Halloween comes but once per year, and it's nearly over already! But here on RPS we celebrated the reason for the season (i.e. horror things; scary stuff; being scared, you know) in style. We had a whole host of spooky themed articles this year, and what a troupe of little devils they are to behold!
Whether you're staying in for a quiet one, pelting fun-size chocolate bars from your upstairs window at the neighbour children with vicious force, or you're having a heavy weekend and will need to recover come Sunday morning, have a look at the Halloween 2021 for some dark delights. Or read on in this article!
I myself will not be seeing any Halloween action this year, living as I do on a bit of an out-of-the-way street, and in a third floor flat (the entrance to which is directly opposite a community bin that is currently overflowing). We never get a lot of trick or treaters at the best of times, is what I'm saying, and my dance card for themed house parties is also very empty. So I'm not just asking you to experience spooks for these articles for the hell of it. I'm going to be doing the same!
We've put together a lovely shovel-load of takes about horror, from smart to a bit silly, big blockbuster titles to unsettling Bitsy games. A few of them accidentally intersect with things I've been interested in outside of games, like the innate horror of mushrooms, but others cut into the evolution of multiplayer horror, or Untitled Goose Game as compared to Blood Omen. You know, classic stuff.
You can find all of them under the Halloween 2021 tag, as I mentioned, but we've also listed them all here, with a little flavour of what to expect in each, just to help you out. Because hell is a bitch, but I'm not.
Halloween 2021 on RPS
Silt is an upcoming pretty but creepy horror puzzle game that will remind you a bit of Limbo (which is no bad thing). Katharine got a hands on of the demo, plus a chat with developer Spiral Circus' co-founder Tom Mead. He takes her through some of the weird influences on his horror art and Silt - including Beatrix Potter. To be fair, I know exactly the ballet he's talking about and it's pretty fucked up.
Kat Brewster explores the unnerving world of lo-fi Bitsy horror games by highlighting four of her absolute favourites. With their limited colour palettes and short, sharp, no-messing-about narratives, these horror games manage to conjur up all sorts of spooky, cosmic chills despite their lo-fi toolset. Plus, they're all available for free, right inside your browser. Definitely one to keep your big purple eyeball on.
Nic Rueben is feeling nostalgic for classiv survival horror, like what the Resident Evil games used to be like. Resident Evil Village didn't quite scratch that itch for him, and he's not too enamoured of the more modern multiplayer delights of games like Phasmophobia. He takes a look at some of the essential ingredients for a good survival horror game, as well as some cool weird indie games that are still flying that horror freak flag in 2021.
Inscryption is a recent Bestest Best here on RPS, so our very own Imogen Beckhelling sat down with developer Daniel Mullins to talk about this extremely unsettling card game. Sort of a card game. It turns out Mullins isn't entirely sure Inscryption should be called a horror game. But it's not not a horror game... It's a bit of a spoiler-filled interview if you've not played Inscryption yet, but it's an absolutely cracking read that's full of interesting insights on the game's development.
Rebecca Jones has been let out of the Treehouse guides loft for the spooky season, and has treated us with a look at the games based on Stephen King's books. There are a lot less than you'd imagine. I for one assumed that King was operating on such a different chemical plain to the rest of us in the 80s that he had no idea where the rights to any of his work even were. It's an interesting history, and is rounded up with some suggestions for non-King King-ish games to play.
I honestly didn't intend to commission any freelancer for Halloween more than once, but this premise made me laugh so much that I said yes. One of my trademark changes of heart. But what was originally going to be entirely a joke piece is actually a solid love song to Kain from Blood Omen as the daddy of all villain protagonists. But also a big joke, obviously.
Mushrooms, mould and killer plants: the best horror isn't animal, it's vegetable
I believe I mentioned before that I read Mexican Gothic and Entangled Life almost simultaneously, which was a terrible thing to do for my psyche. Here, Ewan Wilson has distilled the horror that I experienced in that week-long period into a smashing article about how the scariest scares are from nature, not man. Watch out for that first mushroom. It's a doozy.
Andrew Heaton looks at the trend into multiplayer horror games like Phasmophobia, using Outlast Trials as a case study. Once a single-player terror-fest of survival and hiding, the series is poised to become a team-based sport. Will it work? What are the pros and cons of horror with and without friends?
The horror of hand-drawn, black and white adventure Mundaun is a special kind of creepy, unsettling horror. Andreas Inderwildi takes a look at how it embraces the traditions of folk horror, without becoming old-fashioned, to truly scare the pants off you. And also there are goats. There are always goats.