Gaming to get into the spooky mood
Halloween is a great excuse to talk about scary games but in this article I want to focus more on exciting and fun zombie games to play. No ultra scary horrors here like Amnesia or SOMA; zombie games tend to be more action-oriented or survival-based. I’ve split the games to single-player and multiplayer, that way you can find the games you want most depending on whether you’re feeling like playing solo or with friends. Also, even though these games are great for Halloween season, they’re great to play year-round too, so let’s have a look.
WARNING! ZOMBIES & VIOLENCE AHEAD!
Single-player for some Solo Halloweening
1. They Are Billions
Survive against waves of the zombie horde as you collect resources, build your city, and train an army. Part city-builder; part RTS; part tower defence, They Are Billions charged its way into the gaming scene and was an instant hit with its high level of difficulty and unique zombie steampunk setting. You will die a lot in this game especially when you’re learning the ropes but there’s something about trying to build the perfect base and defences then watching the almost fluid-like zombie horde crash upon your walls and disintegrate. Few games can provide that satisfaction.
2. Graveyard Keeper
Think Stardew Valley but alongside managing a farm you develop a graveyard. Set in medieval times, there are obvious inspirations from Stardew Valley with farming, fishing, dealing with the locals, and even dungeon crawling, but this has the addition of corpses as a resource and burning ‘witches’ at the stake. Not a scary game but a perfect one to chill and relax with around the Halloween period.
3. Organ Trail
No, I didn’t mean Oregon Trail, this is a journey with significantly more dead and it’s not just because of dysentery (although there is still dysentery). Styled after the original 1985 game Oregon Trail, here’s a retro-themed zombie apocalypse that plays the same but with more gameplay mechanics and zombies. Scavenge for supplies, manage your resources, travel across the US, fight off bandits, upgrade your car, and put down infected party members. If you’re feeling old school, give this a shot.
4. Plants VS Zombies 1 & 2
On the more casual side but still in the zombie mood, Plants VS Zombies (PVZ) can be fun and there can be surprising depth behind it’s cute visuals. PVZ is a massively popular game and you’ve probably already heard of it if not played it, but it’s good for some nice chill gameplay especially if you’re on the go and only have your phone with you. Maybe something to play while waiting for a Halloween party to start?
5. Dead Rising 1 & 2
Over the top, hilarious, and insane, the first two Dead Rising games are known to be fun and action packed. ‘Creativity kills’ here with ridiculous weapons and using the environment in novel ways to clear the zombie horde. A good and funny zombie game is hard to come by, which is probably why the 3rd and 4th game in the series aren’t so well liked, but this kind of ‘lighthearted horror’ is perfect for the season and the 2nd game even has 2-player co-op if you want to team up with a friend.
6. Resident Evil
The game that defined ‘Survival Horror’, there are now a lot of Resident Evil games out there. Many are critically acclaimed and loved by the community (some aren’t as loved, so check reviews before buying) and there’s even a remake of the absolute favourite 1998 Resident Evil 2 in the works set for 2019. If you’ve never played one before, the first game got a HD remaster, and if you’re a fan maybe you could go back to the start and relive the nightmare.
Multiplayer & Co-op to Survive with Friends
1. Left 4 Dead 1 & 2
Probably the best and most fun zombie game to play with friends ever, team up and shoot your way through the undead, working together and keeping each other alive. You and up to three friends against a post-apocalyptic world is a great experience with the story, five expansive campaigns, and a ton of weapons. It’s an older game at this point with the sequel being a decade old but if you’ve never played it or haven’t in a long while, you can try another run. It’s super cheap on Steam too and often goes on sale, so that’s not an issue either.
2. The Forest
You and a few others have crashed on a mysterious island and need to build a base, fight off local cannibals, and uncover the mysteries around you. Don’t worry, the zombies will show up before long and soon you’ll be surrounded by monstrosities. This game was in development for a long time and wasn’t all that great at the start. Now, however, it’s grown into something quite epic. It’s a large island with lots to see and do, so you could go it solo but embarking on this adventure with a few friends makes it all the more fun.
3. Dying Light
If you don’t remember this one from 2015, it’s the one with parkour and zombies. The sequel is in the works but what sets this one apart is not just the fast-paced movement but also the day/night cycle where you dominate when the sun is up but at night the zombies can parkour too. It’s another one you can play by yourself but 4-player co-op is available for the story campaign and special co-op challenges and see which of you is better at surviving until dawn.
4. State of Decay 2
A zombie survival game where 4 players can build a community of survivors, establishing a base, developing abilities, and manage resources in a world where your choices will have consequences. Politics come in when it comes to making allies and every step comes with risk and reward. A word of warning though, this game is known to be a bit buggy and might not be as refined as it should be. Check reviews before buying then at least you can go in knowing what you’re up against.
5. Killing Floor 2
6-player co-op and 12-player versus survival mode make this a good one for zombie multiplayer and you can actually play the ‘Zeds’ (zombies) now. It’s an action packed one with lots of over the top gore, as you can see from any of their trailers, and Halloween themed events makes this even more of a pick for this season. The game is very well liked and if you’re into this kind of thing you can see why. Polished gameplay, constant updates, and somethings that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A good one to jump into for an action, shooty, zombie game.
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops IV Zombies Mode
A new Call of Duty is on the way and there is much hype for Black Ops 4, which is also including a zombie mode that you can check out this Halloween. A new cast of characters and three separate zombie-themed experiences will be available at launch and it looks like it might be able to set itself apart in its own unique way. Call of Duty games aren’t always the best of the best in the games industry though and some are definitely better than others. A safe bet would be to check reviews before buying, but with a good group of friends any zombie game can be a thrilling experience.
A Note on The Walking Dead by Telltale Games!
Telltale games… if you haven’t heard, the iconic adventure games studio has recently gone bust, leaving many game series up in the air without a conclusion. Most notably, The Walking Dead adventure game is in its final season and it’s unclear if the end of the game will ever be made. Recent reports now say Skybound will pick up the series and finish it, but new developers half way through the season could change things up. Either way, right now it’s an amazing game with a great zombie apocalypse story without an ending, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. If you’re okay with that, give it a play, but if not then keep an eye on the news to see if the new studio does a good job completing it.