Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it.
This is a special edition, dedicated to our 5 favorite scary mobile games!
First, we would like to point out that we’re huge fans of Dead Space’s availability across multiple mobile platforms (shout out to our PlayBook lovers!). That being said, let’s talk Dead Space, and why it’s so damn good. We love the console version of Dead Space, and this is an extension of that title: you play as “Vandal,” and it’s up to you to exact vengeance upon the aliens who’ve slaughtered the space colony “Sprawl.”
In the grand tradition of sci-fi/horror franchises like Alien and Resident Evil, Dead Space crafts a universe that’s both claustrophobic, yet lonely -- a perfect combination for creating uneasiness, bolstered by superb sound mixing. Play this one in the dark with headphones on, and you’re guaranteed a horror experience on par with the best in mobile gaming. Don’t miss the back rooms for additional goodies (and scares). Dead Space is a must-buy for anyone who’s a fan of the genre.
We’ve always loved Dark Meadow, from its original paid incarnation to the free-to-play shift we saw earlier this year. It’s set in a strange, old hospital, long abandoned by the rest of the world. Of course, you wake up there sans-memory, and must put the pieces of what’s happened back together with the help of a (potentially crazy) old man named Finn, who speaks to you via radio, and claims a witch has trapped both of you there.
Dark Meadow takes full advantage of the Unreal engine; this game’s atmosphere is a one-way ticket to Creepsville. Even though movement is on rails (a-la Infinity Blade), examining Dark Meadow’s environments instills a sense of dread reserved for only the most exquisitely rendered mobile games. It might not have the “jump out of your seat” scares other games might throw at you, but Dark Meadow’s look (not to mention its rich storyline) grabs high marks in terms of bleak, dark horror titles out there.
Soul is relatively old when it comes to iOS titles; in fact, it was an XBLA title almost 3 years ago first before being ported to iOS. And holy hell, can it scare you. The game opens with a man dying on a hospital gurney (we love scary hospitals, sue us). When he takes his final breath, his soul rises from his body. It’s your job to guide this man’s soul to Heaven.
Each area is a labyrinth, designed for trial-and-error. If you get frustrated easily, Soul is absolutely not for you. As you guide the man’s soul towards the exit, demons, ghosts, and other underworld evils will attempt to stop you. There are some really juicy scares here (specifically the first time you run into specific types of ghostly visages), and the atmosphere serves to heighten those scares well.
iOS ($4.99 per chapter)
There are few things we love more than The Walking Dead over on AMC, so it’s no surprise to see this one make our scariest list. Not only scary because of the concept of a virus that turns our recently deceased into horrible zombies who want to eat us, The Walking Dead is also about the horrors people will commit when civilized society turns to dust. It’s both an interesting study on humanity after the undead reckoning, and also totally packed with action and zombie murders, both of which we dig.
Fortunately, The Walking Dead for iOS is Telltale Games‘ immersive, context-controlled version of the graphic novels. As Lee, a former convict, you’re a blank slate for those moral (or amoral) decisions that must be made as the story progresses, and the people surrounding you will change based on those decisions. Some will respect you, some may hate you, and some... well, some might just take the “easy” way out. Any way you slice it, if you’re a Walking Dead fan, you can’t miss this fantastic extension of the comics and the TV show.
The inspiration from BlindSide stemmed from co-creator Aaron Rasmussen’s temporary blindness after a chemistry accident in high school. Taking the (already scary) concept of suddenly being blind and adding in a heaping helping of horror, Epicycle Games has crafted a game that’s completely devoid of graphics, but huge on experience. Yes, that’s right: the entirety of BlindSide occurs in total darkness (on screen, anyway).
BlindSide revolves around a guy who awakens to discover he’s suddenly without sight... and then discovers there are monsters ripping everyone apart. Talk about your one-two punches, right? You and your girlfriend will navigate a fully-rendered environment (but you’ll never actually see it) and use your ears to guide you. The foley and VO work in BlindSide is brilliant, offering a terrifying listen to a life suddenly without vision, mixed with a solid horror premise. Turn off the lights, put on your headphones, and get ready for a truly visceral experience.
Ashley Esqueda is a host, cylon, and all-around mobile nerd who also works for Mobile Nations and runs an obscenity-laden tech podcast called Techfoolery. If you're playing a game you think should be in Knuckle Up, follow her on Twitter or circle her on Google+ and send it over!