Visual novels are unique ways of story-telling, as they don’t have to rely on the same pacing and tropes that video games do, there’s no need to use jump-scares or other low-budget scare tactics-meaning that these games can weave some truly scary and mind-bending stories that are perfectly designed to unsettle or downright terrify the player on the other side of the computer.
8: Koshotengai No Hashihime (Hashihime of old book town)
This game appears to be working at an old-timey book store at first glance, but upon looking further into the plot, there are some seriously sinister things going on in this game. Players are following the MC, Tamamori, who has a full-time job at the university book store. He begins making friends until they start dying one by one, leaving Tamamori to solve the mystery before time runs out.
This game is more of classic horror if that’s what you’re into-think vampires, magic, and a touch of romance to break it all up. The graphics are a bit dated, but definitely worth looking into. It also has an anime adaptation, so that’s cool.
6: Zero Escape- Virtue’s Last Reward
Visual Novel version of Saw. Nine people have to escape a warehouse or die. Enough said.
5: Zero Escape- 9 hours, 9 people, 9 doors
The OG Original Escape has a similar premise with a much deeper storyline. It’s true, the first is usually the best.
4: Chaos Child
This murder mystery is thrilling enough, but taking place in the midst of an earthquake really adds to the adrenaline rush. Fun fact: this game and Steins: Gate have the same director.
3: Subarashiki Hibi~Furenzoku (Wonderful Everyday)
Players follow five main characters into a school of horrors.
2: Corpse Party
This game of escape or die takes on a whole new level when children are transported to a haunted school with a ghost that’s set on killing them at every turn. This game gave me so many nightmares my freshman year, but it’s so worth it. The graphics are a little dated, but the plot more than makes up for it.
1: The House Of Fate Morgana
This game changed the path for horror VNs. The plot has been hashed by many inferior games, but that’s what happens when you’re the best of the best. Players get to slowly solve the tragedies that have happened at a luxiorious mansion over the years. The story is so detailed and interconnected that even the tinest details mean something later, making it the perfect story to get immersed in. The only critique I have is the use of the Amnesia cliche.