13 short and scary games plus source to play (or hack) this Halloween 🎃

Image of Lee Reilly

It’s that time of year again where I like to share seasonally spooktacular games plus source code—a goldmine of material for (a) those looking for coffee-break entertainment, (b) those interested in learning more about game development by example, and (c) those who just want to put on their h4xor gloves and cheat their way to infinite lives and ammo.

The games listed below are generally made in a few days by individuals or small teams for game jams, so there’s not a lot of room for feature creep here—just great gameplay, graphics, audio, and/or all of the above.

In no particular order, here are a few games that you can trick or treat yourself to this weekend!

Chamber

Play (Web, Windows) Source (Heaps, Haxe)

Chamber took 1st place the 47th Ludum Dare jam and was made in just 72 hours by two people to the theme “stuck in a loop.” You’ll certainly be stuck in a loop as you repeatedly exterminate enemies, collecting blood and giving it to your ghost friend along the way in your quest to escape the Eternal Chamber.

Paralunar

Play (Web, Windows, Linux) Source (Godot, GDScript)

The theme for the 2020 Game Off was Moonshot and Paralunar was right on target—ranking number one for gameplay. Set in a haunted castle (on the moon, obviously) you’ll have to dash about avoiding apparitions and gunning down ghosts. With the mouse and keyboard controls plus fast-paced gameplay, your fingers will get plenty of exorcise!

Cheat code: Change ghost.gd lines 8 + 9 to slow down the enemies and make them easier targets:

- var follow_speed = 50
- var wander_speed = 20
+ var follow_speed = 1
+ var wander_speed = 1

From the Shadows

Play (Windows, macOS) Source (Unity, C#)

Your face is sure to light up as you resolve puzzles revolving around light and shadow in the aptly named From the Shadows from a group of students at Lyon 2 University in France. This cooperative platform game was created for the 2020 Gamagora Game Show and is now available and free to play on Steam.

Q1K3

Play (Web) Source (JavaScript)

Take on hordes of monsters in this wonderfully small-but-mighty reimaging of Quake for your web browser. This game was made with less than 13kB of assets (HTML, CSS, JS, images and sound). That’s just 2.69% the size of the image above 🤯

Cheat codes:

Make yourself invulnerable by simply commenting out line 116 of entity_player.js:

_receive_damage(from, amount) {
  audio_play(sfx_hurt);
- super._receive_damage(from, amount);
+ // super._receive_damage(from, amount);
}

Or, give yourself infinite-ish ammo or at least nine hundred and ninety-nine nine inch nails (try saying that ten nine times fast!) by upping your ammo on line 68 of weapons.js:

class weapon_nailgun_t extends weapon_t {
  _init() {
    this._texture = 4;
    this._model = model_nailgun;
    this._sound = sfx_nailgun_shoot;
-    this._ammo = 100;
+    this._ammo = 999;
    this._reload = 0.09;
    this._projectile_type = entity_projectile_nail_t;
    this._projectile_speed = 1300;
    this._projectile_offset = vec3(6,0,8);
  }
}

Hellevator

Play (Web, Windows) Source (Unity, C#)

Hellevator has it’s up and downs, but for a game made in a weekend for Ludum Dare 48, I think it’s hella cool. Stay alert as you take the demon-ravaged elevator down to hell. Cast spells and crank the generator as you make your way to duel with the devil.

Chess Hellevator

Play (Web, Windows, Linux, macOS) Source (Godot, GDScript)

Wait. Two elevator-related games? That’s right! The theme for Ludum Dare 48 was Deeper and Deeper, so it’s not too difficult to see how the theme was interpreted.  This one takes the rules of chess, and throws them out the window elevator! Total pwnage (and punnage) ensues. You’ll definitely want to check this one out!

Landlord

Play (Web, Windows, macOS) Source (LÖVE, Lua)

Clear the castle of all the evil monsters in this old-school, purposely-low-resolution FPS dungeon crawler-like game made for the aptly named LowRezJam in 2020, where games were limited to a resolution of 64×64.

The Maze of Space Goblins

Play (Web) Source (JavaScript)

The Maze of Space Goblins is ​​a hybrid Sokoban Match-3-style game that makes for a fun, addictive, and challenging coffee-break (or, lunch-break depending on how good you are) activity.

Cheat code: Jump to the ninth level by updating game.ts L#48 to replace startIndex with N as appropriate and restart the game:

constructor(param : number, event : CoreEvent) {
  let startIndex = clamp(Number(param), 1, MAP_DATA.length);
-  this.stage = new Stage(startIndex);
+  this.stage = new Stage(4);
    }
  }

Ultra Nightmare

Play (Windows, Linux, macOS) Source (libGDX, Java)

If you ever played the original Doom or Wolfenstein games, and especially if you were doomed to use the lowest possible graphics/resolution settings like me, this game should feel familiar. Ultra Nightmare is a blocky FPS game made for the 2020 libGDC Jam, where you’ll need to navigate mazes and take down fiery floating skulls.

Deviant

Play (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux) Source (Unity, C#)

No venting or pointing the finger at imposters here! This is a reverse-horror game where you play as a robot that periodically becomes murderously unstable. You’ll need to destroy the core and free yourself from the humans without looking sus!

The Salatroitsk Incident

Play (Windows, macOS) Source (Unity, C#)

Those old enough to remember the original Playstation will get a kick of this PS1-style horror game set in a fictional Russian city after a nuclear incident. There are reports of a strange mutant abomination roaming the area that you’ll have to avoid as you collect radioactive samples with the help of your trusty Geiger counter.

Coincidentally, if you’re unfortunate enough to encounter the mutant,  it does kinda look like something from the mind of H.R. Giger. Get it? Geiger counter, H.R. Giger? The artist famous for his work on the Alien franchise? I’ll get my coat.

Editor’s note: I’m sorry about that last “joke,” dear readers.

Life Sacrificer

Play (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux) Source (Godot, GDScript)

Guide your hero through the procedurally-generated dungeon, destroying all demons that step into your path, in this fast and fun lil’ roguelike from the 3rd Blackthornprod Game Jam.

Cheat code: Try to swing things in your favor by updating the health to beast mode on line 8 of global.gd:

-var health := 100
+var health := 666 // 🤘🏻

Sentimental Wake

Play (Web)  Source (Ruby)

Last but not least (unless you’re counting total number of pixels), here’s another one from the 2020 LowRezJam, but this time in Ruby. Use swords, axes, guns, and perfectly timed jumps to your advantage in this small-but-challenging platform game.


Well, that’s it for this edition. If you enjoyed this post, you might like this assortment of spooktacular games or this gathering of ghoulish games from All Hallows’ Eves gone past. Creep it real and have a fangtastic Halloween!

Pst! Looking for an excuse to build your own game? Check out the Game Off that runs from Nov 1-Dec 1.