HALLOWEEN GAMING | Five Hidden Horror Gems On Switch
Are you a fan of scary games, but you're sick of getting recommended Outlast, Amnesia, and Resident Evil on a never-ending loop? Do you want to take your scares on the go? Then check out this list of five(-ish) truly terrifying underrated games on the Nintendo Switch!
Note: All of the following games contain mature themes are are rated appropriately.
1. Raging Loop - Groundhog Day meets One Night Werewolf
When twenty-something Haruaki stumbles across the secluded Japanese village of Yasumizu, he has no idea what terror awaits him. Shortly after his arrival, everyone in the village is trapped, and forced to participate in the "Feast”: a deadly game of logic and deduction with lives on the line. Roles are assigned to each player; two “wolves” and the others “villagers.” Every night the wolves must take a life, until only they remain. If they’re caught? They get the axe instead. Horrified but left with no other choice, Haruaki must not only play to survive, but also uncover the mystery behind Yasumizu village to put an end to the Feast once and for all.
Only - he dies. A lot.
Yes, what sets Raging Loop apart from other “death game”-style visual novels is Haruaki himself, and how he progresses the narrative: by dying, over and over, and learning from past mistakes. Early in the game, he becomes aware he’s trapped in a time loop - and the only way out is to survive. Equipped with the knowledge he learns after each death, he’s slowly able to chip away at Yasumizu's darkest secrets. This strategy informs the player, who is encouraged to mess up and behave brazenly if it means uncovering a new piece of information. The use of an flowchart mechanic makes returning to the moment before a deadly choice easy and frustration-free. Fully-voiced, expertly suspenseful, and host of a plot full of unexpected twists and turns, Raging Loop is an excellent choice for fans of games like DanganRonpa and Town of Salem.
2. Spirit Hunter: Death Mark - A Different Sort of Grudge
There’s a curse infecting Tokyo. Rumor has it, if you encounter a vengeful ghost, you’ll be branded by their grudge - their "mark" - and death comes for you swiftly after. Kazuo Yashiki doesn’t believe in curses - until he wakes up with no memories and a mark of his own. With the help of a mysterious talking doll, he learns that only by appeasing the spirit that cursed him can his mark be removed, and death averted. There's just one problem: he can't remember which ghost he pissed off. Desperate, he decides to help other curse bearers in the hope of discovering the identity of his own tormentor along the way. The more lives he saves, however, the more terrified he becomes of the larger powers at play, and just what his past involvement in the supernatural world entailed.
Death Mark is one of the most horrifying games I’ve ever played, full stop - due in no small part to its fantastic sound design and gruesome visual style. This game, and its sequel NG (see below), are not for the faint of heart - no characters are safe, deaths pull no punches, and there's body horror galore. Gameplay is split into investigation and puzzle-solving segments, in which Yashiki visits various haunted locations and attempts to pacify the spirit haunting it. By combining items and utilizing his various investigation partners' unique talents, players fight back against some truly terrifying ghostly encounters, where one wrong move means meeting a grisly end. (Bonus points go out to the DLC chapter "Red Riding Hood." I will never look at spiders or elevators the same way ever again.)
3. Spirit Hunter: NG - Do You Want To Play a Game?
The sequel to Death Mark, but follows a whole new cast of characters with only minor continuity nods to its predecessor.
One night, stoic delinquent Akira Kijima gets an invitation to play a game - and refusing isn't an option. A ghostly apparition named “Kakuya” has kidnapped his cousin, and wants him to solve riddles related to various deadly hauntings. Should be fail to uncover the truth behind these restless spirits, a fate worse than death awaits not only him, but everyone he cares about, as well.
NG is Death Mark but better. While that doesn’t mean you should skip Death Mark (you really should play it first to get everything out of NG), it’s clear that fan and critical feedback on the first game was taken into consideration during its development. NG's characters are better developed, its scares are cranked up to eleven, and its ghost designs are as disturbing as ever. Players investigate local haunts and solve puzzles, making choices that can lead toward good, bad, and normal endings, boosting replayability.
(Hot tip from me to you: some puzzle solutions in both Spirit Hunter titles can get a little obtuse; I recommend keeping a spoiler-free walkthough on hand for easy reference during their tenser moments.)
4. Yomawari: The Long Night Collection - Hit the Ground Running
Have you ever walked home late at night, and couldn't shake the feeling you were being watched? That someone was following you, just beyond the shadows? In the Yomawari series, something definitely is.
Yomawari: Night Alone, and its sequel, Midnight Shadows, are deceptively simple games. Both are about innocent young girls searching for a lost loved one, exploring the darkened streets of their local neighborhood with only a flashlight in hand. Monsters lurk in the dark, however, and their only recourse is to distract, flee, and hide from all the things that go bump in the night. For a horror experience that makes you feel truly helpless (in the best way possible), look no further than this two-for-one collection.
You can play the Yomawari games in any order, but fans of the series will insist you play Night Alone first, if only so its gut-punch of an opening act can set the tone for what comes after. Each title takes approximately five hours to beat - perfect for gamers looking for a quick experience to keep them up at night.
5. The House in Fata Morgana - The Master Will See You Now
There's not a lot I can say about The House in Fata Morgana without spoiling it. Honestly, you should go into it as blind as possible.
Simply put, its a gothic horror/suspense/mystery story about a cursed mansion. An enigmatic maid guides the player through a series of interconnected stories about its various inhabitants over the course of a millennia, as tragedy and insanity terrorizes each of them in equal measure. The more the player learns about the mansion and its past, the more their point of view character remembers about themselves, and their own connection to the mansion, the maid, and curse itself.
The version on Switch is the most complete Fata Morgana experience yet, containing not only the main story, but its prequel A Requiem for Innocence, its sequel Reincarnation, and a number of extra side stories.
Are there any other lesser-known spooky Switch titles we missed? Comment below with some of your favorites!