The spooky season is here once again and it’s time for spooks and scares galore! Whether you’re a fan of the macabre or just a casual fan looking for thrills this is the season to get your blood pumping with some scares! Of course, as a lover of horror I could not let this month pass without sharing some games to get you all in the spirit of Halloween! But, instead of sharing by the book horror games, I wanted to spotlight my favorite mystery games that embody the spirit of the spooky season!
So prepare yourselves for twists and turns and even a scare or two, with these Mystery Games to Get You in the Mood for the Spooky Season!
At the heart of Anslem village stands a 17th century English mansion that is rumored to be cursed by a vengeful spirit. Various disappearances had been linked to the mansion, while people living near the vicinity spoke of seeing and hearing unearthly things. Dismissed as a hoax, the mansion was listed for sale by Briar Realty Corporation.
Before its grand opening to the public, Isabella Santos, an agent under BRC, was double-checking the place when she accidentally uncovered a letter that said “HELP ME” over and over again. At the bottom of the letter was the phrase “Send this to 5 people or else…”
Horror is my jam and I couldn’t think of a better game to kick off this list than Yangyang Mobile’s The Letter. This horror visual novel is a loving homage to Asian horror, drawing inspiration from Japanese horror film Ju-On and The Ring. In The Letter seven people fall prey to a vicious curse tied to the infamous Ermangarde Mansion. Along the way, they will discover that horror rests not from the shadows lurking about, but within themselves: To what ends will one go in order to survive?
In the vein of the Japanese horror film, Ju-On (The Grudge internationally), the game focuses on a group of people who unwittingly find themselves the victim of a vengeful ghost…
Where to Play: Steam
The remote town of Okunezato is shaped like a crescent moon and shrouded in dark myths and legends. Take on the role of a brave young woman journeying into the unknown to uncover dangerous truths and locate her missing brother with her childhood friend. They find the area rife with mystery and populated by intriguing characters, each harboring their own hidden motivations. Encounter heart-racing twists and turns as you dig deeper into the story.
A small tucked away town in the mountains full of secrets and a string of mysterious disappearances and deaths–7’scarlet has all the elements of an immersive mystery adventure, and you can kiss some cute boys too! The town of Okunezato feels so disconnected from the hustle and bustle of modern living; it’s a place where myths and legends feel more real. The mystery is well paced, with each route providing more insight into the strange goings on in town and the hidden motivations of the main cast, some of whom might be more dangerous than the monsters that hide in the shadows.
Once in Okunezato, Ichiko and Hino meet the rest of the Okunezato Supernatural Club and begin investigating the strange goings on in the town.
Follow Rintaro Yagumo as he is selected to be the director for the rebooted “Shimane Mystery Drama Project”, a TV series which was cancelled for an unknown reason 10 years ago. His excitement for this amazing opportunity is quickly curbed when a horrible murder interrupts their location scouting process.
The second game in the Kadokawa Mystery Games series takes us back to Shimane for another thrilling murder mystery! This time around we follow up and coming director, Max Yagumo as he travels to Shimane to film the revival of the TV series, “Shimane Mystery Drama Project”—a project that was cancelled under suspicious circumstances 10 years prior. While scouting out the location he and his crew become embroiled in a horrible murder. Interrogate the residents of Shimane and explore various locations to uncover the truth behind the strange goings on.
Rintaro “Max” Yagumo is hired to work as one of the director for the revival of the TV series, “Shimane Mystery Drama Project”—a project that was cancelled under suspicious circumstances 10 years prior.
Hashihime of the Old Book Town
Tamamori came to Tokyo with his sights set on getting accepted to the Imperial University. However, he doesn’t pass the entrance exam, and is so undisciplined and wrapped up in endless fantasies that he’s kicked out of his boarding house after only two years. Through a stroke of luck, Tamamori begins to live and work at Umebachidou, a used book store. There, he enjoys whiling away his time as a “student preparing for entrance exams” and taking advantage of friends who are also from his hometown. But one right after the other, mysterious deaths befall those friends and, realizing he’s been repeating the same rainy three days over and over again, Tamamori finds himself racing throughout Jinbochou to save them.
In this pop-occult mystery that surrounds the deaths of his friends… What is real, and what is a hallucination?
Hashihime of the Old Book Town is a straight up acid trip of a game that isn’t afraid to throw logic and reason right out the window–constantly. You never know what’s real and what’s the creation of aspiring author, Tamamori’s overactive imagination. Nothing is what it seems and what makes Hashihime of the Old Book Town so much fun is trying to figure out what’s really going on! Is there a masked serial killer roaming the streets? Can Tamamori really travel through time? Every time you think you have an answer the game pulls the rug out from under you leaving you with even more questions!
I’ve seen other reviewers throw around the phrase “existential horror” when discussing this game and after finishing Hashihime of the Old Book Town I agree that is a pretty fucking accurate description of this game.
Psychadelica of the Black Butterfly
Where to Play: Steam
Awakening in a mysterious mansion, her first, frantic thoughts are: ‘Where am I? And more importantly, WHO am I?’ She encounters several young men in the same predicament trapped and missing their memories. To survive they must hunt black butterflies and claim kaleidoscope shards from the horrific
I had pretty mixed feelings about Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly when I first played it, but I’ve had some time to think about it and it’s much better than I gave it credit for (though I still think the romance is weak). There’s a constant sense of fear and foreboding in the game, because like Beniyuri and her companions you never quite know exactly what’s going on. Every minute is a fight for survival as creepy monsters lurk the halls of the mysterious mansion the characters find themselves in, and to add to the suspense, all of the characters have amnesia so you never know if you can full trust anyone.
I really enjoyed the darker plot and focus on grief and ways people cope with the lost of a love one.
MARS RED: Edge of the Nightmare
Early twentieth century, Japan – the flowering era of Taisho influenced by Romanticism. As the nation prospered in modernization, some species were outcasted and stood at the crossroads of their lives.
They were – vampires.
Although they possessed superhuman physical abilities, they would burn under the sun and only lived off of blood. They suffered from having keen senses, and most of them could not adjust to their eternal life. Thus – they were vulnerable species.
This is a story about a young man named Yatsufusa, who became a vampire against his will and seeks the meaning of life as he encounters different people and species surrounding him.Official Game Bio
MARS RED: Edge of the Nightmare is a title I debated about including in this list since it really isn’t all that spooky. Based on the 2015 Bun-O Fujisawa stage play of the same name, MARS RED is more of an adventure/visual novel hybrid game. But, I dunno, Yatsufusa’s struggles to find meaning in his new undead life taps into some of the very real adult fear anyone making their way in the world can relate to. Explore various locales around the capital, interrogate witnesses and delve into the day to day life of a newly turned vampire, Yatsufusa, and his interaction with Code Zero, an elite vampire military team as they investigate vampire related incidents around the city.
The series follows top secret vampire military team known as Code Zero as they eliminate vampire threats in 1920’s Japan.