6 Oldie but Goldie Horror RPG Games to Sink Your Teeth Into this Halloween

Many people will, for the second year in a row, be staying home this Halloween. So if you’re preparing for a ~spoopy~ night in, but don’t fancy a horror film, try out one of these games! 🎃

All of these games are available for PC, and some are also available on other platforms. Details are listed within each game’s description below.

Also, this list is spoiler free!

Caution: All of the games in this list are horror games, are inappropriate for children and many deal with very bleak subjects. Always read warnings of games before buying if there is anything you are sensitive to.

1/ Ao Oni

Release date: 2007
Developer: noprops
Genre: Horror, puzzle
Platform: Microsoft Windows (download link here)
Price: Free
How long to beat? 1 hr 30
Multiple endings? Yes

Possibly the most famous (or infamous?) game on this list, Ao Oni (which translates to “Blue Demon”) is your classic story about a group of teenagers who lock themselves into a haunted mansion and get chased by a demon.

The monster appears!

It is infamous for many reasons. As it’s relatively old, it was many people’s first introduction to 16-bit horror PC games (a genre which really gained steam not long after) and inspired many future games.

You play as Hiroshi, exploring the mansion’s many rooms with the goal of finding a way out. Your mission is to escape with as many players alive as possible.

Don’t be fooled by the game’s awkward appearance. If you’ve never heard of Ao Oni, you may wonder how something like this could be remotely scary.

It is true that the maps are quite bare and the art style is basic, but sometimes the more minimalist a game’s design, the more effective it is. Its use of sound is great. When a demon appears, a repetitive, Psycho-like screech sounds until you outrun it. And because the setting is so bare, every sound and action feels amplified.

The game was so popular that it developed a cult following and there have been several adaptations of it – a book series, two separate manga, an animated TV series, an animated film and two live-action films.

It has also sparked several free fan remakes, including HetaOni – a 2012 game made by Pianodream and Neo-Kyo, which took the concept of Ao Oni as well as many of its maps, and added in the world of Hetalia: Axis Powers (a somewhat controversial anime where each character is the personification of a country).

Not bad for a free-to-play indie release!

2/ Ib

Release date: 2012
Developer: kouri
Genre: Horror, puzzle
Platform: Microsoft Windows (here is the download link)
Price: Free
How long to beat? 3 hrs 30
Multiple endings? Yes

Another game that boasted a cult following, Ib (pronounced “Eeb”) follows the story of a young girl, Ib, who gets trapped in an art gallery where the artworks come to life. Along the way, she encounters Garry and Mary, both also trapped. Your goal is – as always – to get out.

This game became popular thanks to its likeable characters, its many creative maps, villains and puzzles, and for the impressive creative decisions that were made. Some puzzles, for example, arise from the fact you play as a young girl – when you read or hear a word that is outside Ib’s vocabulary, it will appear as a series of question marks.

The art style also helps the game stand apart. The slenderness of the characters and the sprite’s lack of real facial features add to its sense of mystery.

… I enjoyed this game so much when I first played it, I even wrote a fanfiction exploring the mysterious artist behind the gallery, Guertena – but no more needs to be said about that…!

3/ Doki Doki Literature Club! (and Plus)

Release date: 2017
Developer: Team Salvato
Genre: Horror, dating, visual novel
– Original: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Plus: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Price: Varies depending on platform
How long to beat? 5 hours
Multiple endings? Yes

Note: Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is an expanded edition including several side stories.

Don’t be fooled by this game’s charming appearance! Though it is disguised as your run-of-the-mill dating simulator, this is a psychological horror game, and one that’s garnered a lot of attention, earning IGN’s Best PC Game of 2017 (People’s Choice) award and the SXSW Gaming Awards’ Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award.

The game begins when you are asked by your childhood friend, Sayori, to join the school’s literature club. Each meeting, the members share a poem of their own creation. You too must “write” poems, which the player does in the form of a minigame where the words you choose affect your relationship with each of the female characters, Sayori, Yui and Natsuki.

The best said about this game is perhaps the better. Its cute exterior and lengthy introduction is there to mislead you and lull you into a false sense of security. There is a little bit of a slow start, but when the game gets going, it really gets going.

All I’ll say is: get ready for a fourth wall-breaking nightmare. Really do look into the content warnings for this one if you have any triggers. To give you a bit of an idea, in Doki Doki Literature Game Plus!, before you can start the game, you are taken through several warning screens, and in-game content warnings can be enabled in the settings menu at any time.

