Video Games with that Fall Aesthetic™

If you live in Vienna you’ve been hit with autumn out of nowhere. One week we all joked about how the summer was holding on a bit longer and the next we’re finding ourselves in 10°C weather and bookstores already selling xmas stuff. And as much as I prefer fall to summer, I usually need a bit of a push to fully feel those romantic, cozy, fuzzy-socks-and-foliage vibes. I’m already re-watching all of Stranger Things and compiling a whole list of pumpkin-based recipes. But just to infuse all of my hobbies with a bit of orange-hued beauty, I’ve gathered all my fave video games in one handy list that’ll make you say “Oh my gourd, I can’t beleaf it, this is wonderfall!”

Night in the Woods (2017)

One of the most charming games I have ever played, not just due to its smart dialogue or the small cast of lovable anthropomorphic characters, but also because of its design. The 2D animation is uniquely stylized to give off a cute but somehow eerie feel that’s perfect for the pre-Halloween time. Visually, it definitely reminds me of childhood tv programs. The story follows Mae, a college drop out, who moves back home to Possum Springs. In this small former mining town, an undercurrent of hoplessness and disillusionment accompanies the lives of its inhabitants and Mae is haunted by the dead-end lives her old friends are living and which is likely soon to be her own fate. But there is something else in the woods near town, something lurking in the dark. The game is largely character and dialogue-focused but features a myriad of game mechanics like puzzle-solving, rock band, and environment exploration.

Recommend for: October (especially Halloween!)

Playable on: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

Ghost of Tsushima (2020)

Honestly, being out in nature is probably my favorite part of autumn. The crisp air, the crunchy leaves, the pretty colors – heart-eyes for days. So when I saw what’s called the “Golden Forest” on the beautifully rendered island of Tsushima, I was in love. Right in the first act of the game, you’ll mount a horse and ride through this airy golden magical forest, on the hunt for bamboo, wild hogs, and enemy camps. Ghost of Tsushima, an action-adventure stealth game, is the tale of samurai Lord Jin Sakai on a mission to rescue his uncle from imprisonment and save the island from Mongol invasion. He befriends several intriguing side characters who help him on this quest and news of his deeds spread across the island quickly, building up a legend around his person as the “Ghost”. The game is played mostly through stealth and combat and is just as beautiful during gameplay as it is in cutscenes.

Recommend for: September

Playable on: PlayStation

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019)

We love a good unlikely hero and within the Super Mario franchise, Luigi is definitely underrated. In this game, he must go through every floor of a haunted hotel to rescue his friends from (the softest-looking) ghosts and capture the big bad, King Boo. It is cute, fun, bubbly, and most importantly, not scary. Creepy Halloween games definitely aren’t for everyone (not least because they often feature a first-person perspective which can get nauseating for some players), so if you’re not a fan of gore and horror but love an exquisite soundscape and an adorable quest this spoopy adventure might just be the right fit. I also like how the story has taken a page from Ghostbusters with its ghost-vacuum equipment.

Recommend for: October

Playable on: Nintendo Switch

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2018)

I’m not exactly sure what about this game gives me the autumn feelies. Maybe it’s the protagonist Sekiro’s orange get-up, maybe the slight dusting of snow throughout the picturesque Japanese empire that looks a bit like pre-winter. You slip into the role of a disabled, near immortal, honor-bound warrior who has vowed to protect the young emperor Kuro from political as well as magical foes while traveling over snowy mountains, through haunted underground caves, and even to the Divine Realm in search of dragon tears. It is one of the most difficult games I have ever played – there isn’t even a difficulty setting at the start, you’re just kinda thrust into the mayhem. Even if the game didn’t give you several endings and optional bosses, the sheer beauty of the environment, haunting storyline, stellar voice acting in every language (mostly lol *side-eyes Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa*), and a multitude of fighting techniques make it endlessly replayable. And the 2018 graphics still hold up like nobody’s business.

Recommend for: November

Playable on: PC, PlayStation, Xbox

Until Dawn (2015)

One of my ultimate comfort games that I return to at least once a year. I adore watching Youtubers play through this game for the sheer entertainment of following their shifting like and dislike of each character. With a classic horror setting and filled to the brim with “dumb teens in a haunted mansion” tropes, Until Dawn gives me nostalgic scares and over-the-top ridiculousness in equal measure. After the deaths of his sisters, Josh, played by Rami Malek, invites his friends for a “memorial” party weekend in his family’s secluded ski lodge. As if that wasn’t enough for spooky shenanigans, the settings also include creepy forests, abandoned mines, a mental asylum, and an even more secluded side cabin because why the hell not. None of the characters are likable but I’ll be damned if they don’t endear themselves to you by dawn regardless. Until Dawn is set up as a uniquely cinematic experience from its use of camera angles to motion-capture models of actual movie/tv actors like Hayden Panettiere and Peter Stormare. If you’re a fan of tropey, notoriously American horror flicks, this game’s for you.

Recommend for: October (especially Halloween!)

Playable on: PlayStation

We wish you all a Happy Halloween and a lovely, gaming-filled (hopefully not too windy) autumn beyond!

Let us know your favourite ways to get into an extra-cozy mood this season, we’re always looking for more ❤




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