CultureHead Magazine

Image via Steam
Image via Steam

Dying in video games usually isn’t that big of a deal – you either respawn or begin a new game. And killing enemies and fighting bosses while on a quest doesn’t generally come with consequences. But death is an integral, if not an unavoidable part of life, and these short indie games listed below are deeply contemplative, urging us to rethink our mortality and our attitudes towards death. 

5 Short Indie Games About Death CultureHead Magazine
Image via Steam

1. That Dragon, Cancer

That Dragon, Cancer is an autobiographical game about raising Joel, a child who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The point-and-click game invites the player to relive the emotional high and lows in the lives of Joel and his family, providing a deeply immersive and poignant experience.

5 Short Indie Games About Death CultureHead Magazine
Image via Steam

2. Grimm’s Hollow

A free turn-based role-playing game, Grimm’s Hollow is a sweet Halloween-themed game, where you play a Reaper called Lavender in search of her brother’s spirit. Exploring dark caverns, fighting other ghosts, and replenishing your Spirit Energy to improve your stats – the game offers a typical RPG experience, along with a lesson in letting go.

5 Short Indie Games About Death CultureHead Magazine
Image via Steam

3. What Remains of Edith Finch

An award-winning adventure/exploration game, What Remains of Edith Finch tells the tragic story of a family afflicted with a mysterious curse. Edith, the last surviving member, returns to her ancestral home and explores the rooms of her dead relatives, uncovering their personalities, memories, and the story of their deaths. A variety of gameplay experiences and art styles are incorporated in each mini-sequence, making it as visually delightful as it is story-wise.

5 Short Indie Games About Death CultureHead Magazine
Image via Steam

4. Fran Bow

Fran Bow is a dark fantasy point-and-click puzzle game, about a ten-year-old girl called Fran who is deeply troubled. After her parents are found dead, Fran escapes from an asylum with her cat, Mr. Midnight, and goes on a series of fantastical adventures. Very surreal, imaginative, and creepy, the game deftly balances psychological horror with an engrossing story, stimulating puzzles, and a thrilling climax.

5 Short Indie Games About Death CultureHead Magazine
Image via Steam

5. A Mortician’s Tale

Described as a “death-positive” game, A Mortician’s Tale invites the player to take charge of a funerary home, preparing corpses for cremation or burial and attending the service with the deceased’s close family and friends, afterward. While the dead and their belongings tell a story, there are also unclaimed corpses who no one grieves for.  It seems a rather gruesome task at first but for a mortician, it is just another day at work. With a soft and minimalist color palette, the game talks about death as another commonplace occurrence, while giving an educational insight into the funeral industry.

Indie games abound in unique storytelling strategies and gameplay mechanics, often tackling uncomfortable and difficult themes.  These games are pretty short and can be finished in a single sitting, but will remain in your mind long afterward, reminding you that death provides another reason to celebrate our evanescent lives and cherish our best memories.

More From CultureHead

Why We Recommend You Play Elden Ring

From Software has spent years developing what many gamers would call some of the most challenging games of all time. Dark Souls, Sekiro,

Click Here to read more

5 Best Studio Ghibli Movies

Studio Ghibli films have received critical acclaim not just in Japan but all over the world. Guided by Hayao Miyazaki’s unique artistic vision

Click Here to read more

The Coolest Indie Games Coming out in 2022

2021 was a good year for the indie gaming industry, and 2022 promises to be even better, with several interesting titles lined up

Click Here to read more

Unpacking: A Relaxing Puzzle Adventure About Moving Homes

The gameplay of Unpacking is relatively simple. At each level, you find yourself in a new location where you unpack a collection of

Click Here to read more

Teacup Review: A Wholesome Tea Party Experience

Meet Teacup, a shy young frog who loves to drink tea and read books. She’s planning on throwing a tea party for all

Click Here to read more

Marvel Mini-Series of 2021, Ranked

While Avengers: Endgame bade goodbye to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America, it ushered in a new era for

Click Here to read more

Superheroes of Color and Why We Need Ms. Marvel

Superheroes are supposed to protect innocent citizens, capture dangerous criminals, and in a nutshell, save the world. Unlike villains, they use their magical

Click Here to read more

New Anime Releases in 2022 We’re Looking Forward To

2022 promises to be a great year for anime fans, with the release of several much-awaited series, such as Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and the

Click Here to read more

What We Know About Marvel’s Upcoming Mini-Series Moon Knight

With a tentative release date of March 30, Moon Knight is slated to be the newest Marvel release in 2022, following the success

Click Here to read more

Slay The Spire: A Review

Slay the Spire is a unique video game that combines the best of rogue-like mechanics with deck-building card games. In Slay the Spire,

Click Here to read more