Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people are afraid of things like spiders, while others are afraid of concepts like loneliness. Horror games play on those fears and transport players into a world where they're forced into a fight or flight situation. Usually, you can tell a horror game just by looking at it, though with others it's harder to know. Made that way intentionally to lure players into a false sense of security.
Quite a few games on this list contain dark subject matter and aren't for the faint of heart. But, for those willing (and wanting) a good fright, these games are a good place to start.
Here are 10 Terrifying Video Games That Trick You By Looking Cute.
10 Fran Bow
So, Fran Brow doesn't exactly hide its creepiness, it's rather straightforward that it's a horror game. Fran Bow is the story of a girl, Fran, who loses her parents to a gruesome fate. After losing consciouness, she finds herself in a mental institution, Oswald Asylum, and decides to escape it to find her beloved cat and go home to the last family member she has, her aunt.
Fran Bow has moments where the art style captures the remaining childhood whimsy that Fran has left. Which makes the gruesome scenes much more terrifying.
9 Among The Sleep
For their second birthday, a child receives a sentient stuffed bear named Teddy. The two of them play together with the child's toys and explore the house until their mother comes and puts them to bed. Later, the child awakens to find themselves in a dark house with both their mother and Teddy missing.
Something isn't right, and the child needs to work with the newly-rescued Teddy to find their mother ASAP. Things take a dark twist from there, creating a haunting environment with the ever-present sensation of being followed, all with the physical limitations of being a toddler.
8 Duck Season
As a kid, one of the best things about summer was getting to play video games all afternoon. That's the premise of the VR game Duck Season, basically, as a kid binges on a new game rented by his mother. Things start off normal enough; though, gradually, it's apparent that something very wrong is going on, especially with the dog.
There are seven different endings players can get, all determined by the actions they take, with each ending unraveling more of the hidden dark story. While the game isn't long, it offers tons of easter eggs.
7 Error #53
At first glance, Error #53 appears to be an average medieval adventure RPG. With decent graphics and soothing music, there's no indication that anything creepy lurks beneath the game's surface. The player is sent on a quest by a king to stop a villain called Jack and his henchmen from stealing the village's gold.
It is a simple enough quest, and along the way, things seem perfectly normal...until they aren't anymore. What seems like an innocuous game quickly becomes a gripping horror saga in the blink of an eye.
6 Irisu Syndrome
Puzzle games are safe from anything scary, right? Well, Irisu Syndrome is here to prove that wrong. At first glance, it's a Japanese puzzle game. The game has a story that follows Irisu, a quiet university student who goes on a trip with her three friends in the woods. As players work their way through the levels they're constantly watched by Irisu as strange cat and rabbit drawings are present in the background.
Things only get creepier as players progress, and gaining more points makes Irisu's disposition more unstable and her friends start disappearing one by one.
5 Animal Village
Anyone who's a fan of Animal Crossing might enjoy this indie game. This adorable pixel game puts players in a quaint little settlement called Animal Village. They're encouraged to explore the village, specifically the pit located in the center, and talk to villagers who are all talking animals!
All except the "bird-headed" man, whom the villagers call untrustworthy. As the game continues, its mood shifts to something much darker, as players explore dark rooms splattered with blood and talk to strange and creepy characters. They're given a gun too, with limited ammo to make every shot count.
4 Wadanohara And The Great Blue Sea
Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea is another Japanese game made in RPG Maker. Players control the main character, the sea witch Wadanohara, as she journeys back to her home, a blue underwater kingdom.
Away on a long journey to look for answers about her lost memories, Wadanohara and her three familiars run into old acquaintances and new threats as they protect their home and continue the search for Wadanohara's missing memories. The cute art style and beginning of the story belies a tale that has several dark and twisted moments.
3 Can Your Pet?
For a lot of people, there are few things more rewarding than owning a pet. Whether it's furry, fuzzy, scaley or feathery, pet owners form deep emotional bonds with their animals. And the flash game Can Your Pet? allows players to develop a sweet bond with their very own baby chick!
Players take care and love their chick by dressing them, feeding them, and even playing fun games with them. But this seemingly wholesome game turns terrifying as soon as players click a certain option. The game is short but the effect it leaves is long-lasting.
2 Dreaming Mary
Dreaming Mary is probably one of the cutest sidescrollers around, with a very sweet fairytale vibe. Players take control of Mary, a girl who loves to dream and one day finds herself in a dreamlike place, filled with characters who treat her like an old friend. As cute as the game seems, it veils a much darker reality that Mary lives in, with her friends showing their true colors as the game progresses.
Mary faces many challenges and depending on the choices of the player Mary can either dive deeper into her dream or wake up to reality.
1 Doki Doki Literature Club
In this game, players take on the role of the MC of a (seemingly) traditional dating sim. They find themselves apart of a literature club at school whose members are a group of cute girls, with three that can be romanced. Players can read the girls' poems and write poems in a mini-game, choosing words that will please the girl of their choice.
Things suddenly turn dark at the end of the game's first act, quickly transforming this dating sim into a horror game. There are several different endings, and easter eggs to be found by accessing the game's files.