Three Indie PC Adventure Games You Should Play This Halloween

Cognition

Truly frightening games are tough to come by on consoles these days. Resident Evil has continued its necessary evolutionary shift towards action. Even the latest Silent Hill has taken the form of an isometric dungeon crawler. But on PC, indie developers are keeping the horror alive.

This year, three particular games deliver standout performances in the horror adventure category, and with Steam and other digital download sites offering discounts for Halloween, now’s the time to jump on these creepy sleeper gems.

Home:

Home

Billed as a unique horror adventure, Benjamin Rivers’ Home isn’t your run of the mill point-and-clicker. Closer to old-school text adventures than an actual video game, Home is a pixel art murder mystery that unfolds like a side-scrolling work of choose your own adventure fiction.

Your character wakes up in a strange house, unaware of where he is or how he got there, and over the span of an hour you guide him on his haunting journey home. Along the way, you’ll come across dead bodies and stumble upon lost personal effects, choosing [Y]es or [N]o as the game asks whether or not you picked up or used/examined what ever it is you’re looking at.

Once you reach the end, the items you’ve collected and choices you’ve made clue you in on what happened, but leave the story open ended for each player to subjectively solve the mystery. The game’s website even has a page available for players to share their interpretations of the story.

I wouldn’t call Home scarey, but it is suspenseful and deeply immersive, especially if you shut the lights off, strap on a pair of headphones, and play out the adventure in a single sitting as intended. Only $2.99 full price, or $1.49 for the next 15 hours or so as part of the Steam Halloween sale, Home is a narrative experiment worth taking part in.

Lone Survivor:

LoneSurvivor

A survival horror game from indie game maker Jasper Byrne, Lone Survivor is sort of like what Silent Hill might have been if it had first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Yet such a statement doesn’t fully describe the intricacies and unique touches this game has to offer, which as usual are better left experiencing for yourself.

While action has taken over for scares in many of the genre originators, Lone Survivor is a return to survival horror the way it used to be. Supplies are limited, starvation and exhaustion are constant concerns, monsters are lurking the halls of the abandoned apartment building in which the game takes place, and you– yes “You”–are left to fend for yourself with naught but a pistol and some hunks of rotten meat as the lone surviving human of a mysterious disease that has sent the city straight to hell in a hand basket.

Lone Survivor likes to play tricks with your mind as much as it enjoys sending terror through your heart whenever you stumble upon an infected creature standing between you and the next potential door to salvation, and the choice to sneak by or gun the monstrosities down is entirely up to you. It’s not the most sophisticated game in terms of mechanics, but it’s the perfect game to play late this Halloween if you’re in the mood for some thrills and chills before calling it a night.

Grab it on Steam right now for just five bucks!

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller:

CognitionEricaReedThriller

Phoenix Online Studios, makers of The Silver Lining, have launched the first chapter of their latest episodic adventure series this week. This investigative thriller has the the point-and-click basics down pat, with thoughtful puzzles, a mature storyline, and a chilling atmosphere powered by a breathtaking score.

Haunted by the death of her brother at the hands of a torturous serial killer, titular heroine Erica Reed becomes embroiled in a new case about a mysterious murder by hanging. The twist with this game is Erica’s cognitive abilities, which allow her to envision past events and interactions with certain items to collect clues her fellow FBI detectives are blind to. However, due to her past trauma, sometimes these premonitions are followed by terrifying visions.

A beautiful graphic novel art style, complete with pop-up action panels and text blocks, ties the presentation together, providing a detailed, thought-provoking crime drama to lose yourself in until the next episode comes around–which can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.

Cognition‘s first of four episodes, “The Hangman,” is currently available for $9.99 on Rain Digital Games, GamersGate, and GameStop, or in a season pass bundle for $29.99. The game is still up for Greenlight approval on Steam as well, so be sure to vote it up the ranks. This game deserves Steam distribution–and it deserves your attention.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!