Japanese video games


10 Japanese Video Games That Will Transport You To Another World
Japanese video games
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adapted from (clockwise from top-left): Steam, PlayStation, PlayStation, Free Game Planet

When we are stuck in our homes every day, life does get a little mundane. You might be wondering what to do now, since you’re probably done with flicking through whatever Netflix has to offer, and whipping up a trendy coffee drink just isn’t that fun anymore. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of role-playing games (RPG) that help us escape real life and enter a fantasy world, even if it’s just for a while. We’ve come a long way from the days when RPG meant playing Dungeons and Dragons – RPGs these days feature immersive narratives, tough decisions, and beautiful graphic visuals.

Whether you’re a fan of well-established Japanese RPG series like Final Fantasy or if you’re into indie horror games, we’ve got a list of fun Japanese video games that you should try.


1. Witch’s House (魔女の家)


witch's house japanese video game
Image credit: The Witch’s House

Witch’s House is about a girl, Viola, waking up in the middle of the forest. Her escape route is blocked off by a wall of roses, and the only way out is through a creepy mansion.

In the mansion, Viola realises that there are strange things going on – the house shapeshifts, and she finds diary entries by the mansion’s owner, a witch named Ellen. To escape the mansion, Viola has to solve a series of puzzles to unlock a number of doors.

witch's house
Image credit: The Witch’s House

The game features 16-bit graphics from a birds-eye view. It’s a simple indie horror game with eerie music, puzzles, and jumpscares. The game is in Japanese, but there are free translation mods available on the website.

Some popular YouTubers such as PewDiePie and Markiplier have videos of themselves playing the game.

The Witch's House: Part 1 + (Free Download Link) - Walkthrough
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The Witch's House: Part 1 + (Free Download Link) - Walkthrough

 

Genre: Survival, horror
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: Free

Get it here


2. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (二ノ国)


Ni no kuni: wrath of the white witch
Image credit: PlayStation

Imagine a video game that marries Japanese RPGs with the visuals of Studio Ghibli and you’ll get Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

ni no kuni video game
Image credits: PlayStation

The brainchild of a collaboration between Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, Ni no Kuni is an open world third-person perspective RPG, with stunning artwork and animation that’s reminiscent of Studio Ghibli’s animated movies. It was also rated as one of the best role-playing games of 2013.

ni no kuni: wrath of the white witch
Image credit: PlayStation

Wrath of the White Witch follows a young boy, Oliver, as he travels to a magical world in an attempt to rescue his mother.

Players can roam around the open world game on foot, by boat, or on the back of a dragon. Battle against enemies to complete objectives, with the use of magic from different characters and familiars – Pokemon-esque creatures that can be captured and trained to higher levels.

Wrath of the white witch video game
Image credit: PlayStation

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
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Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

 

Genre: Adventure
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Price: USD$49.99 (PlayStation, Switch, USD$29.99 (PC)

Get the PC version here, Switch version here, and the PlayStation version here.


3. Ib (イヴ)


Ib Japanese video game
Image credit: Ib

A young girl named Ib finds herself trapped in the Guertenna Weiss art museum after a power outage. Moments later, things take a strange turn as she becomes physically trapped inside a painting. Together with 2 other people trapped inside the gallery, Ib must find a way to escape.

Ib japanese video game
Image credit: @ibgame.art

This indie-horror game is played on a two-dimensional field with very simple graphics. The player must solve puzzles to overcome obstacles and avoid enemies and traps. The player loses when Ib’s health reaches zero. It also has multiple endings, and the outcome depends on the player’s actions.

Ib Japanese video game
Image credit: @ibgame.art

Ib has made a name for itself in the indie-horror genre. Youtube gamers such as Markiplier, PewDiePie, and Jacksceptieye have tried their hand at this game too.

Ib - Part 1 (+Free Download) Lets Play Ib Walkthrough Playthrough
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Ib - Part 1 (+Free Download) Lets Play Ib Walkthrough Playthrough

 

Genre: Adventure, horror
Platform: PC
Price: Free
Get the game here.


4. Persona 5


persona 5 japanese video game
Image credit: PlayStation

The Persona series has been around since 1996 and is one of the most popular Japanese RPG franchises, with multiple sequels and spin-offs that even branch off into other genres and media. Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is the latest addition to the series – it was released in February 2020 on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

2016’s Persona 5 was the last big update to the series. Players play as a protagonist known as Joker. During school hours, he’s a student; after school, he becomes a masked vigilante. 

Persona 5 video game
Image credit: PlayStation

Through an entity known as Persona, which is actually the physical manifestation of the user’s psyche, Joker combats other Personas to make wrong-doers confess their crimes to the police. Joker’s goal is to fight the corruption of the city with a band of fellow students, known as the Phantom Thieves.

You can look forward to classic RPG dungeon-clearing, as well as spending time to increase your stats, improving friendships, or battling other Personas.

Persona 5
Image credit: PlayStation

Metacritic has deemed Persona 5 one of the best role-playing games ever. It has a great soundtrack and captivating anime-style visuals to boot.

Persona 5 Official Japanese Release Date Trailer
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Persona 5 Official Japanese Release Date Trailer

 

Genre: Social-simulation
Platforms: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 (Persona 5)
Price: USD$19.99
Get it here.


5. Go Home


Go Home video game
Image credit: Free Game Planet

Go Home is about a young kimono-clad girl, Suzuki Mosaiko, trying to return home from a Japanese shrine. However, she is chased by a murderous spirit that seems to appear out of nowhere. It’s up to the player to guide her home safely, with the help of some teleporting manholes.

