As October comes to a close and Halloween approaches, I’ve decided to put together a list of some spooky, and not so spooky games that I think should be in everyone’s Switch library.
Layers of Fear: Legacy
Layers of Fear is a first person psychological horror game from Bloober Team and was ported earlier this year onto the Switch. You guide a psychologically tortured character through a haunted manor filled with jump scares, macabre art, and some incredibly dynamic level design. This game is unique in that it doesn’t really challenge you with enemies and combat mechanics but is more a minimally interactive adventure. This haunted house simulator is a fun and entertaining ride if you’re looking for something lighter in gameplay, but not lighter on thrills this Halloween.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
The game which started and helped build the Telltale empire of licenses remains important to this day for so many reasons. You were hard pressed upon the time of its release to find an adventure game as riveting as this five part mini–series. The post–apocalyptic setting in Robert Kirkman’s popular Walking Dead series coupled with the incredible writing team at Telltale and the clever illusion of player agency made for one memorable gaming experience rarely seen in the medium at the time. It was the most important game in the point and click adventure genre for quite some time due to its lasting effect on players after the end credits rolled and the way that your decisions carried over between episodes. This game simply shouldn’t be missed by Switch owners who haven’t yet had the pleasure to experience at least this season.
Limbo is a puzzle platformer developed by Playdead for Xbox Live Arcade in 2010 and was unlike anything that had been seen at the time. Its black and white art style was very reminiscent of film noir from the 50’s or art of the German expressionist period in the 1920’s. It’s minimalist style would translate to the sound design where familiar sounds of the outdoors and the animals that pursue you would ground the world and make the “trial by death” nature of the game all the more impactful.
Playdead’s follow up title Inside would act as a spiritual successor to Limbo in many ways. However, many would agree that Inside stands on its own not only in terms of dark art style and fluid character motion, but in terms of puzzle mechanics and overall creativity in its final third. Inside is one of those experiences that can start a little slow but really get under your skin by its conclusion. Both games should be experienced in order of release if only highlight Playdead’s maturity growth between both titles.
Crypt of the Necrodancer
This game is so unique in its ability to mash a whole lot of genres together. The official Wiki describes it as a “hardcore dungeon crawling (roguelike) rhythm game”. As you time your movements to the beat, you will groove through only the dankest of caverns in search of new monsters and loot. The real highlight of this gem is its soundtrack. Danny Baranowsky absolutely slays it with this perfect monster mash of deep hypnotic synths on top of the perfect tempo of percussion to make one of the best soundtracks for Halloween and for any time of year. (See shopkeeper versions of every track for reference).
Resident Evil: Revelations
The first time RE: Revelations was released, it was for the Nintendo 3DS and was considered a return to form for Capcom. The company at the time had been experimenting with elements of past games in response to fans’ demands for a return to the series’ roots. The game takes place entirely on a ship which only drives the sense of claustrophobia when fighting off this games version of zombies. A great entry for series fans as well as third person shooter fans albeit with stiffer controls than your average shooter. You might notice that the sequel (aptly named RE: Revelations 2) is not heavily favoured by the undersigned. While it isn’t a bad third person action game, it isn’t a great Resident Evil game. (It should be noted that as a long–time fan of the series, this writer is not unaware of the inconsistent quality of RE releases over the years).
Last but most certainly not least, the 2016 return one of the founding franchises to a now billion dollar genre within the games industry. This game was destined to fail. Having a troubled development cycle was one of countless obstacles in Bethesda’s way to delivering on a series that was for all intents and purposes, dead after their last attempt. This game could not have delivered further from what critics had been expecting. What the world was treated to is a masterclass in game development. A shooter with a frantic pace, tight and interesting mechanics, and entire level up and progression system. A cohesive and elaborate art style familiarizes the player to the world of Doom while standing in the modern age– a towering giant of the industry. Not to mention the incredible metal soundtrack by Mick Gordon which comes in and out of combat strategically to amp up the player, and its effectiveness cannot be understated. Doom is the full package. The fact that it could be engineered to work on the Switch is nothing short of mysticism from the former house of Carmack and my strongest recommendation on this list.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!!
Forged in the 8 bit era, Duarte can be found quietly contemplating the future of the games industry. Wondering what the exhilaration of digital achievement will look like on the next horizon.