It is that time of the year again, the spooky season.
What better way get into the right mood than playing an interesting visual novel.
So the Spooktober Jam comes at the right time to let people around the globe discover all kinds of new games and teams.
I will show you some titles I discovered myself, which are a nice mix of length and different genres.
Senior girls, tattooed self-entitled rich asshole Corey, and a demonic painter get together after school to hunt spirits.
And to keep order on earth (but really, they mostly do it because what else is there to do in an semi abandoned small town).
That is, until they mess up and get swarmed by the angelic police. This is a linear vibe and dialog focused game.Itch.io Page
Cool Days‘s art is really unique and stylish, especially the insert CGs were pretty nice and beautiful.
Playing it makes you feel as if you’re visiting an art museum or walking through a gallery.
The voice acting of the characters was nice, a little clumsy here and there, but don’t get me completely wrong – it was still a cute combination with the art.
The story had some nice ideas going for it and I would be interested to see a longer title in the future using the themes of spirit hunt, gods, death, and afterlife.
The only few points of criticism I have with the game are its lack of music – there is no soundtrack, sadly, and the ending. A soundtrack would’ve added depth in some scenes and the ending felt a bit rushed and sudden.
Beary the Hatchet
It’s Halloween 199X, and you killed someone during your morning shift. Honestly it’s inconvenient.
This job wasn’t perfect, sure, but you got to wear a mask with no questions asked and the pay was decent. But now you’ll have to keep the body in the backrooms till your shift is done.
Bummer. “You’re… the absolutely WICKED and AWESOME Bearwater Grizzly Killer, aren’t you?!” …and now enters the dreaded true crime fan. A game about hiding things.Itch.io Page
Wow, that was a fun ride.
The added mini games were great and their time limit was well-balanced.
It was a nice idea to throw a killer into the mix. The player can unlock multiple endings based on their decisions, so multiple playthroughs are advised in Beary the Hatchet.
The music is great and fits the game perfectly, it really gets stuck in your head while playing the game.
For all fans of slasher movies with comedic themes and situations, and graphic visual novels, you will have an amazingly well done title to play for Halloween.
And how often have you encountered a Visual Novel Jam entry created with RPG Maker that got this special look?
Model Employee is a corporate horror visual novel where players take control of the latest individual amongst millions to start working in one of Tethys’s online shopping labyrinthine warehouses.
Just discharged from the hospital and massively in debt for their life-saving cybernetics, the player-character must adapt to the “extreme” work-life balance of a Tethys Team Member- but they have help. Penny, the artificial personality that controls all security, waste disposal, and employee surveillance in the facility, specializes in reinforcing an especially cutthroat variety of workplace culture- and she’s taken an interest in you.
With a vibrant cast, PC-98 inspired visuals and multiple endings, Model Employee is a modern horror story that’ll stick with you long after you’ve clocked out of your shift. If you want to get ahead in your career, you gotta be willing to take some risks.Itch.io Page
A very long and well done entry for the Spooktober 2023 in my opinion.
At first it started slow and the story took a while to unfold, but it was very nice to see how Penny influences the player and step by step the balance shifts from who’s who.
Model Employee has beautiful art and the backgrounds with their futuristic look and the 3D modeling were really amazing.
The focus of this game – without spoiling too much – besides visuals is the GUI, and how much it has changed. It created the feeling of watching a psychological study or documentation that unfolds by every minute to enter a finale to sink into.
Multiple endings are a nice way to discover more of these game.
It was very surprising to find such a big game as an entry to a jam, it could easily have been a full solo title.
I’m very curious what the team behind Model Employee could create as a full solo title, would be great to see other facets of this world.
For example a focus on the banking system and how they work and guide or better bankrupt the people in this futuristic world.
Art Director // Color – @evillittlebug
Graphic & UI Design – @manmunks
Concept & Line Artist – @mistahmihaich
Pixel Art – @fawnedness
Lead Character Artist – ilmenskie
Graphic Design – @lemoncotte
Written, Directed, Developed by Brian Mulholland
The whole list of the amazing team and the game itself can be found on their Itch.io site
Looking for relief, signs point her towards a mysterious nebula. Now she needs a closer look.Itch.io Page
(Note: This game uses a lot of sound effects. Some gameplay sections are much easier with sound. I recommend headphones!)
A short graphic adventure with themes of cosmic horror and how the human mind can crumble or fade away with the desire to know everything.
The atmosphere while playing was really intense without music and the search through the telescope and knowledge that the main character is diving even deeper into the cosmic spiral.
Normally, the lack of music would serve as a point of criticism for me, but here it gives a deeper meaning to the tense atmosphere that searching for the unknown in space entails.
The use of high resolution planets and some scenes with 3D-objects really surprised me and got me more immersed.
The two things I would give a criticism for here were the fact that the game has no save or load point (or options) overall, which is okay for a kinetic game without any decisions but I think most people still miss the convenience.
Another nitpick I have is that Vivian has these massive shadows under her eyes from the very beginning, Personally I would’ve added them later because this would show the loss of her mind with even bigger impact.
If you are a fan of cosmic horror and you’re searching for a nice shorter title with well executed elements befitting Halloween, this is something for you.
Us Three Joined by Flesh
Mirabell and Dahlia are invited to a Halloween Party by their best friend Leila.
However, they are roped into her antics of completing a Ritual that grant their desires
and make their dreams come true.
Despite wanting nothing to do with it they end up participating in the ritual and witnessing the slow transformation of leila.
Us Three Joined by Flesh is a pretty short but high-quality horror entry for Spooktober.
I really like the themes of friendship, overcoming yourself and how far you would go for a friend.
The themes of cult and body horror were well done and I like the circle that appeared.
For such a short visual novel to have 4 endings is really great – but as you can see, there are a lot of entrys that have more endings to unlock, which is really amazing.
The art is really gorgeous and I love that each of the endings had a little chibi illustration of the outcome at the bottom.
I think that the mix of themes with a touch of Eldritch horror and beautiful art is a good pick for Halloween to play plus it has the right lenght that you can watch a horrofilm before or after it and have a nice combination of media for that evening.
As you can see you have a nice mix of titles and styles to choose from for Halloween.
For myself, I’ve found a ton of nice titles and without spoiling too much, I’m going to pick two more titles to show you from the jam in the near future.
To discover more interesting games of Spooktober Jam 2023 we will publish more articles in the next days and please visit the Spooktober Jam 2023 website to support the teams and the jam itself.