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0J’s Trick or Treat Grab Bag 2019: 10 Spooky Mini Game Reviews to Celebrate Halloween.

by on October 31, 2019

Ah yes. Halloween. The time where we don costumes, eat too much candy, pull pranks on one another and go party. It’s also a time for scary games to flood the sales of many online store fronts but what of the games of yesteryear that time hath forgotten? I look to my massive 700+ game collection and rasp at the many hallowed cases and the numerous greyed out steam titles I have accumulated. They beckon to me. They harbour my attention and I am soon lost in this bargain bin of lost, forgotten horrors.

So join me as I tell you all about the 10 games I played this October. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a hidden gem or two to call your own. Just be wary of the Metal Jesus who rasps at your door. He will find you…

Odallus: The Dark Call (Steam)
6/10 it’s a true retro metroidvania that reminds me of early PAL gaming but it lacks the polish needed to really stand out and the difficulty is a true bore till the last boss where things get super ghouls and ghosts out of nowhere.

Skullgirls (Steam)
5/10 Art style is lovely and the move sets are nice but balance seems lacking and the actual animation doesn’t feel as smooth as it looks. I found my hands tiring quickly because I wasn’t sure if I had the timing right on my moves or if they even registered at all. Story mode was also hit or miss with difficulty going all over.

Darkstalkers 3 (PS3: Darkstalkers Resurrection Collection)
7/10 Better than the first. It’s a nice street fighter alternative but still has me wanting something more… FAMILLIAR? Ok sorry I’ll just stop with the puns now…

Deathsmiles (Steam)
8/10 A really nice introduction to cave style SCHMUPS. You can choose between 4 characters of varying stats and attacks and you choose the path you take through the game. You also have a familiar which plays like the “option” seen in other games of the genre that will lock on and fire on enemies for you. Three different difficulties await though be careful; stay on hard for 5 stages and you will be sent to a harder difficulty you can’t escape and if you choose the special “canyon” stage after you will be bumped up to an even harder difficulty than that.

Overall its standard cave fare; you have a tiny hit box but a large character and a tonne of enemies and bullets come at you that you need to weave around and bosses will have several forms that change the attack patterns you see. If you are unsure if Touhou or cave SCHMUPS are your thing I’d recommend this as the difficulty isn’t so bad and it really gives you a taste for what the genre is about while being fun and only as frustrating as you let it be.

The Shapeshifting Detective (Steam)
9/10 A fun Interactive movie game where you play a detective trying to solve a murder. The twist? You can change your appearance to anyone you’ve previously met to interrogate people further. Added bonus is that the killer and they’re motivation is randomised each playthrough as well as the scenes you can progress into making for high replayability.

NIght Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition (Steam)
6/10 It’s a fun, campy nostalgia trip for me as I grew up during the genesis/snes days. on it’s own it’s a decent B-movie tier experience but unlike the other interactive movie I played, the shapeshifting Detective, this one has no replay value, That is because the ease in which you can miss objectives and game over while exploring all the cameras will more or less give you the whole story. Essentially you are the cameraman/tech support who is watching from afar while an “elite” group of military-esque people investigate and possibly arrest some evil people. Your task? Gather evidence and activate traps to prevent the horde of evil blood draining baddies from disrupting the teenage sleepover that is occurring in the house. it’s a mildly mildly frustrating game but the extra features you unlock after beating it are pretty neat. I just couldn’t find the drive after the short 25 minute game runtime was over to play again. Grab it on sale. invite a some friends over and treat it like movie night as it will take about 1.5 – 2 hours to finish.

Splatterhouse (PS3)
7/10 A gory and simple yet effective arena based brawler. Voice acting is top notch. Story is decent if not kinda dumb (like most good horror movies). Combat is intuitive and fun with upgradable skills and stats. Even has some puzzles to solve while you beat on hordes of demons. Big flaws are the loading times and seemingly unnecessary nude photos of your girlfriend you can collect. The load times are the worst though as you can die a minute in and then suffer a 5 minute loading screen.

I think it’s super fun and recommend playing it but do yourself a favour and get the XBOX 360 version as you can install onto hard drive and have a much nicer time with load times.

Dead Space (Steam – Yes my copy is old enough to predate origin. my backlog is massive and daunting and from time immemorial.)
9/10 A delightful and actually scary survival horror from EA’s now defunct Visceral Studios. You don’t need to worry about resources as much as you would in other genre kings like Resident Evil but you will need to conserve and make wise choices regardless as the melee is garbage. It’s a mostly atmospheric, tension building game with minimal jump scares and tells the tale of a group in space tasked with investigating and repairing a ship that has lost communication in space that quickly turns sour and becomes a “get back home ASAP” tale real quick. Highly recommend using headphones for the best experience. grab it when EA makes the migration back to steam. it goes for around 5 dollars these days and it’s worth more than that in my opinion

Dead Space 2 (steam – see Dead Space for why such sorcery is even possible)
4/10 This didn’t need to happen. It has more polish but fails in every regard and even the improvements seem to sour the high I had coming directly from the first game in the series. Resource management is a joke. You will never run out of anything and if you do? who cares? melee and kinetic kills are child’s play and OP compared to the first game. The tension and atmosphere are gone as the main character Issac now speaks and has well… character. In the first game I had the immersion of a silent protagonist that made me feel more like I was actually there and doing everything. Now i’m generic psychosis boy trying to be a good boy looking for a “cure” and an end to this new horror. The religion that played a minor but fulfilling role in the first game has gone from a vague fanatical interpretation of existentialism to full blow edgy Scientology with a hint or Mormonism. It’s boring, cliche, and just so… so… stupid.

People seem to like this game but I just don’t see why. the only time I enjoyed was the very beginning when Issac was in a straight jacket and you had to escape the hospital. once I found the first store… it was all downhill and any fear I had just eroded into annoyance and boredom. Just don’t bother. It reminds me of how Final Fantasy XIII is a decent game as a stand alone title but the moment the sequels come into play… ughh… Just pretend this and 3 don’t exist and enjoy the original.

Resident Evil 6 (steam)
8/10 A far departure from it’s origins, Resident Evil 6 from Capcom Is a ridiculously over the top action movie that happens to have zombies and other scary virus mutated humans thrown in. It’s seriously just one long stream of explosions and WTFery. /
I loved it.
The highlight of this Michael Bay meets b-movie with way too competent CGI experience is in the co-op. It was very satisfying to play this with a friend as we both ranted and raved over the ridiculousness that was surrounding us. It’s just that good. If you like 3rd person shooters of any genre seriously give this a go. it’s often on sale for under $10.

And there you have it. 9 games of various quality that are affordable and fun. Yes I reviewed 10 but Dead Space 2 is a terrible time that I wouldn’t recommend anyone play. What games did you play this month? If you have any suggestions for games you’ve played this month please share them in the comments below. And with that I bid you farewell. I need to get ready for a party and this sailor moon zombie costume ain’t gonna wear itself. Though if it did I guess that would be FITTING as well given what day it is. Sorry I said I’d stop the puns… I’ll just leave now…

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