It’s October, which means spooky season is upon us! Which can only mean we’ve got 5 queer horror games for you to look at. After all, queerness in horror and supernatural fiction has a long history, and video games are no different.
Not all of these games are directly horror, but each will get you in the mood to howl at the moon, boil up some toil and trouble, and maybe even have a graveyard smash with that special someone.
That’s what you do at Halloween, right?
Don’t Wake the Night
Brujeria at Work’s newest release, Don’t Wake the Night, is more supernatural than anything else. It’s a point and click narrative game focused on a community of witches who are dealing with internal strife. You play as a ghost that the community has summoned to pass judgement on who should stay, and who should be banished forever.
You are able to disturb the environment, causing the witches to gather in small groups and have conversations, which you’re privy to. By listening to everyone’s chats and observing the social dynamics at play, it’s then up to you to decide the final fate of the group. Who is at fault? Can they be saved? The choice is yours.
Heart of the House
Heart of the House is Nissa Campbell’s 360,000 word interactive gothic novel about a supernatural investigator’s search for their missing uncle, which eventually leads them to a haunted manor in a strange country town. The investigator’s gender and sexuality are both up to you, and can be a woman, a man, or nonbinary, and straight, gay, ace, bi, and/or poly.
With so many words, Heart of the House’s branching narrative offers a ton of different outcomes. Your game will likely be very different from mine, or anyone else who happens to play, and that’s the real fun of it. All of your choices really feel impactful in this world and any slip up could change your fate, and those of the townsfolk and manor residents, forever. These choices also allow you to somewhat control how scary the story will be. There are always horror elements at play, and things often take a turn towards creepy, but the choice style allows you to almost be the protagonist of a horror movie that can actually hear the advice the audience is screaming at them.
The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories
The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories is the newest release from Deadly Premonition director, Hidetaka Suehiro (SWERY)’s new studio, White Owls. It combines platforming and survival horror elements to create a grueling and frightening, but ultimately uplifting queer horror story.
You play as JJ, a young woman who’s gone on a camping trip with her friend, Emily, to the titular island. When Emily disappears, JJ begins a nightmarish search to find her. The island is littered with sinister puzzles that often require JJ to literally rip herself into pieces to solve. Luckily (?) through an in-game sequence, she’s given the ability to do so, and regenerate her body afterwards, at will. The art is purposefully somewhat bloodless, but the sound design more than makes up for it in its brutality. You’ll witness JJ’s bones shatter, her limbs sliced off, her body aflame, and more as you make your way through the game, all accompanied by truly terrifying sound effects. If you don’t stomach body horror well, this game may not be for you, but if you can stand it, there’s a worthwhile story about queerness, heartache, and acceptance at its core.
Halfway, To the Lamppost
Halfway, to the Lamppost is a horror twine game about a girl named Caroline who is walking to her friend’s house at night. She and her friend are supposed to meet at the lamppost in between both of their houses, but there’s something lurking in the night, and it’s up to you to protect Caroline from its clutches.
The game is largely about the feeling of fear and dread that comes from the unknowns of childhood, and the all too real known quantities of abuse and heartbreak in adulthood. In between segments walking to the lamppost, you’ll see interstitial scenes of an adult relationship gone terribly awry. There’s definitely a big content warning on this game for depictions of abuse in relationships and bad things happening to children, so take that into account before playing. That said, it does a great job of portraying how abusive relationships feel, and how the fear and trauma we experience as children can affect how we perceive events as adults.
Miss Bullard’s School for Former Ladies
Miss Bullard’s School for Former Ladies is a visual novel dating sim about “the only Old Continent boarding and etiquette school for ‘women of unfortunate circumstance’”, aka, young women of a supernatural disposition. The player character is Lilian Graham, the daughter of a well to do trader who’s been experiencing haunting nightmares and sleepwalking that are determined to be magical in origin.
Lilian attends Miss Bullard’s school in an attempt to find out what’s going on with her and to get it under control so that she can eventually re-enter society. The school is attended by other girls who have similar conditions and goals. Your main goal is to figure out what’s happening to Lillian, and how it can be stopped, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for a little romance along the way. Get to know the other girls, learn their supernatural secrets, and maybe, just maybe, earn the love of something that goes bump in the night.
Did you enjoy these queer horror games? Check out the rest of our queer indie gaymes section to find more!