It was 2014 when Scott Cawthon launched Five Nights at Freddy’s, known as FNAF, on the market. An experiment, nothing more, created with the aim of being able to instill a state of anxiety and perennial restlessness in those who were on the other side of the screen, intent on activating surveillance cameras to make sure that no animatronics had moved from its location. Simple screens that alternated, while the unfortunate person on duty, Mike Schmidt, had to try to defend himself from the onslaught of living puppets using the little current at his disposal.
It was a fuse that gave birth to a process of imitation and experimentation, designed to give FNAF spiritual sequels (including a new chapter for PS5 of Five Nights at Freddy’s) and express an ever more vivid horror, frightening not for an instant but by grafting a terrifying idea into the minds of the players.
Your Turn to Die
Let’s start immediately with Your Turn To Die Death Game By Majority, a title that calls for making very strong, heavy choices in order to save as many people as possible from some lethal traps. Developed with RPG Maker MV by Nankidai alone, Your Turn to Die was published in episodes, giving its users an anxious experience, inevitably linked to the narrative twists proposed by the plot.
We are not dealing with a product in the style of Danganronpa, the visual novel released on PSP in 2010, but we could say that Your Turn to Die tries to resemble it in some things. The most particular aspect offered by the gameplay is to be found in the mini-games equipped with ever-changing mechanics, which will ask you to discuss specific topics, to show evidence of what you say and do and also to formulate theories.
Although it may seem that they have been sown over the course of the experience only to lengthen the broth, the minigames will end up influencing the lives of the protagonists: one of the first of these activities leads us to discover that the musician Reko has been replaced by a person created by a doll moved by an artificial intelligence (which is surreal and disturbing).
Sacrificing the doll will mean killing Reko’s brother, while leaving the puppet alive will allow him to track down the musician and eliminate him. In other words, the choices made represent the last word on the life or death of the characters involved. Embark on an adventure as Sara Chidouin and find out what is happening to the other nine people trapped in a mysterious place.
What if one day worms start nesting in your body? This disturbing question well sums up the incipit of this horrific visual novel, which places the user in front of fundamental choices to escape a waking nightmare. The protagonist is Sye Mejia, an 18-year-old girl suffering from a disorder called Anomaly 270, commonly known as Vermin God Disease. Not much is known about this disease, except that it attracts parasites and animals that eventually enter the victim’s body. No, we’re not just talking about worms but also rats and cockroaches, to name a few.
Sye wants them all inside his stomach. The most disturbing element of the experience does not concern feasting with these beings: in fact, the young woman will find herself covered by centipedes and so on, which will crawl into all possible orifices. It won’t be a problem for her, but for you? This visual novel with well-kept designs does not leave much room for interactivity, also because if she did it could push you to abandon it and quickly.
Developed by Omocat and published by Playism, Omori is a psychological horror that made its way into the indie market by also arriving on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch last June.
A young man named Sunny has his own alter ego known as Omori, with whom he explores both the real world and a surreal dimension, which he invented for himself, in an attempt to overcome the fears and traumas that drove him to become a hikikomori. In this dream world he will also find his friends, carefully re-proposed in the form of an alter ego. Between depression, anxiety and issues such as suicide, the protagonist will find himself having to make very specific choices to get to solve all his problems and find out if he will be able to take control of Omori or if in the end the dream will win it . All within a setting, the White Space, which as the experience progresses will end up being sucked into the fears of the protagonist, pushing him to a constant state of alert with an alarm that will be activated at any necessary moment.
Jolly scroll through the lists of the most intriguing horror titles and suddenly you find yourself in front of a pinkish graphic with soft curves that reads the name of Dreaming Mary. Surely there will be a mistake. However, since it’s free, you decide to download it and find out what’s behind this RPG created with RPG Maker – yes, too – by accepting to take on the role of a pink-haired girl who is living in her dream. There are flowers and talking animals that love her particularly, from the fox to the bunny, up to the penguin.
Dreaming Mary is a side scroller that aims to generate a sense of perennial anguish, gradually outlining a nightmare atmosphere. In fact, it seems clear how Mary is hiding something tragic, with a wild boar who will try to snatch her from this fantasy reality. The dream world of the young woman is in fact her refuge to escape a reality that has nothing to do with joyful colors. Pink is just a patina which, once removed from the surface in one of the four available endings, will leave room for a bitter and terrible truth, made up of mistreatment and possession. If we add to this having to replay Dreaming Mary several times to get to the “true ending”, the reasons that lead us to define it disturbing appear even more evident.
Developed by Harvester Games, available on PC and created by Rem Michalski, Burnhouse Lane tells the story of Angie Weather, a nurse suffering from a terminal illness who is called upon to solve five impossible tasks in order to get her life back. Michalski is in his fourth game after The Cat Lady, Downfall Redux and Lorelai, but this time the goal is to aim higher. Angie hasn’t gotten over her husband’s death and she thinks the only way to end her grief is to kill herself.
However, the attempt fails and this is how this dark adventure begins. Compared to the other titles examined, in Burnhouse Lane there is a semblance of gameplay, between fights and shootings, although the core of the experience is still linked to storytelling and the decisions made by the player. The available endings are different and the dubbing (in English) makes the whole story very heartfelt and fascinating. Burnhouse Lane lasts about 15 hours, it is a complete title and to be experienced carefully, letting yourself be disturbed by Angie’s sad events. Among other things, the horror component does not manifest itself in the images, but in the action phases, with the supporting actors who want to harm the woman, yearning for her pain. The same goes for the “boss fights”, which will stage her opponents’ desire to see her gasp to the ground. The icing on the cake, in Russia Rem Michalski has earned the nickname of “Polish Kojima”, proving the extreme peculiarity of his works, clearly including Burnhouse Lane.
Did you already know these titles or did we manage to make you discover something far from your comfort zone? Tell us in the comments if there are other disturbing horror films that over time have managed to displace you or generate annoyance or real disgust in you (Vermin God could certainly do it) and let’s continue in this disturbing research.