Written by Lori May
With many Halloween festivities canceled for 2020 due to the global pandemic, many students have been disappointed to lose spooky activities they can share with friends this month. However, a virtual world allows for lots of online interaction – a skill gamers have been employing for decades! Thanks to Steam and voice chat services like Discord or Skype, friends can meet up and indulge in scary, interactive, Co-Op titles in lieu of gathering in person for the Halloween season. The games listed below are all currently available on Steam, and a few are accessible on PS4 or Xbox One for our console, classmates! Gather up a few of your friends, boot up one of these horror genre titles, and we can almost guarantee a fun blend of shrieks and laughter for your Halloween weekend!
Phasmorphobia – Phasmorphobia is one of the hottest video games of the 2020 Halloween season, and for great reason: It is incredibly addictive, challenging, often-terrifying Co-Op fun! Players take on the role as paranormal investigators, going to homes of various sizes and trying to identify exactly what supernatural thing is tormenting the location. There are many different monster types, all A.I. controlled, which have different traits and patterns, identifying behaviors, and weaknesses. For example, a Demon behaves differently than a Spirit, and you use those key traits to figure out which monster you are dealing with. Lights turn off, strange sounds abound, and your friends can randomly be killed in the dark. With gameplay for 2-6 players, Phasmorphobia offers a ghost-hunting multiplayer experience worthy of a virtual Halloween party, and the $13.99 price tag is very reasonable for the replay value. This title also is VR enabled, with cross-play for VR and non-VR, and is enjoying frequent updates in the Early Access program on Steam
In Silence – In Silence is a multiplayer title released earlier this month, and since then, it has enjoyed a fast climb in popularity among gamers who love a horror-multiplayer blend. As with many of the video games on this list, In Silence employs the Us vs. One mechanic, and one player is assigned to be a horrific monster while the survivors try to either escape or hunt down the creature. One unique mechanic in In Silence, hinted by the name, is that the monster is blind! His “vision” is based entirely on sound, but if he hears you, he is incredibly fast and lethal. Players have Perks available, which allows you to further customize your character and playstyle, and if you cannot convince any friends to join you, there is a single-player gamemode option. Priced at $9.99 on Steam (currently discounted this week to $7.99), In Silence is a scary option for 2-6 players.
Pacify – Pacify released early in 2019, but frequent updates, new maps and new monsters have kept it high on the charts for horror Co-Op games. The modest price tag and shriek-inducing gameplay have also undoubtedly contributed to its success. In Pacify, there are several different scenarios to choose from (and another due, hopefully, before Halloween!), and players team up to defeat ghosts and other monsters. Playing as a paranormal crew, you investigate evil locations, being stalked by something in the shadows. With a pervasively creepy atmosphere, jump scares are almost inevitable, but players are always on a team vs. the A.I. monster, making it great for a cooperative Halloween party. Grab it on Steam for only $4.99 and gather in groups of 2-5 players.
Sign of Silence – Sign of Silence is another new release horror title on Steam, with terrifying monsters and a team of intrepid explorers. In this title, you and your friends fill the roles of a group of pals who decided to go camping in the mountains one weekend – only to find themselves stranded and being hunted by things in the darkness. The maps are large, and you have several options for escape, IF you can work together and defeat the challenges of the mount forest. Sign of Silence is still developing, working out bugs that were reported at launch, so with some known framerate issues this title is better for gamers fortunate to have a hardy gaming rig. Please shop accordingly! The $14.99 price tag is competitive with the other games on this list, and 2-4 players can team up and try to escape the forest.
Dead by Daylight – No horror multiplayer list would be complete without DbD, a spooky title that arguably established and refined the Us vs. One subgenre of spooky Co-Op video games. Released back in 2016, Dead by Daylight has seen extensive licensing of famous Halloween and horror characters, including Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Freddy, all offered as DLC with their own killer mechanics and often a Survivor as well. Players choose between being the murderous Killer or a band of Survivors – but please note, if you want to team up with friends you’ll need to be Survivors for Co-Op mode, with a random Killer-player assigned to your game. The Survivors must repair generators to escape the map, and there are lots of locations both indoors and out. Each character has a “bloodweb” of Perks (abilities you can unlock and use during the match) and power-ups, and there is a halloween-specific event live for October. With a price tag of $19.99 for the base game, Dead by Daylight is a bit more of an investment than some of the other titles on this list, but it has proven longevity on Steam and an active community if you can’t find 2-4 friends willing to face a famous murder with you!