4/ The Witch’s House

Release date: 2012
Developer: Fummy
Genre: Horror, puzzle
– Original: Microsoft Windows (download link here)
– 2018 remake: Microsoft Windows, macOS
– Original: Free
– 2018 remake: £11.39
How long to beat? 2 hours
Multiple endings? Yes

Once again we have an indie horror game where the aim is to escape a creepy house – this time, one belonging to a witch! This specific type of indie game was really popular in the 2010s, but there are reasons why this one stands out, and why it was remastered in 2018.

For one, the maps are very well done. They are dark and moody; the use of lighting is very effective throughout. The rooms in this game are usually quite small – where Ao Oni uses lots of big empty rooms to add a sense of hopelessness and a feeling of being lost, The Witch’s House uses very small maps, which leaves the player feeling trapped.

What The Witch’s House really excels at is two things: (1) never leaving you a moment’s calm – there is always a candle blowing out or a vase of roses yeeting itself off a table at every corner; and (2) subverting something cute for something creepy. As an example, one of the first things you do in the game is cut off a teddy bear’s limbs with a pair of scissors in order to fit it into a box. Only… when you examine the scissors immediately after, they are left bloody.

The game also includes a talking cat and a frog friend who sometimes accompanies you, so… what’s not to like?

Fummy, the developer, also released a novel, “The Witch’s House: The Diary of Ellen”, which was then adapted into a manga series. The books serve as a prequel to the game, Ellen being the witch that the game’s protagonist must escape from.

It is thanks to its success that the game was remastered in 2018. As I have not yet played the remastered version, I can’t truly compare the differences between the two versions – though I do know that the new version now includes difficulty control settings.

5/ Mad Father

Release date: 2012
Developer: sen
Genre: Horror, puzzle
– Original: Microsoft Windows (download link)
– 2016 remake: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
– Original: Free
– 2016 remake: £7.19 for PC, £8.09 for Switch
How long to beat? 4 hours
Multiple endings? Yes

Mad Father follows 11-year-old Anya, who breaks into her scientist father’s secret lab in order to find out the horrifying truth of his research. For any Fullmetal Alchemist fans reading this – her dad has major Shou Tucker vibes.

This is one of the few games of its kind that had extended cutscenes. It’s also famous for its use of chainsaw sounds… If you were on DeviantArt around the time of its release, you may have come across fan artwork depicting young girls with bows in their hair wielding chainsaws – and this game is the reason why!

The player’s goal is to make their way through the father’s laboratory and uncover all his secrets. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid his experiments, a lot of which have broken loose and want revenge.

It’s not surprising that this game also had a remake; it gained a popularity thanks to the creative thought that was put into the design of the poor people Anya’s father experimented on – how they look and move. Fans also reacted well to its use of cut scenes, which give a lot of backstory and add pathos to the game and its characters.

6/ Corpse Party

Release date: 1996
Re-release date: 2021
Developer: Team GrisGris
Genre: Horror, puzzle
Platforms (2021 version): PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Price: Varies depending on the platform
How long to beat? 12 hours
Multiple endings? Yes

Over the years, Corpse Party has gone through a few revisions and revamps, and its 2021 version is the latest.

I was really excited to hear about its rerelease – until this 2021 version, I’d never actually played the game before, but I did watch a playthrough of it on YouTube back in around 2007. It feels so good to finally be able to play this game myself.

And it stands the test of time! It really is chilling and you can’t help but get emotionally attached to the characters. It’s a horrible game, really. I don’t know why us horror gamers put ourselves through this crap – but here we are!

Corpse Party follows a group of high school students (+ 1 teacher and 1 middle schooler) who stay after hours at their school to tell ghost stories, when a sudden earthquake occurs. The earthquake opens a new dimension and they are dropped into Heavenly Host Elementary School – a school that was knocked down years prior due to the number of deaths that took place there. When they wake up, the party is separated. Your job is to reunite the characters, jumping from one character to the next, and make your way out.

The voice acting for this update is top notch; it’s like it’s been taken directly from a horror movie. Coupled with the graphics, which carry the same nostalgia factor that old RPG Maker games have, this makes for a really effective game.

Like Doki Doki Literature Club!, this game is very heavy and also contains a fair amount of gore, so if that’s something you’re sensitive to, it’s worth checking content warnings beforehand.

Happy gaming! 🎃

Info and image sources:

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