Games that have a developed story that terrifies you to your core are hard to create correctly — especially during a typical game jam time restriction.
I've played quite a few horror games made for jams over the last year, so I picked out a few of my favorites that have been made with a pixelated graphic style to share with you.
#BrokenParadox is a creepy game was made for the Fermi Paradox Jam. You are exploring a scientific facility that your son works at. An event shrouded in mystery occurred, and now the building is under lockdown.
Your son sent you letters before the lockdown explaining that weird things were happening, and informed you of how he was coping with the new job. The lockdown happened a couple of months ago and your son has not been contacted you since then. You've made the decision to go and find him yourself.
You find yourself outside the science facility, where you must find a way in. Dotted around the structure you will be able to find notes from various people trapped inside the building. These notes are written not only by the lower echelons of staff members, but also by the lead scientist who it seems has gone mad.
You must find a way into the building, explore the different floors, and hopefully find your son. See if you can piece together what happened to cause this lockdown and if you can save your son. Check out Broken Paradox for yourself here.
#House is a creepy and mysterious game made for the Stencyl Jam that traps you inside a house full of horrors. You play a small child, left in a house, and seemingly alone.
You're able to interact with various objects around you, and ultimately, go to bed to begin the terror. Upon waking up, several strange things start to happen. Your doll is standing, staring at you. Your TV is full of static instead of your usual pong game. Things are not the same as you left them before falling asleep.
This game is full of dangers — spikes, mysterious monsters, weapons of various sorts. You can search around to find different objects to try and fight back with, but be careful; not all of these monsters are evil, and not all of them need to be killed.
There are many ways to make it out alive, but the best way is with the least amount of deaths possible. With that in mind, if you do die, you will restart at the start of your day. Make sure you explore, plan out, and figure out what's going on in this strange home! You can help this little girl survive by playing the game!
#SpoiledEggburt is a creepy room escape style game that was made for the Asylum Jam. You are stuck in some sort of film, trying to escape. A snobby film lover named Eggburt, is trying to watch his favorite horror flick with someone he Bertha, with whom he is in love.
The film, however, is not how Eggburt remembers it — you are not doing the same things he remembers you doing, making the storyline different. You are trying to recreate that story by escaping the room alive.
As you try to escape, different things go wrong — monsters can get to you, you can miss something in plain sight or forget a step in the film. Each time you fail, Eggburt rewinds the video, gives you a hint as to what you did wrong, and hits play again.
Sometimes, you have to watch yourself die in order to get the next clue from Eggburt to move on. This film is very strange — the environment, the items you interact with — so many things do not make sense. If you do manage to find your way out, it may even surprise Eggburt. See if you can figure out how this film should go.
Welcome Home Jacob
#WelcomeHomeJacob is a creepy and unnerving game made for the Meatly Jam. In this game, you are attempting to escape alive from your own home. You came home to find that your power is out. With it being late at night, you went to the kitchen to grab your flashlight. There, you discover your girlfriend, Amy, has been brutally murdered.
The killer, a bunny-like monster covered in blood, is still inside the house. You must get out before it finds you and kills you too. Since this monster is still inside, you must hide in your house to avoid it while looking for your keys. If you get too close to the bunny, it will run towards you and kill you.
Once you die, you are shown a scene from before — something that happened before this tragic night, then be placed back into the last room you entered. These little insights into your life add a weird story to the game, almost rewarding you with pieces of your past for dying. There is a lot more to this home than it first seems. See if you can figure out what is going on by playing the game.
#Vardolind is a low-rez horror game made for the Asylum Jam as well. You are looking for your son, but this time in the mines. Apparently, many people from your town have started to disappear, including your son. There is a rumor going around that a monster is stealing various individual’s appearances and hiding inside the old mines located in the town. You must get your son back, so you are going to see if you can survive the mines. You must be aware of everything you see in this game, as the monster can deceive you.
You will see and hear things that are meant to trick you. The sounds of people calling out or music must be carefully considered before you react. You will run into what may be villagers in the mines — their fate will sit in your hands. You could kill them, just in case they are the monster, or take the risk of trying to save them.
Follow the trails of blood deeper and deeper into the mine and make sure you watch out for the monster’s tricks! This game has multiple endings depending on which things you choose to do inside the mines. See which ending you get by playing the game.
The Shifting Room
#TheShiftingRoom is a point and click adventure made for the Ludum Dare 37. You are trying to escape a multitude of strange, and increasingly creepy, rooms. You are not sure how you have gotten here, but you must find a way out or something that can help you.
There are various objects in each small room, which you can interact with. You will get a short description of the item or what it needs to work. As you make your way out of the rooms, you might feel like you are getting somewhere, but you are not.
For whatever reason, you are just getting to new versions of the last room you escaped from. Each new rendition of this room becomes a bit darker — a bit more twisted. Some shadows or remnants of the last room can be seen in the new room, but other than that, you must find a whole different way out. There is no going back in this game, so you might aswell persevere, push forward, and see what happens. Find a way out of these rooms for yourself.
Time to Wash Up
Now, #TimeToWashUp technically is not a pixelated game as the only pixelated piece of graphic is the main character of the game, however, I am including it anyway. That is why there are six and a half games — this would be the half pixelated game.
Time to Wash Up is a very scary game made for the Meatly Jam. In this game, you are collecting stuff to burn in a large fire outside your cabin. Even though you are alone in the woods, someone is clearly giving you instructions on what to do — to stoke the fire, wash your hands, and go to bed. At first, it is fairly easy to obey these commands. Firewood is easy to collect from the pile by the barn and bring to the fire.
Everything seems okay until a strange demon-like creature starts to appear, with the goal in mind of hindering you. This creature will attempt to kill you by taking on many different forms. After a while, the request to burn wood will turn into something darker — requiring you to find and kill different living creatures to sacrifice to the flickering fiery flames.
This is still not the voices last, nor it’s only request, but you must do what you are told alone in this forest. Maybe if you listen, it will leave you alone. There is only one way to find out — try Time to Wash Up for yourself.