What sets RPG Maker horror games apart from other horror games is that they are created by indie horror creators. Unlike mainstream horror games with million-dollar budgets and fancy productions, these games are created with nothing more than a developers’ toolkit and pure imagination. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best RPG Maker horror movies created by indie developers.
What Are RPG Maker Horror Games?
RPG Maker horror games are horror games that are made with the highly popular and open-source RPG Maker. Short for Role-Playing Game Maker, RPG Maker is an open-source game-making tool for beginners and professionals. The software allows creators to make retro-style role-playing game types similar to those from the early 80s to the early 90s. The tool is most often used by hobbyist game designers or casual designers interested in particular genres of games.
The program already incorporates basic movements from a variety of genres. That includes the likes of RPG, adventure, shooting, and fighting games. With these elements already included in the program, practically anyone with little to some experience in game development can come up with a game. All that needs to be done is to combine multiple settings, such as character parameters and movements.
RPG Maker is the brainchild of ASCII, a Japanese company that Microsoft owned at the time. The company created the software as a way to ride with the increasing popularity of home-based video games at the time. ASCII would release the first official version of the software in 1992 when they promoted the software in RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 in Japan. It would take the company around five years to release the first Windows-based version of the RPG Maker, the RPG Maker 95.
Since that time, the program would catalyze many role-playing games. Many indie developers would come to love the software for its user-friendly tools, and soon amateur developers would join in on the fun. Indeed, some of the genre’s most memorable games were realized because of RPG Maker.
20 RPG Maker Horror Games to Play Today
RPG Maker has always been one of the go-to toolkits for crafting simple yet highly engaging and truly original games. But out of all the genres, horror has got to be the most popular in terms of the number of titles created with the RPG Maker. A few of the more popular titles in the genre include The Crooked Man, Dark Father, and Ip. While these titles never fail to impress, there are other titles that you need to check out.
If the horror genre is close to your heart, we highly recommend this list of the best immersive horror games to scare you senseless. The majority of these games are available on Steam, from which you can download a desktop version of the game. If you have just created your Steam account, check out this guide on how to download Steam games.
With this in mind, here is our compilation of some of the best RPG Maker horror games that you can enjoy playing on your PC.
1. Space Funeral
Space Funeral is a free game and one of the more odd cult classics from amongst the pool of RPG Maker horror games. The game doesn’t have much to offer visuals-wise. It practically looks like a messy 80s cartoon with a grotesque art style and horrible color combinations. Nonetheless, the game has a pretty compelling and unusual storyline. It’s based on real-life philosophy, such as Plato’s Theory of Forms.
The game has you play as Phillip, a boy wearing pajamas that are constantly crying. He never speaks, but his constant tears and bizarre walk cycles manage to make him oddly charming. His appearance is just one symptom of a world that had suddenly turned grotesque. Philipp wants to travel outside of his world to fix the anomaly, and people around him try to discourage him from leaving.
On the way out, he meets a talkative, abrasive horse made of legs appropriately called Leg Horse. This character is on the way to restoring his original form. Together, can they reach the City of Forms and fix the curse that plagues the land of Space Funeral?
2. The Witch’s House
The Witch’s House is a freeware survival horror game and one of the best RPG Maker horror games. The story readily became a cult classic upon its original release, and a remake would reinstate the popularity of the video game in the public eye.
The game has you play as Viola, a little girl who must enter and learn the mysteries of a mansion in the middle of a forest. Accompanied by a black cat, Viola must piece together the mystery of the mansion to escape.
It is an exploration and puzzle-solving game developed by Japanese developer Kouri using the RPG Maker 2000 engine. The game is one of the more popular RPG Maker horror games on this list, and many people consider it a cult classic in the indie horror genre.
The game has you play as a young girl named Ib, who is taken to an art museum by her parents to view an exhibit. In particular, this exhibit contains some of the most famous paintings of the fictional painter, Gueterna. All of a sudden, an unseen force takes Ib into an alternate dimension called the Fabricated World. With Garry’s help, Ib must find herself back in the real world before it’s too late.
