Nintendo is known for their family-friendly characters and franchises. They’ve got a plumber whose favourite past times are jumping on monsters heads and saving a princess, which I am pretty sure are not job requirements for a plumber. Or, they have cute, little monsters that players can catch, train, and pit them against others captured monsters. I’m on hold to PETA as we speak.
Though Nintendo typically focuses on more light-hearted games for their consoles, that doesn’t mean titles with a more dark and scary focus are absent. With the release of the Nintendo Switch, horror has crept its way onto the console and is bringing its scares to a whole new audience. So, let’s dive into the world of horror and discuss some of the best titles available on the Nintendo Switch.
Detention is one of the most interesting horror games to come out in recent years. Set in a 1960s Taiwan that is under martial law, Detention is a 2D horror side-scroller, point and click game. Players are put in the shoes of a high schooler that must escape their high school, which has been transformed into something truly evil.
This title incorporates many East Asian elements such as Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese mythology, as well as drawing on local Taiwanese culture. Doing so allows the game to feel extremely authentic and provides a unique setting that has previously been ignored within the horror genre.
Due to the setting, the era it takes place in, and the martial law imposed throughout Taiwan, the player experience is one of obedience and oppression. Even if there were no monsters to deal with, Detention would still feel like a horror game, which makes this title something truly unique.
Originally released on PC in late 2017, Hollow is a first-person horror game that takes place on the first space mining ship, the Shakhter-One. But, since this is an article about horror games, one can assume that things don’t go so well in the world of Hollow. The entire crew on the ship has disappeared and the player will need to uncover the mysteries within the Shakhter-One. Though the entire crew has disappeared, that doesn’t mean you are alone. Something otherworldly is also wandering the abandoned halls. So, you best be careful. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.
Outlast: Bundle of Terror
When Outlast was originally released on PC in late 2013, it made waves within the horror community. Set in the oppressive and brutal walls of Mount Massive Asylum, players take control of freelance investigative journalist, Miles Upshur. Miles receives a tip about inhumane practices taking place within the walls of the facility, so he decides to grab his camera and try to uncover the brutal secrets within Mount Massive Asylum.
Following a trend popularised by Amnesia: The Dark Descent in 2010, Outlast takes away the players ability to defend themselves from the horrors they will face. Instead, players must sneak around and avoid enemies. If they are spotted, the only options are to run and hide. The removal of any defensive abilities makes the player feel completely vulnerable and makes every encounter extremely tense. The game instils the idea that every mistake is followed up with severe consequences, usually death. Which is kinda fun.
The Outlast: Bundle of Terror is packaged with the original game and the fantastic Whistleblower DLC. If you haven’t had the chance to play Outlast, you should definitely give it a go. Outlast 2 is also available, but the original is the best place to start.
Resident Evil: Revelations 1 & 2
Resident Evil is one of the oldest and most iconic franchises in the horror genre. It has had many entries, most of them are great, some are very bad. The Resident Evil: Revelations series of spin-off games falls nicely in the middle. The first Revelations game takes great inspiration from Resident Evil 4, while also incorporating elements of exploration from older entries in the franchise. Taking place just before Resident Evil 5, Revelations follows Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they try to take out a terrorist group who wants to release a new virus in the Earth’s waters. Players will explore a variety of locations, but they will mainly explore a deserted cruise ship, which is full of terrifying sea monsters.
Revelations 2 takes place after Resident Evil 5 and puts players in the shoes of Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, which is his first canonical appearance since the original Resident Evil. The main draw of this entry is the fact that it is entirely playable in co-op. Now, I know that the Resident Evil franchise hasn’t implemented co-op too well before, but Revelations 2 puts an interesting spin on it. One player controls either Jill or Barry, who play like any character since Resident Evil 4, but the second player controls a partner who has limited combat options and instead has special abilities that make them unique and fun to control.
Both entries have a wide variety of unlockables and offer large amounts of replay value. Also, they have a really fun Raid Mode where players take on creatures while trying to rack up a high score and level up. Doing so unlocks new skins, weapons and attachments for your weapons. So, once you are done with the main campaign, you can waste many more hours in the Raid Mode.
Layers of Fear: Legacy
Originally released in early 2016, Layers of Fear is a psychological horror game that has some truly unique and terrifying moments. Players take control of a painter who is controlled by the desire to complete his magnum opus. Though, what his magnum opus actually consists of is where the horror of the game lies.
The player must navigate a massive mansion, where they will be exposed to mind-altering moments both within the visuals of the game and the geometry of the mansion. Layers of Fear came out after the amazing P.T, so expect locations to bend beyond comprehension. Layers of Fear: Legacy also comes with the Inheritance DLC. So, once you are done with the main campaign, you dive right back into the horrors of Layers of Fear.
These are just a few stellar examples of the great horror games available on the Nintendo Switch. I never thought that my Nintendo Switch would become my main horror console, but it has. Though I couldn’t mention every horror game available on the console, these titles are the best place to start and offer a variety of horror experiences and gameplay styles. Now, all they need to do is port Fatal Frame and Silent Hill onto the Switch and I will be happy.