Six of the best mid-tier horror games for Spooky Season

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Every October, gamers the world over seek our creepy, scary horror games to frighten themselves silly with on the grounds that it is “Spooky Season” and thus it is obligatory to enjoy something spooky. Now, of course, you don’t need a reason to play a spooky game at any time of year if you feel like it — but it being October is as good a reason as any to engage with some awesome horror games.

In the last entry of Six of the Best, we looked at the best indie horror games. Today, we’re looking at mid-tier horror titles — those games that have slightly bigger budgets and are a little more lofty in their ambitions, but which still have some endearingly rough edges about them which set them apart from heavily commercialised products. Some of these games are digital-only while others have enjoyed physical releases — however you choose to enjoy them, they’re all a worthwhile play.

The Coma

Horror games: The Coma
The Coma 2

Developers from all over the world have turned their hand to horror games, and the interesting thing is that horror seems to be a genre that particularly lends itself to developers expressing their national identity and traditions in some form.

Korean horror in particular is immediately identifiable for its blend of horrifying supernatural elements with biting social satire, and the The Coma series is a great example of this. Both games in this series — which can be enjoyed independently as standalone titles or experiences one after another for one coherent narrative — feature creepy scary spooky horror stuff combined with some solid criticism of the amount of pressure placed on young Korean by modern-day society.

The Coma and its sequel are available for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch. Play-Asia has a physical double-pack of both games for Switch.

Tormented Souls

Horror games: Tormented Souls

Tormented Souls pleasantly surprised everyone last year when it promised an homage to PS2-era horror games and actually delivered on that promise. It’s a really solid game that features a compelling narrative, excellent visuals and some deeply unsettling moments without relying on jumpscares.

Fans of classic-era Resident Evil and Silent Hill will definitely get a kick out of this one — so if you didn’t indulge in this one last Spooky Season, now’s a great time to find yourself alone in the dark once again!

Tormented Souls is available now for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and Xbox platforms.

Livestream: Escape from Hotel Izanami

Horror games: Livestream

Another horror game which features an element of commentary on modern society is this title from Qureate, a company previously known for its well-presented and mildly lewd visual novels. Like The Coma, it’s a side-scrolling horror adventure that combines unarmed chase sequences with adventure game-style object manipulation and exploration.

In Livestream: Escape from Hotel Izanami, you follow the fates of online streamers Mio Ikoma, Nana Sakurai and Azusa Shiraishi as they explore a famously haunted local resort. Naturally, things go very wrong and they find themselves fleeing for their life. This being a Qureate title, there’s plenty of time for a bit of mild ecchi along the way, also.

Livestream: Escape from Hotel Izanami is available now for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch. Play-Asia has a physical Japanese release of the game for Switch which has English support.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

Horror games: White Day

Another Korean horror title, White Day has been around in one form or another for over 20 years at this point. A Labyrinth Named School is a more recent reimagining of the original 2001 game, and has recently enjoyed a port to Nintendo Switch.

Like most Korean horror games, this game involves exploring a creepy old school that you’ve found yourself stuck in overnight, evading a deadly killer and attempting to discover the truth behind the souls of the dead. There are plenty of puzzles to solve along the way, as well as multiple endings and some delightfully inappropriate costume DLC to enjoy.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is available for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4/5 and Nintendo Switch. Physical Switch and PS5 versions are available from our pals at Funstock.

Corpse Party

Horror games: Corpse Party

It wouldn’t be Spooky Season without an acknowledgement of Corpse Party, probably the most well-known mid-tier horror game there is. Having had countless rereleases, ports and reimaginings over the years, chances are many of you have already played Corpse Party in some form, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth revisiting.

Noteworthy for its spectacular use of quasi-3D audio and incredible Japanese-language voice acting, Corpse Party is a game to play alone, in the dark, wearing headphones. With a close and trusted friend ready on speed-dial if it all gets a bit too much.

Corpse Party is available for all sorts of different platforms. The Editor’s personal favourite is the PSP version, but the more recent Switch port (also available on PC via Steam) is more readily available today.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows

Horror games: Tandem

Taking a bit of a sidestep from traditional horror, Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a horror-themed puzzle game that is well worth a look for its sheer inventiveness and its Tim Burton-esque aesthetic.

Taking on the role of Emma and her teddy bear companion Fenton, Tandem places a strong emphasis on making use of light and shadows to navigate its levels. By navigating the lantern-wielding Emma from a top-down perspective, you cast shadows which Fenton can use as platforms as if he were in a side-scrolling platform game. It’s a concept that takes a little while to get your head around, but which is immensely satisfying when you do.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is available for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Our pals at Funstock have physical console editions and related merchandise available.

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Pete Davison
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