Go home Japanese video games
Image credit: Free Game Planet

The graphics on Go Home aren’t the best – it’s a free indie horror game made by someone who claims to be a virtual ichimatsu doll. But it makes up for it with an eerie soundtrack that combines traditional Japanese drums and immersive gameplay, which make the jumpscares extra frightening.

Go home
Image credit: Free Game Planet

It’s a short and fun game that you can complete within an hour or less, and it’s also packed with bizarre and hilarious ways to die.

GO HOME - A VERY Weird Japanese Horror Game with Some Extremely Bizarre & Unexpected Ways to Die
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GO HOME - A VERY Weird Japanese Horror Game with Some Extremely Bizarre & Unexpected Ways to Die

 

Genre: Horror
Platform: PC
Price: Free
Get it here.


6. Sleep In Room 204 (204に眠る)


Sleep in room 204 japanese video game
Image credit: 204に眠る

In Sleep In Room 204, players take on the role of a young girl exploring an empty town in a dream-like state. Finding clues and keys will help the player progress and escape from the dream.

The game is played from an overhead perspective. Do expect some blood, flickering lights, and an overall creepy atmosphere. There are multiple endings to this game, so do try to unlock them all.

sleep in room 204 japanese video game
Image credit: 204に眠る

Note that there are no translations available, so you’ll need to know how to read Japanese to play this game.

Genre: Horror
Platform: PC
Price: Free
Get it here.


7. Obakeidoro (オバケイドロ!)


obakeidoro japanese video game
Image credit: Nintendo

Obakeidoro is a fun multiplayer action game that you can play with up to 3 other friends.

Obakeidoro Japanese video game
Image credit: Nintendo

It’s a classic cat-and-mouse game where three Humans try to escape one Monster. Humans have to run away or use their lanterns to ward off the Monster, while the Monster can use their powers to capture the Humans. When Humans are captured, the other remaining Humans have to try to free them. Each match goes on for 3 minutes.

obakeidoro
Image credit: Nintendo

Obakeidoro won the BitSummit 7 Spirits Popular Selection Award in 2019.

OBAKEIDORO! - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
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OBAKEIDORO! - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

 

Genre: Party, Communication
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: USD$19.99
Get it here.


8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn video game
Image credit: Steam

Final Fantasy is one of the best-established JRPG series, and this addition does not disappoint. Final Fantasy XIV is an award-winning Japanese massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You can expect all the classic bells and whistles, such as levelling up, partying up for quests, class and race systems, and a player-driven market.

final fantasy xiv japanese video game
Image credit: Steam

Interestingly, Final Fantasy XIV didn’t do very well when it was first released. Square Enix, the game developer, then relaunched the game as A Realm Reborn. Today, it’s considered one of the most successful MMORPGs.

Final Fantasy XIV
Image credit: Steam

Final Fantasy XIV is subscription-based and you’ll have to pay USD$12.99 a month to play the game, but there’s a 30-day free trial and lets the player level up to level 50.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Image credit: Steam

Genre: Adventure, MMO
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Mac, Xbox One
Price: USD$12.99/month
Get it here.


9. Monster Hunter: World


monster hutner: world
Image credit: Steam

The latest instalment in the long-running Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter: World is touted to be the best one yet with great visuals, gameplay, and a system that takes full advantage of the higher processing power of modern consoles. It’s Capcom’s best-selling game in history.

Monster hunter Japanese video game
Image credit: Steam

Monster Hunter is a third-person RPG where players battle against monsters to gain better equipment. Players have no attributes to themselves, but their combat abilities are defined by the equipment they carry. There are 14 types of weapons that players can choose from, such as a long sword, hammer, and bow. Armour and other pieces of equipment must match their weapons to improve their abilities.

monster hunter: world video game
Image credit: Steam

The game can be played as a single-player game, or with up to 3 other players online to go on quests together.

monster hunter: world
Image credit: Steam

Monster Hunter: World was nominated for a number of awards, such as Game of the Year, by multiple international gaming festivals.

Genre: Action
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Price: USD$30 (PC, PS4, Xbox)
Get the PC version here, Xbox version here, and PS4 version here.


10. Kingdom Hearts III


kingdom hearts 3
Image credit: PlayStation

Kingdom Hearts is also one of the best-selling RPGs from Japan. Kingdom Hearts III is the 12th and latest instalment of the Kingdom Hearts series.

Kingdom Hearts III features the good old hack-and-slash combat that the series is known for, as well as the crossovers with Disney and Pixar characters and settings that’ll make the child in us jump for joy.

kingdom hearts III japanese video game
Image credit: PlayStation

Once again, players take on the role of Sora, the Keyblade-wielding protagonist. Sora goes on a quest, accompanied by Goofy and Donald Duck, for the long-awaited final showdown with Master Xehanort.

kingdom hearts video game
Image credit: PlayStation

Look out for worlds inspired by iconic Disney movies, like San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6, the Toy Box from Toy Story, and Arendelle from Frozen.

kingdom hearts japanese video game
Image credit: PlayStation

A love letter to fans of the series, Kingdom Hearts III brings in some of the best elements from previous instalments, such as lighthearted storytelling, crossover cutscenes, and engaging combat gameplay – perfect ingredients for having a good time.

Kingdom Hearts III - Official Extended Trailer | E3 2018
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Kingdom Hearts III - Official Extended Trailer | E3 2018

 

Genre: Action
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Price: USD$59.99
Get it here (PS4), and here.


Japanese video games to keep you entertained


We hope that these Japanese video games will help to take your mind off things for a while. Some of them have storylines that should be made into a TV series – Persona was actually made into an anime series – while the more lighthearted ones are an easy introduction for casual gamers. Have fun on your gaming campaign!

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