There are plenty of RPG Maker horror games available on Steam today, from atmospheric titles, like lb and Yume Nikkito other more thrilling ones, such as crazy dad and The crooked man. All of these games feature a distinct style of gameplay, with a top-down view of the player character and their environment. These aspects are what puts these games in the category of RPG Maker horror games.
That said, these are just a few of the many indie RPG Maker horror games that popped up in the 2000s and 2010s. There are plenty more still available online for free; just dig a little.
Ao Oni is one of the earliest known horror games from RPG Maker that gained popularity. Created by noprops and released in the late 2000s, the game revolved around a college student named Hiroshi and his circle of friends as they explored an abandoned mansion. Unfortunately for them, the mansion was filled with huge, rugged monsters known as “Oni”. With its artificial eyes and rows of razor-sharp teeth, the titular Oni is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying monsters in the RPG Maker horror game genre.
Ao OniThe gameplay of is mainly based on solving puzzles in the mansion. Solving puzzles advances the narrative and provides the player with useful tools that they can use later in the game. The progression also eventually sheds light on how the strange Oni are created. However, the Oni can appear to disrupt the player’s progress at any time, initiating a chase sequence where the player must flee from the monster until it gives up.
As more and more YouTube creators and gaming communities have noticed Ao Oni, its popularity is growing. This allowed the game to get its own light novel, two different manga series, a live-action movie, and anime adaptations. Despite this, the game is not available on Steam, although an English translation can be downloaded online.
Re: Kinder is actually a remake of another RPG Maker game called Kinder. Re: Kinder was created on a much newer RPG Maker program, but both were created by Parun. Released in 2010, the story centers on a young boy named Shunsuke, who returns home from a vacation with his grandparents to find a desolate land. He joins his friends to find out what is going on. And soon they begin to realize that the strange happenings have something to do with another young boy named Yuuichi.
Re: Kinder uses the combat system of the RPG Maker program, so the player will have to fight through strange monsters to advance the story. During these battle sequences, the player can also take control of Shunsuke’s friends, so it’s best to learn what their unique abilities are. Other than that, it’s important to note that the game’s narrative deals with heavy themes, such as mental illness, abuse, and suicide.
Although not as popular as Ao Oni, Re: Kinder is still a game worth playing, especially for its strong narrative and the message it sends about mental health. An English translation of the game can be downloaded online.
DISABLED is an RPG Maker game created by Unproductive Fun Time and released in 2008. In it, the player takes control of a mysterious protagonist known only as “The Batter”, and his objective is to “purify” the game world. To do this, the player must travel through several areas, slaying the game’s specters and their resident Guardians.
To like Re: Kinder, DISABLED uses combat mechanics from the RPG Maker program. The player must level up, improve their stats, and even recruit party members to help them in The Batter’s mission. What sets this game apart, however, is its atmosphere. Contrary to Ao Oni and Re: Kinderscary visuals, DISABLED leans more into a surreal art style, which adds to the game’s bizarre yet compelling narrative.
DISABLED was already popular after its initial release, but it grew even more after the game was translated into English. These English versions of the game are still available online. That said, many loved the game’s underlying themes, visual style, and overall quirkiness. It was even the sixth most reblogged game on Tumblr in 2013, surpassing AAA games like Skyrim and The last of us.
mermaid swamp may not be on Steam, but its creator’s other works are. The game was created by Uri, who also created The strange man series. First released in 2013, the story revolves around a woman named Rin Yamazaki and her friends, who traveled to a mountainous region to go on vacation. During their journey, however, their car breaks down. This forces them to spend the night in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, and just outside of it is a large swamp.
Mermaid Swamp looks more like Ao Oni as it does not involve any combat sequence in the RPG Maker program. Instead, it encourages the player to explore and make the right choices to unlock the best possible ending. The game also leans heavily on body horror, using drawn imagery to depict the characters in a bloated state. Additionally, a remake of the game was released in 2018 that features full Japanese dubbing.
mermaid swamp was well received in the RPG Maker horror game community for its gripping story and disturbing visuals. Many liked that he didn’t shy away from portraying his characters in such a grotesque way. And with the remake, longtime fans can enjoy the game with great voice acting and improved graphics.
These are just a few of the countless RPG Maker Horror games that have been obscured by time. Despite this, they are still worth playing. Simple controls and cute sprites shouldn’t detract from the horror aspect of the games. Additionally, each of these titles brings something valuable to the indie horror scene, whether in style or story. As such, despite their seemingly outdated graphics and old fashioned download methods, these games are well worth any horror gamer’s time.
English translations of indie horror games Ao Oni, Re: Kinder, DISABLEDand Mermaid Swamp are all available online for free on PC.
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