Pocket Tactics Presents: Halloween31 Oct 2016 0
Halloween is the season of frights and scares. Unless you're a mobile gamer, in which case it's the season of jealousy. While console and PC gamers get to enjoy a glut of often excellent horror titles, we're left with a weak selection of also-rans. If you're a strategy gamer then it's a double whammy since horror tactics titles are almost non-existent.
Roll on Phoenix Point, hopefully with an iOS release.
In the meantime, all is not lost. There are actually some very good scary games to play on your mobile. Some of them are a little long in the tooth now. If you haven't played Year Walk or Papa Sangre or one of the Five Nights At Freddy's games then stop reading this and get to it right now.
There are also some lesser known games that are worth your time. While none of them are out and out strategy games, there are some with surprisingly cerebral components. Why these keep flying under the radar is anyone's guess, but it's high time we rectified that.
Tormentum: Dark Sorrow
After tactics, the next best thing for the brain are the puzzles of point and click adventures. Tormentum's background adds extra urgency to you clicking as you seek to escape a lifetime of torture for crimes unknown. And its actual backgrounds add terror. Each draws inspiration from surrealist artists such as HR Geiger and is rich with astonishing detail. Although some of it is ghastly detail you'd prefer to forget.
Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities
Less mentally stimulating than punishing, this slice of survival horror will tax all your gaming skills to beat. Both visually and plot-wise it owes a great deal to the Silent Hill series, no bad thing given the classic status of that franchise.
Forgotten Memories is available on iOS.
Last Door: Collector's Edition
Pixel art point and click might not seem the best place to look for bleak psychological horror. Yet Last Door manages to turn its chunky presentation into a chilling bonus, weaving a strange, otherworldly feel. And there's plenty of item-based conundrums to keep you busy for the journey.
You'll also note this is the third item in a row with a colon in the title, making it officially the scariest punctuation mark of all.
The School: White Day
This is a classic bit of Korean survival horror from 2001, remastered for mobile. Puzzle elements are standard for the genre, but White Day has more than usual. Plus you'll have to solve them while running and hiding from a psychopathic school janitor with a baseball bat.
Now I come to look at it, a colon does look at a lot like a vampire bite. The infection is spreading.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Another remaster, this time of a 1993 adventure game, which seems to have passed gamers by. On release it's mature themes, anti-hero protagonist and voodoo-inspired plot earned it significant accolades. Even with tastes changing in the intervening years, it's still capable of exciting fear and revulsion in equal measure.
God. It's like two pales eyes, stacked in the face of a horrid mutant, peering at you out of the darkness...
Forever Lost Complete
You might have thought that the thoughtlessly named "The Room" series stole room escape for horror. You'd be wrong. The Forever Lost series has the same mechanical foundations but builds an edifice of unsettling oddness atop them. Silent, empty spaces abound, littered with ever more bizarre and self-referential riddles to solve.
You might also think you've avoided the curse of the colon. Then you realise it's called "complete" because you can also buy this game in episodes, as in Forever Lost: Episode 1. It's like the bad penny. There is no escape.
Forever Lost: Complete is available on iOS, and Android as separate episodes.
Don't be fooled by the cutesy retro graphics of skeletons and vampires. This game isn't just scary in theme but in content too, because it demands actively engaging your brain to succeed. Plus it boasts a monstrous 74 missions to work through on your way to victory. And it's the only strategy RPG I know of where you can play classes called "Heretic" and "Murderer".
I can't see a colon in this one. It must be there. I'm seeing it there like a ghostly piece of phantom punctuation. I'm not sure I can trust my senses any more. If it isn't there then .... then where is it? It's behind me! Ah, I ...