Hello out there to all those grim, grinning ghosts and cackling witches on the prowl! With the end of October rapidly approaching, so too comes the season the greatest ween of all, Halloween! With costumes, jack o'lanterns, apple bobbing, and a million cavities worth of candy soon on the way, it seems only right that we dedicate this week's installment of The Vault to featuring some spooktacular games from the JIG archives. Though these works were chosen for their kid-friendliness, they should appeal to trick-or-treaters of all ages. And for those gore-hounds out there: don't worry, we'll have a Vault for you soon enough... MWAHAHAHAHA!
- Translymania 1 & 2 - Listen to them... Children of the night... what music they make. So keep it down! People are trying to sleep here! Jeez. All Lil' Draccky wants is 40 winks. With an entire village full of rowdy rampaging peasants, though, that's easier said than done. That is, until you turn them into your undead minions. Minions know how to stay quiet, after all. This charming platform game by Zeeks stars an vampire that somehow straddles the line between "adorable" and "ferocious". It's probably his fanged Teddy Were-Bear. Frenetic and fun, Translymania and its sequel features an intriguing central mechanic based on switching between walking and flying. It wouldn't work if controls weren't up to the job, but they are and it does. It is, in a vord, vonderful!
- K-Mart Haunted House - A nicely-executed escape advergame, K-Mart Haunted House is short, cute, and perfect for getting you in the spirit of the season. While the isometric controls take some getting used to, it succeeds in combining the measured pace and feel of old-school role-playing with cartoonish visuals and eerie sounds. Even the advertising is well-integrated. Sure, there may be (probably dead) links to purchase each of the 18(!) costumes your avatar can wear, but any game that gives you the chance to play as Superman, Yoda, or Robin and fight werewolves can't be all bad... even if that skeleton-harlequin is kinda freaky.
- Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt - While nowhere near as spooky as that time the titular fat-cat found himself locked in that abandoned house, Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt is a polished adventure game that invokes a surprising amount of atmosphere without ever resorting to cheap scares or screamers. Help Garfield find seven different kinds of donuts in a spooky mansion that's filled to the brim with puzzles, chills, and shout-outs that every fan of the comic will enjoy. For gosh sake, even Lyman gets a cameo... Lyman! Both Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt and its sequel will keep you playing and laughing for quite a bit. Not even a bottomless pan of lasagna would be quite as satisfying!
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!