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GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween 2013: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor Screenshot - 1153866

Halloween is a special time of year for a lot of folks. Some like to go to costume parties, others go trick-or-treating, and others pass out delightful snacks. For others, nothing makes for a great Halloween quite like a bowl of candy and some scary movies. Then there are people who enjoy the festive day by playing their favorite scary games. Well, let's celebrate the Halloween season by taking a look at a bunch of different titles that are worth playing during this time of the year.

Welcome to GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween, where we're going to explore one game a day for the next month as we lead up to the costume-happy, candy-filled day. We're going to kick things off with one of the creepier indie games to come along in recent memory: Lone Survivor.

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Why it stands out

When Lone Survivor launched last year on Steam, it was heralded for being able to deliver an experience that was actually pretty thrilling. The 2D style and pixelated look of the game doesn't immediately scream survival horror, but that's exactly what this project from developer Superflat Games is. This is survival horror done right, and there are many moments during the course of the story when you feel truly alone and helpless.

Lone Survivor takes place during a post-apocalyptic period. Most of humanity has been infected by a horrible disease, and you don the surgical mask of one survivor, who must find a way to get by one day at a time. You must scavenge for food, deal with loneliness, and even cope with a state of mental decay. The whole thing is just creepily psychological, and trying to make it to the next day without dying of hunger or becoming a mutated freak's meal is mentally tiring.

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Is it scary?

While you're within the confines of your apartment, you can't help but feel safe. Just past that front door, however, awaits a world filled with peril, plague, and death. The moment you step outside, everything changes, and your state of mind is no longer at ease. Simply put, knowing that you have to go out and face the harsh, deteriorating world is scary as hell.

Even scarier is witnessing said world. You never know when a diseased person is lurking in the shadows. Worse still, sometimes you come across multiple enemies, prompting you to run and hide, hoping that you don't get spotted. Like a good horror flick, there's an intense level of suspense in Lone Survivor, and it's impossible to keep from worrying about the well-being of the protagonist, especially when everything that happens starts taking its toll on his mind.

Then there's the sound design. Bizarre music plays on during certain parts of the game, setting a strange mood that just makes you feel uneasy. Once again, though, it's when you're being hunted down that things get really terrifying. Listening to the loud, static-like noise that fills the game when monstrous things are chasing you down an alley is unsettling to say the least, and at its worst, it's downright horrific.

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Why play it on Halloween?

When I first played Lone Survivor, I was sitting right in front of my computer screen with the lights off and some headphones on. This created the perfect terrifying mood, and I almost consider it the way to play this game. That said, Curve Studios has since teamed up with creator Jasper Byrne to release Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut on the PlayStation Network. On the Vita, you can use the creepy headphones approach. If you're playing on your PlayStation 3, though, turn down the lights and crank your TV's volume up high for a great experience.

You could really play Lone Survivor any time of the year, but the month of October just seems perfect for it. Seeing how your character devolves is eerie, and being placed into this crumbling world will fill you with utter dismay. Lone Survivor will captivate you and toss you into a disease-laden land to fend for yourself. See if you can make it out alive.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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David Sanchez David Sanchez is the most honest man on the internet. You can trust him because he speaks in the third person.
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