12 Best Japanese Horror Games for PC

Japanese Horror Games
Japan sure does love blood, death and horror!

Get scared. The Japanese way.

Japan has a long history of scaring people with their ghost stories, horror movies and games. Often, gamers don’t even realize that some of the world’s most successful game franchises originated in Japan. Here are the 12 Best Japanese Horror Games for PC.

12. Yomawari: Midnight Shadows

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows Gameplay

This is a sequel to Yomawari: Night Alone. Help reunite friends Yui and Haru after they lose each other at a hanabi matsuri (fireworks festival). In the dark, all they have are flashlights and their wits. They cannot fight off the lurking spirits, but can hide, dodge and use special items. Developed by Nippon Ichi Software, the cute, childlike style point-and-click offers something unique in gameplay: The story unfolds by alternating between Yui and Haru’s point of view. Depending on the player’s choices as each character, the plot will propel their intertwined story.

Barbed wire might mean GO AWAY, little girl.

For this I carry a flashlight? You ugleh.

11. Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 Gameplay

Ethan Winters searches for his not-so-dead wife in a cannibal-ridden plantation. People here seem to be afflicted by a virus. Make antidote serums, search for clues, and discover the truth behind the infection. Japanese Developers Capcom made attempts at turning the Resident Evil series into an action game (with RE 5 and 6), but return here to the survival (and exploration) genre. It is the first in the franchise to employ first-person playability rather than its usual third-person point of view.

Get thee 3 dog heads. You know, the dead kind.

I hear they only die with a good headshot. Let’s find out.

10. Resident Evil HD remake

Resident Evil HD Remake Gameplay

Bizarre murders occur. Task force officers Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine search a zombie-infested mansion for clues about the disappearance of their teammates. Known in Japan as Biohazard, the original 1996 Resident Evil was so successful, it spawned an ongoing series (the newest installment is currently underway). In 2002, dev team Capcom made an updated version for Gamecube. In 2015, they released an HD remake to improve the graphics and bring things up to date for contemporary game consoles. The franchise is known as the frontrunner of horror survival games, and incorporates 3D objects into rendered (2D) environments.

Dressed to kill.

Is it true what they say? Only fire really kills the Undead?

9. Mad Father

Mad Father Gameplay

Dad is a mad scientist conducting shady experiments in the basement. Mom and little Aya have no idea what he’s up to. But they probably wish they’d never found out. The freeware puzzle RPG was developed by Sen and published by Miscreant’s Room. Unlike the typical zombie game prototype, the creatures here are – though undead – more like failed experiments and mutants. Look at the messy trail dad left behind. Poor Aya. Or...maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Yours to discover.

Kid, you’re not gonna see mamaa.

Yesss...!

8. Corpse Party

Corpse Party Gameplay

A group of high school friends conduct a superstitious friendship ritual, and end up transported to a school in an alternate universe. Their friendship is tested when they need to escape from the ghosts of past horrors. Team GrisGris initially developed the game in 1996. Currently, they continue to collaborate with both 5pb and GrindHouse. A remake (and then several sequels) fleshes out the storyline and offers the possibility of many alternate endings. After the extensive updates, there are more playable characters, more gore and what they call ‘wrong endings’. Depending on in-game twists and deaths, an array of offbeat endings will appear. These increase in number throughout the game, but there are only a few ‘real’ endings.

This is a bad idea, guys.

A very bad idea, indeed.

7. Angels of Death

Angel of Death Gameplay

A teenager finds herself stranded in an unknown place, with no idea how she got there. Surviving a traumatic past, it’s ironic (or not?) that all she wants to do is die. Developer Hoshikuzu KRNKRN used the same software as #9 (Mad Father) and #8 (Corpse Party), RPG Maker. A manga and now an upcoming anime have been inspired by this episodic, dark game where death isn’t the enemy. A morbid friendship may be a viable solution for the two main characters.

Can I get 5 seconds, please?

Church ain’t going to save you, you sinner.

