Top 10 Cute Games That Are Secretly Disturbing
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Top 10 Cute Games That Are Secretly Disturbing

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Biswajit Guha
These video games are adorable on the surface, but don't let that fool you. For this list, we'll be looking at video games that seem delightful but hide their dark side. Our countdown includes Ecco the Dolphin, EarthBound, Duck Season, Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion and more!
Script written by Biswajit Guha

Top 10 Cute Games That Are Secretly Disturbing

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cute Games That Are Secretly Disturbing.

For this list, we’ll be looking at video games that seem delightful but hide their dark side. We might run into some scary spoilers so we're issuing a spoiler alert.

Did we miss a cute game that caught you off guard? Let us know in the comments!

#10: "Slime Rancher" (2017)

If you take a trip to the Far, Far Range, you'll come across these joyful jelly-like creatures called 'Slimes'. How could nurturing adorable aliens be sinister? Well, you'd be surprised. They're bouncy, upbeat and more importantly, profitable. Slimes poop out plorts. Plorts can be used in almost everything from food to cleaning supplies. While Boom plorts are used primarily by the military for some kind of space war, we assume. You can create new breeds of Slimes by feeding them plorts… eesh. Also, there's proof that Slimes are sentient. Look at BOb. He's terrible at disguises but great at conversations. BOb's presence makes us wonder if Slimes should be ranched at all.

#9: "Undertale" (2015)

When you first drop down into the Underground, most players think they know what they're in for. Cartoon violence and mild language at the most, right? Then they meet Flowey… He's a tiny flower that seems friendly but turns out to be frightening. After tricking you and then attacking you, he spends the rest of the game stalking you. Now that's something that'll keep you up at night. If you choose the pacifist or neutral runs, the game ends pretty well. Things take an unsettling turn if you go down the genocide route with everyone you meet. Also, let's not talk about the 'Amalgamates' you can find in the True Lab.

#8: "It Takes Two" (2021)

This game might look like a pleasant action-adventure platformer, but it explores heavy themes like love and mainly divorce. The story revolves around the crumbling relationship between Cody and May. Their daughter, Rose, tries to mend their marriage with doll versions of them and her imagination. Prepare for a "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"-type adventure mixed with "Toy Story" and a healthy dose of surreal therapy. What'll really take you aback is Cutie, the toy elephant's death scene. Cody and May hatch a plan to kill Cutie and break the spell. What ensues is plush violence that would fit right into a "God of War" game. We can at least console ourselves because it was absolutely necessary, right? Right?

#7: "Cuphead" (2017)

Expect a fun time with a vintage aesthetic and wacky characters! As long as you ignore the weird stuff behind the frames. Cuphead hides a lot of uncomfortable elements underneath its cartoony exterior. You encounter kooky bosses that devolve into creepy versions of themselves that only 1930s style animation can produce. We're talking about detaching their heads, contorting their bodies, being eaten alive and usually grinning through it all. The casino level is often regarded as the most unsettling. It personifies the darker side of the turbulent thirties with bosses inspired by gambling, smoking and war. Don't roll the dice unless you know what you're getting into.

#6: "A Hat in Time" (2017)

You play as 'Hat Kid' in this platform action-adventure game. It's all about collecting 'Time Pieces', stitching hats that have powers and fending off goofy enemies with your umbrella. Unfortunately, Queen Vanessa didn't get the memo. Her level is horror-themed and just to amp it up, you're not allowed to use your hat powers while in her manor. Once you run into her, all you'll worry about is her booming voice and glowing red eyes. You have to skulk around in search of keys as she stalks you. This level is jam-packed with jumpscares that most players weren't ready for.

#5: "Ecco the Dolphin" (1992)

Being a bottlenose dolphin probably is fun unless everything in the ocean except you is abducted. You play as Ecco, a dolphin who only cared about high jump competitions. Now he has to worry about an ancient blue whale, the city of Atlantis and the Vortex. The Vortex is an alien race that's behind this aquatic crime and it's up to you to defeat the Vortex Queen and save everyone. That's a lot to ask a friendly dolphin to do, especially since he has to make regular trips to the surface to breathe. When you encounter the Vortex Queen, she might take your breath away in a horrifying way. Imagine picking this game up for some dolphin dillydallying and seeing that!

#4: "EarthBound" (1995)

A few children decided to embark on an adventure? Fun! Who're they up against? A malevolent alien force that has encompassed the world in hatred… hmm. Most of EarthBound is quite quirky but it does have its fair share of frightening moments. For instance, Poo, an ally with an unlucky name, undergoes 'Mu Training' which involves him willingly giving up his limbs and senses to a menacing-looking spirit. Or visiting 'Happy Happy Village' which essentially is a cult full of hooded followers who are obsessed with the colour blue. What would even scar adults is the final boss. It's an intangible terror that you'll just have to see for yourself. Talk about nightmare fuel.

#3: "Duck Season" (2017)

School's over, Summer's here and you've decided to spend it playing video games. That's how the VR game, Duck Season, starts. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve and takes you on a nostalgia trip until it spirals into a different kind of trip. Let's just say the ducks aren't the only ones being hunted. Everything seems harmless, you shoot some ducks, score some points and the dog does silly stuff in the background. After a couple of rounds, things start taking a spooky turn. There are plenty of unsettling moments that mainly involve the dog. Plus, it gets particularly unsettling since all of this takes place in VR, so you really get immersed in the insanity.

#2: "Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion" (2015)

A quick glance at this game might suggest that it's a kiddy horror game or a parody of a horror game. It has a toon aesthetic and the titular character is a comedic ghost. There are cardboard cutout jumpscares that might make you chuckle instead of flinch. But, the game gets progressively creepier and more realistic. Enemies replace the cardboard cutouts and scattered notes hint at something horrifying lurking around every corner. There's a buffet of terrors that by the time you reach the scary parts, those cutouts will feel like a distant memory.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

"The Hex" (2018)

A Meta Murder Mystery With Multiple Genres

"They Breathe" (2014)

What Lies Beneath Your Webbed Feet?

"Can Your Pet?" (2010)

Short and Sinister, Just the Way We Like It

#1: "Doki Doki Literature Club!" (2017)

Why is a visual novel about a high school literature club scary? You're in for a fright. This game starts out like most dating sims and stays that way several hours into it. Then it pulls the carpet from under you and doesn't let you get a grip on anything that's happening. You grow closer to each one of these cute girls over the course of the game. That's why it's so painful to see them and the game itself get twisted into an existential nightmare.