Gaming On-The-Go is a weekly series that explores the mobile gaming industry as well as uncovering current trends, with hands-on guides for the latest smartphone and tablet games.
Turn off the lights and turn up the volume on your mobile device because things are about to get real spooky. That's right, Halloween is around the corner—a day to celebrate ghouls, monsters, demons and gore—pretty much a holiday made specifically for horror fans.
So I searched the darkest depths of the app stores to bring you horror-loving gamers the very best content that will seriously scare you in ways you didn't know you can be scared. Like many of you, my deep appreciation for the horror genre has left me pretty jaded. It takes a lot for a horror movie to scare me, and I have pretty much become desensitized to gore. In fact, the more gruesome a movie, comic, book or game is, the better. And I'm pretty sure you agree.
With that said, these apps left me wishing I wasn't playing alone, leaving me creeped out to my dark inner core. Prepare to be terrified because these mobile games will leave you with nightmares well past Halloween.
Mental Hospital II And III
If you really want to freak yourself out, then you have to check out Mental Hospital II. The player takes on the role of a young reporter who is on assignment to film at a psychiatric hospital. But things don't go according to plan, although you must head on over to at least get something worth reporting. It is night and there are no lights inside, so you must rely on recording to be able to navigate through the corridors that are as dead as its residents.
The game is built on Unity3D engine, so the graphics are lifelike and the overall atmosphere is enough to make you wonder whether or not playing before bed was such a good idea. If this game doesn't terrify you enough to never want to see an empty hospital again, then also check out the sequel, Mental Hospital III, where you will find out if your reporter character will make it out alive—and trust me, the third game has even more disturbingly great scenes.
Haunted Manor 2
Haunted Manor 2 is an adventure puzzle game that requires focus and brain power, so you will need bravery and smarts. You enter the the property of the manor where you need to solve a puzzle and open the crate that takes you into the house. The player then gets to explore the house and find ways to make it to the next room–all, of course, based on solving riddles.
The hardest part is solving the number "7" puzzle, but just make sure each two numbers that meet equal seven to move on. The trial version ends shortly after this step.
The best part of the game is how cinematic it is. Even after watching the opening credits, I was hooked into this world where anything can happen. There are some awesome 3D sound effects to create an even spookier atmosphere.
Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story
This game requires a VR headset, so I played using Google's Cardboard VR viewer. And I must admit, the first two times I experienced the twisted world, I had to look away. Sisters is an immersive 360-degree game that should be played with headphones on. You will hear a news report warning as you are standing in a living room as strong winds start to shake the house. Looking straight ahead, you will see two figures covered in sheets. Throughout the experience, these figures will move, as well as the two insanely creepy dolls.
Between the graphics and the head-tracking capability that makes you feel like you are really in the room, this is one of the coolest VR experiences. And while it is rather short, wait until the end to get a good scare. Don't believe me? Just watch hilarious reactions on YouTube—only after you experience it for yourself.
Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast: Augmented Reality
I'm a sucker for a good augmented reality game. And while this game won't leave you forever scarred after seeing so many ghosts, it's fun and suitable for gamers of all ages. Based on the popular movies, in Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast the player takes on the role of a ghostbuster to contain ghouls using your Proton Pack. Take on a call to hunt down the evil spirit and tap to shoot. The character will appear on your screen, meaning you get to take on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man right in your own living room. With 3D graphics, easy gameplay and the goal to collect all the creatures, this augmented reality game is a must-play.
iPoe And iLovecraft
Nothing reminds me more of Halloween than reading classic stories by Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. And while not technically a game, iPoe and iLovecraft—which launched today—bring these stories to life in a brand-new way. Users read the classic tales like Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, the Red Death, and The Raven and Lovecraft's Dagon, The Hound and The Window through an interactive and unique immersive experience that includes an original soundtrack by Miquel Tejada and gorgeous artwork by David G. Forés.
The user swipes on the screen to turn the pages on the stories as the soundtrack sets the eerie atmosphere in the background. Along the way, there are illustrations that come to life as the user taps on the 3D graphics to move to reveal some terrifying scenes, such as the wife behind the wall in The Black Cat. The graphics alone will make you want to continue to turn the pages as you enter the worlds of your favorite fiction writers.
iPoe Collection 1 is available to download for $4.99 on iOS and Android for $2.47. iPoe Collection 2 and 3 is only available for iOS for $4.99, but you can also get a bundle that includes all three collections, along with the Poe Yourself photo app and iPoe Wallpapers app for about $10. iLovecraft is available for $4.99 for iOS.
Five Night's At Freddy's 4
If you know anything about the popular Five Nights at Freddy's franchise then you already know that this game will leave you scared beyond belief. First released in 2014, this point-and-click survival horror game by Scott Cawthon started off in a pizza restaurant where you play as a night security guard that tracks the movements of psycho animatronic animal creatures via security cameras.
With the original backstory involving a murderous plot and robot toys that want to stuff you, the fourth installment honestly made me never want to cuddle with a teddy bear again. Five Night's at Freddy's 4 is set inside a bedroom this time around, where your goal is to survive five full nights without being attacked by Nightmare Freddy, Chica, Bonnie and Foxy by listening to his footsteps (this means you means wear headphones, which turns the creepiness factor up way more than even I'm comfortable with). You must check the doors, closet and bed using a flashlight to ward off the evil animatronics until 6 a.m. Nothing can prepare you for when these robots pop out at you, and honestly this is hands-down the most terrifying game I have ever played.
The Very Hungry Pumpkin
Even writing about my experience with Freddy and the gang has brought back night terrors. So to conclude this roundup, here's a Halloween app that is more fun and less traumatizing. The Very Hungry Pumpkin is arguably the most adorable Halloween game—at least on this list. With 3D graphics that include trick-or-treaters dressed up as monsters, witches, and ghosts, the player takes on the role as a pumpkin, touching the screen to pick up candy.
This game is easy to play, and is suitable for gamers of all ages. Try collecting all the candy you can before good ole' All Hallows Eve rolls around.