Never judge a book by its cover. That’s a great lesson in general, especially for video games, but even more so for a select batch of games that are far more than they appear on the surface. While many games feature narrative and mechanical twists, these particular titles go the extra mile to hide their true natures, intentionally so, to surprise players.
I love games that subvert expectations like this, but they can be hard to seek out or suggest to others. For one, they may initially appear out of your wheelhouse. If you don’t play visual novels, then Doki Doki Literature Club, for example, may pass you by even if the things it’s really going for would be up your alley. That also makes these sorts of games hard to pitch to skeptical friends without giving away what truly makes them special. Plus, if you decide to investigate these games before playing them, you may expose yourself to blatant spoilers. So how to discuss?
Here’s my solution. Each game listed will have two entries: The Premise and The Twist. The premise explains what the game appears to be on the surface. After all, simply popping up on this list indicates that something’s up, and that might be enough to spark your curiosity to give it a shot.
The Twist, which will be obscured with spoiler tags, is the section for those wanting to know how the game changes. Though it won’t blatantly reveal every single thing that happens, it will provide a general overview of a game’s true form, if you will. However, you’ll still have to play it yourself to get the whole picture.