Friends! Readers! Do not let your life be constrained by arbitrary dates on a calendar! Whether its October or not, we should all be free to enjoy the ghoulish delights of a haunted house or three, and Grey Alien Games' match-3 arcade game Spooky Bonus (also available directly from the developer) is just the ticket if you're looking for a thoroughly casual and thoroughly enjoyable bit of addictive token matching gameplay. Strange things are happening in Old Town!... that's it. That's the whole story. You'll move across a map filled with goblins, ghosts, witches and other things that go bump in the night, but most importantly, the map is also packed to the brim with levels! Match three or more of the same token by swapping adjacent tiles to make a match, with special tiles charging your power-ups or creating bombs that clear the board, and others clearing golden tiles to let you buy more upgrades. Each level (which you can choose to with or without a timer) has its own conditions to meet, such as matching a certain number of a particular type of item, and different levels have different types of items. It's a simple premise done right, packaged up in a sweetly spooky (though not scary!) aesthetic that will keep fans of the genre happy for hours.
Grey Alien games also made the stellar Regency Solitaire, though Spooky Bonus predates it by two years. It's the sort of game that knows how to flesh out and polish up its genre without padding on a lot of extraneous bells and whistles that distract from the gameplay. This mean the game runs smoothly, with upgrades and power-ups that are useful, without feeling like it's phoning it in. Levels are smartly constructed with objectives that keep the challenge at a nice baseline throughout after the initial "gimmie" stages, and with new power-ups introduced throughout, it's easy to blow by a whole pack of levels when you only mean to try one.
At 100 levels, Spooky Bonus is the sort of game that offers you a lot of bang for your buck, and its bright ghouls-n-ghosties presentation makes it easy on the eyes, not to mention the ears thanks to a wonderful soundtrack, if not your spare time. That said, like most games of its type, Spooky Bonus probably isn't something you're going to devour in a single sitting, largely because the repetitive gameplay style can turn into eyeball strain after a while. Still, Spooky Bonus shows it's still possible to make match-3 games that are fun, well designed, and addictive without, oh, say, drowning them in timers and obtrusive in-app purchases. If you love the genre and want something fun, relaxing, and full to bursting with levels, Spooky Bonus is more than worth the price of admission.