Words by Alex Bracetti and Anthony Barbetta
During the month of October, we celebrate one of the spookiest holidays of the year: Halloween. There are games that make us feel like this holiday is an all-year-round affair. Most people would associate smartphone games with light-hearted runners, puzzlers or maybe RPG ports. However, there is a darker side to mobile gaming–a secret, more terrifying type of entertainment hidden within the cracks of the portable market. These games are ones that might not see the light of day much, but do inflict a sense of terror just as profound as those on consoles. Check out the 10 Mobile Horror Games You Should Download Right Now.
Silent Hill: The Escape
One of the most popular horror series is one of the first to get its claws into the mobile gaming market. The Escape is not a port of any current or past game within the Silent Hill franchise, but rather its own unique and standalone game designed specifically for mobile gameplay styles. It’s essentially a Corridor shooter, meaning you go through levels comprised of a labyrinth of hallways, doors and so on to find keys, and batteries in order to move on and survive. Like the others in the series, this game’s atmosphere is truly one that exudes horror and fear, blood covered hallways, and faceless nurses shambling through the very hallways you traverse. The controls are also simple as you just swipe to move, tilting the phone angles your gun sight and so on. Overall, it is a rather interesting game that will keep you looking over your shoulder this Halloween and all year round.
Most free-to-play games on the market have problems getting off the ground, or ever getting anywhere due to some bad aspects such as lacking story, game play mechanics, or poor control. Fortunately, Murder Room does not share these problems and proves it is a very entertaining and surprising game that costs nothing to play. The game starts by just throwing you into a room where you wake up to find a chainsaw wielding maniac and it is your job to escape. The main gameplay mechanic is to find items in the environment to help in your escape, and discern which ones work and which don’t. With new characters coming everyone now and then it becomes much trickier to survive and will keep you wondering what your next move should be.
The iPad isn’t very well known for its stock of well-off horror games, but EA’s terrifying shooter definitely makes you rethink that. Taking control of an engineer named Vandal, it is your goal to head deep into an abandoned mine to unleash beings known as Necromorphs. Fans of the series will notice the return of some very popular weapons, as well as the same stylistic and simple HUD that minimizes important information to make it easier to manage. The story itself will also entice fans as it tells an original story rather than just being a simple port of the same game for consoles, the action is just as tight and well managed as on the original. Between the psychological, jump, and legitimate scares, this game will have you scared of the dark for a good long while.
The Hunting Series
This series is definitely a unique type of gaming experience no matter what genre tries it. Essentially the games equate to an interactive movie, where the player can make certain choices that alter how the ending is dictated, as well as how certain characters react. The main premise is that it is the zombie apocalypse and you are a survivor hoping to find a place to hide out and wait it out hopefully. The Hunting series is played strictly through a first-person perspective making it much more integrated with the player. Each game is broken into different parts that run about 12 minutes or so each, but despite the short length they keep the blood pumping and the player itching for when the next part is to be released. As of right now only two parts have been released.
Dark Meadow: The Pact
Horror games by nature are frantic, slow-paced and generally atmospheric so as to entice the most intrigue and fear out of players as possible. Dark Meadow: The Pact definitely takes these factors to the extreme. The game shifts the genre in a whole new direction—using one-on-one style fighting combat with close-range weaponry instead of managing ammo and taking on swarms of zombies. The controls are simple enough, tapping left or right to avoid attacks and slashing the screen to inflict damage to defeat monsters that spawn constantly. The voice acting gives it an edge in its atmospheric storytelling as the player is guided by a voice over the intercoms laced out around the abandoned medical facility the game takes place in. With hours of game play and nearly no repeated audio this game will keep players busy for hours on end without complaint.
The Dead Trigger Series
Sometimes what makes a game better than others is graphics. While that shouldn’t always be the case, sometimes these titles find a good balance of looks and gameplay, and boy does Dead Trigger hit its mark. The visuals are sharp including some amazing fire and water effects, realistic blood-covered zombies, and some high-polished weaponry. Of course visuals are not enough to make a great game and this game has some great story and play to it. In 2012, the zombie apocalypse begins and you as one of the few survivors go around taking on missions and killing zombies in order to get money to upgrade weapons and stay alive easier and longer. The second installment provides an improvement in design and mechanics. Both games definitely make you prepared for a zombie apocalypse.
Into the Dead
Simplicity is often an overlooked factor for mobile games or just games in general. That is the approach that developers Pikpok understood quite well as seen in all of their games including this one, which uses a simple, but interesting hook. And that is how they get players. A never-ending zombie kill fest, Into the Dead keeps players going in the fact that it never ends, the character doesn’t speak, and no levels of simplicity are present. And while these may seem like negatives, it is what gives the game an edge as an underdog. Its polish is beyond the norm for mobile games, using special one-off boosts to make the game easier to rack up their score, which is measured in how far they make it before they are killed.
Resident Evil 4 Platinum
Resident Evil is a series of games that many people know like the back of their hand, especially those who love horror. The fourth installment is famous for having made the game franchise what it is today. The story itself follows the exact plot of its console counterpart to the absolute, a feat normally very difficult to do though Capcom has done so with ease. Gameplay mechanics also reflect similarities to the original, with an over-the-shoulder third-person shooter experience in which the player must make it through enclosed levels alive. With an impressive recreation of the many vast environments found in RE4 and the visuals themselves for character models, this game is definitely a fan favorite.
Chunsoft is a developer known mostly in the east, mainly for their JRPG dungeon crawlers, have decided to expand into the mobile market in the west, and boy did they make a powerful arrival. Like most of their work, Kowa-Oto is a maze-style horror game, with the goal being to find the escape on each level before you are found and killed by an evil cursed doll. The way this is done by a system of sound feedback. This means that if you are near the exit, you will hear a particular sound that signifies it at differing volumes, a different sound will be heard when the doll is nearby meaning you have to listen or else you will not know how close or far you are. With dark and ragged halls, a cursed doll and noises all around this game is sure to make you question every sound that is heard at night.
Slender definitely made people already afraid to go into forests at night, but this game somehow makes the concept of them even more terrifying by adding in creepy houses, some monsters, and a stalker that has some interesting rules about them to worry about. The gameplay involves hunting down 20 pages torn from a book found in an abandoned haunted house found in the very same woods, before the stalker known as ‘The Watcher’ finds you and summons his mistresses to hunt you down and murder you. The way this is done is by tilting the phone and controlling your character to maneuver through the woods and tap the pages to pick them up. The atmosphere while reminiscent to Slender definitely makes a stand as one of the creepiest out right now on mobile devices.