Top 10 Games That Make You Cry [Best Recommendations]

Though most video games focus on creating action-packed thrills, there are some that focus their efforts on creating emotional impact. Rather than make your hands tremble from shock of battle, these games make your hands shake as you try to wipe away the tears. Though in truth, the best games are the type that can combine both seamlessly into an incredible narrative.

Games that make you cry have most likely done a number of things right. The games that make you cry have grabbed your attention and absorbed you into the world. The characters are your friends and enemies, and you feel real emotions towards both. If the games are not able to do those two things, then chances are you did not feel involved enough for the game to make you cry. In other words, you can expect this list to be full of extremely beautiful narratives that will send your emotions on a roller coaster. So, without further ado, let us get to the top 10 games that make you cry.

10. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

  • System: DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Level 5
  • Release Dates: Sep 12, 2010

The Professor Layton series follows the titular character, Professor Layton, as he tries to solve mysteries. The series is beloved for numerous reasons, from its playful characters to its challenging puzzles. It is a series that consistently keeps you on your feet as you try to figure out the next mystery.

Professor Layton might seem like a strange entry on this list. It is, after all, quite well known for its lighthearted tone and humorous moments. However, this particular installment of the series decided to go for a knock out at the end. Celeste, a woman who has been helping out and bears a strong semblance to Layton’s lost love, reveals her true identity. She is in fact, Claire, Layton’s lost love, who he thought died in a scientific experiment gone wrong. Well, the experiment did end up in a fiery explosion, but moments before she was incinerated, she was sent a decade into the future. Now the two only have moments before she disappears once again, because her existence is messing up the time stream. In these moments, we see the reserved and cool-headed Professor Layton break down.

9. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

  • System: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XONE
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Developer: Starbreeze
  • Release Dates: Sep. 3, 2013

In Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, we play as two young boys, brothers, who go on a quest to find a cure for their ailing father. Together, they must face down foes and overcome obstacles in a fantastic world if they hope to aid their father.

It’s a pretty difficult game to adjust to in the first place as you control each brother with one of the controller’s thumbsticks. So, if you’re not ambidextrous, then this game might get a little frustrating. That aside, the story is beautiful and having to play as both brothers at the same time helps you feel fully immersed in the world and connected to the characters. Oh, and the tears can start rolling from the beginning as the first scene is at the mother’s grave. She recently drowned; and the younger sibling saw the accident, which is why he is unable to swim in the game.

8. Shadow of the Colossus

  • System: PS2, PS3, PS4
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: SCE Japan Studio
  • Release Dates: Oct. 18, 2005

Shadow of the Colossus brings us into a land that people might have once inhabited a long time ago. Now, this land is controlled by colossi that roam the plains, the waters, the air, and the caves. They keep a sort of balance to the world, and our goal is to kill them in order to save our lost love.

The emotional vibrancy of Shadow of the Colossus only grows as you play through the game. It already starts off with a pretty heavy dose of sadness as we journey alone while our beloved is left on an altar. The overall use silence in the game enhances the beauty of the land and the resulting sadness as we destroy beings that have called this place home. It only becomes harder to play as we watch our character take on a cursed nature with each colossus he slays. As he becomes more and more cursed, our sadness digs deeper. You start to wonder if there is really no other way. You don’t want to see the character destroy himself, and yet you need to reach the end of the game. It’s quite sad.

7. I Am Setsuna

  • System: PS4, NS, PC, Vita
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
  • Release Dates: Jul. 19, 2016

I Am Setsuna pays homage to the timeless classic Chrono Trigger. We follow Setsuna as she readies herself to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the land. On her journey, she comes across people from different backgrounds that are also willing to put their lives on the line. the time, the world is on its last leg. Persona 3 takes the impact of death to the next level though. First off, one of our crew is a little boy whose mother was killed on accident by another member of the crew. He wants to kill our buddy, Shinjiro. He does not get that chance though, as Shinjiro dies sacrificing himself. No matter what game you are playing, it is tough to lose a playable character, especially when that character has had a rough life. Then there’s the fact that our new friend at the end of the game, Ryoji, is essentially a vessel for death and is going to disappear. Oh, and if you played The Answer, a semi-sequel, then you know your main character died at the end of the game as well. Cue tears.