Alicemare is a psychological horror and adventure game created by Japanese developer Miwashiba. This game masterfully combines storybook elements with the right amount of horror. It is also notable for its gorgeous and distinct art style, with cute characters that contrast nicely with the disturbing narrative of the story.
The game will have you play as Allen, a young boy sent to a special facility after losing his memory and parents. While exploring the facility at night, he suddenly finds himself in another dimension with his newly found friends. As the friends try to find their way out of the dimension, they encounter a few creatures who may help or hamper their objective.
5. Ao Oni
Ao Oni, otherwise known as “The Oni,” is a freeware role-playing video game and one of the best RPG Maker horror games to date. The titular Oni refers to the main antagonist of the game, a blue-colored humanoid that resides within the abandoned mansion at the edge of town.
The game has you play as Hiroshi, a young teenager who enters a haunted mansion with three of his friends. Shortly after entering the mansion, the gang soon finds themselves locked inside the mansion and unable to leave. Soon, a horrifying humanoid called Oni starts chasing the gang and turns anyone it catches into creatures similar to itself. The gang must find a way out of the mansion and escape Oni before it’s too late.
6. Mad Father
Mad Father is a survival horror game and one of the best online RPG Maker horror games. The game is widely notable for its intelligent plot and highly challenging difficulty level. Critics have also described the game to have a similar theme to the likes of popular video games like Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark, and Resident Evil.
The story takes place in Northern Germany, and it has you play as an eleven-year-old Aya. Aya lives in a large house with her scientist father and their young maid, Maria. Aya is aware that her father performs secret experiments on humans inside their basement, and she also knows that her father has an affair with the younger Maria.
One night, Aya encounters a mysterious salesman who offers to help her break into her father’s secret laboratory. Aya’s subsequent discoveries in the basement and her decisions will determine everyone’s fate.
7. The Crooked Man
The Crooked Man is a hugely popular supernatural-themed game and the first installment from The Strange Men anthology. The game is notable for its intelligently-crafted plot combining supernatural and psychological elements.
The game has you play as David Hoover, a troubled young man who moves into a new apartment in the city. Soon after moving into his apartment, David begins to notice strange things happening inside the apartment. David presumes that the former tenant, who is unknown to him, is the one responsible for the goings-on in his apartment.
Around the same time, David begins to receive a series of letters and notes directing him to several abandoned areas in the town. David begins to notice a strange man with a crooked neck stalking him. Things quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation for David and his friends.
8. Hello, Charlotte
Hello, Charlotte is a horror game series developed by Etherane, an artist and game developer from Estonia. The game takes place in a fictional dystopian world where human-looking aliens called Overmen assume powers over humans.
The game has you play as the titular Charlotte, a shy and curious girl who lives in the House with a couple of alien tenants. Huxley, one of the alien tenants, asks Charlotte to watch over his disagreeable ten-year-old nephew, Felix. Felix soon demonstrates his ability to get through alternate dimensions, and he enlists Charlotte’s help to search for the Oracle.
Omori is a Japanese surrealist psychological horror game. The Kickstarter-funded game is notable for its quirky humor, realistic characters, and tag-team emotion-based combat mechanics.
The game takes you deep into the psyche of Omori, a young boy who suffers from a variety of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. The name “Omori” is in itself a homage to the Japanese word hikikomori. The term describes young male recluses who refuse to participate in normal society for long periods.
At the start of the game, Omori finds himself trapped in a small, white room with only the bare essentials. Omori soon finds his way out of the all-white world into a colorful Dream World. While there, he meets a few old friends, including a green-haired boy named Basil. Soon, a black, shadowy figure kidnaps Basil, and Omori and his friends must find a way to get him back.
10. Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass
Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is a horror role-playing game with simple graphics but a highly engaging storyline. The game takes inspiration from a variety of classic horror games, including EarthBound, Yume Nikki, and Silent Hill.
