There's something awfully intriguing about watching a helpless protagonist spiral down a rabbit hole, isn't there? What's better is having said rabbit hole laced with psychedelic elements that knock not only the character for six, but the one tugging on the strings from the comfort of their own homes. And if you're wanting to talk about trippy video games, in general, then you'll be pleased to know that the survival horror genre harbors hallucinatory episodes like they're going out of fashion.
It's no surprise that a horror game would only want to trip the player out when concocting its home brew, which is why psychedelics are seen as near-perfect ingredients for most, if not all modern titles. Not only do they keep players on their toes, but they also bring a certain level of unpredictability to the table, which is a sure-fire way of keeping the level of immersion at an all-time high. If that's the sort of thing that whets your appetite, then you should definitely throw yourself at these five entries.
5. We Happy Few
We Happy Few is a psychedelic cocktail of stealth-based survival horror and puzzle-solving, embellished with a mesmerising story-driven campaign. As a game with countless psychedelic components, its players can expect to see an ever-changing world, one that employs a population so merry and kind-hearted, that it's only natural for trespassers to suspect it for being in possession of a much darker reality.
We Happy Few revolves around Joy, a drug that tricks its consumer into thinking the world is as peaceful as the townsfolk make it out to be. In reality, though, the junkies that run the town are flesh-eating sociopaths, and it's only after you refuse to take your daily dosage that you begin to see the world for what it really is. The problem is, people aren't overly happy about you waking up to see the truth, and they're more than happy to do all in their power to put you back on cloud nine, dead or alive.
4. Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear brings a fresh lick of paint to a dying art. Literally. As a survival horror game based entirely on the artistic curveballs that budding creators endure, players can witness the heart and soul that goes into a masterpiece, where innovative ideas fuse with the morally bankrupt minds that harness them.
In Layers of Fear, players assume the role of an established painter. After losing his dearly beloved to murder, the artist sets out to create the so-called magnum opus, a piece of art that embodies the heart and soul of his late wife. The hollow halls of his former family home, however, tell a different tale — one stoked by betrayal and bloodlust. As players, you must connect the dots and grasp an understanding of the family's history. For every tool you acquire, a new revelation will come to pass, providing you with the muse to paint the truth in black and white.
3. The Evil Within
The Evil Within is a psychological horror that fuses twisted worlds with the human psyche. As detectives sent to investigate a series of mass killings at a local hospital, players must forage for clues in order to comprehend the fates of those involved. To obtain said clues, you must enter a realm of horror, a place where nightmares come to life in the most horrific ways imaginable.
The Evil Within blends its nightmarish world with a classic third-person shooter format. Its setting, which transforms on a constant basis, provides players with a sense of feeling isolated and without guidance. With that, anyone who is brave enough to conquer Beacon Mental Hospital can expect quite the number of curveballs, many of which will push the human mind well beyond its breaking point.
Infliction is a walking simulator that adds a thick coating of psychological horror to its outer layers. Like other games of its kind, players are tasked with roaming a creepily vacant home with the intention of unmasking a forbidden truth. The truth in question herein revolves around the murder of the protagonist's wife. As it happens, the grieving husband harbors a sinister secret, one that the ghosts of his past wish to extract. It's your role, of course, to aid the looming entities in the twisted phishing expedition for answers.
Infliction tells the tale of a shallow partner who's engulfed in the flames of guilt and grievance. With his wife stalking the halls of his former family home, the survivor must learn to atone for his mistakes and, in turn, banish the ghost that only wishes to harm those who wronged her. The problem is, the spirit has the power to not only physically harm her oppressors, but toy with their minds. With that, players can expect one monster of a journey through the rabbit hole.
Silent Hills will forever be known as “the one that got away.” Due to the conflict with Konami, Hideo Kojima scrapped the would-be survival horror game before it could ever really establish roots in the market. The only thing it left in its wake, of course, was the short but horrifyingly beautiful tech demo, P.T..
Although P.T. has since been wiped from storefronts, the experience still holds a permanent residency in players' minds, and forever reminds the community of what could've been. It was a masterclass in building suspense through the power of psychedelia, and something that no other developer in the world could ever dare to replicate, regardless of experience. And to think, this is a status that was achieved from a mere sneak preview of a much larger game. Say what you will about Kojima, but you can't deny the fact that the guy knows how to utilize the psychedelic elements, even in the smallest doses.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any psychedelic games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.