From upcoming narrative-based games such as The Quarry to recent multiplayer efforts like Evil Dead: The Game, it has become easy for gamers who dislike horror to completely avoid the genre.
Video games in the horror genre have always tried to terrify, but there are some games that prefer a lighter approach to scare players. There are many fans who love the story and characters of horror games, but while there are games that promise milder horror, it can be a challenge to find those that non-horror fans will never have to fear. Gamers who may be apprehensive about the genre may find interest in these titles that can be enjoyed without being scared.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
This long-enduring series puts the player in the role of a Freddy Fazbear Pizza night employee, who must overcome deadly animatronics as well as a decreasing power gauge. Known for its jumpscares and claustrophobic gameplay, Five Nights at Freddy’s has only grown in popularity.
Non-horror fans can appreciate that this game never takes itself seriously, and the animal animatronics look more ridiculous than genuinely frightening such as Freddy Fazbear’s top hat and bowtie looking more laughable than anything else. The player is also confined to one location, meaning they can always expect when a jumpscare is about to happen, rather than waiting in anticipation.
Poppy Playtime takes inspiration from Five Nights at Freddy’s and pits the player in an abandoned toy factory, the player solving puzzles with the far-reaching grab pack and unlocking VHS tapes that hold new lore about the sentient toy monsters attempting to find you.
Non-horror fans will appreciate the milder tone of the game, with Poppy Playtime acting more as a minor inconvenience than an actual horror villain, feeling more like a presence than a shadowy stalker. The puzzles are intriguing and never set out to scare the player, while the grab pack eases frustrations by giving the player the ability to take objects from great distances.
Resident Evil 5
The initial installments of Resident Evil embraced a true sense of dread with its often terrifying villains and challenging set-pieces. Resident Evil 5 is the first installment that fans agreed emphasized fast-paced action and energetic adventures, the story continuing as a globe-trotting adventure rather than a confined horror game.
The bat monsters and infected zombies still attempt to make non-horror fans mildly disgusted, but the game never reaches a horror level beyond campy humor reminiscent of a Giallo film. Non-horror fans can also appreciate the protagonist of Chris Redfield, whose snarky humor tones down the horrific tones and amplifies the comedic elements of the narrative.
Alan Wake is a psychological thriller reminiscent of Twin Peaks, putting the player in the fractured mind of the titular protagonist. While searching for his missing wife, Wake encounters supernatural hauntings in the form of specters, and must battle his way to victory with a flashlight and weapon.
The story is more of a slow-burn mystery than a large horror game, hosting hilarious supporting characters and set-pieces that never take themselves too seriously. From a lively, mystical fight at a rock concert to a mysterious forest that will have the player longing for concrete answers, the gameplay focuses on exciting the player through combat rather than building tension.
Dead By Daylight
Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer based game that teams up four hapless teens against one playable horror icon, ranging from Freddy Krueger to Michael Myers. Players can choose whether they want to take control of these iconic villains or get chased by one instead, while upgrade webs allow the player to increase their power stats.
The game is remarkably fast-paced and endlessly fun, with large, maze-like maps that promise a balanced chance for either team to win the round. Teens have multiple chances to escape from death and are unlikely to feel targeted by the enemy. Non-horror fans may also like how the killer can be easily stopped from barricades or careful teamwork.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Little Nightmares is an adventurous side-scroller where the player must evade murderous chefs, leeches, and evil entities. As the protagonist is less than a foot tall, the story is told from a miniature perspective, making the enemy look huge in comparison.
The whimsical tone and ridiculous premise alleviate some of the more horrific themes of isolation and claustrophobia. Six is one of the genre’s most adorable protagonists, and the player can feel relatability within the silent character. The monsters themselves look like cartoon caricatures, and non-horror fans are unlikely to be truly scared by the antagonists.
What if the player could direct a horror film from the comfort of their own home? Until Dawn is an interactive, isolated thriller with a top-tier cast, including No Time to Die’s Rami Malek and Peter Stormare. The story follows a group of teenagers stalked by a silent killer, but who discovers that the real terror may lurk beneath the surface.
What makes this game less scary can be attributed to the player being able to choose the fates of the main characters. An unlikeable character can easily become the next target for the killer, all at the push of a button. This is also a game that harkens back to ’80s slasher films, with cheesy dialogue and character choices that downplay the tension.
Limbo is a black and white side scroller that pits a young boy against constantly changing landscapes, facing killer spiders and deadly caverns while trying to find his lost sister. Featuring intuitive traps and puzzles, the game constantly surprises with its unique imagery.
Non-horror fans will enjoy the simplicity of the game, where the atmosphere and setting become the true villain as opposed to a monster or killer. The monochrome cinematography brings down the intensity of the kills and violence, while the search for the sister brings warmth and heart to the soulless environment.
Evil Dead: The Game
The Evil Dead franchise has always prided itself in embracing the absurd elements of horror. Evil Dead: The Game continues this pattern to the fullest extent, allowing the player to play as Ash Williams or a quippy, sarcastic ghoul. Players must choose a side and battle for control of the Necronomicon, the iconic Book of the Dead.
What makes this game so appealing to non-horror fans can be attributed to the game embracing the zany roots of the series, from over-the-top melee kills to using soda cans as health replenishers. The perspective of the demons are ripped straight from the films, with swift movements and possessing trees to attack other players, while the humans can use bright, blue lasers to attack in playful ways.
Doom Eternal is for players that love over-the-top violence that never becomes gratuitous or disgusting. Doomguy is one of the most overpowered and strong characters to ever be featured in a video game, and it is a joy to blast your way through the bright red setting of Hell.
Non-horror fans can use chainsaws and blasters to destroy demons, which never makes the danger overpowering in a way that might feel disturbing. Also, the player must constantly move around to keep the health gauge up, which makes the game more competitive than a game with slow-burn tension.
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