I have been playing Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright and Danganronpa 2 lately, and these puzzle/visual novel style games do a lot to try and make you cry when tragedy hits. Unfortunately, they kind of miss the mark most of the time, and it’s usually because you just aren’t attached to the victims. So here are five games that actually did make me cry, and that I think will make you cry as well. Caution, many spoilers ahead as I will be explaining every single tear-jerking scene.
You fight through the whole game, defeat horrible demons, make friends and girlfriends, and finally forge an identity for yourself at your new school, and what happens? You suffer a fate worse than death. You are fated, doomed, to act as a barrier between the primordial beings that want to destroy the world, and the depression of humanity, but, you are given the chance to finish your school year, just to spend one more day with the people you care about most.
Most people in America haven’t played Mother 3, but you should! It’s an astoundingly heartbreaking story about loss and how you recover from it. You lose your whole family, you have to fight against your brother, and you eventually decide whether or not the world is worthy enough to continue its existence. Are you the world’s savior or destroyer? Does it even matter if you, yourself, gain nothing from it?
The Walking Dead
I honestly can’t sing this franchise’s praises enough. The whole purpose of this game series is to make you feel loss… honest loss. It works so hard to get you to connect with Clementine and Lee, and the decisions you make are heartbreaking. In this game you are forced to lose the people you love multiple times over, and at the end you feel it, like a punch to your gut. This series not only left me crying, it left me terrified for the future of my own life. Finish Season 2 with a Kenny ending #1 and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
To the Moon
This game was absolutely designed to make you cry. It’s incredibly cinematic using only 2D 16 bit sprites. It was made in RPG makers. It’s so low fi, but it makes you get so attached to the characters, you can’t help but feel for them. The whole game takes place in the last few moments of a characters life, and so there’s always the thought in the back of your mind that, at the end of all of this, this person you are trying to help is going to die and there is nothing you can do about it.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Finally, I figured it was only appropriate to end this list with a Layton game that truly did move me to tears. For the entire Layton series, the off commentary on Layton never removing his hat was really nothing more than a joke, but in this game you realize that his hat was given to him by his lost love, who mysteriously died in an experiment. She told him to always keep it on, because that’s what a true gentleman does. At the end of the Unwound Future, you learn that she didn’t die, but rather that she was catapulted through time to the future, but her existence there is unstable and in a few short moments she will return to the past and she will die. Layton is forced to lose the love of his life all over again, and in perhaps one of the most moving scenes in all of the Layton franchise, he turns away from Luke, cries, and takes off his hat, no longer the perfect gentleman his has always tried to be for her sake, now just a person, a sad and vulnerable person. Who would have thought a game about puzzles could be so devastating?
Former Contributing Writer