October is ending and forcing us to say goodbye to the peak of horror game season, but there are always too many great games within the genre to be able to fit them all into one month. Horror games are honestly a fun experience to have any time of the year, especially with a group of friends playing together, so I’d like to take some time and point out a few that are worth getting into despite the spooky season winding up.
Outlast (2013) is a survival horror game published and developed by Red Barrels. It tells the story of a journalist, Miles, investigating an old insane asylum after being sent an anonymous tip saying that the patients have overrun the facility.
While the players constantly face death as they’re being chased and hunted down by various figures within the asylum, the game does not give them an attack system. Miles must sneak around and hide if he wants to survive, and since the only source of light comes from the camcorder he carries, players are forced to continuously search for batteries and ration out their use as much as possible. These particular constraints gives the player a cause for panic as they’re restricted in the type of game they must play. Outlast is not a hack and slash, it’s survival, and you’re quite obviously not at the top of the food chain.
The Witch’s House
The Witch’s House (2012) is a horror game with strong puzzle elements that was developed by Fummy using RPG Maker. Viola, a young girl, goes to see her friend that lives in the forest, but finds that she’s trapped and the only way to leave is to make her way through a mysterious house that is inhabited by a witch.
While many find The Witch’s House unassuming as it is an RPG Maker game that uses pixelated sprites, it’s an extremely well loved horror game in the community. There’s a dark sense of humor with some of the jokes, and the puzzles can be well hidden at times. The Witch’s House can be quite creepy at times, and the True Ending of the game (while still a very simple animation) still disturbs many players well after the game has ended.
Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear (2016) is a psychological horror game developed by Bloober Team that focuses on exploration. It tells the tale of a painter who is trying to finish his greatest piece, but in order to do so he must search his house for materials needed to do so, unlocking the secrets of what has transpired within his home.
Since the game is both psychological horror and exploration, the game changes the house as the player continues to roam around. It’s possible to be walking down a hallway and turn around, only to find that the empty hallway now has several open doors, or that it’s gone altogether. There are no enemies to fight, or flee from, in this game. The biggest worry here seems to not be what your character is doing, but rather what they have done.
P.T. [Playable Teaser] (2014) is an exception to this article in two ways: it’s a teaser, not a full game, and it’s actually no longer available to play. Developed by 7780s Studio (a front for Hideo Kojima’s Kojima Productions), P.T. was a teaser for a new game in the Silent Hill franchise. Unfortunately, P.T. is a reminder of what could have been as tensions between Kojima and their publisher Konami reached an all time high that left the new Silent Hill game cancelled along with the developers officially leaving Konami.
P.T. would also be considered psychological horror in a way as it uses the same environment every time, but will change certain aspects of it, sometimes in very grotesque ways. It also featured different endings depending on if the player found all the pieces of a photograph within the teaser.
Konami removed P.T. from the Playstation Store after the cancellation of the new Silent Hill was announced, so it’s not available to experience first hand (unless you know a friend that still has it on their hard drive), but there are plenty of playthroughs available online that will let you see the brilliance of a game that will never be released.