As we plunge into the end of Skeleton Appreciation Month, we enter Sales Season, a far more perilous time for anyone with poor impulse control. Steam’s inevitable Halloween sale is now live, and while it’s not as sweeping in scale as the inevitable Christmas discount-a-thon due in December, there’s some good deals. You can see the official sale page here with horror, zombie and vampire collections, plus some more more obscure, personal picks below. The sale is live now, and lasts until November 1st.
Golden Krone Hotel by Vulgat – £2.79/€3.99/$3.99
A clever little hammer horror roguelike. While you might start out as a human, you’ll undoubtedly end up as a werewolf or vampire with limited control, and need to juggle your (often unwillingly) shifting form. Simple controls and systems let you focus on the big problems, like one moment being a perfect shadow-lurking predator, and the next moment you’re blind as a bat and scurrying for sunlight to protect you from the things you know are bumping around in the dark. Simple pixel graphics match the straightforward systems, but there’s a lot of clever tactical challenges here.
Zombie Night Terror by Noclip – £1.49/€1.94/$1.94.
It’s Lemmings, but with zombies and tongue wedged firmly in cheek. For some reason, not too many people tried imitating DMA designs’s classic puzzler series. Perhaps because the sequels already hit the point of diminishing returns? Either way, Noclip have resurrected the formula with some fun twists. Playing as the unseen overmind of a mutating zombie swarm, you’ve got to puzzle your minions from A to B while eating as many brains as possible and getting as few zombos shot as you can. It’s good fun, and got a free expansion and level editor after launch too.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs by Toybox – £1.74/€2.49/$2.49
Well, that’s a title and a half. And another half. A guarded recommendation, but this one is just too weird, creative and cheap not to give a shout-out. A bizarre hybrid of visual novel, RPG, squad tactics and mini-game compilation with the single most baffling dialogue system since Captain Blood. Oh, and it’s basically Ghostbusters as filtered through modern Japanese folklore. Lead a squad of mismatched oddball paranormal investigators around Japan, zapping spooks, yelling at ghosts and picking the ‘lick’ dialogue action 90% of the time because it’s hilarious.
Two similar but wildly different simulations of crushing existential dread from Ice-Pick Lodge. Pathologic Classic is a re-translated remaster of the slightly surreal plague survival sim. The upcoming remake/sequel is still in development and there’s a public alpha build allowing you to poke around it, but the original is different enough to be worth trying. The Void is more abstract, and more traditionally dangerous and difficult. Save often in multiple slots, don’t be afraid to accept defeat, and enjoy the gorgeously dark art, even if the tech supporting it is getting a little creaky.
Monolith by Team D-13 £2.79/3.99/$3.99
Only slightly spooky, but there’s enough ghouls, ghosts and skulls trying to murder you with bullets to make it relevant. If The Binding Of Isaac is half roguelike, half shooter, then twin-stick roguelike shmup Monolith’s ratio is closer to 1:9. While the maps are randomly generated and your encounters and the weapons you’ll use are shuffled each time, skill and precision beats luck any day of the week. Sharp pixels, huge replay value (the true ending takes multiple wins), catchy music and great bosses. It seems that Team D-13 are working on an expansion, too. Read more here.
Glittermitten Grove, aka Frog Fractions 2 – by Mostly Tigerproof (really Twinbeard) – £6/€8/$8
Okay, this one is cheating and not spooky at all, unless nu-metal band Korn weirds you out on some bizarre level. It is funny though, and brilliant, and absolutely worth the discounted price. While weirdly compelling in its own right, fairy town-management game Glittermitten Grove is just a cunning facade for a far more bizarre trip. Just dig down, knock on the door and prepare for puzzles, ZZT nostalgia, mini-games and the fourth wall getting kicked down, smashed into a fine powder and then snorted for maximum boggle-eyed effect. Play the Flash original here first.
So, there’s a handful to get you started. You can hear it already, can’t you? – the hollow rasping of your bank account, dry and decrepit, praying for mercy to a cruel and uncaring universe. Spoopy.