It's Halloween season, dear readers, as one day isn't enough for enthusiasts of dressing up, bugging their neighbours and eating enough sweets / candy / chocolate to be physically ill. An interesting fact around the origins of Halloween is that... never mind, you just dress up and eat a lot.
It's also about scares, too, let's not forget, or at least revelling in an atmosphere of monsters, ghouls and ghosts. As a result some — particularly those too old for trick-or-treating without being frowned upon — may seek to play games on this darkest, spookiest night, so we thought we'd list ten games to play, a bit like last year. By telling you a few nights ahead of actual Halloween we hope you'll be able to jump into quite a few to truly get into the spirit.
So, below are titles available between Wii U and 3DS, including a handful available on both thanks to their respective Virtual Console offerings. We've endeavoured to come up with a fresh list, though a few entries from last year do reanimate to haunt us again. Including Virtual Console games also allows us to endlessly plug a certain Konami franchise, because we want to. We're also not saying this is an 'ultimate' or 'best' list, so try not to rage like a werewolf when reading the entries.
So below, in no particular order, are some Halloween suggestions for 2014.
This was the first game to pop into our heads, so it emerges again after its appearance last year. 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; what are they working on next, though?
This isn't so much Editorial Director Damien McFerran's jam, but rather his entire collection of jams. Some would say this is the very best of Konami's franchise, as it showed just what the Super NES could do graphically, allowed more whip control than ever before — stop laughing at the back — and was generally rad in everything it did. Terrific design, fantastic music, add more of your own superlatives here...
It's not often we get to refer to a NES game that was a sequel but actually a prequel to a Game Boy title, but that's an accurate if drawn-out description for this game. Released in Europe on the Virtual Console and coming to Wii U and 3DS in North America this week, you play as demon Firebrand. With a mix of top-down overworld play and conventional 2D action platforming, and the fact you're Firebrand, makes this is a winner in our eyes.
Woah, some may (perhaps) be saying, you can't list an unreleased game. Well, actually, we can, as it's our list. We're merely hopeful that this title will live up to and perhaps improve on its thoroughly charming predecessor, and if it does then this will be a tempting new proposition on Wii U this Halloween. You play as children dressed up as trick-or-treaters, and it's got plenty of RPG elements; here's hoping it's as enjoyable as it is cute.
We're cheaters, and we know it, as this entry means we have 11 games in the list. As the port of the first game comes free with the Wii U exclusive in North America, and is available at a discount in Europe, we feel it's worth pointing out that it's recommended to enjoy both titles. 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.
Some of you in North America can scroll down to see a recommended classic currently available on the Wii U Virtual Console in the region, but as the GBA trilogy is absent in Europe we're including a favourite entry from the DS trilogy — thank you, 3DS backward compatibility! Konami found a rich vein of form in its DS trilogy, and in truth any of them will do the trick.
This was a no-brainer, 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 at creeping us out; 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.
Though we've linked to the latest Wii U version, we'd argue that the 3DS version could also be the way to go; designed with the handheld in mind, the 3D and tight environments suit it nicely, especially with a Circle Pad Pro handy. It's rather nice on Wii U too, and is the over-dramatic silly counterpoint to the grisly ZombiU on Wii U, and in our view proves that all is not lost in the Resident Evil franchise. We're still extremely irritated that the sequel is skipping Nintendo hardware, however.
One for North American Wii U owners, or those with a GBA / original DS, this is the concluding entry in that portable's franchise. Like with the DS games this run excelled in producing enjoyable Castlevania experiences on the smallest screens, and Aria of Sorrow learnt from its predecessors to arguably be the best of that particular trilogy.
We're being a little mischievous here, as we know some will see this entry and reach for the Caps Lock button. The subject of Altered Beast can divide the Nintendo Life team and cause fierce arguments, as some (including this writer) correctly say its rubbish, while others regard it with a peculiar reverence. It's horrifying, but perhaps not in the right way.
That's our batch for this year, though we'll have more Halloween festivities in the next few days. Let us know what you think of this line-up in the poll and comments below, while we'd love to know what you'll be playing to get in the spooky mood.
Which of these games would you most like to play this Halloween? (403 votes)
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Super Castlevania IV
Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness
Costume Quest 2
Bayonetta 1 and / or 2
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Resident Evil Revelations
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
3D Altered Beast
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