It's time for adventures in Halloween Land! The ghostly holiday is just a few days away and we're pouring on the spooky games like cold eyeball goo in a bowl (don't worry, it's just grapes and gelatin). This special installment of Weekend Download showcases a handful of adventure games that get the Halloween atmosphere just right. There's intrigue, there's suspense, there's ghosts, and there may even be some candy tucked away somewhere. Paired with our Halloween-themed Link Dump Friday and sprinkled with a few Halloween-style reviews in the coming days, you should have no excuse not to don that Super Mario costume and head out on the town.
5 Days a Stranger (Windows, 1.3MB, free/donationware) - The first in a four-part adventure series, 5 Days does horror storytelling oh-so-right. You play Trilby, a "gentleman thief" who finds himself trapped in a mansion he thought was empty. It's old-school adventuring from there on out, but with a decidedly scary atmosphere.
Loonyland: Halloween Hill (Windows/Mac, ~5MB, demo) - Ok, so I'm bending both the Halloween and adventure themes here, but it's worth it. From Hamumu, creator of Dumb: The Game, the action/adventure/RPG Loonyland puts you in the pre-megalomaniac shoes of Dr. Lunatic on his first adventure. Explore the land, upgrade your abilities and discover what particularly strange brand of madness is going on in Halloween Hill.
Spooks (Windows, 6.7MB, freeware) - In this Sierra-style adventure you play as Mortia, a cynical ghoul girl on a very normal trip to the Carnage-Val. After playing a game of darts Mortia wins a puzzling prize: a goldfish that's "alive". Mortia must figure out how to save her little fish, after she learns what being "alive" means, of course. It's a surprisingly entertaining adventure game with great dialogue and simple gameplay, perfect for casual gamers and adventure fans alike. You might recognize team member Erin Robinson's work on the equally mysterious Blackwell adventure games.
Knytt Stories custom maps (Windows, various sizes, freeware) - The Knytt Stories community continues to churn out beautiful and challenging levels for Nifflas' atmospheric game. Forum user chiefemu has released the extremely difficult Manic Mansion that is all but guaranteed to induce hair pulling within seconds of starting the stage. Also check out Eric's It Waits, a stunningly cinematic experience in an empty world filled with intrigue. Many more levels can be found on the Knytt Stories forums.
Fate by Numbers (Windows, 0.8GB/1.2GB, freeware) - Fate by Numbers is another classic-style adventure game, but this one has a huge twist: it's filmed against a green screen and presented with over an hour of full-motion high-definition video. Think film noir meets an old Lucasarts adventure game (sans the humor) and there you have it. It's a big commitment to actually download and install, but once you jump in it's a great new experience on the classic genre.
Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst on sale for 99¢ (Windows/Mac, 72MB, demo) - Even though many of us have had our fill of hidden object games, BigFishGames has a special Halloween sale that can't be ignored. From now through October 31 you can pick up Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst (see our review for more info) for a paltry 99 cents. It's one of the original seek-and-find games and is available for both PC and Mac.