For the past few months I’ve been bringing you a list each week of what I feel are some of the most promising games to keep an eye on in the App Store (assuming you don’t already have them). This special edition of “10 To Watch” is a list of games that you should be playing over the upcoming Halloween weekend. Of course, there are enough games on the list that you should probably start playing them now. The big difference between the normal “10 To Watch” lists and this one is that here I’ve played a good portion of the titles in this roundup. Without further ado, here are my selections for Halloween iPhone / iPod Touch games…
These are games that throw the book at you, not focusing on any particular type of creature. Sometimes it’s fun to have a wide array of beasties to slay instead of just one overarching type of brute.
Monster Mayhem – If you want variety in your monster games, there’s no better than Monster Mayhem. It’s a cute castle defense style game, except the “castle” is the gate to a cemetery and your job is to keep the creatures in. You’ll fight everything from the lowly blob to a vampire flying a plane! The weapons are cool, the bosses are crazy, and after a while the action as a whole is quite intense.
Monster Dash – With a sequel due a couple days before Halloween, it’s only fitting to mention the game that launched the career of Barry Steakfries (now also starring in the just released Age of Zombies). This is a “run for the high score” style game, but you get to travel across five different locations and blast monsters along the way. Zombies, vampires, mummies, demons and Bigfoot will try and stop you, while your defenses range from a rocket launcher to a Harley. Now if you could just have the rocket launcher and the Harley at the same time…
Halfbrick, Monster Dash, 17.8 MB – $0.99
All Hallow’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without the walking dead, and the App Store has its fair share of games that focus around these rotting adversaries. This was a hard section to narrow down because there are simply so many good games to list, but I’m just going to mention a couple for right now.
Plants vs. Zombies – Whether or not you’ve played the game, you’ve probably heard of it. I think it’s been ported to every available gaming console that people still use, as well as a few that no one has ever heard of. In the game you control a garden full of plants, and you must ward off an impending zombie invasion. As the levels progress the plants get more useful and the zombies get increasingly zany. Even if you’re not a fan of tower defense style games, there’s a good chance you’ll like this one. To top things off, both the iPhone and iPad versions are now on sale for the very first time.
All-In-1 ZombieBox – In the mood for something with zombies but can’t quite decide what to pick? Why not sweeten the deal with 10 games in one? From Appy Entertainment comes the ultimate zombie collection, including its very own time management game Zombie Pizza. Several of these games on their own are worth the price of admission, and as a bonus, one of the products is not a game. Instead it’s a guide on how to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. My mother always taught me to be prepared.
Appy Entertainment, All-In-1 ZombieBox, 85.1 MB – $0.99
Drop Dead – This is a fairly new one for me, but I’m already loving it. You’re being chased by a series of zombies, and the only thing standing between you and them is a match 3 game composed of body parts. Matching 3 or more of the same part will help keep the zombies at bay, and making enough matches will cause them to go away so you can move on to the next zombie. The game could use a hint feature so I don’t have to stare at the board wondering what move comes next, but otherwise Drop Dead is a blast.
Filmpire, Inc., Drop Dead, 14.1 MB – Free
The Re-Theme Game:
With as many new Halloween themed games as you’ll see around the holiday, you’ll also run into a lot of games that have special Halloween versions released. They usually contain the same great game play as the original, but the graphics and music have been appropriately modified to make you “feel the creeps”.
Angry Birds Halloween – Nothing like killing two birds with one stone, huh? Or in this case, killing two pigs with one bird. If you’ve played the original, prepare for more of the same but with pigs “disguised” as pumpkins. If you’re actually new to the franchise, you basically use a slingshot to launch different varieties of flightless birds at some mischievous pigs that have stolen their eggs. The Halloween edition has 45 brand new levels, so even if you’ve mastered Angry Birds it might be worth a second look.
Frootrees Halloween Edition – One might argue that this is a kids’ game, but I still think it is loads of fun. You basically have to sort skulls, pumpkins, bats and rotting apples into their appropriate baskets bellow the tree before they fall off and wither away. Once you get all four object types going with rapid deterioration, this game can get quite intense. The original was fun as well, but I like the visuals and music better in the Halloween edition.
Tin Man Games, Frootrees Halloween Edition, 4.9 MB – $0.99
Haunted 3D Rollercoaster Rush – This isn’t really a Halloween edition of the game per se, but since it has a haunted theme I thought I’d include it here. Like all the other Rollercoaster Rush games, you must get your passengers safely to the exit of up to 40 different roller coasters that have been constructed based off of some of the craziest physics you’ve ever seen. In addition to the spooky backdrops, I’m pretty sure the passengers in this one are zombies, but it’s been a while since I’ve played it. At least it’s on sale for the holiday.
Digital Chocolate, Haunted 3D Rollercoaster Rush, 6.3 MB – $0.99
When you’re not out scouring the neighborhood for candy or slaying the undead, who doesn’t love exploring a haunted house or trying to escape from an asylum? Here are a few games that let you venture into the domiciles of the supernatural.
Raving Manor – In typical haunted dwelling fashion, your car breaks down, the rain starts to pour, and you find yourself trapped in an abandoned mansion. You maneuver through the game in classic text adventure style, but with an updated interface. You must find items to solve puzzles and ultimately set yourself free. One of the neat aspects of this game is that many of the sequences are laid out in the manner of a graphic novel, so it really does feel like interactive fiction.
The Secret of Grisly Manor – Another dark and stormy night, followed by another seemingly abandoned manor. This time, however, the manor belongs to your grandfather – for some reason he’s just not home. In a game that feels somewhat like Myst in a mansion you must wander through the various rooms gathering items and solving puzzles in order to find the whereabouts of your grandfather. It’s not a long game, but at the same time I found myself unable to put it down until I had finished it.
