Admission: I play too many Facebook games. Way too many. I’ve lost countless hours to those horrible slots, bingo rounds and bubble puzzles. Though I suppose there are worse ways to waste my life. For example, I could spend all my free time painting obscene anti-religion signs using tar and blood. And I don’t do that. This opening could use a script doctor.
Even if you don’t play them, chances are, you’ve heard of the “big ones.” But for every Something-Ville or Zynga smash, there are another thousand titles buried deep in Facebook’s app list, netting only a handful of monthly users.
And that’s where the real action is.
On a hope shot, I searched the app center using only the word “Halloween,” and, my God, there was a LOT. Everything from goblin-themed sliding puzzles to the ability to send my Facebook friends slices of virtual pie. The deeper I dug, the more ridiculous the apps became.
Still, there were plenty of decent Halloween games hiding in there. I doubt that the games are exclusive to Facebook (many seemed to be embedded “Flash arcades” that are likely on a hundred other sites), but it’s not like I would’ve ever encountered them otherwise.
Keep in mind, when I say “decent,” I’m stretching. For the most part, these are the kinds of games you play for a minute, laugh at and move on. At least, I have to say this, otherwise you’re going to think I’m extra weird for giving a nearly-nude vampire girl a different hairdo.
Below are five short reviews of five Halloween Facebook games, which, as of this writing, are all still available in the app center, and free to play. This comes with the warning that I have no idea if they’re somehow able to infect your computer with bad things. Don’t blame me if your hard drive melts.
#1 – Halloween Pumpkin Design: A company named “Girl Games Plaza” offered the weirdest games in the greatest volume, and nothing better represents the flavor of their titles than this: A short activity where you dress pumpkins like alien idiots and do absolutely nothing else.
After choosing your pumpkin’s shape and color, you’re free to decorate it with hats, odd mouths, and even random backgrounds stuffed with crustaceans for God knows what reason. When you’re through, there’s a 5:1 chance that your pumpkin will look nothing like a pumpkin.
The game’s colors are incredibly garish, to the point where I’d considered excluding it from the review, as even the few screenshots are loud enough to make Dino Drac the cause of incredible eye pain. On the (figurative) brighter side is the music, which, if you could imagine it, sounds like the NES version of a porn track.
#2- Halloween Bubble Game: It’s just another of the zillion games where you create groups of three or more bubbles to make them pop. This time, though, the bubbles are actually monster heads, and instead of shooting them from some lame cannon, your shooter is a headless man. Yes!
The game isn’t slick, but the controls work well and it is pretty challenging. I’m still not sure if there’s a “Level 2” to it, as I’ve not been able to clear the first round. (Which continually adds new rows of monster heads, eventually killing you.)
Interestingly, only the pumpkin-themed monster heads seem accepting of their grim fate. The rest of them cannot believe that this is their lot in life. Just look at the faces on those little green guys. A clear mix of confusion and disgust, and they also seem to be looking right at you when you play, as if they’re pleading for mercy. Sorry, green guys. It was you or me.
#3- Halloween Twilight: This one is great. When I let the app access my personal information – all of it, I’m guessing – I’d imagined it to be some silly dress-up game loosely based on the Twilight movies. Nuh uh, it’s actually a full-blown Halloween adventure, in the spirit of Castlevania.
Your goal is to guide a tiny, red-cloaked vampire past a sea of evil creatures, to rescue some blonde girl who stands comfortably at the end of each level. I guess she’s the vampire’s girlfriend, or perhaps his food? The game doesn’t clarify. Maybe I’ll track down this “Vartagh” character to find out. Failing that, I’ll look for Briciola. And I’ll insist on a phone conversation, just so I can say his name like people say “Ricola” on the TV commercials.
Skeletons, bats and floating ghouls stand in your way. You have to either jump around them or nail ‘em in the heads with fireball-like projectiles. Behold, the first vampire capable of a Hadouken.
The art is just killer. It’s totally unpolished, but it works. From the misshapen moon to the living trees, my compulsion to complete each level had less to do with saving the princess and more to do with seeing the next level’s awesome background.
Unfortunately, the game gets frustratingly hard in record time. The first level is easy, the second and third levels are doable, but by the time you hit the fourth stage, you are DONE. The monster enemies are slouches, but there are also tons of killer spikes and lava pits. Controlling the vampire’s jump will remind you why so few people played as Luigi in SMB 2.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there were checkpoints, but every time you die, it’s back to the beginning of the level. After thirty consecutive falls onto the same spikes in Level 4, I decided that Level 5 really wasn’t so important to see. I’d already saved that little blonde girl three times, anyway. And all three times, all she did was disappear and force me to battle through another maze of torment. Screw her.
#4- Pumpkin Pie Game: Assuredly the most ridiculous thing on this list, you’re challenged to make and serve a pumpkin pie. Are you up to the task?
I figured that they’d use pie-making as a backdrop for a series of puzzles, but no, you really are just making pie, and it’s as easy as you-know-what. It’s a total point-and-click deal, with no difficulty at all. Like, at one point, the game demands you to heat stuff up in the microwave. So you just click the food, click the microwave, and then click the microwave again. Keep in mind, that’s the hardest part of the game.
In its defense, it’s clearly meant for small children. If anything could excite kids, it’s the ability force a redhead with an exposed navel to bake pie.
Your final score is determined by how fast you were able to make the pie. I would’ve scored higher had I skipped the optional “garnish” step, but the thought of arranging ice cream scoops and gooey cherries was worth more to me than the points.
#5- Vampire Styling: Less a “game” and more of an activity, you get to turn half-naked women into half-naked vampires. There are all sorts of customizable features – different hairdos, different shoes, different skin tones. More to the theme, you can also choose from an assortment of gothic jewelry and vamp fangs.
The best part is choosing the eyes. For whatever reason, nearly all of them are bleeding. “Do I want my vampire to have eyes that bleed a little or eyes that bleed a lot?” To date, this is the only video game that’s made me consider this.
When you’re through, your vampire lady is going to look a little hodge-podgy. The game doesn’t offer many “complete” outfits, so you’re kind of cobbling things together as best you can. The one shown above was working out okay…until I got to her legs. Nothing matched the rest of her outfit. I have to say, the fact that I tried so hard to give my virtual vampire a cohesive look is a little concerning.
There are no winners or losers in this game. When your vamp looks stunning, you either start on a new one, or use the handy print function to immortalize whichever gal you’d just dolled up.
Hell yeah, I did it.
In the words of Brutus as he defended his subservience to Caesar in HBO’s Rome: “I am not proud.”