As we continue on in this spooky month, we have a new batch of PC titles that are guaranteed to send your pulse racing. Horror can take many forms and, in gaming, be interconnected with many other genres to create truly distinctive experiences.
This week’s PC game picks are filled with dating sims that offer wild twists and turns, managing eldritch abominations for a mega-corporation, tearing up your environments as you explore a dark cave, or navigating through a world filled with abnormal sights and foes.
There’s plenty to choose from and explore within these atypical options, so be sure to check out at least one of them this weekend and have a blast. In fact, given that most of these games can be beaten in under ten hours, you can squeeze in multiple gaming sessions.
Who knew a dating sim filled with pigeon love interests could be so fun, heartwarming, and emotional? And yes, you read that right. Hatoful Boyfriend has you play as a human girl entering an all-bird high school and your job is to romance one of them in order to avoid a very unfortunate ending.
While avoiding the very massive plot twist of the game, you must navigate through a sometimes hostile and sometimes fascinating environment with your best friend (and possible love interest) by your side who is also a pigeon. But despite the bizarre premise, the character and story writing is absolutely incredible, putting most romance dating-sim visual novels to shame.
The game is well aware of how ridiculous the premise is but still plays it straight and treats every character with due respect, fleshing out their arcs and backgrounds to the point that you genuinely forget they’re birds. And it’s not afraid to delve into dark and mature subject matter either, handling those topics with as much sharp wit and deftness as any other aspects of the game.
Check out Hatoful Boyfriend on Steam
Sucker for Love
Another dating-sim visual novel with a bizarre premise that somehow works, Sucker for Love sees you as a handsome guy who is the king of monsterf**kers. And this title is earned as he’s literally summoning Cthulhu so he can give them a smooch! He summons essentially a female Cthulhu named Ln’eta, and from there comes a love affair that literally ends the world.
After that, there are two additional routes you can play through with two other cosmic horror cuties. All three routes are incredibly charming with some great character development, and both the visuals and writing expertly balance on that difficult tightrope between black humor and disturbing horror.
Each route also has its own unique gameplay style that compliments the characters and story and separates from the first girl Ln’eta’s spell-casting style game mechanics. It’s a well-paced title with simple yet addictive gameplay and it never overstays its welcome. And even more miraculous is that you end up genuinely caring for each lady that you romance which, considering that they can end all reality in an instant, is impressive.
Check out Sucker for Love on Steam
Lobotomy Corporation | Monster Management Simulation
If you’re a fan of SCP Foundation, Warehouse 13, Cabin in the Woods, and similar media, this monster-management simulation is absolutely the game for you. You play a new manager recruit for L corporation, tasked with keeping horrible eldritch beings contained in cells.
Each monster has different requirements for drawing out energy, which is then stored and sold as energy to the masses. Of course, when these monsters inevitably break contamination and wreak havoc, you must redirect your expendable subordinates to corral and re-contain them, and usually, at the cost of their lives.
The gameplay is intense yet addictive, as you delegate monsters to your subordinates to care for in order to maximize energy collection while keeping them calm and docile. What makes it even more difficult is that the information you need on each one is drip-fed to you as you care for them. And that’s not even touching all the drama going on with the protagonist and the other characters in the game.
Check out Lobotomy Corporation on Steam
While plenty of realistic 3D titles offer destructible environments, the same can’t be said for 2D pixel-based games. Until Noita that is. Noita is a roguelite magical action game where “every pixel is physically simulated,” according to the description.
This means that every single part of the environment can be affected and destroyed by various magical spells. And the magic itself can be combined to create spells with unique properties, which will then interact with the environment and enemies. The world is procedurally generated, which gives you even more playing options.
The idea of a pixel world that can be broken down and molded as you please is such a fantastic concept that it’s mind-blowing that no one has come up with it before. If you want a fun sandbox-type game to play around with as you please, this is the title to pick up.
Check out Noita on Steam
Hylics is an excellent example of daylight horror, with freakish and weird visuals, and even more bizarre dialogue that’s actually procedurally generated, all tucked away in a world with terrifying environments and enemies.
It also boasts some surprisingly deep RPG mechanics, with the gesture system being one of the most unique and downright imaginative gameplay systems we’ve seen. It’s all complemented by the Claymation style graphics, which are all hand-animated and applied on RPG Maker of all engines.
And unlike nearly any other RPG, Hylics is at most a five-hour game, which means you can beat it and collect all the collectibles/spells/equipment in a single session. It’s a wonderfully bizarre and entertaining ride if you’re in the mood for something very different from your usual horror fare.
Check out Hylics on Steam
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Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.