4. The Last of Us

  • System: PS3, PS4
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Dates: Jun. 14, 2013

The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game. You play as Joel as he helps guide the teenage girl Ellie across a post-apocalyptic world. Zombies and untrustworthy people are around each corner, and you will have to pull out every trick possible to survive.

Have you played The Last of Us? It is a cinematic masterpiece. Every single part of the game is meant to pull you into it. It becomes such an interactive and intense experience that it is practically impossible not to cry during the emotional moments. The beginning cinematic alone is enough to make you weep as Ellie is exposed to some extreme horror. The intensity only grows as you the relationship between Joel and Ellie deepens. Every interaction between them halfway through the game is bound to give you the feels.

3. Life is Strange

  • System: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XONE
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
  • Release Dates: Jan. 19, 2016

Life is Strange is an extremely unique adventure. The video game takes on an episodic approach, as we play as Max Caulfield, an eighteen-year-old photography student, who realizes she has the ability to rewind time. However, every time she uses this power she is basically enacting the butterfly effect and greatly changing the present.

Life is Strange hits us hard at almost every turn, because someone dies almost every episode. Death is constant and when we try to fix one accident we inevitably give way to another that is just as traumatic for Max. The entire plot is rough on the emotions, and the phenomenal artwork and voice acting enhance every heart wrenching moment. Each moment feels incredibly real and the characters are extremely relatable. It’s hard not to feel attached to this game.

2. Walking Dead Season 1

  • System: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XONE
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Release Dates: Apr. 2012 – Nov. 2012

Walking Dead Season 1 brought The Walking Dead franchise to the audience in an extremely interactive fashion. No longer were we simply reading or watching an intense post-apocalyptic world full of zombies. Nope, we were in the middle of this world and every choice we made affected those around us.

Telltale Games is pretty well-known for creating intense narratives for extremely popular franchises. It started to get its name out there with A Wolf Among Us, which took on the Fables series, and has since tackled The Walking Dead, Batman, and even Game of Thrones. Though all of the games are pretty intense and have high emotional impact, Walking Dead Season 1 hits the hardest. [SPOILER ALERT] In this first season, the relationship between Clementine and Lee is beautiful, and thus heartbreaking when Lee has been infected and Clementine has to watch him die. This is one of the most emotionally distressing scenes in any game. For better or for worse, the series does not hit quite as hard as it does in this first series.

1. To the Moon

  • System: PC
  • Publisher: Freebird Games
  • Developer: Freebird Games
  • Release Dates: Sep. 7, 2012

To the Moon is a short game that popped up in 2011. It follows the story of a dying man who has a desire to go to the moon. This is the final thing he wishes for, and yet he does not know why he wishes for it. Thus, two doctors begin exploring his mind, going through his memories in order to find out what event caused such a desire.

Despite only taking about four hours to play through, this game hits your emotions the hardest. To the Moon tackles death and separation and loneliness in an incredibly beautiful way. Every single moment is designed to pull you further into the narrative, which then pulls harder on your heart. It is an emotional journey unlike any other. Rather than relying on any action to force you into the narrative, this game simply provides a realistic portrayal that no one can ignore. Unless, of course, you are heartless.

Final Thoughts:

There you go, people. The top 10 games that will make you cry. If you plan on tackling any of the video games on this list, then you should definitely bring a box of tissues with you. Let us know if there are any games that made you cry like a baby in the comments below!

The-Last-of-Us-gameplay-700x394 Top 10 Games That Make You Cry [Best Recommendations]


Author: Yoko Dev

Hello, my anime peers. I’m from the states, but have taken an indefinite leave to travel while freelancing. Outside of a deep admiration for anime that started long ago, I love to read, write, and play video games. The main issue of traveling so far has been not having a console.

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Yoko Dev