It’s that time of year again where things go bump in the night. Those of you that live in the U.S. might think I’m talking about the election season, but I’m actually referring to that holiday of tricking and treating called Halloween. As I’ve attempted to do over the past couple of years, I intend to share with you several games that I think will make this night even more spook-tacular. And if the games seem to lean a bit heavily towards the zombie set I apologize, but that seems to be the most popular ghoulish villain by far. Anyway, let’s get to the games…
Undead on Halloween – The skeletons are on the move and it’s your job to keep them from escaping the graveyard. Drag your finger across the screen to rain a deadly shower of Holy water on the undead masses. Eventually you can earn the ability to drop meteors in front of the gate and zap them with lightening as well. Be careful, though, because flesh hungry pumpkins and bats will bite your fingers off if you get too close, and a hand with no appendages can’t cast spells. The graphics are decent, the chomping sounds like Scooby Doo eating one of his famous snacks, and the music is appropriately eerie. And, despite the fact that this kind of looks like a kid’s game, it’s quite challenging.
Jochen Kaercher, Undead on Halloween – $0.99
Murder Room – There is a subset of the adventure game genre called the “room escape” game, where your sole purpose is to get out of a particular structure. On the whole I’ve grown bored with this style of game play, and I honestly didn’t even care for Murder Room at first. Then I realized the genius behind the game. First of all, unlike most room escape games you actually have an adversary that will dispose of you if you take too long (he is a serial killer, after all). The other thing that is interesting is that there are often multiple potential ways to solve a problem, and the game encourages experimentation. You also actually have to play through it more than once to get the best outcome to the game. The developers of this title must have felt the same way I did and decided to turn the genre on its ear, and I heartily approve.
Ateam Inc., Murder Room – Free
Terror Tower – It seems like every year we get a few “infinite fallers” for the holidays, and as it turns out this one is quite well done. You take your trusty flashlight and explore the inner recesses of a very oddly designed haunted mansion, full of ghosts, bats and other assorted creatures. There are even some non-organic obstacles like saw blades and bolts of electricity. You tilt the device to move your character left and right and tap to jump, so the controls are simple enough for the young ones. Thankfully there’s enough challenge to even keep the adults occupied. One thing that impresses me is they don’t punish you for not being very good at the game. Periodically new obstacles are introduced even if you never make it very far into the mansion. You also earn coins for each run which can be used to buy various upgrades to your character. The game is free, though of course you’re welcome to buy some coins via IAP if you’d like.
Puppy Punch Productions, Terror Tower – Free
Zombie Building – You were worried that I was never going to get to the zombie games, weren’t you? This first entry has been likened to Elevator Action, and while there are some similarities I’d give anything for a gun after about 2 minutes. Basically you have to run an elevator up and down a building that’s been overrun by zombies, picking up humans and getting them safely to the roof (where they go from there, who knows?) In theory it’s a simple matter of dragging the elevator to the floor you want, waiting for the passenger to get on, and repeating until all are saved. The problem is as things get intense it’s easy to start missing floors. Worse yet, you might forget about capacity and overload the elevator. Still, this game is well put together, it’s challenging, and it’s nice to have a zombie game that’s not all about blowing everything to bits.
INZMORE, Zombie Building – $1.99
Zombiewood – Hey look, it’s another dual stick shooter from Gameloft. As it turns out, though, this one is quite entertaining. And, despite what I said in the last paragraph, a lot of the thrill in Zombiewood comes from the ability to destroy a lot of the items around you besides just the zombies. Everything reacts to the damage as well; blow up a mailbox and a bunch of mail flies out, for example. The game has you playing a stunt man that just happens to be blowing away “real” zombies in order to make his undead films. Each film has several scenes with multiple objectives. Instead of simply destroying things, however, these objectives might include simply surviving for a period of time, protecting something else or even doing something like putting out fires. The graphics look great and it sounds good as well. All that’s missing is the occasional trash talk comment like and good zombie blasting hero would have.
Gameloft, Zombiewood – Free
N.Y. Zombies 2 – I knew this game was slated for a Halloween release and I was hoping it would make that deadline so I could include it in this article. This is pretty much what I would expect an action oriented version of a “The Walking Dead” game to be like. Your goal is basically to survive, and as the game progresses you’ll have to keep other survivors safe as well. A variety of weapons will eventually be at your disposal, but the key is using the right weapon in various situations to afford the best outcome. N.Y. Zombies 2 also has a skill tree that you’ll be able to upgrade as you complete levels and earn skill points, which is not unheard of but uncommon for an FPS that’s not billed as an RPG. Choose wisely, though, because you will not earn enough points to fully flesh out more than one branch of the tree. The visuals are really good and performance quite impressive given the use of a home brew engine instead of the popular offerings like Unity 3D or Unreal. The best part is that it runs surprising well on my iPod Touch 4, which I can’t even say for many 3D games any more.
Foursaken Media, N.Y.Zombies 2 – $1.99
Scarecrow HD – The iTunes description does what I believe is a purposely poor job of explaining this game, so I really didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded it. Turns out the game is like one of those bubble poppers where you run around shooting something up in the sky to get rid of the bubbles before they end up hitting you. In this case, though, the objects are crates which become pumpkins when first shot and then smaller and smaller pumpkins until they disappear. You control a scarecrow – hence the name of the game – and you shoot some kind of dark matter up in the air in order to destroy things. The other big difference is that the playing field is a 3D circle instead of the usual 2D plane. It’s certainly not a very in-depth game, and the developer even admits it can get rather repetitive, but the presentation is good and the 3D aspect adds an interesting twist to a genre that I’ve never been fond of to begin with.
