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6 Reasons Why Digimon Survive Is Actually a Horror Game

Featured Image Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

6 Reasons Why Digimon Survive Is Actually a Horror Game

Find out why we think Digimon Survive is really a horror game.

If you’ve kept up with the Digimon series over the years, you’ll no doubt have fond memories of courageous storylines of adorable creatures. The recently released Digimon Survive, however, has a much darker tone that is so totally at odds with the franchise’s traditions that it’s almost unbelievable. But if you need convincing, here’s a list of six reasons why Digimon Survive is actually a spooky horror game!

A Terrifying Origin Story 

Beginning scene in Digimon Survive
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

The beginning of Digimon Survive portrays a series of horrific scenes, all shot with a grainy filter to increase that really increases the tension and sets a spooky tone. The subject matter is terrifying, too; in this origin story, an enemy threatens to kill a young boy and girl as they try to escape danger until they can’t hold out any longer. During this time, the girl starts to get brutally attacked by a mysterious Digimon, ending with a terrifying group of hands grabbing the character and taking her into darkness.

The scene ends when the boy transports somewhere else, where he can be seen crying for her as he slowly fades away. As a result, this origin story alone certainly sets an impression of fear at the initial start of the game, which is likely to differ from fan expectations in comparison to previous installments of the franchise.

The Suspenseful Musical Score 

Digimon Survive terrifying musical score
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

A gripping musical score is crucial to any good horror story, and Digimon Survive’s soundtrack absolutely utilizes this feature to further the suspense of certain events. By the time you reach the game’s opening scene, you can already hear the eerie, foreboding sounds of a piano as the origin story unfolds.

Further down the line, players can listen to more unnerving musical pieces, such as the fast-paced compositions within battles against powerful enemies. But, when you compare this particular element to other Digimon games, previous installments typically feature upbeat and fantasy-like sounds rather than the nail-biting piano notes of this supposed SRPG.

Classic Horror Tropes

Horror Tropes in Digimon Survive
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

Naive characters, bloody scenes, and bad decisions are some of the traditional tropes we love and hate about horror stories, and they’re similarly ongoing themes in Digimon Survive. For instance, the characters have unique qualities that loosely mimic cliche roles, such as a kid that doesn’t listen to anyone and a boy that tries to be the hero. These two types of characters are none other than Miu and Minoru, where one is a troublesome child and the second is the scaredy cat that runs away when the going gets tough.

Overall, the characters all share the similar trait of thinking they are invincible because they are too oblivious to the current situation. At the story’s beginning, a few of them disregard a policeman’s warning of a blocked path and proceed through it anyway, despite its dangerous terrain. Next, we can see another example of this naivety when Takuma utters the classic line of “I’m not a kid!” to a creature he had just met.

Classic character personas in horror stories
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

Besides these tropes, there are several scenes in Digimon Survive that feature unusually gorey and violent murders, including one moment where you can see blood splatters on the screen as someone dies. We won’t spoil too much here, but trust us when we say you’ll find those scenes especially chilling as the narrative unfolds!

Digimon Can Murder Characters

Digimon can kill people
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

When you look at the past episodes, movies, and games of the franchise, you would never think that one of these creatures could kill someone, but Digimon Survive marks a departure from that conventional thinking. There’s one scene within the game shows a Kemonogami (later known as Digimon) slamming the head of one of the characters, resulting in their untimely demise. Moreover, players can experience other deadly scenarios by selecting the wrong choice during intense battles.

However, there is a moment that puts the others to shame since it displays an incredibly ruthless scene where a Digimon eats its owner after succumbing to the darkness. With this storyline in mind, you can see how Digimon Survive is a horror game in which the once nice creatures of the series can potentially murder you.

Eerie Settings Throughout the Map

Digimon Survive Haunted School
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

Almost every location in Digimon Survive is eerie in one way or another, largely due to its decaying and overgrown state, similar to landmarks within horror games. For example, one of the first settings players encounter is a creepy tunnel the characters must go through, leading them into a plethora of red spider lilies, where Minoru mentions how it looks like “a sea of red.”

The more time you spend in this different realm, the more damaged buildings and strange places you’ll see, including a cave with demonic drawings, a decrepit castle, and the haunting appearance of a school. As you progress further into the storyline of Digimon Survive, you’ll find yourself scared to enter its many spooky areas.

Horror Gameplay Mechanics 

Digimon Survive horror game elements
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

Finally, Digimon Survive features a plethora of gameplay scenes that feature all the typical elements of your favorite scary installments. For instance, players must use the phone camera to find dark figures that the naked eye can’t see, reflecting the same mechanics as other horror games, like Outlast and Fatal Frame.

While on this topic, we can see additional gameplay components that are similar to this specific genre, such as scenes where the player must make decisions that could end in a character’s death.

Horror gameplay mechanics in Digimon Survive
Source: Toei Animation via Twinfinite

Digimon Survive’s choice-based storylines also reminds us strongly of mechanics found in spooky recent titles such as The Quarry and Until Dawn; every decision can change the storyline’s direction. Having this fear of choosing the wrong decision makes the journey even more terrifying, which is what any good horror game features.

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