Normally, media such as movies and video games are more likely to stress me out rather than scare me (possibly I’m a sociopath). Don’t get me wrong, though, I’ve been known to be startled or fall for a jumpscare now and again, but more often than not it’s because I witness someone doing something terrible like hitting a dog or pouring soy sauce on their rice. Nobody should ever do either of those things. I’m not quite sure which one is worse.
Ao Oni changed everything. This game scared the crap out of me, and I can’t really pinpoint why, exactly. The game was made using RPGMaker, and it looks slightly crappy, but for all of its simple, pixelated imagery, it really is terrifying.
In this game, you play as a high school student named Hiroshi. He and three of his friends decide to explore an abandoned mansion which they believe is haunted. As Hiroshi, you are charged with making your way through the mansion by completing standard puzzles such as finding items, combining these items with other items, and unlocking doors. During all of this, though, the ao oni (which roughly translates to “blue demon”) appears and scares the bejesus out of you by chasing you around. It sounds really silly, but the developers of this game must have put a lot of work into finding new and awesome ways for a pixelated blue man to scare you throughout the game.
And that’s all there is to Ao Oni. There is hardly any storyline or dialogue. Neither of those things is needed, though. I played most of the game in one solid sitting, and I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time. I annoyed the hell out of my husband by shouting every time I was startled by the ao oni, which was every couple of minutes. It was awesome.
Because Ao Oni is so cool, it already has a small cult following, but I felt it needed a little extra exposure. You can download and play it for free from here. You’ll also need the RPGMaker XP RTP, which you can find here.
Go forth and be scared!