Fourteen great PC games not to miss in October

From survival horror and classic RTS revivals to beat 'em ups and cyberpunk

As easy as any given month in 2020 is making it to slip into exaggerated apocalyptic doomsaying for comedic and cathartic effect, we’re going to resist the urge here, and instead immerse ourselves into a huge bath of positivity, full of sparkly bits and smelling like a truck full of expensive soap just crashed into a bakery. Mmm. Toasty. To that end, we’ve put together a list of the finest-looking indie games that you may not have heard are due to grace our screens this October.

Keeping with the bakery theme, there’s Cake Bash, a fondant-filled fighting game to fulfill all your pulligist patisserie-based dreams. Or, if nautical nonsense be something you wish, you can pilot the sci-fi submersibles of Aquanox Deep Descent’s deep-sea dystopia. There’s also some dinosaur shooting, why not?

If you can’t wait to experience the spine-chilling horrors of Christmas though, we’ve also thrown in a few spoopies. Enough, in fact, that they could constitute their own special occasion around, say, the 31st of October. We’ve decided to call it ‘Pre-Christmas: The Spookening’, and we reckon it could just catch on.

Here are fourteen great PC games not to miss in October.

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Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up – October 6

Dammit, Overcrowd, making up clunky genre titles in order to describe unique games is the press’s job, and you’ve just taken that away from us. We’ll forgive you, we suppose, because Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up looks like an immediately compulsive and hectic management sim, combining the beloved British pastime of queuing with the equally beloved British pastime of getting mugged off by privatised train companies. Bliss!

“Beneath the hood lies a deep, systems-based simulation encompassing refuse, power and heat management, crowd control, and a consumer-driven economy with stock and pricing,” according to developer SquarePlay games. You can also build pubs, presumably to let your customers complain about your exorbitant prices and shockingly slow queues. Stay behind the yellow line, but feel free to check out the Steam page.

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The Solitaire Conspiracy – October 6

What if Solitaire – the original free-to-play game and staple of classic Windows operating systems – but with spies? That’s the bizarre but inventive premise behind the latest release from John Wick Hex and Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell.

The world’s leading spy agency has been destroyed and, as its last remaining analyst, it’s up to you to take control of its scattered agents and save the world. By playing a modified version of Solitaire. Suit-based special powers, an original story told with full FMV cutscenes, plus heaps of stylish art and characters make this the most exciting version of the tranquil solo card game you’ll ever play. Check it out on Steam here.

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I Am Dead – October 8

The spirit of a museum curator solving puzzles with his ghostly dog to prevent the island they live(d) on from being melted by a live volcano? It’s one heck of an elevator pitch. As the minds behind Wilmot’s Warehouse and Hohokum, Richard Hogg and Ricky Haggett have a track record for colourful, inventive puzzle games. I Am Dead looks to carry on this tradition wonderfully, with the addition of an engaging story and characters to compliment its elegant, discrete puzzles. You can meet Sparky, the ghost dog on I Am Dead’s Steam Page.

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Ikenfell – October 8

Arguably the only upcoming RPG about a group of students at a magic school worth getting excited about, Ikenfell mixes timing-and-tactical turn-based combat together, bringing it all to life through charming Gameboy Advance-era pixel art. ARPG-style environmental puzzles add an extra layer to exploration, and it’s all capped with a soundtrack from the composers behind Steven Universe. Here’s the Steam page.

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The Survivalists – October 9

The key art for The Survivalists features a monkey holding a hammer and a wooden plank. The description for The Survivalists leads us to believe that this monkey has been trained by humans in the art of construction, and is only one of many trainable monkeys to be found.

Related: Check out the best survival games on PC

Even if this co-op adventure wasn’t set in the same universe as well-loved The Escapists, the monkeys would have piqued our curiosity, but there looks to be a lot more besides to this intricate-looking survival game. Here’s the Steam page. Tell the monkeys we said hi.

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Remothered: Broken Porcelain – October 13

Not since Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance has a game so flagrantly cast aside the basic rules for how words are supposed to function, and you know what? We’re fine with it. Remothered can call itself whatever it wants, as long it delivers the exquisitely creepy survival horror the series is known for. Those lamenting the day survival horror decided to go all power fantasy on us will be pleased to learn that you appear to spend the majority of the game as a weaponless young woman with one of her arms in a plaster cast, so clever use of environmental tools are a must when it comes to keeping yourself alive. Check out the Steam page.

