There were some interesting horror-themed games in 2021. It was a year in which we got not one, but two Resident Evil games. However, both of them and many more horror-like games were far more action-oriented. On the other hand, there was a latecomer in 2021 that was genuinely unsettling and produced a true horror atmosphere in the guise of a card game. It was Daniel Mullens Games and Devolver Digital’s Inscryption.
Trapped inside a cabin with a mysterious entity and forced to sit down and play a game of cards, it doesn’t take long for you to learn that this is a more than sinister game. The cards before you are seemingly alive and some must be sacrificed to make your plays. Sometimes the sacrifice doesn’t come from the cards, but from you yourself in the most cringeworthy of ways. Sometimes you must leave the card table and explore the cabin in which you are trapped to discover its secrets.
Inscryption instills a sense of dread at all turns where you quickly realize that there’s danger behind every choice and play, and it’s wonderfully aided by purposefully janky, yet skillfully stylized graphics and an incredible sound design. It’s difficult to ever make out the full nature of the entity before you, and every win and lost adds more weight to a nearby scale that will determine the outcome of the game. What will happen if you lose? Do you really want to know?
There were a lot of games that put on an air of horror this year. Games like Resident Evil 4 VR, Back 4 Blood, and more could be considered to be horror in their thematics, but none of them are as scary, unsettling, and will get under your skin like Inscryption. This card game/phychological horror is a harrowing experience that truly instills fear. For all of that it brought to the table, even so late in the year, Inscryption thoroughly snatched our Shacknews Best Horror of 2021.
Watch the Shacknews Awards 2021 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2021 article for all of the awards in one place. We will be announcing our Shacknews GOTY 2021 on December 31.