Horror just isn’t as scary as it used to be, is it? Our senses have become dulled to gorefests and splatterfests and all of the other -fests that are “horror” movies and TV shows and games. But there is one tried and true way to make a story even MORE troubling — MAKE IT ADORABLE. How terrifying is it to see disembodied limbs or oppressive AI systems when you can’t stop going “AWWWW”? Here are five games that manage to be spooky AND cute all at the same time.
Undertale is a wonderful… uh… tale… with amazingly crafted jokes, a groundbreaking theme of aversion to violence, and — okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it. Undertale features the spookiest of spooky skeletons, and it’s all a GD delight. Look at my man’s little jacket!
Spooky’s House of Jumpscares
Spooky’s House of Jumpscares starts innocuously enough. There’s a little Adventure Time-looking ghoul girl, helpfully guiding you through the titular Spooky’s 1000 rooms. And wouldn’t you know it! Tiny little ghosts and spiders and Cthulus pop out at you, painted on literal pieces of wood jutting out from the wall like a carnival spook-house ride. But did I mention the faceless goo demon that looks like he wants to devour your dreams? One man’s jump scare is another man’s night terror, I suppose.
Five Nights at Freddie’s
I admit, this one might be a stretch, but come on — that cupcake is what sent me over the edge. The original Fazbear clan was adorable, and if we’re being honest, it’s the hapless player poking around and being a terrible security guard that finally made them snap. How can a cupcake with eyes be evil?
Plants vs. Zombies
Some of these titles admittedly lean more to one side than the other — whereas Five Nights might be straight-up nightmare fuel, there isn’t anything TOO threatening about Plants vs. Zombies. But hey guys? The fact remains that they’re trying to EAT YOUR BRAINS. And that might be one of the greatest rhyming sentences I’ve ever crafted. Is there a song there, do you think?
The Portal series
Portal and Portal 2 may have seemed bleak and uninviting, but don’t you remember our old pal the Companion Cube? How cute was that thing?! The fact that a billion plushies have been made in its likeness is proof that the Portal series knows how to use cuteness to its benefit. And that benefit is dropping your guard before unleashing a rabid, clapback-having-ass AI on your helpless protagonist.
Do you have chibi-infested nightmares? Let me know on Twitter!