10 Spooky Visual Novels To Get You In The Halloween Mood

When you think “horror games,” the first things that come to mind are likely jump scares and monster pursuits down winding hallways. Luckily, if jump scares and wild chase sequences aren’t your cup of tea, you don’t have to give up on the entire genre of spooky games. Visual novels offer a rich, story-driven gaming experience perfect to get you in the mood for Halloween.

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Whether you are looking for something light and cute, perplexing and interactive, or to have your entire world turned on its head, here are the best horror visual novels that might fit your bill.

Updated October 6, 2023 by PJ Molloy: Visual novels are the perfect place to look if you want some frightening scares to get you ready for the spooky season. The magic of visual novels is their ability to tell thrilling stories through narrative-focused gameplay, and horror visual novels have some of the scariest plots in gaming. Since these titles feature little gameplay, they can devote all their attention to providing ominous suspense filled with terrifying monsters, mind-boggling psychological horror, and plenty of frights to send goosebumps up your arms. Since new horror visual novels launch all the time, there are plenty to choose from if you need a dose of scares to get your heart pounding

14 Sound Of Drop – Fall Into Poison Explores A Haunted Aquarium

 Sound Of Drop - Fall Into Poison - A Woman With Fish Coming Out Of Her Hair And Pink Slime Oozing Off Her Body

Sound Of Drop – Fall Into Poison follows a rumor that somewhere, hidden deep within the streets of Tokyo, lies a haunted aquarium where the water turns to blood during the full moon, and a half-man-half-fish creature lurks in the shadows. When middle school students Mayu and Himeno investigate the aquarium, they catch a glimpse of Mayu’s missing sister.

When Mayu chases after her sister’s silhouette, she realizes that she’s lost in this creepy, labyrinthian aquarium, and the creatures hiding in the darkness are watching. As you progress through the story, your choices affect the ending. With three main story paths and over thirty endings, this spooky horror visual novel provides plenty of frights to send a chill up your spine.

13 Gnosia Is Like A Single-Player Version Of Among Us

Gnosia - SQ Smiling Next To The Logo

Imagine if Among Us had a single-player mode. That’s Gnosia in a nutshell. You and 14 NPCs are trapped on a spaceship. Everyone has a secret, but only one is an alien impostor. As the characters get killed one by one, it’s up to you to explore the ship, talk to your fellow passengers, and figure out who the murderer is during rapid, round-table voting discussions.

What makes this one of the best horror visual novels is its RPG elements. You gain experience points as you investigate, which you can use to raise your stats. Your stats determine how easily you can tell if someone is lying, how likely the others will trust you, and much more. Some characters may ask you to team up with them, while others may want to speak with you privately. Your choices affect the outcome, so who are you willing to trust?

12 Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors Is A Classic Horror Visual Novel

Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors - Zero Staring In Junpei's Bedroom

Nine strangers wake up on a giant ship in the middle of the ocean. Before they can piece together where they are and who brought them there, the windows shatter, and water pours into the room. The ship is sinking, and they have nine hours to find a way to escape. What follows is a series of bizarre puzzles, more shocking betrayals, and cold-blooded murders.

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Welcome to Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, a horror visual novel from the Zero Escape series that has you solve several escape rooms to find a way off the ship. The twist-heavy plot is brimming with engaging psychological horror that explores the lengths people will go to when desperate for survival. The best way to play this game is through Zero Escape: The Nonary Games on Steam and PlayStation 4.

11 Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc Started A Beloved Series

Danganronpa - Makoto, Kyoko, Sayaka, Taka, Junko, Byakuya, And The Rest Of The Cast Standing In Two Rows

What would you do if you were trapped in a bizarre, abandoned school, and the only way out is to kill someone? That’s the question Danganronpa asks. This horror visual novel sees 15 of Japan’s brightest high school students kidnapped and put in a twisted killing game where the only way to see the outside world is to commit murder and get away with it.

The gameplay has you explore the abandoned school, grow bonds with the characters, and search for a way out. As you investigate, you come across a series of bloody murders. You must gather clues, talk to witnesses, and debate who the killer is during fast-paced class trials. Danganronpa is one of the most beloved horror visual novels ever and a must-play if you like the genre.

10 The Letter Lets You Explore A Cursed Mansion

The Letter - Fractured Portraits Of The Main Cast On A Black Background

A 17th-century English mansion beset not only by a vengeful spirit but also a dark curse? This is not Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting Of Hill House, but the horror visual novel The Letter, published by Yangyang Mobile. You guide seven protagonists through the horrors of Ermengarde Mansion and discover the secret behind the letter that has triggered this terrible curse.

All of your choices affect your relationship with the game’s characters and the ending. The Letter even has voice acting and some quick-time events, both of which can be disabled if that’s not your cup of tea. For fans of classic horror who do not mind a splash of gore, The Letter is the quintessential visual novel to play for the spooky season.

9 The Walking Dead Puts You In The Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead - Lee Stands Wielding An Ax Behind A Fearful Clementine, While Zombies Surround Them

It really says something when a visual novel wins a Game of the Year award, but once you’ve played The Walking Dead to completion, you’ll understand why. The Walking Dead is a gripping visual novel that captivated many before breaking their hearts when it launched in 2012 and is the pinnacle of comic book adaptations.

