Saya no Uta / Song of Saya
Image via NITRO PLUS

Halloween will soon be just around the corner, so it gives me the greatest of pleasure in suggesting 10 of the very best horror themed visual novels to get to playing in October. While this genre in particular is text heavy and has a minimum level of gameplay interactivity for its genre, the atmosphere, storytelling and visuals make all these visual novels loaded with the very best scares and unsettling moments within gaming to discover. Depending on what you like, that is.

Our 10 Best horror visual novels to prepare you for Halloween

Beware of any content warnings since some of these titles can be gory, triggering and unsuitable for younger audiences. These will be labeled in each section. Without further ado, here are our 10 best horror visual novels to help you prepare for Halloween.

Saya no Uta (Song of Saya)

Song of Saya is a masterpiece in horror media. It will leave you thinking about what you had witnessed despite how uncomfortable of a viewing it is. Its Lovecraftian-inspired narrative and heavily gory scenes where events get progressively more disturbing and out of control add to its body and psychological horror. Song of Saya is a disturbing spin on romance with a thriller mystery for its main plotline.

The story follows Fuminori Sakisaka who is the only survivor of a car crash that ended the lives of his parents. He is saved by experimental brain surgery. His nightmarish existence does not stop there however since the procedure has inflicted damage on his perception and senses. He now sees everything in a gory lens, even his friends and doctor. The omission here is the tiny being of Saya whose questionable existence is the only saving grace to Fuminori’s declining mental state.

This is an 18+ experience due to explicit and violent content.

The House in Fata Morgana

The Maid in The House in Fata Morgana
Image via NOVECT

The House in Fata Morgana sets itself apart from all other visual novels for a number of reasons. This involves its distinctively Gothic visuals, an extensively unorthodox soundtrack to fit its intended era, and a slow burner storytelling filled with uniquely translated prose to further complement its time period.

The House in Fata Morgana is all things atmospheric, disturbing and unsettling. It is all executed wonderfully with separated episodes following a cast of wildly memorable and tormented characters. That is until all of their stories come together in an unforgettably haunting overarching narrative.

“You” wake up in a mansion with no recollection of who you are. The only person in your presence is a woman who calls herself your maid. She suggests wandering the oppressive halls of the mansion and recollecting memories of its four past residents to remember who you are. This is one for those who enjoy their horror psychologically.

Your Turn to Die -Death Game by Majority-

Your Turn To Die -Death Game By Majority-
Image via Nankidai

Your Turn to Die is another excellent solo created video game that belongs in the Hall of Fame that includes the likes of Stardew Valley, Undertale and Cave Story. It follows a school student, Sara Chidouin and her friend Joe kidnapped and held captive in a game of life and death with 9 others. They must complete tasks together to take a step closer to freedom but sacrifice someone in each chapter along the way.

Your Turn to Die is one of the greatest death game video games ever since it has the player in the steering wheel at all times in a particularly emotionally scaring way. When the time comes to seal the fates of their comrades, players will be the ones having to push the buttons that deal the final blow. Consequently, players will have to watch how this affects each and every character. This includes how they all fail to grieve after being pushed to the next objective to somehow escape alive, or by Sara’s always decreasing mental health due to each of these disturbingly traumatizing moments.

Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi. (YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story)

YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story / Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi
Image via NITRO PLUS

YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story is what is often considered as the original Doki Doki Literature Club. Going into the game blind is the best way to enjoy one of the greatest titles from the developer NITRO PLUS. The game follows the protagonist Shin’ichi, his childhood friend Miyuki, and a newcomer to the unit of Aoi, a carefree and airheaded girl. Slowly the group forms a love triangle, something that brings into the fray comedy and drama as the relationship’s progress and deeper. This is suddenly challenged when it takes a nosedive when its true dynamics begin to surface, that of thriller, meta-narrative and psychological horror aspects.

This one is best played with the adult patch implemented to drive home the discomforting eeriness of these intimate scenes. That means that this is only appropriate for 18+ years and above.

