Everyone likes to watch scary movies at Halloween, but what about playing scary games? The Google Play store is packed with horror-themed games trying to part you from your hard-earned cash in exchange for a few pulse-pounding scares. But with so many on there, how do you decide which are scary, and which are just scarily bad?
To find out we typed ‘real world ghostbuster’ into Google and found ourselves in touch with Paranormal Investigator Barri Ghai.
Barri has visited some of the most terrifying places on earth, spent the night in some of the world’s most frightening locations, looked for ghosts in castles, caves, mansions and even former asylums. If these games can scare him, you know they’re worth your time.
SPOILER ALERT: Barri’s reviews include details of various jump scares.
As soon as this game starts you kind of wonder when something scary might jump at the screen and try to scare you senseless, but it’s actually quite calm (at least to start with…).
You take on the role of a night-time security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Based in the CCTV control room, I soon found myself flicking through various cameras, a little creepy especially when one of the rooms contained evil looking animatronics in the form of a bear, a duck, and yes, a bunny.
I pressed a button closing both doors in the control room that I was stood in. As soon as I did this I started to see a power meter begin to reduce and realised that maybe this was a bad move.
As I scanned the cameras I suddenly noticed that the bear was no longer in the room with his pals…
I panicked and started pressing everything in the hope of seeing him and figuring out a plan. Click, click, click, I soon saw him and yes, it was a freaky robotic bear that I just knew wanted to get me. At this point I accidentally switched on the lights and wasted valuable power. Switching from door to door and light to light, I suddenly saw two glowing eyes and a lot of sharp white teeth stood in one of the doorways. Bang, my cat like reflexes went into overdrive and I shut the door!
I immediately felt safe and sort of relived that I had protected myself from imminent death by barricading myself in the room, but my relief was short lived as the power ran out and I was momentarily plunged into darkness. I looked left, looked right and then back again before hearing a loud shriek and seeing that scary deranged bear attack me. Game over, I died within minutes and never made it through one night at Freddy’s let alone five.
Verdict: Great game, with good sound design and strong graphics
Peak heartrate: 107bpm
This game starts with a night time driving scene. Within seconds a screaming, bloodied corpse jumps out at you. I thought it was all over, turns out that was only the beginning…
On entering one room, a loud scream shook me to my core and I jumped! I couldn’t see anything but just expected to be eaten or faced with another bloodied corpse.
Surviving my brief (invisible) encounter, I continued to walk around and headed upstairs. Moving slowly along a very dark corridor all I wanted was to find a light switch, but instead all I found were some old chairs.
Next, I tentatively moved into a bedroom. I looked around and heard spooky laughter and a few moans but nothing more. Moving into another room I heard heavy footsteps coming towards me. I panicked and thought, should I hide, run for it? As the footsteps got louder and approached the door, they stopped and I peeked into the corridor to see what horrors awaited. It was dark and seemingly empty so I proceeded into the blackness of the hallway.
Suddenly a bloodied, screaming face jumped out at me! I tried to press the flashing buttons on screen, but it was too late I was a goner. This monster had managed to find me, strangle me and was now eating my face… or something equally as nasty.
Verdict: Fun but tough controls. Not as scary as the name suggests.
Peak heartrate: No higher than a hibernating bear
After the introduction narrative, you find yourself inside a very creepy dilapidated building.
Immediately I was blown away with the superior graphics and straightforward controls. The objective was to find way out so I began exploring.
After strapping on a set of night vision goggles I moved around the first floor and saw what appeared to be a lift shaft. I assumed I could jump down and find a secret passage way, I was wrong. After plummeting into the pit and hearing myself scream, I received the ‘You’re Dead’ notice. I refused to be defeated by an empty lift shaft so hit continue and carried on my search of the abandoned hospital.
As I moved from room I looked for clues and found some detailed documents that spoke of medical treatments and secret experiments. Creepy. It was like being in a Resident Evil film, boosted by the solid graphics and good playability factor.
Verdict: Very good and one that I would gladly play again. Not that scary though.
Well this game did make me jump! Once again you find yourself in an abandoned building (notice a theme?) and this time, the objectives were made clear from the start and one of them was quite clear, run from threats!
I moved quickly around the building and saw a set of stairs. I stopped momentarily to question whether I should go up or down? I chose down. As a ghost-hunter I’m used to heading into dark and sinister looking places so I cautiously made my way down some steps and into the lower levels of the building.
As I walked slowly along this dark corridor, I could see what looked like a box. A box that was shaking. I approached it and it was clear that there was something inside trying to escape. Within a few seconds a red warning flashed up on my screen and it said ‘Run!’.
In my panic I actually started running further down the dark corridor instead of back up the stairs towards apparent safety. I jumped at the sight of an evil looking vampire/zombie creature and I perished almost instantly.
Verdict: Good graphics, slick controls and all the components of a good horror game.
Peak heart rate: 115bpm
Well this was different. I wasn’t expecting a horror game to look or feel like this. It was kind of like a children’s platform game at first and didn’t appear to have a sinister theme at all.
As I knocked on doors and asked a series of questions, the game seemed to drag a little. It seemed more like a crime puzzle story than a scary horror game. As I ventured on a little further it got weirder and weirder. Am I meant to be some kind of debt collector, bailiff, or investigator?
The game just didn’t hook me in.
Verdict: Not scary enough for a hardened ghoul-hunter
Peak heart rate: So low I could have been in a deep sleep or a state of unconsciousness.
Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, spectre, or ghost? Contact Barri on Twitter.