The main character in the game is Jimmy, an eight-year-old boy who seems to live in a world different from reality. Jimmy lives with his mother Helga, his father Andrew, his uncle Lars, and his older brother Buck in the dream world.
One day, Helga sends Jimmy and Buck out of the house to purchase some items for the cake she is making. The two boys soon discover that a dark, cosmic entity has been turning residents of the town into a hostile state. Thereupon, the family must work together and use their innate powers to protect against the dark creatures.
Off is a French horror role-playing game created by MortisGhost with RPG Maker in 2003. It took a few years for the game to have an English translation, after which it quickly rose to fame as one of the most memorable horror games to date. The game is for its deep storyline, immersive environment, and memorable characters.
The game centers on The Batter, a humanoid entity on a sacred mission to “purify” the sacred world of Off. The Batter receives his instructions from a talking cat called Judge. The Judge instructs the Batter to travel through four different zones to eliminate ghost-like creatures called “Guardians.” Thereupon, the Batter must uncover the truth and make decisions that will decide the fate of the zones.
12. Your Turn to Die
Your Turn to Die is a Japanese horror visual novel-turned-video game combining negotiation, adventure, and horror elements. The game recently gained popularity for its similarities with the hit Netflix series Squid Game.
The title of the game is the generic title for a series of games with different installments. These games span three chapters in total, with two parts each. The first installment came out in 2011, while the last installment came out in 2017.
The game has you play as Sara Chidouin, a seventeen-year-old high school student who is forced to participate in the Death Game. Sara and her friend Joe Tazuna are two of twelve participants in the game. Coincidentally, the game involves solving puzzles and interacting with other players to decide on individuals to vote off. Subsequently, those who are voted off are immediately killed.
13. Flesh, Blood, and Concrete
Flesh, Blood, & Concrete is a free indie horror game by Letatlin Dev in 2020. The game combines elements of classic storytelling, exploration, and psychological horror into a memorable tale. The tale is about how the past affects our state of mind and perceptions of the present.
The game has you play as Lera, a depressed architect. Lera travels to an isolated town reminiscent of the town she grew up in as a child. After her car breaks down, Lera meets a strange girl on the street. She enters an abandoned apartment to look for gas and uncovers a bunch of secrets related to her past.
Palette is a psychological horror adventure game made with RPG Maker version 95 by Nishida Yoshitaka. Yoshitaka released the original version of the game way back in 2001. Subsequently, the game became so popular to the point that it was remade professionally by PlayStation for Enterbrain.
The game has you play as B.D., an amnesiac girl who accidentally lost her memories and must get them back by navigating through a maze inside her mind. The objective is to release as many of DB’s lost memories as possible by solving a bunch of puzzles. Consequently, each puzzle opens up a passage within the maze, allowing you to move forward.
The title of the game is related to the game’s mechanics. To clarify, there are two modes of gameplay with different colors. The black and white-colored mode allows you to move between maps. Meanwhile, the sepia-colored mode allows you to unblock your character’s lost memories.
15. Ouija Sleepover
Oujia Sleepover is a queer-themed supernatural horror game created by developer Hatoge using RPG Maker. The game has a very simple yet exciting plot involving vengeful spirits, haunted apartments, and queer love.
The game has you play as Aiden, a nineteen-year-old college student who has a huge crush on his old buddy, Dan. One night, as Aiden prepares for a sleepover party with Dan, he uncovers an Ouija board left behind in the trash.
Aiden decides to take the Ouija board back to his apartment to prank Dan. The pair subsequently begin a summoning session with the board. Unfortunately, things start to take a dark turn as a vengeful spirit begins to make its presence known. Subsequently, the pair realize they must find a way out of the alternate dimension and back into their reality.
16. Yume Nikki
Yume Nikki is a horror adventure game created by pseudonymous developer Kikiyama. The game is notable for its surrealist and dream-like composition, with a vague plot and the complete absence of dialogue and combat.