SYNERGY-IT, Scarecrow HD – Free
Haunted Manor – The Secret Of The Lost Soul FULL – You’ve heard the story before. You’re stuck outside in the rain with nowhere to go but the creepy old mansion on the hill. Clichéd introduction aside, this game is quite well put together. There are plenty of locations to explore, lots of inventory items to collect and use and plenty of puzzles to solve. So far I haven’t run across anything too taxing, but some of the puzzles will make you think. The game is by no mean terrifying, but there are enough tricks with the sound and graphics to make you start questioning whether you’re seeing something out of the corner of your eye or not. Then there’s that creepy teddy bear that seems to keep following you around. I just wish there were a native iPad version of the game, because it doesn’t seem to play well with the iPod Touch 4. I wouldn’t usually recommend a game that crashes a lot, but I know the iPod Touch 4 has issues and this game is still a lot of fun when it’s running. If you’ve got an iPhone or iPod Touch 5 and are looking for a spooky adventure game, Haunted Manor is a great choice.
Greedy Spiders 2 – The spiders are back and just as hungry as before. Your job is to free the poor bugs that have been trapped in the spiders’ web, and you’ll do that by cutting off all available paths between the spiders and their prey, giving the bugs the chance to flee. Initially you just have your scissors to cut individual strands of the web, but eventually you’ll get other power ups like the ability to freeze the spiders. There are more goodies as well, but so far I’m cruising at a snail’s pace when it comes to completing levels. The visuals are cute and almost lull you into believing this is a kid’s game, but the challenge of the levels says otherwise. The game comes with 144 levels spread across 4 worlds, and so far I’ve made it to level 12 in the first world. Granted I’m one of those people that like to get three stars on a level whenever possible, but you certainly won’t ever feel like you’re getting ripped off in terms of quantity in Greedy Spiders 2. Even once the holiday has passed this will provide an entertaining challenge you’ll want to keep coming back to until you’ve finished it.
Alone in the Gloom – I don’t know if this really qualifies as a Halloween game, other than the fact that a lot of people are afraid of the dark. Still, it features a one eyed creature, lots of lightening and howling winds, and the aforementioned darkness to contend with. You basically have to navigate the creature to the end of each level, collecting all the stars along the way that you can get hold of. The problem is that you can only see parts of the level that are lit with lanterns – the rest you have to remember based on a brief flash of lightening at the beginning of the level. There are even some levels where you simply start off with a match that illuminates the immediate area, and you eventually have to figure your way around the tunnels. If you don’t have the patience to play levels several times you’ll definitely want to steer clear of this one, but if you’re looking for a puzzle challenge that’s based on memory and not physics Alone in the Gloom is a great game.
AB Dev, Alone in the Gloom – $0.99
MacGuffin’s Curse – This is one of those puzzle games where you have to go from room to room, trying to figure out how to open the door to get to the next room. Each room basically requires you to move a battery on to a particular spot to get the electricity flowing so the doors will open. The game starts out in a museum, and the gimmick is that early on you swipe an amulet that allows you to transform into a werewolf when you wear it. Among other things this allows you to drag the heavy batteries around the room, but there are other benefits like being able to destroy large piles of rubble. Of course there are also many things that you can’t do in wolf form, so you’ll have to continually transform back and forth in order to solve each room. The graphics are pretty sweet, the game has a good sense of humor, and aside from lack of an inventory it has some trappings of an adventure game in addition to the puzzle aspects.
Ayopa Games, MacGuffin’s Curse – $4.99
It’s Alive! – The Monster Building Game – If the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, in this game you’ll be taking on the role of a Dr. Frankenstein type and attempting to create your own monster. This is actually a computerized version of a card game that’s playable with any mix of one to five human and computer players on the same device. Your goal is to collect eight different body parts that are necessary in order to put your creation together. You’ll either draw from the main deck or try to scavenge from someone else’s graveyard. You’ll also be able to sell or auction off parts that you already have. Beware of stirring up the angry mob, however, as the Village Uprising card will set you back in either coins or cards as you try to appease the crowd. This is actually a well designed little game that gets you in the Halloween mood without having to react quickly or mash a bunch of buttons.
Jeremiah Maher, IT’S ALIVE! – The Monster Building Game – $0.99
Brainsss – Okay, I’ve tried to limit your exposure to zombie based games as much as possible, but we’re going to end this year’s Halloween roundup with one last undead affair. This time around you get to take on the role of the zombies, and it’s your job to infect the rest of the world. Based on the cries of the humans as you’re chasing them around the screen, it’s clear that this game takes the lighter side of the whole zombie apocalypse. The game has two different modes of play, though they use the same set of levels. In the first you control the zombies as one group and you pretty much just chase everyone around until you’ve caught them all. The strategy mode requires you to actually formulate some tactics. You’ll be able to select groups of zombies and move them independently, and how well you do depends on how long it takes for you to convert all the humans. Just like the Zombie Wonderland series takes a lighter look at the zombie apocalypse from the human point of view, so does Brainsss from the other side of things.
Lonely Few LLC, Brainsss – $0.99
Hopefully these 13 titles will get you in the mood for Halloween night. Of course, this isn’t nearly all the App Store has to cover, but these are some of the ones I’ve really enjoyed. I would suggest checking out the titles from my previous two roundups, most of which should still be available for your iDevices. I’ll also list a few more here that you can investigate on your own to see if they are worth investing some time in.
Skejo Studios, Operation: Eradicate – $1.99
Sarah Northway, Rebuild – $2.99
Telltale, Walking Dead: The Game – $4.99
Spacetime Studios, Dark Legends (3D MMO) – Free
Crescent Moon Games, Kids vs Goblins – $0.99
Glitch Games, Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD – $0.99
ThirdWay Studio, Giant Monsters Ate My City – $1.99