger of death tasked to bring back souls to the bureaucratic Reaping Commission. You’re also obligated to bring back larger souls that have outstayed their welcome in the world of the living.
Adorable isn’t really a word you’d find often on this site, but Death’s Door has such an adorably moody aesthetic that’s elevated by the indelible soundtrack. If you couldn’t tell, I love a good game soundtrack! And out of all the games listed, Death’s Door has my favorite one. It’s the perfect backdrop to exploring overgrown ruins, lush cemeteries, and long-forgotten fortresses in search of lost souls.
These games are sure to get you ready for the Spooky Season ahead! Each game is perfect for curling up on the couch and recharging from inevitable Halloween candy sugar crashes. All that’s left to decide is which one you’ll play first.
‘Hooked on You’ Review: Is it Enough to Get You Hooked?
Hooked on You, the Dead by Daylight dating simulator, lets you get to know some of the killers a little better (and in some cases, a lot better). This game has many things I love about dating sims: a cute anime-inspired art style, quirky and risqué dialogue, and characters with interesting backstories. However, I think it falls a little flat as a standalone game as opposed to a companion to DBD.
The game starts when you wake up on an island without your memories. You are talked to by a mysterious narrator. Then the even more mysterious Ocean (referred to as the narrator of the narrator) before you see the group of sexy killers playing beach volleyball and thus begin your interactions with them. After that, it plays like a traditional dating sim. Your dialogue options affect the outcome of your interactions, and you can tailor your choices to whomever you decide to romance that playthrough. There’s also a recurring reflex-based minigame that I found pretty tricky.
The characters are fun, and Hooked on You gives you a little look into their lore. Releasing a dating sim for horror game characters is a unique way to get to know the killers. Each character has their own archetype: Huntress is the strong cute girl, Trapper is the obnoxious meathead rich boy, Spirit is the book-loving goth girl, and Wraith (my favorite) is the quiet soft boy. Each character is memorable and makes the game worth replaying. You’ll have to click through a lot of repeated dialogue to get to the new gameplay. It’s unfortunate because you can only unlock some routes after romancing and rejecting all four characters, so if you want to collect all the endings, you have to play through the game at least four times.
Furthermore, this game did what I think the developers intended: it got me interested in Dead By Daylight lore. I watched character backstory videos on YouTube to try and anticipate what my killer of choice would like. Depending on which character you choose, they will also tell you an abbreviated version of their backstory, which you get the opportunity to ask them more about later. One way the developers could improve the game is by releasing free updates with more characters. I know we’d all like to see Trickster as a romanceable option!
Unless you’re a huge DBD fan, other horror sims offer more content for a similar price. My recommendations are Monster Prom, and Sucker for Love. Monster Prom offers more scenarios and characters to choose from, and Sucker for Love has more engaging gameplay with more compelling options based on your choices. Overall, Hooked on You is cute, and I liked it, but there are better games out there.
The Quarry Review: When Summer Camp Turns Deadly
For me, the best part of the horror experience is talking (or yelling) at the screen. I have a blast chiding characters for careless mistakes and getting on my soapbox to preach about how I would do things differently.
If you’re like me, then you will love how The Quarry expertly blurs the lines between audience and participant. It was developed by Supermassive Games and distributed by 2K Games. Supermassive Games is well known for their choose-your-own-adventure style games, including the critically acclaimed hit Until Dawn as well as their Dark Pictures Anthology. The studio brings us another horror survival game that challenges you to keep as many of its characters alive until the end.
The Quarry is both a nerve-racking horror movie you’ll want to watch through your fingers and an opportunity to see if your unsolicited advice on survival is actually worth a damn. The game gives several nods to the iconic 80’s horror films that came before it, and is a welcome addition to the teen horror genre. The setting is a picturesque homage to Friday the 13th, and with the deluxe edition you can even play up the 80’s vibe with rad outfits and an 80’s horror camera filter. The sharp and witty dialogue is laced with meta jokes reminiscent of Scream.
Our story begins with couple Laura (Siobhan Williams) and Max (Skyler Gisondo) heading to Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp one night early. Along the way, something—or someone—runs them off the road. They are soon discovered by the Sheriff (Ted Raimi, Horror Icon™ ), who urges them to spend the rest of the night in a motel instead. The couple dismisses the “creep ass cop” and go to the camp anyway, only to be attacked by another unknown creature and disappear for the rest of the summer.