Kikiyama released the original version of the game way back in 2003. However, it would remain relatively unknown until the release of the English version. After gaining a cult following in Japan and the US, the game would receive a professional reboot under Steam Games.
The game initially places your character, Matusoki, inside a small room with a few objects inside. Once Matsudoki falls asleep on the bed, a series of atmospheric dream sequences will begin. To progress from one dreamscape to the next, the player must search for and collect special objects or “effects.”
17. Blank Dream
Blank Dream is a freeware horror exploration-themed game. The game is notable for its exploration of adult themes like suicide and the possibilities of life after death.
The game puts you in the shoes of Mishiro Usui, a depressed girl who wishes to erase her existence. Mishiro commits suicide by drowning herself in a lake. However, instead of disappearing, Mishiro awakens in an alternate dimension called the Mirror Dimension. This is where people with strong wishes are sent after death.
While there, she learns that she must destroy all mirrors that contain her memories to achieve her wish. Soon, she meets other souls who are also trapped in the Mirror Dimension. Subsequently, she must work alongside the souls to free them while simultaneously learning the truth about herself.
18. Corpse Party
Corpse Party is a survival horror and adventure game created by Makoto Kedōin and developed by Team Gris-Gris. There are seven games in the series, with the first game being released back in 1996 and the last game released in 2015.
The game has you play as a member of a group of high school students who get together on the day of their school’s cultural festival. An earthquake unexpectedly hits the school during the group’s ghost storytelling session. The group soon finds themselves transported into an alternate dimension. With the spirits of trapped people on their heels, the group must find a way out of the alternate dimension and back into the real world.
Misao is a supernatural horror and survival game developed by Sen and Miscreant’s Room. The movie was initially released in 2011, but the company released a remastered or improved version in 2017. Misao is notable for its gruesome plot and objective, as it sends you into an alternate dimension to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of a girl in your school.
The game has you play as Aki, a clairvoyant student. While attending class, Aki begins to hear the voice of Misao, a student who disappeared from the school a few weeks prior. Aki suddenly loses consciousness and later awakens to the same classmates, but in an alternate dimension. This alternate dimension has demons that can run after students and kill them.
To escape the alternate dimension, Aki and her classmates must search for the body parts of the missing girl and perform a ritual that would allow them to return to the real world.
20. Stray Cat Crossing
Stray Cat Crossing is a supernatural horror indie game created by developer Jurlo back in 2015. The game notably takes inspiration from a variety of popular stories. Some of the more noticeable influences include Alice in Wonderland, Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The game puts you in the middle of a roadside clearing next to an abandoned house. While on the way to the abandoned house, you encounter a little girl named Cat. You kindly offer to take the little girl home, but soon, you begin t encounter strange visions and scenes. You will begin to piece together the sad truth behind the little girl and her family from these encounters.
Final Thoughts on the Best RPG Maker Horror Games to Play Today
Out of the many genres that emerged from the video game world, the horror genre stands out for its enduring and versatile quality. In many ways, horror may just be the ace or the jack of all trades in the video game world. In other words, it can blend in wonderfully with any genre, leaving an endless pool of possibilities both in terms of the plot and the scare factor.
While most mainstream horror games have excellent graphics and effects, these games often have cliche storylines and mechanics due to the heavy censorship behind the scenes. The limitations imposed on these games leave out large pools of creative ideas and possibilities untapped. With this in mind, you may want to look at a different source of horror movies if you prefer games with fresh and novel ideas. This is where indie horror games come in.
Unlike mainstream titles, the developers of indie titles need not subject themselves to strict control and regulation to justify large budgets. This leaves indie games with more room for creativity and boldness in their choice of the storyline as well as execution. Of course, having a limited budget has its setbacks, especially in graphics quality. But part of the appeal of the indie genre lies precisely in its simple and more authentic presentation.
If you are on the lookout for games with an exceptionally unpolished, novel, or memorable quality to them, then RPG Maker horror games are surely the best way to go. You might also want to try out a few indie games with unique concepts, and we have just the list. Here are some of the best indie games you are probably sleeping on.