Here at Choice HQ we love horror movies, and horror games too. We play the bloody (literally) things all year 'round, but tonight, Halloween, is the best time to turn down the lights and soak up some gore. Here's our pick of the best, bloodiest and most terrifying apps and games for your iPhone and iPad.
Bizarre and unsettling imagery in this trippy adventure...
If you’re after an iOS game that’s both strange and creepy, Year Walk definitely ticks both of those boxes. The overall objective of this adventure game is rather vague, as you stalk through a sinister forest in search of a glimpse of your future, but part of its charm is working out what to do next to progress. You’ll find yourself hunting down spirit children, playing with freaky marionettes and lots more we don’t want to spoil, with a few obtuse puzzles thrown in – one sound-based head-scratcher had us stumped for some time.
Graphics are simple, clean and brilliant, with some imagery sticking with you for days. Year Walk is best played at night with headphones to fully appreciate the creepy atmosphere, but be warned, there are some jump-scares – don’t play with the volume turned up if you’ve a dodgy ticker. You can also download a free companion guide that expands on the game’s mythos.
Creepy iOS horror adventure that gets under your skin...
Waking up in an unfamiliar house is unsettling enough at the best of times, especially if it’s preceded by far too many jaegerbombs and a questionable pull. However, for the protagonist of Home, an indie adventure originally released on PC in 2012, things turn out much worse than expected, starting with the discovery of a mutilated corpse in the adjacent room.
Home is a 2D adventure game that shuns action and puzzles for pure exploration: there are almost no puzzles to solve or conventional obstacles to overcome. For the most part you'll simply be pressing onwards, picking up clues and trying to make sense of the terrible things you see. The overarching mystery and sinister, spine-tickling atmosphere was enough to drive us through the relatively short playing time, but if you’re expecting a simple answer at the end, prepare for disappointment. One of Home’s best features is the way it credits its audience with intelligence, and allows them to come to their own conclusions. Make sure your friends play it too, and you'll get some great water cooler discussions.
Home’s pixellated graphics are certainly old-school but suit the mood perfectly. Most environments are dark and dingy, and you’ll make good use of your flashlight to illuminate every dust-filled crevice. The minimalist soundtrack also adds considerably to the foreboding atmosphere. We jumped several times at a crash of thunder or the squeal of a startled cat, and even if the sounds don’t actively freak you out, they’ll at the very least leave you unsettled.
Controls are beautifully simple, as you’d hope on the iPad or iPhone. Ninety percent of the time you'll be walking left and right by pushing the edge of the screen, with the occasional interaction via tapping. Items such as hammers and door keys are used automatically, so you’re never left fiddling with your inventory, or wondering where to use that random steel pipe you picked up.
The iOS version of Home has been updated over the original PC version, with some updated text and a whole new area to explore. While there isn’t enough here to encourage a second purchase for fans of the PC version, we heartily recommend it to any horror fans who are looking for a creepy late-night session with their iPad.
Is it an app, or a horror flick?
Haunting Melissa is an episodic horror tale created by independent filmmaker Neal Edelstein, following a girl who thinks her deceased mother has taken up residence in her home. We’ve only checked out the first episode, which is free to download (subsequent episodes are paid-for), but it sets the tone well. Watch it in the dark with earphones and lap up the creepy supernatural atmosphere.
Survive in the dark using only your ears...
The Nightjar is one of those unique horror games that doesn’t terrify you with horrific or gory images, mostly because there are no images – after all, it’s set in a pitch black, seemingly-deserted spaceship that’s about to go boom. Your mission is to stagger through the condemned vessel’s corridors using only your ears, and find an escape pod before the whole lot’s turned to space dust.
You’re aided in your escape by a fellow crew mate, who guides you through the ship by whispering commands. Apart from his words of wisdom, you’re relying solely on miscellaneous beeps, whirrs and other noises to orientate yourself and get to the escape pods before the whole lot blows. But of course, it soon becomes apparent that you might not be entirely alone on this ship...
Featuring some top voice talent and incredibly tense, atmospheric gameplay, The Nightjar is a memorable horror experience that should be on everyone’s playlist this Halloween.
THE WALKING DEAD
Zombie-dodging story-led adventure series...
Even if you’re suffering from zombie fatigue like us, The Walking Dead – an adventure game based on the popular comics/TV show – is a must-play for fans of the macabre. Unfurling more like an interactive drama rather than an actual game, you play as maybe-murderer Lee who is narrowly spared jail thanks to the arrival of a zombie apocalypse. Lee swiftly teams up with a number of other survivors, including a feisty young girl called Clementine, and the aim of the game is to work together to stay alive...
The Walking Dead comes in a number of episodes, and while there are a couple of stumbling points and limited interactivity, the tension really ramps up as you hurtle towards the horrific finale...