Top 10 Mystery Anime Games [Best Recommendations]

The world we live in is always filled with uncertainty and for that reason so many of us are living in fear, that dark path is what creates the mystery. Mystery can come in many forms from something as simple as trying to figure out your friends personality, to something more deeper like putting all of the clues together to solve a gruesome murder. Whatever the path you decide to walk on in life, there will always be this faint aura of mystery that follows us at all times. Mystery is good nor bad, it’s simply just an experience that we all have to go through in order to solve the clues of life. Whether you’re teaming up with Professor Layton to crack clues to solve challenging puzzles, or traveling to Spain to track down the president’s daughter in Resident Evil 4, the mystery anime genre is always one to admire and enjoy.

10. Kara no Shoujo - The Second Episode

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Innocent Grey
  • Developer: Innocent Grey
  • Release Date: December 6, 2013

Kara no Shoujo - The Second Episode is another visual novel mystery title that takes place in the prewar era of Japan, where a mysterious murder has taken place in the town of Hitogata and many of the townspeople are placing blame on Hinna-sama, a clay doll claiming it to be cursed. You play as Tokisaka Reiji, as he must figure out just what’s going on and why these mysterious deaths are occurring, but also find out information about a religious cult that just reemerged after being quiet for six years.

Nothing is scarier than walking into a village where people are mysteriously dying left right and center, and everyone is placing blame on a doll. There’s clearly something more heinous taking place in the town of Hitogata and that’s where you come in to determine the real cause behind all of these events. You’ll have to spend a good chunk of time reading dialogue and coming to terms with what’s happening, but 50 hours of gameplay is worth every penny since you’re getting a truly gripping experience as you read through the dialogue, and take part in various endings which will lead to only one true end. Will you be able to survive it all? Give it a shot and find out.


9. Hotel Dusk: Room 215

  • System/Platform: PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Windows
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: January 22, 2007

Unlike most of the other titles on our list that deal with either a visual novel experience, or having you move your characters around to collect items, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a point and click title that stars Kyle Hyde, a young former detective who’s in search of his former partner Brian. Kyle comes to discover that Hotel Dusk is full of mysteries and connections to the past, and so his curiosity encourages him to dive deeper to find out more.

Like many detective oriented games or rather, titles that have players searching clues to solve various mysteries, a lot of puzzle elements are thrown in to keep the player immersed and to use their keen sense of judgement to figure things out as they go. You’ll need to speak to a large number of patrons who are scattered throughout the hotel to dig deeper, while asking incorrect questions or showing the wrong documents will only confuse the witness and could possibly result in Kyle not being able to solve the mystery. It’s truly a tough game that tests your patience but also your ability to stay on track of things, and jot down any cracks in the testimony of those you question.


8. Chaos;Child

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: 5pb. | Nitroplus
  • Developer: 5pb.
  • Release Date: December 18, 2014

Chaos;Child is another successful title from 5pb., the same creators behind the incredibly popular Steins;Gate series. In Chaos;Child you star as Takuru who’s a senior in high school and president of the newspaper club. Due to the tragic earthquake that hit the major city of Shibuya, he lost both of his parents and now must strive on his own. Together he must team up with his childhood friend Serika, foster sister Nono along with others as they put their minds together to solve a brutal murder and help the police solve the crime.

Every visual novel experience from 5pb. is sure to spark interest in just about anyone because the stories are always so thought provoking, and shocking in their own way. There’s always something new that you learn throughout the course of the story, and with Chaos;Child you actually have to play through the main story several times in order to branch off into different areas. Each route focuses on different aspects pertaining to character motivations, and secrets that you can only discover once you’ve cleared the game. Just who is behind this gruesome murder, and will these students and their powers be able to solve the crime before it’s too late? Pick up this great game and find out!


7. Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair 2

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft
  • Release Date: July 26, 2012

Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair 2 is another mystery hit that has grown in popularity ever since its first release, Trigger Happy Havoc made it store shelves. Initially placed on this island to achieve happiness, students find themselves trapped in a death game orchestrated by Monokuma, and in order to leave the island in one piece a student must take the life of another, while not being caught red handed during the trial.

What’s mysterious about Danganronpa games is that you’re just never sure who the real culprit is, and even when you have suspicions as to who the game just instantly makes a switch on you to create even more problems. The game feels like Phoenix Wright in some ways where you have to use some detective skills to pick up clues, use them to your advantage, and somehow get off the island without getting caught. All of that seems pretty harsh, but such is the world of Danganronpa where nothing is ever certain, and the game throws constant curveballs at you to keep you back tracking for hours on end.


6. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

  • System/Platform: Nintendo DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Windows, iOS
  • Publisher: Spike | Aksys Games
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft
  • Release Date: November 16, 2010

999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors has been on our top ten gaming lists quite frequently and it’s because the game showcases some very interesting aspects pertaining to making moral decisions, while challenging the player mentally on puzzles to stay alive. In 999, nine people are trapped on a ship and must now take part in a game called the “Nonary Game” which is orchestrated by a mysterious individual. Your only way off this ship is to take part in escape sections and novel sections, both of which come with their own perks.

It’s all a game of death in 999, where you’re put into tough situations and must somehow figure out how to get off the boat without going down with it. You’ve ingested an explosive device that will go off if you fail to obey the rules, and you have to sometimes betray others on the ship to get the advantage. 999 truly tests your morals because there are moments where you’ll have to kill someone to move forward, or risk dying if you don’t manage to solve the escape sections properly. With so many endings to choose from, and having to play the game countless times to get the true ending, you’re just never sure where the game will take you and that’s where the mystery itself lies.


5. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Steam
  • Publisher: Spike Chunsoft | Aksys Games
  • Developer: Chime
  • Release Date: June 28, 2016

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is the game third in the series, and takes place between 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward. It follows nine individuals who are kidnapped by a masked man who calls himself Zero. Zero divides them up into teams of three and are then forced to take part in a game of death called the “Decision Game”. In order to come out of this game alive, you must decipher and solve puzzles while using sound judgement to get you out of sticky scenarios.

What makes Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma a more enriching experience than the previous titles is that a lot of what lacked in the others, Time Dilemma upgrades and polishes to create more uniform gameplay. The whole mystery behind why you were kidnapped and just who this masked man is what keeps you coming back for more, while the 90 minute periods that take place in the game make your character lose their memory. Collecting fragments to help to solve the mystery, along with making tough choices that don’t always go your way is what really sells this title and is recommended to try out if you haven’t already.


4. Steins;Gate 0

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
  • Publisher: 5pb.
  • Developer: 5pb. | Nitroplus
  • Release Date: March 28, 2002

The whole mystery behind Steins;Gate is that you’re never too sure how the story will end. Will Okabe get his chance to finally reach Steins;Gate and save the world from ruin? Or will he have to deal with gruesome truths that will only continue to scar his psyche? That’s the alluring aspect behind the series in that everything is uncertain and even when you’re confident about where things are headed, the surprises hit you hard.

While not really gruesome when compared to games like Resident Evil or 999, Steins;Gate tries to mess with your brain in many ways to keep you guessing. There are moments of graphic scenes, but they’re mostly used to emphasize the direction of the story and to get you to truly think about the situation a little harder. The narrative in Steins;Gate is arguably one of the best of any visual novel out there, along with spectacular characters that only breathe more life into this already successful title. If you haven’t had a chance to read our recent review on Steins;Gate 0, now would be a great time to hop on over once you’ve read through this list!


3. Resident Evil 4

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 11, 2005

Resident Evil 4 is highly regarded as one of the best Resident Evil titles ever created because it introduced so many new features that weren’t in previous titles, but created this environment that felt so real that you truly felt terrified wandering through this hostile town. You star as Leon Kennedy, who must fly to Spain in order to rescue the president’s daughter who had been kidnapped. This new adventure takes him to this desolate little town that is inhabited by strange people who seem to be hiding a terrible secret. So not only do you need to solve the mystery of the president’s daughter’s whereabouts, but what the real motive is with the townspeople.

Resident Evil games have always been shrouded in mystery ever since the original debuted back in 1996 for the PlayStation, with very little known about the Umbrella Corporation and what their motives are. In Resident Evil 4 the freak factor was at full blast because you just never knew what would pop out from the corner, but because of all of the new improvements made to the game in relation to using firearms it made it more challenging and scary. You could aim at different limbs which would result in stumbling, or having enemies drop weapons, but it was the lack of the crosshair and using just the laser sight that made it truly scary. The whole mystery of the townspeople just creeps you out because everyone speaks in old latin, and so you’re wandering for clues only to get bombarded by these weird people.


2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: June 9, 2016

Phoenix Wright has always been a top seller among fans of the series simply due to its diversity in gameplay, which allows you to take different paths to solve cases. Much of the story revolves around the rookie defense attorney, as he must use whatever evidence lies in front of him and decipher them quick enough to determine who the true criminal is.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice takes everything you love from the series and bumps it up a notch to create a very fulfilling experience. Every clue you find holds a lot of merit as you dig deeper into the minds of witnesses to uncover the truth behind murders. The selling point of the game is how you can tap into the minds of the witness on stand, using emotional cues to determine whether they’re lying and forensic science techniques to gather prints to further solidify the verdict. It’s a lot of fun to yell ‘Objection!’ every time you feel like you’re onto something, while taking every clue you have in your arsenal to find cracks in witness’ testimony.


1. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Release Date: February 26, 2011

The Professor Layton series has become a well known title among many who own a DS, but also those who love a good mystery and puzzle solving. In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Layton and his peers must travel to the eerie city of Monte d’Or where they must unravel the mystery behind a masked man who is wreaking havoc on the people with the powerful Mask of Chaos.

Mystery has always played an integral role in the Layton series because you’re always stuck at a crossroads as to who the real culprit is, and that’s where all of the puzzles start to come into play. As you scour for evidence through interacting with other civilians in the area, while using special tools such as the Toy Robot to solve challenging mini games along the way. Every direction you end up in always has you thinking about what could transpire next, and so every detail you discover is worth taking note of as it will only help to solve the mystery sooner. That’s the beauty of Layton games and we hope that Level 5 will perhaps bring that same experience to the Nintendo Switch someday.


Final Thoughts

Everything in life is a mystery, but that’s the true thrill of the genre itself is that you’re just never sure about anything. It’s like a double-edged sword because on the one hand, living a life of uncertainty can bring about great rewards, but can also invite in some pretty haunting results if you aren’t careful. Be that as it may, the mystery anime game genre is always a blast to play because it takes you out of reality for a while and has you using your intellect to solve complex problems to not only save those around you, but save yourself from harm. Let us know which games you enjoyed in the comments below and be sure to share, like, and tweet our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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