Joe Kauffman, The Secret of Grisly Manor, 14.0 MB – $1.99
Soul – This is the iPhone port of an indie Xbox game, and it’s really sweet. You guide a dead man’s soul out of the place where he died, though I’m not really sure whether it’s an asylum or a hospital. Either way you’ll encounter many mazes that require the utmost dexterity to pass. You also have to watch out for crazy black goo like creatures that will try and eat the soul. This game is worth playing as much for the visuals as anything, though the game itself is quite fun and challenging.
Kydos Studio, Soul, 19.8 MB – $0.99
I’d be remiss in not mentioning the original haunters, the ghost. Long before some of these other creatures were even conceived, people have reported sightings of ethereal beings that might do something as simple as cause mischief or as brutal as scare a person to death. What better way to make a person paranoid then to convince them that something they can’t see is following them around?
Ghosts Attack – This feels like part 60s camp horror and part 90s console CD game. The acting is cheesy but fun and the missions are basically all of the “hunt down the ghosts” variety. You have a device that allows you to see the ghosts and turns everything else into some sort of funky VR type imagery. Not my favorite one of the bunch by any means, but still interesting to take for a spin. Besides, right now it’s free.
Tarver Games, Ghosts Attack, 54.5 MB – Free
Mishap – I really enjoyed this one. It is part hidden object, part mini-game, and part “capture the ghost”. The visuals are excellent, especially when it comes to the characterization of the ghosts. The music is good, but from an audio perspective the voices are what stand out. They did an excellent job of casting folks that really make the ghosts come to life.
Sometimes you’ve just got to play the bad guy. Life’s no fun if you’re constantly saving the world. Here are a couple of games that let you see what it’s like on the other side of the fence.
iPharaoh – This is a great little puzzle game from the developers behind HELLKID (which probably could be on this list as well). You are a pharaoh trying to keep some pesky adventurers from stealing your treasure. You do this by commanding mummies, stone blocks and other minions to crush the puny humans. What makes it real interesting is that each unit type under your control can only move in certain ways. This is a great brain teaser with a built in Halloween theme.
JustNine, iPharaoh – EP2. Desperate Pharaoh, 8.4 MB – $2.99
BIG BAD Flower – I’m not sure how Halloween related this is, but it’s a great game. I would suppose one could argue that the story of a giant flower trying to take over the world is kind of Goosebumps like, which indirectly makes it a Halloween thing, right? Just try it – I’m sure you’ll like it. Besides, there aren’t too many places where you’re going to find woodland creatures, robots and aliens all in the same game. I’m pretty sure that’s a Halloween party happening right there!
Horror Jump – If you like Doodle Jump or Angry Birds, this may not be the game for you. Like Doodle Jump you are attempting to go as high as you can, but instead of one of the myriad of cute or amusing creatures that plague other such games, here you have a character that looks much like a doodle version of Jason Voorhees. Based on the screen shots it looks like the game pays “homage” to popular titles like Doodle Jump and Angry Birds, but not in the way you’d expect. If you have a good – and macabre – sense of humor you might want to check this out.
3D Magic Kft., Horror Jump, 2.4 MB – $0.99
These are fun games that have Halloween like elements to them but don’t really fall into another category. Or, it may be that there weren’t enough games of a particular type to make a separate category. Whatever the case, they’re still worth checking out.
Dead Runner – If you’ve ever wanted to experience the thrill of the sequence in every horror movie where the protagonist is running for their life, Dead Runner is the game for you. This first person perspective infinite runner game will take you through the woods that never end. An ominous soundtrack only heightens the mood. All it is missing is that heaving breathing that lets you know the villain is always getting closer.
Distinctive Wireless, Dead Runner, 12.2 MB – $0.99
Mystic Emporium – In this time management game you play a witch, but you’re not an evil witch. You just want to make a living like everything else, so you decide to run a potions shop. You’ll meet all kinds of creatures along the way, some that are a lot less patient the others. You’ll also unlock cool items to sell and interesting features to help you sell more efficiently. It’s tried and true time management mayhem with a Halloween twist.
Halloween Pumpkin War HD – This is one of those “strategy lite” games where you just try to take over the board by pumping units into any structure you don’t already own faster than your opponent can. I wouldn’t recommend this style of game over an in-depth strategy game, but they’re nice when you want a quick strategy jaunt. This one looks to have fun graphics, and it’s all about the monsters as your troops consist of witches, pumpkins, vampires and more. Sadly it’s only for the iPad, so I won’t be playing it this Halloween.
wei hong, Halloween Pumpkin War HD, 48.7 MB – $0.99
Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon (Part 1 Review) – There aren’t really a whole lot of vampire games on the App Store, let alone ones that are both good and serious. Thankfully Path Of The Dragon is one of them. The tale is told in 3 parts, and what starts off as a journey to bestow sainthood upon a woman turns out to be a mission to prove or denounce the existence of creatures known as vampires. The visuals are good, the story is compelling, and the atmosphere is ominous, just as one would hope. The only down side is that you need all three parts for the complete picture, though at 99 cents apiece for the iPhone version at the moment it won’t suck your wallet dry.
So there you have it – 20 games to haunt you through the night this Halloween weekend. I’m sure there are some games that you were expecting to see on this list, and to be honest I could probably add another 20 in the blink of an eye. However, this should give you a good feel for what’s out there and also help boost your collection should you be missing any of these titles. Have a spooky Halloween, and be sure to turn off the lights and crank up the volume.