It’s hard to say what exactly makes autumn so charming. The cold has finally arrived, allowing the leaves on trees to turn all sorts of lively hues before they fall all over the ground. Kids go back to school, and suddenly staying indoors doesn’t sound so boring anymore – especially if there are some great games to play. The following is a list of the best games to play from October to December 2018, to get you in that seasonal spirit.
The Best Autumn Games – Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods seizes every quintessential autumn feeling. The quiet town of Possum Springs comes alive with the colors of fallen leaves in the air as protagonist Mae Borowski walks down the street, struggling to find some meaning in her life. The contemplative nature of the season is shown off here in spades as each character comes to terms with issues like depression, anxiety, and the death of small town America. Playing into the season’s spooky atmosphere, Night in the Woods also poses a mystery for fans to solve involving one of Mae’s lost friends. Here’s hoping the game’s engaging narrative and relatable cast live on in a sequel one day.
The Best Autumn Games – Life is Strange
Life is Strange was seemingly made from the ground up with fall in mind. Set in the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, Max Caulfield lives a normal student life within the confines of the prestigious Blackwell Academy before her world is forever changed by a blue butterfly. She gains the ability to rewind time and takes it upon herself to change the lives of those around her, including that of her best friend Chloe. Together the two try to work out a plan for themselves after high school, and wonder what type of people they’ll become moving forward.
Life is Strange captures this sense of youth against a chilly backdrop filled with pine trees, diners, pins, and hoodies. Arcadia Bay possesses this neighborhood charm that few games have truly honed in on well. Max and Chloe’s relationship with other characters and with each other accentuates this further, ultimately producing a tragic story that no fan of the medium should miss.
The Best Autumn Games – Costume Quest and Costume Quest 2
No list of games to play during autumn would be complete without a nod to one of the season’s best holidays, Halloween. Luckily, Costume Quest and its sequel are the perfect games to play to get a sense of both the fall and the annual celebration. Players control a group of charming children in an attempt to rescue the protagonist’s kidnapped twin sibling. These trick-or-treaters must travel through their small neighborhood in order to face off against an evil monster that’s waiting for them.
Along the way, fans will notice fallen leaves scattered across front lawns and cute jack-o’-lanterns decorated atop people’s porches. Of course, they’ll have a chance to collect delicious candy along the way. Additionally, they’ll have neat combat mechanics to explore via different costumes that grant various abilities.
The Best Autumn Games – The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Set in yet another small town, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter excels in portraying the mysterious allure of the season. As a paranormal investigator named Paul Prospero, players are free to venture through Red Creek Valley’s open environments to their heart’s content in order to figure out the whereabouts of a young boy named Ethan Carter. It’s so easy to lose oneself when venturing away from the town’s train tracks into the tall grass and reddish-brown trees. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers a departure from the comfort of home, without the need to back your bags and go out into the chilly weather in real life.
The Best Autumn Games – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Though Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons moves through various seasons in order to properly tell its story, it grabs people’s interest from the get-go through autumn. Indeed, as players set out on their journey to heal a dying father, the world comes alive with windmills spinning in the distance and leaves crunching below each siblings’ feet. It’s as if the landscape itself is preparing the characters for a story that will change their lives forever, saying goodbye and wishing them the best of luck. At the same time, the lighting is beautifully reflected across rolling plains, as if encouraging each brother to keep moving and never look back. No other game in the medium has captured this homely side of fall so well.
The Best Autumn Games – Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 doesn’t exactly evoke the cheeriest aspects of autumn, though it does manage to successfully highlight its darker undertones. As Leon S. Kennedy, players are tasked with rescuing the U.S. president’s daughter in a rural Spanish village. Inhabitants are possessed by a mind-controlling parasite that orders them to kill virtually every normal human being they see. Leon must consider these threats plus venture through menacing forests and dilapidated sheds in order to make his way out alive. And of course, there are lots of other zombies thrown in for good measure.
The game succeeds in pushing this ubiquitous sense of dread. It permeates through the walls of later levels set in the village’s castle and its labs. There’s this constant sense of unease no matter where you go or what you do, which can be interpreted as an allegory for fall’s changing weather and longer nights. The game’s also just plain scary.
The Best Autumn Games – The Last of Us
Similarly to Resident Evil 4, The Last of Us isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s incredible themes of suffering and loss to be found here, all of which are reminiscent of a season known for its decay. The fall presented within the title itself is set in an abandoned university. Researchers have fled, seemingly giving up on finding a cure to the Cordyceps fungus that’s manged to infect most of humanity. Joel and Ellie try to piece together just what went wrong with their world as a gang of marauders intercepts them. It begs the question of whether or not humanity got what it deserved. Throughout the level, there’s no shaking how sad it is to see a school without any students in the fall.
Autumn is a time of change. The games on this list offer great diversions from traditional first-person shooter, action-adventure, or multiplayer-centric titles that dominate the market today. The fall is a wondrous time to lose oneself in virtual imagination. You just need to be willing enough to try something new.