We here at Big Boss Battle love our fall, so we put together a list of 5 indie games relating to either the *feels* of Autumn or the *spooks* of Halloween! However, all these games fall outside of the “jump scare” variety, and all leave a lot more room for light-hearted fun and exploration.
Check out these great games, which despite the common thread have a big variety of gameplay mechanics, story, and awesome!
Every time an awesome, indie metroidvania comes out, I say ‘well that’s it, nothing else can be done with this genre of game’, and I am always wrong. In Spooky Ghosts Dot Com, you play as Ruby, a ghost hunter! A ghost hunter whose company is called ‘Spooky Ghosts Dot Com’. It’s amazing.
The game is a wonderful example of not trying to reinvent the wheel but doing a really, really good job working with the simple pieces you have. The enemies you fight are all your standard Halloween stuff — giant pumpkins, a big ghost that comes out of a TV, a green-faced witch — but the writing and gameplay run so smooth and snarky that it keeps you coming back. It has a wonderful sense of humor, and since they don’t concentrate a lot on graphics (they have their charm, but aren’t high works of art), there is so much more energy put into creating a world you want to be a part of. There are a ton of cool spaces to explore, so pick up a copy on Steam!
What does a school-based, anime-inspired beat-‘em-up think it’s doing on an autumnal list of games? Have you ever seen a school-based anime? TV series of this nature exist almost entirely in Autumn, after an idle summer, with beautiful leaves cascading off trees all around town — and The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is no different.
The game wastes no time, starting off on a moving subway car, mid fight between Ringo, a friend and some local rivals. It has everything — the school uniforms, the guys trying to act all cool while smoking a cigarette but really being terrified of their future (there is a literal button for lighting one up!), the emotional and piano based chiptunes and beautiful sprite work — to go with it all.
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is set in the main character’s final year of high school as he tries to survive the year, be true to his friends and leave behind a legacy while figuring out his future. After a few skirmishes, the game eventually opens up into a very Persona-esque slice-of-life game: you can do homework, get your grades up, run around town, fight other students and probably a lot more I didn’t find. Although I will admit some of the controls are kind of hard to work around, the music, writing and killer mood keeps you in it to win it. I am really excited to see all the secrets its city holds! Head over to their Steam page and buy it!
Citrouille is a pseudo-platformer puzzle game where you play as one of two witches who are trying to save their friend (who is a spellbook) from two bad witches. It is a really cute game. From the music to the illustrations and art style, everything has a lot of vibrance and character to it.
The goal of each level is to walk over a certain kind of block (thus activating it) without running into one of the monsters in that stage. Citrouille is pretty good at building and introducing new mechanics onto each other and keeping each level interesting. This is not a criticism, but it’s also very hard! Sometimes it seems like the randomness of the monsters’ movement makes it impossible to win, but there is usually a way if you take a minute to breathe. If you can make it through the difficulty, there is a lot of charm here to unlock (including extras!), so take a look! You can find Citrouille on Steam.
Vampirina’s Nails by gfdsahdgsye7
Vampirina’s Nails is a small game made in Unity which can give you some fun over a lunch break, painting some digital nails. The game takes place centered around Vampirina, a young vampire girl in a vampire family living in Pennsylvania.
I actually think the idea here is really great, however I feel like the developers perhaps did not take it too seriously when they were making it. I would have loved for different brush sizes (you only have one really big one). It would be awesome to paint over each nail with broad strokes to lay a foundation, then use thinner pens to draw eerie sigils on each nail. Also, there was no music involved, so even something a little quirky would have fit the theme.
The flow of Vampirina’s Nails seems to link towards owning some kind of salon and taking customers. You use that in-game cash to buy more stickers (little images you can put on the nails if you wish) and continue the game on forever! This game would probably be pretty cute for kids, but if anyone wants to make a sequel aimed at adults with some kind of story mode, you already have one paying customer. Pick it up on Steam!
Bitsy games are the wave of the future, as far as I am concerned, and A Boneless Halloween is the perfect example. In it you play as a young skeleton child who is trick or treating throughout the neighborhood in search of friendship and candy.
The story is a somewhat emotional tale about a bone-filled kid searching for companionship and treats in a boneless world (slimes, ghosts, etc.). There are a few houses to go to, and the color pallette is a simple orange and black scheme. Bitsy games are really great for conveying feeling and ‘space’ in this way; gameplay can never be that complicated, but there is a lot you can convey with a few pixels and some scrolling text. I loved the experience of playing this, and you can check it out on Itch.io… and then go make a Bitsy game of your own!