Some games look cute and cuddly on the outside. They masquerade their true identities with bright colours, cartoony characters and a 3+ PEGI rating. In actual fact, these games are incredibly dark, containing themes of that would be more suited to an 18 rated game. Let me reveal to you, 5 of these truly dark games and peel away their child friendly façade.

5 – Banjo Kazooie

Banjo Kazooie seems happy enough. Sure the game has some mild innuendo but the levels seem colourful and all the characters are cartoony, so the game is mostly innocent fun, right? That’s where you’re wrong. The actual story to Banjo Kazooie is pretty dark when you think about it. The plot revolves around a child abduction by a henchman who thinks a 9 year old girl is the prettiest thing there is and a horrible medical experiment being performed on said child to drain her essence, leaving her a malformed monster. That does not sound like something that belongs in a game rated ‘E for Everyone’. Also, one level has you going inside a gruesome shark-machine hybrid, complete with bloody rotor blades and you running through its giant malformed rib cage. As if early 3D platforming wasn’t horrific enough.


You’re one creepy henchman, Klungo.

4 – Kirby’s Epic Yarn

What could be dark about Kirby’s Epic Yarn? The game is as saccharine as they come, with its cutesy yarn world, gentle soundtrack and incredibly low difficulty so everyone can enjoy. While the story or the levels may not be dark, it is the way Kirby dispatches his enemies which is excruciatingly painful. He literally pulls enemies apart at the seams, ripping them to pieces and letting their entrails float through the air. All this while smiling. That ghastly, ever-present smile that stays no matter how many enemies he kills. You’re a sick puffball Kirby.


Does this look like the face of mercy?

3 – Pokémon Red

Pokémon seems all fun and games on the surface, but some of the Pokédex entries are terrifying. Haunter cause people to shake to death if they get licked by it, Kabutops rips other Pokemon in half and drains their bodily fluids, Victreebell liquefies its prey when eaten, Hypno steals children that have been hypnotised by it and Cubone wears the skull of its DEAD MUM on its head. This is without mentioning that you may murder your rival’s Raticate by beating it so hard during your fight on the S.S. Anne. Damn Pokémon, you scary.

Pokemon Red Screen

Nothing says kid-friendly RPG like animals wearing the skull of their dead mother!

2 – Super Mario World

Again, the Mario series seems all fun and games on the surface, yet Mario is one messed up plumber, in Super Mario World especially. In this one, he not only kills Bowser’s kids during the course of the game but blows up each one of their houses, all to get Peach back. He is basically a Mushroom Kingdom terrorist. As well as this, it is the complete disregard to life on his part on his adventure, like using Yoshi to spring out of pits and let him drop to his death or crushing legions of Goombas, Koopas and other monsters under his feet. No wonder people think Mario is a sociopath.

Super Mario World screen

After murdering Iggy, Mario will go on to kill that Yoshi by using him as a jump pad. That’s twisted.

1 – Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Now, this one is more subtle than the other 4 on the list. Most of the other games were dark because they had people dying horribly or creepy elements to them. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is dark because this game can get super depressing if you don’t play it for ages. Your town becomes overgrown with weeds, residents start to move out and wonder where you have gone. It’s even worse in New Leaf as you are the mayor of your town and you basically abandon this little community, letting it rot and degrade as you play some other game. That duck that lived next to you will never get his fishing rod back, that new shop or bridge will never get built and the town just become sad and barren. You basically turn the game into a town you’d find in a depressing Eastern European art film about human suffering. Except the humans are animals wearing no trousers.

Animal Crossing Creepy

What happened to the plants? They died, just like hope did when you abandoned your town to play Pokemon.

So there you go, 5 games which are actually really dark when you look deeper into them. Did we miss any obvious choices out? Do you know of any games which look happy and fun on the surface but are actually super messed up? Comment below with your own suggestions.