It's nearly Halloween / All Hallows' Eve / mild vandalism night, so that means everything is spooky. Well, if you want it to be, or you could hide upstairs with all the lights out until the trick or treaters are all gone - your call.
Anyway, it's a time for scary games. Or those with grisly themes. Or cute ones with outfits, they work too. A nice thing about Halloween and gaming is that you can make of it what you please, and that's especially the case when playing games on Nintendo hardware. And so we're kicking off with a list of 3DS games that are ideal for playing on the year's spookiest night; worry not, a Switch list will arrive tomorrow before the sun sets...
So, here are ten games to consider if you fancy a bit Halloween gaming on the 3DS. Our only rule was no Virtual Console, just because...
Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.
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. In past years it's featured in Nintendo's marketing around Halloween, and no wonder; it's a stone-cold classic that shines on 3DS.
Aside from arguments about naming conventions this one is easy to pick. 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 commercially successful, this represented a coming of age for developer Next Level Games before it was then thrown a hospital pass with Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Really, Nintendo, that was mean.
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. Of course both this and its successor are coming to the Switch soon, but Capcom didn't have them ready in time for Halloween because, well, it's Capcom.
A perfect alternative to gaming designed to scare players. It's cute and fun as you virtually dress up and enjoy the occasion in your town, and this title has an undeniable charm that means we give it the nod once again. That said, we're assuming the game still does the cool seasonal stuff; this writer's scared to go back to his long abandoned town for fear of repercussions from the animals.
A fantastic recent arrival on the 3DS, it's a reimagining of the Game Boy classic that very much goes its own way. It serves up varying environments and monsters, of course, along with the isolation and exploration that we've become accustomed to in most of our adventures with Samus. It's deliciously atmospheric and well suited for a Halloween night.
A bit of a curveball for you. Those with Virtual Console purchases or a SNES / NES Mini may be considering retro Castlevania games, but we think this MercurySteam title deserves a bit of love and credit. Made by the same studio that brought us Metroid: Samus Returns it's not hard to spot similarities in style and approach, plus it makes fantastic use of the 3D effect.
It arrived last year and likely fell off the radar, this is an updated version of a PSP remake of the original (if that makes sense), with an extra four chapters also added. It delivers its own narrative-driven spin of mature horror on the 3DS, with pixel-based visuals combining with fantastic audio design (wear a pair of headphones for this one) and some puzzles thrown in.
This is a franchise that has been well served on the 3DS, with spin-offs, main series entries and remasters. The most recent release in the West is Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, and depending on your region a couple of the other releases are currently on eShop discounts. These games are largely stylish RPGs full of demons and drama - perfect for Halloween.
Kotaro Uchikoshi's Zero Escape series has deservedly earned a cult following, even if wrapping up the trilogy was more difficult than was once expected. Twisted narratives and tricky puzzles are staples of the series, but it is recommended you start from the beginning. Therefore you should kick off with DS game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (playable with backwards compatibility on 3DS), then Virtue's Last Reward and finally Zero Time Dilemma.
We keep bringing this one up every year because, frankly, it's an easily forgotten gem on the 3DS eShop. Part of a series of download-only Level-5 games in the 'Guild' series, our reviewer memorably described it as 'Pacific Rim meets The Goonies'. Sweet storytelling, charming visuals and a relaxing experience may give you the alternative Halloween you crave.
So, those are ten games / series that we think should be on your radar for Halloween. Let us know of your favourite 3DS games for the spooky holiday in the comments below, and keep an eye out for our upcoming Switch list.