By Steven Kent
What’s sweeter than a bag of Halloween candy, scarier than the scariest haunted house and harder to navigate than a mile-wide corn maze?
The right videogame, that’s what.
Some games have more monsters than every horror movie on Netflix. Some games have more magic than Harry Potter and Merlin the Wizard combined. Some games are silly, stupid fun.
That’s the thing about Halloween games. There are so many of them to choose from, you can find any kind you want.
Here are two all-time classics you might consider playing this Halloween:
Plants vs Zombies
There are very few perfect videogames. Plants vs Zombies is one of them.
What qualifies a game as “perfect”? Remember, not every game is fun to every player, so fun and perfect aren’t necessarily one and the same. Deciding if they are fun is up to you. Perfection means that the game offers the exact right balance of challenge. When play mechanics, technology and fun meld together just right, games can be perfect.
With its cartoony graphics, perfectly engineered controls, wide array of enemies and weapons, likeable music and silly — though creepy — re-animated corpses, Plants vs Zombies is indeed one of those rare and perfect games.
(Note: The game itself is perfect, the endless commercials and clunky advertisements Electronic Arts has added to the game often ruin the experience.)
Another great thing about Plants vs Zombies: The game is relentless. It includes all kinds of zany zombies. There are simple basic zombies, nearly indestructible football zombies dressed in pads and helmets, distracted zombies reading newspapers as they walk, miner zombies that bore beneath your yard, and bobsled zombies that freeze and trample everything in their wake.
Just as there’s a tool for every job, Plants vs Zombies has a plant-solution for every zombie-problem. You have pea-spitting pea shooters, zombie-chilling pea-shooters that spit frozen peas, monster-eating piranha plants, zombie-crushing squashes and an entire nursery filled with plant-puns.
Yes, Plants vs Zombies is a Dad joke waiting to happen. Deal with it.
As a tower defense game, Plants vs Zombies is all about placing the right tower/plant in the attacking zombies’ paths. And, in the spirit of tower defense games, the zombies become stronger to match the power of your plants.
Plants vs Zombies includes minigames, wonderful minigames such as Zombowling, a game in which you bowl-down zombies with giant walnuts, and Zombotany, a game with hybrid baddies that are half-zombie and half-plant.
(A little PvZ trivia: The voice of Crazy Dave — the guy with the pot on his head — is the great George Fan, the game’s designer.)
PopCap Games and Electronic Arts for Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox (and just about any modern platforms or console you can imagine); Year introduced: 2009
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Welcome to The Last Resort, a 17-story hotel filled with silly ghosts, big ghosts, little ghosts, pirate ghosts, dancing ghosts, very large ghosts and King Boo. Normally you wouldn’t want to enter a place like that without a hero, but in Luigi’s Mansion 3, Mario’s younger, more courage-challenged brother, Luigi, is your guide.
And the bad news worsens. When King Boo captures Mario, Princess Peach and Dr. E. Gadd, Luigi must power up his ghost-sucking Poltergust vacuum cleaner and explore the entire hotel room by room, floor by … Oh, all the elevator buttons are missing. Part of your room-by-room exploration involves helping Luigi find the buttons so he can explore the various floors.
Each floor has its own theme, more or less — everything from an Egyptian desert to a ghost ship.
So Luigi goes from room to room and theme to theme sucking up ghosts and treasures in his vacuum cleaner and sometimes relying on Gooigi, his goopy double, to slip into hard-to-reach corners.
Ghost battles, ghost treasures and ghost puzzles, Luigi’s Mansion 3 offers a lot of ghost-themed activities. Best of all, you can do them with your friends because the game includes multiplayer options.
Nintendo for Nintendo Switch; Year introduced: 2019