We then fast forward to the last day of camp for the rest of our counselors. Mr. Chris Hackett, played by Veteran Horror Actor™ David Arquette, is desperate to send them on their way as soon as possible. However, lovesick Jacob (Zach Tinker) hatches a plan to delay their departure in a misguided attempt to extend his summer fling with Emma (Halston Sage). He decides to make his lack of boundaries and limited grasp on consent everyone’s problem by tampering with the van, leaving them all stranded for at least one more night.
If there weren’t dangers lurking in the surrounding forest, another night together would also have been opportune for a few other budding romances. Abigail (Ariel Winter) and Nick (Evan Evagora) are finally ready to act upon their mutual crush, while Kaitlyn (Brenda Song) and Dylan (Miles Robbins) are both pining for the cool and level-headed Ryan (Justice Smith).
Mr. Hackett, a father of two, decides that the best course of action is to give the group of horny teenagers a lukewarm warning to stay indoors and leave them unsupervised. Shockingly, the group decides to celebrate the end of summer with a bonfire instead. This wouldn’t be great horror without plucky yet foolhardy protagonists making even more terrible decisions, and soon the group is forced to split up after a messy game of Truth or Dare.
Light spoilers ahead!
All of the counselors have depth and complexity which is rarely seen in teen horror. We spend more time with some counselors than others, but each feels integral to the story. The game is separated into ten chapters, with each chapter having the potential to be more chaotic and bloodier than the last. The horror intensifies at a fast clip after Nick and Abigail are attacked by a “bear” in the woods. From there, it’s up to the group to gather clues and evidence to learn more about the Hackett family’s connection to the creatures stalking them in the quarry.
The choices presented to the player give more insight into each character and shape who they become by the end of the night (if they make it that far). The game is great for players of all skill levels, or players who prefer a story-driven game. I played in both single-player and couch co-op modes, and they were equally engaging and suspenseful. The choices you make and the items you interact with determine how the story unfolds, and simple quick time events are scattered throughout the game. For couch co-op, I tried not to influence my partner’s choices, and I can only imagine the delightful chaos possible when you’re playing with a full party.
Despite ample warnings from the game’s tutorial videos, I was still surprised at how such seemingly minor choices changed the story’s direction in major ways. I was so disappointed in the ending of my first playthrough that I decided to replay the last chapter, only to discover that the choices I had made in Chapter 2 determined my ending. The ripple effect of choices heightens the game’s suspense because any choice you make may have an outcome you wouldn’t even anticipate. While this feature is incredibly stressful, it also increases the game’s replay value. The Quarry boasts over 180 unique endings, and each replay of the night’s terror will feel as fresh and frantic as the last.
I found the second act of the game to be somewhat thin. A few plotlines that felt necessary to the overall story are also left unexplored based on your path, giving me cutscenes and dialogue that didn’t apply to my playthrough. Since your choices and the clues you’ve collected determine the story, there are times when some conversations and cutscenes feel out of place. A couple of the subplots also felt forced and nonsensical, while the other more hopeful ones were outright abandoned. The budding queer romance between Dylan and Ryan was the biggest letdown. From what I can tell, there is no payoff or resolution to their storyline, so whatever chemistry and tension you chart out for them feels fruitless by the game’s conclusion.
The characters’ movements can sometimes feel clunky, and my game glitched several times. Sometimes the character I was playing would get stuck in corners or on stairs, and I got the infamous glitch on Laura’s hair. My Death Rewind option also wasn’t available even though I had been playing the deluxe edition. The latter issue pretty much torpedoed my chances of obtaining the coveted Rough Night trophy in my first playthrough (admittedly a high bar), which is only earned if all of your counselors live to fight another day.
Although I was peeved that I could not save everyone, the carnage was brutally fantastic. The monster transformation is an absurd, bloody mess that delighted me to no end. The kills are grisly and devastatingly detailed, which will definitely slake any gore fan’s bloodlust.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed The Quarry because it offers all the camp, gore, and fervent energy of an 80’s horror movie. It’s a fun, stylish, and bloody horror that seamlessly blends the best elements of the creature feature, ghost story, and slasher subgenres. The pretty wacky tale is played perfectly by its star-studded cast, and you’ll find yourself visiting Hackett’s Quarry repeatedly to determine how the counselors’ last night together unfolds.