10 Best Games That Use Glitches As Part Of The Experience

While most games contain glitches that unintentionally alter the experience in fun, frustrating, or groundbreaking ways, there are some games, like the upcoming horror game simulacra 3, Intentionally incorporate glitch-like visuals or gameplay. For example since simulacra Series is about digital entities trying to consume human souls through their phones, the player often witnesses glitches depicting the corruption while navigating the phone in the game.

These intentional glitches can not only unsettle or scare players, but also create some unique gameplay mechanics. Given the diverse potential of this technique, it is not surprising that several titles in recent years, such as Doki Doki Literature Club, have started to use disruptions.


10/10 The Riddle Machine (2018)

published in 2018, The Enigma Machine is a first-person cyberpunk horror adventure game in which the player trains to become a RADE agent for Enigma Technologies. Using the OS, the player must explore a simulation of the ghost of a contaminated AI using the Dreamscape program. But as the player navigates the surreal environments, talks to the OS, and slowly decontaminates the AI, they learn that this can be more than a simple simulation.

RELATED: The 10 Best Cyberpunk Video Games According to MetacriticDuring gameplay, the glitchy graphics make the player feel like they’re exploring the subconscious of a digital being. These visuals were also used effectively in the 2021 prequel Mothered – A Horror RPG, and will likely reappear in the upcoming sequel [Echostasis].

9/10 Strawberry Cube (2015)

Although most games have definite themes and messages for players to pick up on, some games deliberately keep things more open-ended. One of them is 2015’s surreal puzzle platformer strawberry cubes, who follows what appears to be a young girl who cannot jump. To explore this 16-bit world, the player must either climb plant vines or use one of the protagonist’s game-changing abilities.

In a review by user ava_nvn on Glitchwave, they interviewed developer Loren Scmidt, who explained that the game is primarily about Scmidt’s relationship with her grandmother, who struggled with Alzheimer’s disease towards the end of her life. While certain imagery, such as the birds and boat, depict her as a person, the game’s glitches and slow decay depict the effects of the disease, though none of this is explicitly explained in the game itself.

8/10 REDDER (2010)

Inspired by Metroid, REDDER is a horror-based Metroidvania originally released as a free flash game on Newgrounds in 2010 and later re-released on Itch.io in 2016 Astronaut named Hannah as she explores the abandoned civilization on the planet and avoids its deadly defense systems.

As she takes the fuel resources represented by glowing gems, Mars slowly begins to die. To represent this environmental damage in a unique way, glitches are increasingly corrupting the entire map and the music is becoming more distorted.

7/10 Haque (2017)

Inspired by retro DOS games, Haque is a roguelike dungeon crawler where an old man tasks the player with defeating the evil creatures across the land. After initially choosing one of three random characters, made up of unique classes such as werewolf wizards and pumpkin men, the character and their animal companion explore the world and battle enemies in this challenging but well-crafted experience.

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But the deeper the player dives into the world after each playthrough, the more suspicious the situation becomes as glitches become more frequent and the old man acting as narrator throws in some cryptic comments. Although retro-inspired roguelikes are incredibly common, Haque is more than just a nostalgic throwback.

6/10 Anatomy (2016)

One of the most influential indie horror titles to be released in recent years is 2016’s surreal body horror game anatomy from critically acclaimed developer Kitty Horrorshow. The game follows an unnamed protagonist as he explores a dark suburban house, collecting cassette tapes scattered throughout the rooms that explain how a house resembles the body of a living organism.

As the player explores more of the house and listens to more of the vaguely disturbing tapes, the house slowly warps, being filled with flesh-covered walls and flawed textures. These moving and “breathing” environments make the originally static place feel more organic and alive.

5/10 YOU and ME and SHE: A Love Story (2013)

Even though Doki Doki Literature Club popularized the idea of ​​a horror game that breaks the fourth wall, there were other lesser-known titles that attempted similar ideas years earlier, including 2013’s psychological horror dating sim YOU and ME and SHE: A love story. When generic male high school protagonist Shinichi meets school outcast Aoi, he teams up with his estranged childhood friend Miyuki to free Aoi from her shell.

After they all become close friends, Miyuki and Shinichi fall in love and meet happy endings. Similar to most dating sims, the player can replay the game and unlock Aoi’s route instead. However, in this game, this decision will have devastating consequences and tons of horrible images full of glitches.

4/10 Simulacra series (since 2016)

Since Simulacra 3 is currently in development, now is the perfect time to check out the FMV mystery horror series simulacra. Starting with the 2016 entry Sara is missing In each game in the franchise, the player searches a missing person’s phone and solves the mysteries by examining emails, text messages, photos, files and more.

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Although the characters involved, the exact circumstances behind the person’s disappearance, and the reason the player has the phone vary from case to case, all entries revolve around digital entities known as “Simulacra”. These AIs are trying to build a “digital utopia” by killing people in the real world and integrating their souls into cyberspace. Players learn about these creatures by observing frightening glitches over the in-game phone.

3/10 Pony Island (2016)

published in 2016, Pony Island is a meta horror game developed by Daniel Mullins, who also developed the deck building horror roguelike encryption. After discovering an old arcade cabinet game called pony island, The player immediately starts playing a cute endless runner where the protagonist is a pink pony.

This harmless facade doesn’t last long, however, and the player soon discovers that the game is possessed by Lucifer, who is attempting to steal the player’s soul. With the help of the trapped soul of a previous victim, the player has to end this corrupted and buggy game by directly manipulating the program’s code.

2/10 Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! (2021)

While YOU and ME and SHE: A love story is a meta comment on the choices players should make in dating sims, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, This is a 2021 remake of the original 2017 freeware title Doki Doki Literature Club, is a meta-commentary on the often forgotten supporting characters. This psychological horror visual novel follows an ordinary male high school student who joins his school’s literature club at the urging of his childhood friend Sayori.

Although the game initially looks like a typical happy dating sim where the player can date three of the four club members, everything changes completely when one of the characters starts manipulating the code of this game. Compared to the original version of the game, this remake has updated graphics, new music tracks, six new side stories and new unlockable images.

1/10 Axiom Edge (2015)

With the recent release of the highly anticipated axiom edge 2 On August 11th, players should definitely check out the original 2015 Metroidvania axiom edge. THis game follows a scientist named Trace who nearly died in an explosion in his laboratory. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a biomechanical world called Sudra, recently destroyed by a pathogen brought by a man named Athetos.

With the help of Elsenova, who is part of a race of mechanical giants that survived the plague, he tries to unravel the mysteries behind this alien planet and how he got there. Aside from the typical weapons, items, and upgrades found in other Metroidvanias, players can also intentionally disrupt the game world to solve puzzles and corrupt enemies, which sets this game apart from the rest.

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