6 Slightly Spooky Video Games to Play This Halloween If You Can't Stand Actual Horror
Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean you want to be scared witless.
If you're anything like me and hate movies and TV shows that are way too scary, you probably don't want to be playing a terrifying horror game this Halloween, either. Thankfully, there are games that manage to capture the holiday's festive spirit without giving its players nightmares. Here are a few of my favorite only slightly spooky games that will do just the trick.
Battle Chef Brigade is just like your favorite cooking competition show, except every ingredient used is derived from monsters parts, and you have to slay the monsters yourself before you can cook them. Though it deals directly with fighting bizarre beasts and going head-to-head with orcs and the undead, it leans more into its fantasy roots than horror. The scariest thing in the game is actually the ticking clock, forcing you to wisely balance your time between heading outside to fight and collect ingredients and inside, where you can turn them into scrumptious dishes. It's available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Steam for Windows.
(Battle Chef Brigade via Adult Swim Games)
Hollow Knight follows a fierce and adventurous (but very cute) beetle on a quest through a fallen kingdom to uncover its secrets and stop evil forces from corrupting it even further. Though this is certainly the spookiest game on the list, it'll never frighten you with gore or jump scares. There is one spider-infested area of the game that's exponentially creepier than the rest (I recommend playing it with the sound turned way, way down), but the chills in this area manage to widen the scope of the game, making it feel even richer. I typically avoid scary media at all costs, but the whimsical, soulful and compelling Metroidvania was too good to put down. It's available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
(Hollow Knight via Team Cherry)
Gorogoa is one small but stunning visual puzzle game, with every movement forward wordlessly helping you unravel the mysteries of its story. It's tricky to describe, but much of the game consists of four square panels, each featuring its own scene. Sometimes, these panels merge to form a larger scene, and other times they can overlap and integrate with one another to make seemingly disparate parts work together in unison. All of this is in search of five orbs connected to a colorful, awe-inspiring monster. It's always cryptic but never convoluted, and it's just the thing to positively tease your brain. Play Gorogoa on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
(Gorogoa via Annapurna Interactive)
The Luigi's Mansion remake may have all the makings of a horror game on the surface, but the details are handled with care so as to be just right for a scaredy cat like me. Ghosts may pop out at you, but they're cute and cartoony, and they can be vanquished by shining your flashlight in their faces before sucking them up into your Ghostbusters-style vacuum backpack. Some moments are scary, but Luigi is scared right along with you, and when he hums along to the game's spooky theme song, it's a comforting reminder that he's in it with you. While it originally appeared on the Nintendo GameCube, it's also newly available on the Nintendo 3DS.
(Luigi's Mansion via Nintendo)
In The Room, players find themselves trapped in a room with a mysterious puzzle box standing at its center. By viewing the puzzling contraption from every angle and turning it all around, you might discover a secret compartment containing a key or a detail that's actually a pressable button, slowly opening up more and more of the puzzle to be discovered.
Completely solve one puzzle box and you'll find a smaller, and even trickier and more intricate puzzle box within it. You'll also need to use a special lens that illuminates otherwise unseen details, as well as the otherworldly nature of the box. The dark setting, unusual visuals and eerie sound effects (turn the sound down in the third chapters if you don't like creepy whispers) come together to make this mystery quite the haunting experience. Still, there's nothing to be frightened of—except maybe the truth that lies at the very center of these boxes. The Room is on iOS and Android, as well as Windows and Nintendo Switch.
(The Room via Fireproof Games)
Undertale tells the story of a kid who finds themself stuck in a world of monsters—though for the most part, they're all silly sweethearts who are just a few kind actions away from becoming their new bestie. As you encounter skeletons, dinosaurs, fish people and diabolical robots, it's up to you whether you'll befriend every last one of them or take a more violent path. If you follow the game's totally peaceful route, you will encounter some spooky stuff at the very end of the game, but keep the lights on and it shouldn't be too bad. Do watch out for Flowey the Flower, however. He can be a real jerk. Undertale is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Steam and Nintendo Switch.
(Undertale via Toby Fox)
If you want to discover even more about these games, click HERE to find out what happened when I attempted Undertale's pacifist route.