6. Death Forest

Death Forest Gameplay

Your scooter breaks down and now you’re in a creepy forest after dark. Find items to get your ride working, but avoid the smiling The Grudge-like severed head that keeps tailing you. Other creepy weirdos pop out of nowhere, including a Slenderman-ish dude who screams. The indie game is published by Kazz. Your flashlight-restricted field of vision (similar to a moving spotlight) is accompanied by the sounds of nighttime nature. Wearing headphones will allow you to feel if the baddies are approaching from your left or right. Dreadful! Music floats in and out to alert you that a creature is near. Handy, right? Also, the sound of breathing is often creepier than the monsters themselves, go figure!

Grudge-kid, your dental hygiene is the pits.

Um. Just. Go. Away, and stop screaming.

5. Shadow Corridor

Shadow Corridor Gameplay

Navigate through a traditional Japanese house – which may actually be a sort of porthole or dungeon – in search of ‘magatama’ (special gems). And oh yeah, you’ll be chased by folkloric Japanese ghosts/spirits. Created by Shiroma, at FLStudio. Boasting very Japanese decors, the attention to detail in the texture maps and surroundings make things feel quite authentic. If you’re too chicken to meet the monsters, you can play coward and hide in a locker until the coast is clear. Though the gameplay is intense and oppressive, the intro and conclusion allow the player to feel as though they’ve slipped into a hazy summer night’s dreamscape.

Lighting candles makes me more visible? Come at me, ghosts!

Such a pretty house. A shame about its inhabitants.

4. Ao Oni

Ao Oni Gameplay

A group of kids are stuck in a haunted mansion. Play as Hiroshi, the leader of the group, and save your friends before a blue demon (ao = blue, oni = ogre/demon) turns them all into oni. Developed by ‘noprops’, the adventure horror game is a bit random, and does not flesh out a complete backstory. And why Oni is more purple than blue is a mystery. This doesn’t hinder the game, however. Ao Oni is known for its short but creepy Psycho-like chord theme, which indicates when the monster is near. Optional (and comedic) oni characters are available in a special room. If you dare access the room though, you’re asking for more trouble!

Get up, you fool! Oni’s on your tail!

Oh you are just SCARY – stay away from me.

3. Purgatory

Purgatory Gameplay

Enri, a voiceless girl, is stuck in a rather gory predicament. Big, bad butchers are trying to keep her in Purgatory. Walk her through the bloody path to pry items out of corpses’ grasp. Solve cryptic clues. Make creepy friends who may or may not help her in her missions. Developed by Nama, the game has a fan-made English translated release by Memories of Fear. There are a bunch of passwords and puzzle challenges to progress to more puzzles. A grizzly adventure juxtaposed with artistic still-frame manga-esque action drawings. Kawaii! But...kinda gross.

Maybe there’s something in here to wipe down all this blood.

Yes, reliable. As in, Emma, i’ll cut you, you fake friend b-tch.

2. The Evil Within

The Evil Within Gameplay

A police detective is investigating a series of murders at a mental hospital. Amidst freaky disfigured attackers, and an evil plot revolving around a mind control machine, the detective learns to fight or flee. Tango Gameworks developed the game with director Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil’s creator). An intricate bomb system can be set up on surrounding objects, or disarmed by playing minigames. Attention, pyromaniacs! Enemies can only be stopped by fire, once they are already in a weakened state. After winning a game, players can access a New Game Plus mode. This fresh game will include new features, as well as access to previously won items or skills.

Keep running. This doesn’t look good.

What do you mean you can’t disarm that bomb?

1. Clock Tower

Clock Tower Gameplay

An orphan named Jennifer is adopted. The house she is brought to is a mansion with a clock tower. But from the moment she arrives, things go awry. She is pursued by Scissorman, and must uncover the complicated past of her adoptive father. The dev team at Human Entertainment, and director Hifumi Kono were highly influenced by the horror film, Phenomena (by Dario Argento). And yes, Jennifer is named after Phenomena’s lead character. The 1995 game was one of the first to use cinematic atmosphere and horror elements, and has influenced many games to this day.

Scissorman on the loose!

Oh no biggie, just some crow corpses.

Daria is an octopus (multi-tasker!). Since graduating from Film Studies, she has freelanced as an arts & culture writer. Currently she focuses on film critique – specializing in horror and genre film.
Gamer Since: 2001
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