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Halloween games for people who don’t like horror

As mentioned in my post about Project Zero, I’m a big wuss when it comes to horror games. My other-half can play them in the dark and not even flinch – but I’ll be left thinking about them long after the PC or console has been switched off, my imagination going into overdrive.

So what’s a cowardly girl to do when this spooky time of year comes around? My usual solution is to make Pete play while I hide from the safety of behind a cushion, because I enjoy the kind of stories shared through the horror genre although I don’t like being on the controls myself. I grew up reading books by Stephen King and Dean Koontz from a far-too-early age and this has made me terrified of monsters lurking in the shadows, yet also strangely intrigued by them.

But sometimes you don’t want to sit back and watch: you’d rather be in control of a game yourself. And the great thing about video games nowadays is that we have so much choice; there’s something out there for absolutely everybody regardless of how much a scaredy-cat you are. Here’s my list of recommendations for people like me, who want to get involved in the Halloween fun this weekend but would rather it didn’t involve them being scared witless or awake all night.

Catherine

Altus’ Catherine isn’t a horror in the conventional sense but it still gets pretty dark. The gameplay is split into two sections: the daytime segment where protagonist Vincent interacts with friends and other patrons at the Stray Sheep Bar, and the foreboding nightmares where he must solve block puzzles to climb a tower and escape from falling to his death. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to Vincent’s story as it chooses to focus on moral ambiguity, so you might find yourself questioning some of your choices.

Costume Quest

Go back to the Halloweens of your childhood with Double Fine’s Costume Quest, a cartoony RPG about a group of young kids out trick-or-treating when a sibling is kidnapped by a monster. Each of them wears a costume and their imagination takes over in the turn-based battles: they transform into giant versions whatever they’re dressed as and are granted appropriate super-powers to match. It’s a fun game which isn’t too hard to complete and will remind you of the excitement of eating far too many sweets.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

If you decide to pick up this point-and-click for Halloween, do yourself a favour: get the original version of Gabriel Knights: Sins of the Fathers by Sierra Online rather than the 20th Anniversary Edition by Phoenix Online Studios. That way, you won’t miss out on the excellent voice-acting by Tim Curry and some of the sleaziest so-bad-they’re-good lines ever in a story about a series of murders related to voodoo. Nathan from Gaming Omnivore recently played this for our game-swap so check out his thoughts on the game in this post.

Gone Home

The opening of Gone Home by Fullbright has all the makings of a horror situation: a thunderstorm, an abandoned house, rooms shrouded in darkness and many niggling questions. There are several moments where it feels as though you’re being followed – such as the part where you must go down into the basement – but there’s really nothing scary here. What you’ll find instead is a sincere story about teenage love and finding yourself, along with some of the best voice-acting in video games I’ve ever experienced.

Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods by Infinite Fall is another game which contains nothing scary in the conventional sense. Instead, it manages to capture the hollowness of moving from the warmer months into autumn and winter, along with the uncertainties and pressures of real life. The story is told through a cast of wonderful characters that make it worth playing. A special mention for Candy: I love the way the story hints at her being more than just a mum, and how she’s dealing with issues she’s trying to keep her daughter shielded from.

The Bunker

If you’re a fan of full-motion video (FMV) games like me, check out The Bunker by Splendy Games for a tale about the last remaining survivor in a nuclear bunker who’s shielded from the outside world. And if you’re in the Essex area, why not plan a trip to the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch before you do so? Getting the chance to visit the place where the title was filmed made it even more creepy for me and the atmosphere in real-life is just a heavy as the feeling I got when playing the title: dark, and full of memories and ghosts.

The Room series

The Room by Fireproof Games is one of the best puzzle series ever made. It’s amazing how much atmosphere is packed into each instalment – even more so when you consider that the games were originally made for mobile. Although the sharp piano notes in the background and the dust motes in the air speak of loneliness, it feels as though there’s always someone watching you. The visuals are realistic yet somehow hazy, which gives each episode a dreamlike quality: it’s almost as if you’re inhabiting a room straight out of your imagination.

Bonus game: SOMA

It may seem strange to include this one on today’s list because it’s an entry in the horror genre in the true sense, but I’d recommend giving SOMA by Frictional Games a try – if you’re feeling brave enough after turning on the Safe Mode, of course. This will allow you to experience the title’s creepy atmosphere while removing the risk of in-game death. What’s truly scary about it isn’t the monsters but the questions it will force you to ask yourself, and you’ll stay thinking about them long after you’ve put the controller down.



Are there any other games you’d recommend for scaredy-cats like me at Halloween? Tell us about them in the comments below and, if you’d like to witness me hiding behind a cushion while Pete plays Amnesia, come join us over on Twitch this Saturday.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

18 thoughts on “Halloween games for people who don’t like horror Leave a comment

  1. Catherine is a brilliant game, it can just go from 0 to crazy in no time at all 😄 The Bunker and Soma are both on my list, am meaning to get around to them!

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    • SOMA gets a big thumbs up from me thanks to its themes. If you’re like me, it will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve played it.

      The Bunker isn’t the best FMV I’ve played, but it’s worth giving it a go because the atmosphere is really good! Looks like you’ve got plenty to keep you occupied during Halloween. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll get Soma installed tonight! Have heard a lot of praise for that game of late. As for The Bunker, it does look incredibly atmospheric. I’m going to wait and see what’s what with Steam’s Halloween sale 🙂

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        • Oh yeah, I forgot about the Steam sale! I’ll have to keep an eye out to see if there are any good bargains. Did you manage to install SOMA?

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          • Yeah so Soma is now installed on PS4, it was a free game one month, amazingly! There’s some decent bargains in the Halloween sale, tempted by Oxenfree….

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            • I started playing Oxenfree, then got distracted by something else and didn’t go back to it… maybe it’s time to finally get it finished. I’m going to end up spending this morning trawling through Steam now. 😆

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oxenfree is one of these games that appears in so many list videos, I’ve been meaning to check it out for ages 😄 aw let me know if you find any hidden gems!

                Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved Gone Home and NITW. I’ve been on the fence for a while about trying SOMA, but might give it a go on your recommendation! I played through Kathy Rain recently, so that would be my suggestion. It isn’t scary, but has creepy elements (and some dark themes) and pretty good if you’re a fan of the old point and click adventures. It’s also set in autumn (and in the 90s!) 🙂

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    • Kathy Rain is a great choice! I really enjoyed that game and loved the ‘Twin Peaks’ vibe. I’m still hoping the developers will release a sequel one day…

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  3. Night in the Woods is SO good. I agree with you; it’s not really a horror game, but there are some horror elements to it a bit later. The Room is one of the best puzzle games I’ve ever played. I can’t wait for the next one. I’d say What Remains of Edith Finch is a good “eerie but not full horror” game. It’s more unsettling. Rakuen would be another one I’d recommend.

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    • What Remains of Edith Finch is a really good choice. There’s something about all the weird angles of the house, and rooms on the inside which look like they shouldn’t be there on the outside, which is immediately ‘off’. And the way that each of them contains a different set of memories… I need more games like this.

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      • And the way the house was just built up from the old one. How they just added rooms and then how the rooms were sealed off when a family member died. It’s definitely one of those games with horror aspects/tropes that isn’t horror. I’ve been trying to gather notes for the same paradigm about FFVII. It’s not a horror game, but it has a lot of horror tropes in it. I love that kind of stuff. When stories ride the line. It’s eerie and unsettling, but not quite horror.

        There’s another game associated with Edith Finch, too. I can’t remember if it’s a prequel or sequel, but it follows around one of her relatives.

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