Well, the night is here, when we indulge in dressing up and scares like there's no tomorrow. Halloween has become increasingly popular all around the world, and a decent option for getting our share of spooks is to jump into the action with some suitable games. Despite the - inaccurate - perception that Nintendo doesn't always cater for such occasions, there are some rather solid options on both Wii U and 3DS.
To get into the spirit we've therefore come up with a list of ten games - five for each system - that are perfect for the Halloween season. Without further pre-amble let's get to it.
The most recent arrival on our list, there was a time when it looked like this IP's current release wouldn't make it to the West. There's disappointment that it's download-only in North America, in particular, and we highlighted some elements of repetition and frame drops as downsides in our review. All of that aside, though, this is well worth a look for some genuine horror on Wii U and, don't forget, the prologue and first two chapters can be played for free.
A recent arrival, this terrific Simogo title was ported to Wii U by Dakko Dakko, and importantly this version utilises the GamePad in clever ways, with the screen and speakers invaluable for puzzle solving and adding to the suspense. Not many titles have the creativity that's on show here and subject matter so intriguing, and on top of that it's a rare example of a game that truly utilises the strengths of the system.
This is the second time we've listed these titles as one entry in a Halloween list, courtesy of the first game being a freebie with the sequel in North America. Each has bombastic set pieces and flowing, exciting combat, while playing them in order does help with learning about the characters and lore. You play as a witch, too, which is appropriate for this time of year..
This was a no-brainer - especially as it can be bought cheaply - which also happens to be the fate of your character the many times that you'll likely die in this Wii U launch title. Though it has its flaws, it also makes creative use of the GamePad and, for our money, is very effective and arguably more immersive on Wii U than the recent PS4 and Xbox One ports. A zombie may creep up on you as you adjust your inventory in real time, and occasionally only a cricket bat can save you from the hordes. Definitely dark room and headphones material.
A bit of wildcard in our list, but absolutely perfect if you're hosting a Halloween party and want some multiplayer fun. It's chaotic and frantic, in which you try to take out crowned ghosts and avoid your own ghosts from previous runs. When playing with others, meanwhile, you target each other in cool arenas and with a range of weapons; it's sure to raise a laugh.
This has been utilised in some of Nintendo's Halloween-themed marketing for 3DS, and there's no surprise there. It's a dark and undeniably creepy entry in the iconic franchise, and those are aspects of its design that contribute to it having a sizeable and loyal following of fans. It's a stone-cold classic that shines on 3DS.
We're happy to include this yet again as it's still an absolute stand-out on 3DS. It's unlikely to scare you but rather charm you silly, as Luigi creeps through multiple mansions while being as comical and frightened as ever. Critically acclaimed and having sold a lot of copies, this represents another coming of age for developer Next Level Games.
We'd argue that the 3DS version is particularly appealing, though the HD option on Wii U is also solid; it was originally designed with the handheld in mind and the 3D and tight environments suit it nicely, especially with a Circle Pad Pro or New Nintendo 3DS c-stick handy. This is an over-dramatic and silly counterpoint to the grisly ZombiU on Wii U, and in our view proved that all was not lost in the Resident Evil franchise when it was released. Sadly - and annoyingly - the sequel and various franchise remakes have skipped Nintendo hardware.
This was mentioned in our staff lists of Halloween games as a perfect alternative to gaming designed to scare players. It's cute and fun as you virtually dress up and trick or treat in your town, and this original title has an undeniable charm and freedom that means we give it the nod once again.
This is exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS eShop - it's also on Wii U - and is certainly dark enough in theme for the season. It's highly regarded for its basic core gameplay, diversity in items and randomly generated dungeons; undoubtedly a critical darling and welcome addition to the New 3DS.
Those are ten titles that we feel will be ideal - in different ways - for the Halloween mood on Wii U and 3DS. Some notable titles have missed out, naturally, such as Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (due to it not arriving as yet in the North American eShop) and the recently released Slender: The Arrival. Splatoon may be a fun option for its relevant Splatfest in North America, too; in Europe its themed event is coming a bit too late.
Vote for your favourites and share your thoughts, as always, in the poll and comments below. Oh, and Happy Halloween to you all!
As a little bonus below is a video we've produced of five Wii U games to play this Halloween.