5 Horrifying Video Games That Aren't Supposed To Be Horror At All
Horror games are cool, but here's the problem with them: Players are prepared because they know what they're getting into. You know what's a better way to get scared? By getting into a game without knowing it'll turn into a horror experience. So, read ahead about the following games, and you're going to run into some spoilers … but on the plus side, you might save yourself from an unexpected fatal heart attack.
A Time Spender That Takes The Weirdest Turn To Horrorville
Cookie Clicker, just as the name suggests, is a game about cookieing on clicks, or something. The objective is to run a grandma-operated factory to produce more cookies. You need to build more and more cookies, so you need to constantly up your cookie building infrastructure. This is your life now, forever. There's no real endgame, just you, making as many cookies as you can. It's a surprisingly zen way to pass the time. Until it isn't.
To get to (even more) absurd numbers of cookies, you'll need to sell your cookies and get more grandmas, mouse pointers that will click the cookies for you, cookie farms, and even cookie mines (don't ask, just click). These all get you closer to the goal of, well, probably finding out how many numbers there are in existence.
But is it all there is to it? Well, it turns out that at some point in between a gazillion cookies and 2xinfinite cookies, Cookie Clicker goes bonkers. Many hours into the game, the rug gets pulled from underneath you and your Grannies will go from this:
… to this …
… to this …
And to this:
WTF just happened, you ask? Well, at some point in the game, you're gonna kickstart something called the grandmapocalypse, an event in which all the cookie-loving grandmas turn into eldritch monstrosities and start employing leech-like creatures called “Wrinklers” in the creation of cookies. It's not pretty.
Interestingly, the company behind the game is now patching the game to help cheaters (people who use programs to automate the repetitive clicking process). And while it's already pretty funny to learn that a game's own devs are the people trying to break it, it becomes hilarious when you find out that Steam opposed the change, so the devs did it behind Steam's back. This is really great news that in no way should leave you worried about a possible real-world grandmapocalypse.
Cruelty Squad Is A Great Game And Also An Apt Name For The Dev Team
Cruelty Squad could be one of the best games released this year, but it feels like its developers made it as unapproachable as possible on purpose. There's not a single screenshot you can take that doesn't scream “buy me as a gift to your enemies.” Cruelty Squad looks like what a regular person sees when they visit 4chan for the first time.
Cruelty Squad says that capitalism is bad, or at least we think it does, as players must assassinate bosses of bigshot companies. But it wisely keeps the “leave politics out of games" crew busy by having a bonkers stock market where they can invest to become stronger.
The most traditional aspect of the game is that you have 100 health points, but even that goes off the rails pretty quickly. How do you heal? By eating people. Cannibalism is the way to go, and the fun part is that one delicious body equals exactly 1 HP restored, so get ready to become a mass murderer every time you step on a radioactive banana.
Got a problem understanding anything so far? Well, a game's menus are the place where players usually go to get a clear sense of what they can do, so let's see what we have here …
… and what we have here is what sleep paralysis demons see when they have a nightmare. Cruelty Squad actually features inspired mechanics that go way beyond its novelty aesthetic—but only for the few of you who might be able to brave through it.
ECHO's Unintentional Meta Aspect Turns It Even Creepier
In ECHO, we get in the boots of a sci-fi adventurer unraveling the mysteries of a seemingly deserted planet. Usually, when you say “deserted planet” you're talking about the planet's surface, but this isn't like that. This planet is a hollowed-out maze of incredible beauty.
On top of the balance between awe and eeriness, there are two aspects cranking the creepy factor up to eleven. The first is how ECHO forgoes regular enemies, and instead has players go against copies of themselves—who, just like the good copies that they are, mimic the players' actions. Players get a cool gun and a few special moves, but, if players end up making use of them, they'll basically be giving the enemy CIA-level combat training.
Imagine a single-player game where you're not the only hero capable of performing stealth takedowns. Or maybe you are, because well, everyone there is you.
The other thing making ECHO extra eerie is its behind-the-scenes story. Despite being a genuinely great game, the company behind it had to close down since few people bought the game at the time of release. Playing it right now will sadly echo the game's actual journey into an empty world in the saddest possible way. Staying true to the game's theme, we should probably consider echoing its name some more in the hopes that the remnants of its dev team get another shot at making another mystifying title.
Konami's eFootball, The Worst Game Of All Time?
And what could be more surprising as a horror experience than a soccer game? (We assure our American readers that soccer usually belongs in the dramedy genre.)
eFootball is Konami's successor to the famous PES series, and it seems pretty in line with the best works of horror Konami has ever created. And no, we're not talking about the classic Konami which brought us Silent Hill, we're talking about the new Konami, the one responsible for the Silent Hill slot machine. Because you see, eFootball came out so broken it seems like it was made by children.
While it's meant to be a soccer title, it came out as an unintentional horror masterpiece.
According to Steam reviews, it really was the most horrifying game ever at the time of release. It came out in such a piss poor state that even Konami felt compelled to issue a public apology, which they followed up on by saying that they didn't yet even know how to fix the game's problems.
Eh, whatever. Let's leave sports aside then and do something normal and comforting, like fleeing from zombies.
Doki Doki's Completely Normal Literature Club
Japanese anime-style dating sims are a way more popular genre than you'd expect and one that tends to veer into complete madness with surprising regularity. Doki Doki Literature Club! starts off innocently enough, in a high school setting where a lot of girls are naturally attracted to the player. The game then takes its sweet time to reel players in until even stranger stuff starts to take place. Like going from this:
… to this …
The anime girls all get killed off in gruesome ways by Monika, the evil girl, who then takes the player on a creepy date that will last forever …
… unless the player decides to close the game and delete Monika from the game files. Seriously: You have to leave the game, navigate through your Windows files, and find the game file called “Monika.”
Doki Doki Literature Club!'s cuteness is a façade masterfully crafted solely by Super Smash Bros pro player Dan Salvato. And if you get frustrated and want your money back, bad news: There are no refunds. Because the game is free. Spooky!
Top image: Ultra Ultra