Cut to the Core

Cut to the Core
Image via Plasma Press

Cut to the Core is a short and snappy “interactive” motion comic. With a low asking price that comes with a banger of a body horror plotline, things go from bad to worse in Cut to the Core. It’s absolute nightmare fuel that builds and builds. From the suggestively subtle off vibe with its initial dinner scene where tensions rise within its cast after its main character, Jack lies about financial issues to his wife. That’s barely the tip of the iceberg in his dishonesty that only leads him to more misfortune.

Cut to the Core needs to be seen to be believed but only by those with a strong stomach. If you’re a fan of gory body horror, you’ll be lapping up the deranged tale Cut to the Core has to tell. This has extreme violence and disturbing themes.

The Price of Flesh

Celia from The Price of Flesh
Image via Gatobob

The Price of Flesh comes from one of the brilliant minds that brought us the Boyfriend to Death series, but there’s a catch here. We mean that literally. There’s no amount of trying to woo the three perpetrators here unlike hooking up with the Boyfriend to Death cast. That’s because the player character is kidnapped, auctioned off, and then either hunted down or kept captive underground within the routes.

It’s a matter of life or death from the outset here, and there will be no attempt in squirming your way out of this one. As part survival, part item/time management, and part visual novel, The Price of Flesh is an entirely unique experience that is as entertaining as it is challenging.

This game is 18+ due to optional explicit content and extreme violence.


Image via Kenkou Land / Fruitbat Factory

MAMIYA has a lot going on that plays with your mind. The game is split into two sections. The character introductory stories of its four main male characters in its Falldown chapters and the subsequent Downfall section brings them all together and tie them to the main mystery of who its titularly named entity is. MAMIYA appears before the characters after a friend of theirs has died. What’s worse is that the end of the world is nigh.

This is yet another title that was created by a sole maker, Kenkou Land, and with that makes MAMIYA a uniquely wild ride. For example, the writer expertly utilizes foreshadowing for maximum emotional damage when tragic events occur. There is also the prevailing impact of existential dread affecting the characters at all times that further fuels the psychological horror.

Dead Wishes

Dead Wishes
Image via VIOLET

Dead Wishes is a fantastically complex and well-thought of and conceptualised dating sim that lives on the edge at all times. It completely diverts expectations of the genre and instead plays it up in a dark lens. As an uncomfortable and broody dating sim that’s not exactly a dating sim, players are put through miserable circumstances. Twelve to be exact, before its finale can be played out where all the lingering questions are answered.

Dead Wishes is all about exploring the twisted side to love with a main character who is down on their luck. They have no income and zero support until they are aided by one of the twelve potential partners. However, their intentions are never as good as they may initially seem to be. It’s a horrifyingly wild ride that never gets boring.

Sweet Pool

Sweet Pool
Image via Nitro+CHiRAL

Sweet Pool is one of the greatest BL (Boys Love) games out there whilst also being one of the best horror visual novels. Comparing it to Song of Saya is an easy one since both tackle gory subjects and visuals. In fact, Song of Saya’s writer and director was the advisor of Sweet Pool!

Sweet Pool quite literally has a main character whose stools are pounds of flesh that gives off a scent that captures the attention and interest of two very different, fellow students. That of the troublemaker Zenya, and the quiet Tetsuo. With three routes that may or may not feature kidnapping, cannibalism, existential dread and madness, Sweet Pool hits hard in making players uncomfortable but also deeply moved. Its emotionally damaging poetic romantic story is powerful.

With a hauntingly eerie soundtrack, a tragically sympathetic main character and a romance that will be forever cemented into your memory, it’s not one you should be skipping out on.

Raging Loop

Raging Loop
Image via Kemco Corporation

Raging Loop is a fantastic visual novel and a premium horror experience. Following the main character Haruaki Fusaishi whose day begins looping for inexplicable reasons once he arrives in a tiny village, the arrival of a dense fog begins an otherworldly killing game. Players are required to play through the game multiple times to retrieve keys to open up other route possibilities to solve the mystery. But it will not be an easy ride.

Characters are sacrificed, die or are betrayed in each and every timeline. It never gets any easier seeing them live or die in such intense anxiety and injustice. You will be caring for the cast in no time, and that’s important when your mission is to save yourself and return the village to normalcy. If that’s even possible after the madness of looping and witnessing death at every corner starts to wear down Haruaki’s mental health.

Related: 10 Best Indie Horror Games