In the first of the series, you play Lee, once a university professor and now a convicted criminal aboard a police car, when the zombie apocalypse strikes. After rescuing young Clementine, Lee is determined for them both to survive, no matter the cost. The dialogue you choose ultimately affects your relationships with other characters and the ending. The game has other sequels and spinoffs, but if you haven’t played the first “season” of The Walking Dead yet, this one is an absolute must.

8 Overboard Lets You Be The Killer

Overboard - Veronica Standing With Other Characters, With The Moonlit Ship In The Background

You may feel inundated with detective games, from L.A. Noire to the Nancy Drew series. But what if you could play the murderer this time? Overboard brings a refreshing take to the detective genre, where you play as newly-wed Veronica Villensey aboard a 1930s ship bound for New York. There’s just one catch: you murdered your husband. With eight hours until the boat reaches landfall, the clock is ticking as you attempt to cover your misdeed.

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Not only do other characters remember your dialogue and actions, but in Overboard, other characters move about the ship independently. You have the same freedom, able to move about the ship non-linearly. But can you evade justice in time?

7 Doki Doki Literature Club Is A Psychological Horror Wrapped In Cuteness

Doki Doki Literature Club - Natsuki Saying

If you play any horror visual novel, Doki Doki Literature Club needs to be on the top of your list. This game went viral, hallmarked for its cutesy pastel pink exterior, masking a disturbing horror story just beneath the surface. DDLC turns the romance visual novel genre on its head, playing into stereotypes of selfish and often misguided male protagonists, only to subvert your expectations at the last minute.

For the best experience, it’s recommended to go into the game completely blind. Be warned that DDLC deals with themes of suicide and sexual violence, so it might not be suitable for some.

6 Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart Of The Forest Is A Spooky RPG

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart Of The Forest - A Screenshot Titled

The zombie apocalypse is pretty much on lock at this point when it comes to games. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest, you get a peek into a world overtaken by werewolves. Playing as Maia Boroditch, you arrive in the Bialowieza Forest to uncover her family history but end up finding much more.

Based on the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop role-playing game, what makes this horror visual novel unique is that your actions draw upon a resource called “rage” and other “willpower resources,” much like a TTRPG or any other RPG. This hidden gem is well worth a try.

5 Monster Camp Lets You Date The Creatures Of The Night

Monster Camp - The Main Cast Standing In A Row. From Left To Right: Aaravi, Milo, Calculester, Dahlia, Damien, And Joy

Don’t fret; you don’t have to play Monster Prom to enjoy its charming sequel. Monster Camp marries spooky with romance and is the perfect visual novel for a fun and campy time. You get to know the six eligible monsters also attending summer camp and charm your way into the heart of your crush.

Just like its predecessor, Monster Camp can be played multiplayer. The goal is to accumulate enough stats to ask your soul mate to watch the legendary meteor shower with you and maybe take your relationship to the next level after.

4 Tiny Bunny Will Keep You Up At Night

Tiny Bunny - Olya Cowering In Fear From A Scary Owl At Her Window

It might seem romantic in theory, but living in a house by the woods is always a bad idea. In Tiny Bunny, you play as Anton, a boy living in a small cabin in the woods with his family and younger sister Olya.

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Children are going missing in the area, Olya is terrified of a large owl with glowing eyes that visits her window at night, and Anton witnesses strange beings dancing outside the woods. If you don’t mind the occasional jump scare, Tiny Bunny is a deeply eerie visual novel available on Steam.

3 Camp W Is A Cozy Halloween Visual Novel

Camp W - Sophie Stands In Front Of A Campfire At Night

In Camp W, you guide a budding witch through their first summer in the Human Realm. Playing as either Liliandra or Lysander, you embark on a trip to a sleepaway camp with a slight twist. You’re a witch from the Witching Realm, and none of the campers at Camp W know that magic or witches even exist.

You must conceal your powers while still practicing your craft and make human friends in this charming visual novel with just a flair of hocus pocus. Camp W is a cozy game that even people afraid of horror can enjoy for Halloween.

2 Cute Bite Lets You Raise A Vampire

Cute Bite - The Servant Tying To Awaken The Little Mistress

Bound by blood and kept alive for an unnatural amount of time due to vampiric magic, you attempt to awaken your vampire mistress only to discover that she has shrunk to the size of a child. Not only that, but she has lost all memory of being a vampire.

In Cute Bite, it becomes your duty to raise the Little Mistress to be a ferocious vampire once more. You must raise her stats and make choices that affect what kind of vampire the Little Mistress becomes and if you will live to see your immortality restored. With over twenty different endings, Cute Bite is a quirky visual novel teeming with possibilities.

1 Sweetest Monster Is The Best Horror Visual Novel

Sweetest Monster - Bell Looks At The Protagonist Menacingly

Much like Doki Doki Literature Club, Sweetest Monster opens with a romance visual novel flair, only to deliver a twist that you simply will not expect. You play as Robin Hawkins, a man in an unhappy marriage and estranged from his only daughter. What a blessing, then, to find an alluring catgirl at his family estate, claiming to be the embodiment of his Great Aunt Clarice’s Cheshire cat. However, there is much more to her than meets the eye.

Many fans have claimed that DDLC pales in comparison to the disturbing nature of Sweetest Monster’s ultimate reveal. Sweetest Monster is more than just psychological horror, and you should be aware that the game contains some sexual content and dark themes. If you can stomach it, it’s the best horror visual novel you can find.

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