A delve into your psyche


While most independent video games are mocked for their poor graphics and pixelated designs, a handful of these games are hidden gems, ditching the cheap, in-your-face jumpscares that so many mainstream horror games are defined by, and instead capture the true essence of horror by threatening one’s psyche.


Yume Nikki 

Opening the door to a world filled with horrific depiction of real life is unnerving, which is exactly what “Yume Nikki” accomplishes. 

In this game, players are submerged in the perspective of Madotsuki—a young girl traversing into the depths of her own mind. Despite the title translating to “Dream Diary,” Madotsuki’s mind is nothing short of a nightmare.

From a staircase full of realistic-looking hands jutting out from the floor to bloodshot eyes staring ambiently from the background, “Yume Nikki” falls straight into the category of an uncanny valley. 

The game tasks players with collecting 24 items (known as “effects”) which will provide special abilities and allow for game progression. Once all the items are collected, the player can see the game’s eerie ending.



Don’t let the cute and colorful artstyle fool you— “OMORI” is far from the adorable RPG it initially seems to be. This psychological horror game fills you with a false sense of security, showcasing heartwarming moments between friends, only to later explore themes of depression, anxiety and suicide. 

Players are immersed in the world of the game’s protagonist, Sunny, who is a young, reclusive boy. We soon find out that once Sunny falls asleep, the player controls his alter-ego, Omori, in a dream world called “Headspace.” 

The key concept in “OMORI” is that narrative-wise, everything has already happened; it’s up to Sunny to overcome enemies and bosses to seek the truth or to continue running away from it. Ultimately though, Sunny’s fate, and even the fate of others, is up for the player to decide.



“Ib” tells the sinister story of a young girl named Ib visiting an art gallery with her parents. Looking at the exhibits as a means of entertainment, Ib wanders off only to eventually find herself alone.

The gameplay is based on logic puzzles that may require a bit of backtracking, along with dodging enemies. 

While initially holding the lonely atmosphere of the aforementioned “Yume Nikki,” it somewhat dissipates, as Ib slowly finds companions to accompany her in search of a way out. The game features multiple endings, leaving it up to the player to decide if Ib stays all alone or finds a way out.