10 surreal games that make you think

Maybe you’ve been playing mainstream triple-A studio releases too long, craving the unusual, or just looking for a game that flexes your philosophical muscles and challenges your brain. Whatever your reasoning, there are great games out there that delve into the depths of the surreal, supernatural, and bizarre in a way that’s worth trying.

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How you define surreal makes a difference when choosing the right out-of-this-world game. You may hesitate because surreal is often associated with horror, but it doesn’t always have to be scary. Surreal often means dreamlike, peculiar, or a departure from normal expectations. So for those who regularly go out of their way for the weird, or those looking to try something a little different, these are the best surreal games to get you thinking.

ten Hylics

A title screen with 4 surreal character heads

If you’re looking for something completely offbeat that will have you wondering what you got yourself into, Hylics is the game for you. It’s unclear what the game or any of its characters are trying to say, but figuring it out or not figuring it out is part of the fun.

The art direction and design might seem off-putting at first, but once you start to really get into it, you’ll find that Hylics is a harmless game full of humor and unique charm. The amount of effort put into each of the clay-modeled sprites is unlike any other RPG Maker game, and the abstract characters and world will shed some light on what the symbolism behind it might mean, or if there even is.


9 The Eternal Castle

An opaque background with men firing guns from undercover

The Eternal Castle plays similarly to something like Out of This World, or the original Prince of Persia. The difference is that the game presents you with a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world where nothing is certain about who you are, where you are, or where you should go.

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If you think you’ve got it all figured out, the next moment you’ll wonder if it’s all real. The game is a sleek new take on a tried-and-true game genre that will keep you guessing until the end.

8 When the past was there

artwork of a seated girl surrounded by objects that can spark memories.

Memories can become so fragmented and distorted over time, and they become all the more confusing when you try to forget them. Exploring memories of the past may not seem like the most interesting experience, but When The Past Was Around makes such a journey heartfelt, compelling, and worthwhile.

As you follow the main character through her many shared memories with a mysterious companion, their story becomes clearer. It’s a journey of remembering, letting go and moving forward that leaves an impact. A perfect example of surrealism realized in a non-threatening and non-horrifying aspect, When The Past Was Around resonates with its difficult themes, told in a simplistic yet well-crafted way.

seven His history

interregation scene

Her Story is a surreal game that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end, and even then you might find it hard to scratch your chair. You’ll rack your brains trying to figure out what’s going on, what’s a lie, what’s the truth, what information is useful, and what’s just a wild goose chase. Is it a fantasy or is it a reality?

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His story presents you with a story broken into fragments that you then have to piece together, but what makes it surreal is the lack of clear direction or instruction as to why you’re doing it. Exploring every clip in the 90s game’s database makes it all that much more trippy, like you’ve stepped back in time to solve this mystery.

6 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Nintendo Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask Majora's Wrath Boss Battle

Few Nintendo franchises are willing to go overboard, especially after raw deals with companies like Phillips that gave us the infamous CD-I games. Despite such missteps, with a much more subtle entry into the unusual, Nintendo has created one of the most beloved and talked about titles in one of their most important franchises. The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask was something the Zelda franchise needed and paved the way for future experimental titles like Twilight Princess.

Eerie and dark, unlike any other Zelda game, Majora’s Mask is littered with darker symbolism and themes than any previous title in the series. The game has been analyzed and often described by fans as an allegory of death and loss. If you’re looking for a Zelda experience that’s a bit off the beaten path in Hyrule, Majora’s Mask is one that won’t disappoint.

5 Blasphemous

Not all surrealism is scary, but in times when it is, it can be absolutely horrifying. Blasphemous twists and disrupts conventional Renaissance-era religious imagery in a way that raises questions about what it all might represent.

Enigmatic characters and confusing symbolism abound throughout the game as you face challenging enemies and soul-like obstacles that look like they were pulled straight from the pages of The Berserk manga.

4 Myst

A monitor with a display screen with controls underneath

One of the most common games to use surreal elements in exploring its world and puzzles was Myst. Captured perfectly throughout the game is a sense of mystery and adventure that few games have ever duplicated.

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Even fewer were able to capture Myst’s signature atmosphere that kept you in the dark about this strange island you were on and what it’s for. Myst’s surrealism is similar to directionless dreams, but compelling enough to motivate you to keep exploring.

3 Moon

A floating tea talking to a young boy in pajamas

Dubbed a remix RPG, Moon begins by putting you into an Inception-like scenario of playing a game within a game. This is soon followed by an adventure that goes against all the normal conventions of a traditional RPG. and banal.

Moon not only features a special art style that sets it apart from other games, but its gameplay and goals are also unique. Moon throws fighting and destruction out the window and asks you to strengthen the love and happiness of those in the game.

2 Disabled

a baseball batter with a halo behind him faces a ghost

No matter how many times you play Off, there will always be something to wonder about. Even if you think you have some idea of ​​its overall theme, Off still leaves little bits and pieces that will confuse you more than a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

If you love a good abstract RPG like Undertale or Earthbound, Off is sure to scratch the itch for you. You may have seen combat systems like this thousands of times, but you’ve never seen characters, stories, or worlds quite like Off.

1 Registration

Leshy Reinforcing his cards with a Totem in Inscryption

Inscryption has caused a stir in the gaming world since its release for more than one reason. With its addictive gameplay and a story that constantly puts you at a disadvantage of knowing exactly what’s going on, the game feels like all the best parts of a suspenseful thriller.

Without giving details, suffice it to say that Inscryption is one of the scariest games in its genre. A game that uses its atmosphere to its advantage to keep you in your seat and playing just one more card, over and over again, Inscryption is the nightmarish mystery you won’t want to wake up from.

NEXT: The weirdest games on Steam

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