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Second Extinction – October 13

If you’ve been shouting the words “Dino Crisis” at passing pensioners, coffee shop employees, and that one terrified delivery driver since Capcom remastered Resi 2, then this may be one for you. Ok, so it’s got more in common with co-op games Left 4 Dead and Vermintide than it does those Playstation classics, but it does have big guns and even bigger dinos. Actually, scratch that, we’ve just watched a clip of the chaingun on the Steam page, and it might just be bigger than the dinosaurs. Either way: Dinosaurs. Guns. Co-op multiplayer action. Nice.

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Cake Bash – October 15

It’s a constant source of disappointment that there are very few games which allow you to credibly shout the phrase “’bout to f**k you up with this French fancy, son”. Enter Cake Bash, a four-player fighting game where you pick a baked good, then smash the living raisins out of other baked goods. It’s got the ever-elusive couch co-op as well as online, too, which is truly the sweetest treat of all. Check out the Steam page for more information.

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Aquanox Deep Descent – October 16

As anyone who has ever soothed a hangover by binging Blue Planet will tell you: the ocean is weird as shit. Whether it’s the hydraulic anime fists of the Mantis shrimp, or the terrifying Vampire squid, most speculative science fiction doesn’t come close. Aquanox Deep Descent comes across like a grittier, more combat-focused Subnautica, putting you in the seat of your own submersible and letting you explore dystopian ocean environments. Take the plunge over at the game’s Steam page.

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9 Monkeys of Shaolin – October 16

Taking inspiration from classic Sega and SNES beat-em-ups, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a side-scrolling martial arts melee that looks to innovate on the classics even as it pays homage. With skill trees, unlockable fighting styles, and a range of Japanese polearms to find and master, this frenetic fighter packs cinematic flair into every frame. Learn more on the Steam page.

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Amnesia: Rebirth – October 20

In case you’ve forgotten (spins on heels, blows smoke from fingergun), the Amnesia series was a pretty darn big deal when the whole first-person indie horror thing was kicking off. The terrifying, claustrophobic gems are a masterclass in how to do a lot with a little, and even went on to inspire the massive Resident Evil 7 Biohazard. 

Amnesia is back this month, in a kind of re-emergence into life, of sorts. We’re not sure if there’s a word for that, but Amnesia: Rebirth looks like a fantastic return for the series, and a perfect Halloween game if ever there was one. Peer cautiously at the Steam page for more. 

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Tenderfoot Tactics – October 21

We’re always intrigued when we hear about tactical games that deliberately opt out of random elements. On the one hand, you run the risk of removing the emergent fun that often arises from such chaos. On the other, though, it often makes for a far more satisfying and precise tactical experience.

Related: The best strategy games on PC

Tenderfoot Tactics – which sees your party of goblins travelling about an open world between battles – looks refreshingly creative and confident in its approach to the genre. Find out more on the Steam page.

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Dwarfheim – October 22

If the words ‘classic Blizzard RTS’ get you all excited, then Dwarfheim should absolutely be on your radar, or at least whatever the steam-fuelled dwarven equivalent of radar is. Boasting the timeless RTS mechanics, bright colours, and, uh, dwarves of Warcraft 3, but with added city-building and management sim mechanics and a focus on co-op play, Dwarfheim looks like just the right balance of fun and strategy. Guaranteed to put hairs on your chin, probably. Here’s the Steam page.

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Disc Room – October 22

What if Discs, but in a room? Also, the discs are saw blades, and the rooms are quite small. Not so small you can’t avoid the discs, but definitely smaller than we feel most of us would be comfortable trying to avoid discs, er, in. It’s a good concept, ok? You probably won’t be surprised to learn this anarchic, arcadey, gory indie is a Devolver Digital joint, either.

“Are you ready to get sliced in half?” Reads the Steam page. “The year is 2089 and a giant disc has appeared in orbit of Jupiter. Step into the oversized space suit of a brave scientist and explore this sprawling intergalactic slaughterhouse.” Yes, Disc Room. We are ready.

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Ghostrunner – October 27

The year is 2084, and computers control your face, mate. That’s a completely made-up pitch for a cyberpunk story we just invented, but Ghostrunner is definitely real, and looks to focus on the less gloomy, more batshit elements of the genre. Expect pulsing electronic beats, samurai swords, and Mirror’s Edge-style traversal. We hear THE MAN doesn’t want you to go have a look at the Steam page.