Every fall brings the best holiday for anyone who loves a good scare. Halloween is the wonderful time of year where we crave candy and horror. And if you’re anything like me, you also crave some good spooky games to play. Lucky for you I’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the best (and maybe worst) horror games to play on this year’s All Hollow’s Eve.
Note: I’m only including games I have personally played, so there will be some horror titles from 2021 missing. Just because it isn’t on this list, doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out!
Resident Evil had a bit of a soft reboot a few years ago with Resident Evil 7. Moving the series into a first-person perspective, critics loved the change. RE Village continues this trend. dropping the player into a small mountain town filled with all sorts of monsters. While explaining why things are what they are is a bit much for this article, it’s safe to say you’ll encounter things you’d never expect in a Resident Evil title. Adding much more freedom, exploration, and variety this time around, Village manages to expand on what 7 started, and even feel a bit more like a classic Resident Evil game. If that doesn’t sell you, I’m sure the 9 foot tall, well-stacked, sexy vampire-like lady will. I mean… the gameplay; it’s great!
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia
Classic survival horror games are a rare thing anymore. With series’ like Resident Evil leaning more towards action than survival these days, it’s nice to see a title go back to what made the horror genre so great to start with. Tormented Souls feels very much like a game you would have played in 2002, and not in a bad way. Controls feel modern, but still classic. The world is beyond atmospheric and foreboding. And the story is told very much like old school horror games did it. It does all this with a very limited budget, and still manages to feel polished and solid. If you are itching for the old Silent Hill feeling, give this one a go.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
While this game isn’t a ‘horror’ title per se, it does utterly drip with the style and presentation of a Tim Burton fever dream. Taking control of both overhead and side-scrolling views, Tandem throws the player into a magically eerie world that will leave you feeling unsettled as you play. The game makes use of its parallel planes to create some really great puzzles. Using shadows and light to create pathways is always fun and satisfying. Mix that with some fantastic music and overall atmosphere, and this short but sweet, puzzle game would fit perfectly into any spooky gaming evening.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
This one is a lot to tackle, frankly. It’s a game that people seem to constantly compare to the Silent Hill franchise, assumingly because of the “two worlds” mechanic, but the similarities stop there. The Medium follows a girl who has strong psychic powers, so much so that she can jump between “worlds” and even communication with past events/spirits.
While the presentation is pretty solid, the story is where the game not only fails, but honestly managed to disgust me. Without getting too deep into it, the story essentially paints the picture that people who have had traumatic events happen to them, regardless of who is at fault, are completely hopeless and, to quote the game, “unsaveable”. They even go as far as to imply that the world would be a better place without them in it. If you would like to know more, just do a quick search and you’ll see deeper into the awful and irresponsible writing of the game. I’ll stop and summarize now, as to avoid getting furious over this title again: The game itself features no combat, and is little more than a dreaded “walking simulator” focused around a story with no sense of morals or compassion. The only scary thing about this game, is that people still defend its views on human trauma. I’m sorry, but the world would be better without this game.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Born from the dormant ashes of the Left 4 Dead franchise, Turtle Rock Studios grew tired of waiting for Valve, and created their own spin on the genre. While a lot of the game feels very much like what L4D3 would be, it does lack a bit of the character and polish that we got with the Left 4 Dead titles. It’s still an awesome co-op game, and definitely fills the void for L4D fans. I just don’t feel the exact same magic as I did with the original games. That said, nothing beats fighting hordes of infected with a few friends!
Platforms: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
While I didn’t dislike the original Little Nightmares, I gotta admit that I felt a bit underwhelmed as a whole. Short, and a bit tedious, It just wasn’t a game for me. The sequel on the other hand, may very well be one of my favorites of 2021. Fantastic atmosphere, cerebral story, and superbly satisfying puzzles make Little Nightmares II an absolute must play as far as I’m concerned. I found myself not wanting to put it down. And as far as scares go, the Teacher is easily one of the most terrifying enemies in gaming history. Just play it.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia
So there you have it, some of the best, and worst, horror titles from 2021 you can play this Halloween. Hope you have a spooky one!