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We all know the excitement of playing a mind melting game. You know the kind, the type of game that starts of slow and gentle. Then, as if a bucket of ice was suddenly dumped onto your head, the game twists and changes into something that straps dynamite onto your mind and completely blows it into a million pieces. You’re left with your mouth open and your heart beating wildly—and you can’t help but love it. Have no fears my dear friend, I will show you the way to five games that will give you your mind melting fix!
This game has been a personal favorite of mine for quite some time. You play as a physician who is tasked with treating patients that have experienced some form of trauma. The mind ride begins here as you are no ordinary doctor. The facility you work for has developed a technology that allows you to travel inside the mind of the patient. Once transported there, you journey through a world built by the patient’s memories. As you collect pieces of the puzzle, the game grows darker and darker. A happy memory turns sour as the truth rears its ugly head and changes your surroundings. You will encounter dark truths and re-live horrific events inside the minds of patients—like suicide witnesses and war veterans. I love this game for so many reasons, but the main one is because it’s not generic horror. Jump scares aren’t found around every corner but, instead, you encounter genuine, eerie horror. The environment twists grotesquely in a way that makes you uncomfortable but still provides a thrilling experience. It also contains aesthetically pleasing graphics and challenging puzzles. One of the best feature is, not only can you play it in VR, but it has a biofeedback features that changes the difficulty and the horror levels based on the amount of stress, fear, and anxiety that you feel! This can be accomplished by using a webcam or heart rate sensor. The game has a lot of depth and a really cool concept behind it, I definitely recommend it.
Genre: Psychological Horror Available On: PC, Xbox One
2. What Remains of Edith Finch
A young girl returns to her childhood home, determined to get to the bottom of the legendary Finch Curse. This game is amazing with its level of story and exploration alone. The plot revolves around Edith, who decides to return to her childhood home after her mother passes away. She is the last remaining family member as the rest died due to a mysterious curse. The game is gorgeous with fantastic depth to its story. As you explore the home, you discover the stories of past relatives, then you relive their deaths through their perspective. You become and control that character after you are transported to the point and time before they died. The story telling, soundtrack, and voice acting are exceptional and provides a submersible experience. Telling you the heart-breaking stories will spoil the game, so you'll have to check out the dark way you explore each deceased family member's story yourself. Give it a spin and let your mind take the ride of its life. I’m still messed up over this game after finishing it two months ago!
Genre: Indie/Adventure Available On: PC, Play Station 4, Xbox One
3. Layers of Fear
Oh boy oh boy is this one an adventure. Layers of Fear is a first-person horror game with an element of exploration and clue-gathering. I enjoy the ambience this game has; the environment is chilling, and the music is well done. You explore a 19th century Victorian home and unravel the story behind a broken man. The story revolves around a famous painter that experienced an artist’s block. An artist’s block usually isn’t so bad, right? You step away from your work and enjoy a nice, hot cup of tea to clear your mind then you’re good to go. Well, not for this guy. His wife was tragically caught in a fire that resulted in disfigurement. As it so happens, his wife was his muse. With his once beautiful muse “tainted,” he dives deeper and deeper into a state of desperation to once again make art. Things turn psychedelic as the environment grows haunting and terrifying the more the painter swan dives into utter madness. To tell you guys the extremes he goes to would spoil the game, but I will say this: Oh God The Rats. Layers of Fear explores the depths of mental illness and poor coping skills, and combines it with a terrifying environment that twists to awesome psychedelic levels. There even is a DLC, known as "Inheritance." Get your anti-rat gear on and prepare to dive into a world of darkness and horror.
Genre: Psychological Horror Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and apparently Nintendo Switch
Whenever I think of this game, the first thing that pops into my mind is: !!!!!!!!!!!
I have a lot of feelings about this game, guys. SOMA combines sci-fi and horror to create a world full of mechanical creepies. It's a first-person perspective through the eyes of a man who has awoken to an unfamiliar place with seemingly no sign of other humans. Luckily, the technology in the mysterious place is working and he (Simon) comes into contact with another person (Catherine). Simon discovers he is in an underwater research facility (cool) that has been taken over by sentient machines with murderous intent (not cool). The facility dedicated its research to a form of memory transportation that prolongs human life. Not only are the graphics good, but the game explores thought-provoking concepts with existential crisis and hard moral decisions. If dark themes, sentient machines, and mind-blowing twists are your thing, I would recommend giving SOMA a go.
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Available On: PC, PlayStation 4
5. Fran Bow
One thing that freaks me out the most is whales. This game doesn’t involve that, but I thought I would let you know. Anyways, Fran Bow is a point and click horror game that likes to shake your mind up in unsettling ways. The story tells of a ten-year-old girl who witnesses the brutal murder of her parents. She is sent to a mental facility for children to deal with her mental illness and grief. Her adventure begins when she is given pills that allow her to see a much more grim, bloody version of the world. Monsters become visible, cryptic messages are written on blood on the wall, it’s an all-around good time. She sets out to escape the horrid institution and find her beloved cat—that she lost when she fled into the woods after witnessing the murder of her parents—and find her aunt so that she can start a new life with her. The game creates an interesting world filled with creepy creatures and colorful characters. It explores the depths of mental illness along with a well-made story and fun puzzles. This game will keep you awake at night with the horror-filled twists and turns that is Fran Bow.
Genre: Psychological Horror/Adventure Available On: PC