The Kids Are Alright (At Horror Game Recommendations)
You know, I think the focus on horror in this household might have had a bit of an influence on my children. My youngest is overly fond of death stares, manic grins, and muttering stuff about the taste of eyeballs before bursting out laughing (look, she still loves the color pink and unicorns too). My eldest got into drawing by sketching Five Nights at Freddy’s characters. What would probably be a bit disturbing to some parents is both amusing and endearing to me. I can’t claim all the credit for their growing love of horror though. The casual manner by which YouTube feeds kids ‘scary games’ in a palatable form is a little shady I must admit, but if anything, it’s been a good gateway into their appreciation of what horror does well in game form.
Of course, this means they find their own horror roads to travel down, and the tables get turned on me constantly with ‘have you played this?’ about things I’ve either heard about vaguely or not at all. So, as they’re off for the Summer Holidays now and bugging me for things to do. I got them to recommend me two games each that I hadn’t played. Together, maybe we shall learn something! If not, it’s an easy way to get an article done this week. In truth, it was actually not an easy way to get an article done this week. I had to veto several FNAF knock-offs and Poppy Playtime to much disdain and confusion.
Still, they made some interesting picks in the end, and even let me know what they liked about them.
The Man From the Window
My daughter has been talking about this for weeks now, being the ultimate PR for it by being very excited when talking about it, yet maintaining a sense of mystery because I still didn’t know anything about it beyond there being a man in a window. That, and having to confirm that while men seen in windows are real, this one from a window, is not.
Zed_Technician’s game is about a Mother Rabbit that comes home late one night to find her little bun-bun scared by a book they’ve read. She tries to reassure the little bugger that it’s just a story, but of course, it isn’t. This is…The Bunnehdook (sorry).
So why exactly does my youngest like this game? Well, she offered me this splendid insight that made me laugh…nervously.
‘’I like the part where you read the book, and the hiding. I also like when the man takes you because that’s violent to me.’’
Can’t fault that, I suppose. I think I’ll be locking my door at night though.
Man From the Window is on itch.io.
Slide in the Woods
I like a game that says what it is in the title. Slide in the Woods promises a slide…in the woods. It delivers just that. Naturally, it’s a little more than that, even if I was slightly suspicious at first because my daughter loves slides and I was starting to think that was why this got picked (it sort of was)
‘’It’s creepy because the slide moves in it,’’ she said, ‘’but before it moves you get to slide down it a lot. You can leave but can’t go home.’’ A summary that nicely sums up the deceptive joys of going on a slide…in the woods.
Slide in the Woods by Jonny’s Games is on itch.io.
My son did a mischievous chuckle as he picked this rainbow-colored game about a llama seeking out sentient fruit people to nibble on. Like somehow I wouldn’t know that it wasn’t going to be something darker than that. Of course, it could have been a double bluff, but that went out the window when he started rolling his eyes and theatrically stating it was a ‘totally normal game about a cute llama’.
I was more impressed with his understanding of what Hungry Lamu does as a horror experience.
‘’I like the way its lovely atmosphere gives you a false sense of security and then increases the shock for later in the game.’’
Then, he proved he was messing with me the whole time,
‘’ The other great thing is that if you’ve played many horror games before you can guess the inevitable.’’
Can you guess the inevitable? Me too, but the boy had it right, it does a good job of getting there.
Kulu’s Hungry Lamu is on itch.io.
Obviously, the tutting at wasted dinners has had an effect because Leftovers is a horror game about a disappointed mother who can’t stand the idea of leftover food going to waste. So she makes her child go door-to-door to dish out the remaining food.
My son sums it up well.
‘’It can be confusing at times but always has an atmosphere of queer and creepy. But what’s IN the leftovers?!!! Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUUUUN.’’
The monochrome look, and sketch-like character designs existing in a 3D world do indeed add those qualities to the game’s atmosphere. The slow-cooked reveal is also ahem…well done.
Leftovers by Realmimpact is on itch.io.