Games Like Zero Escape: The Nonary Games
Zero Escape is a trilogy of mystery visual novels that combines logic puzzles and escape rooms with narrative twists. If you’ve survived the Nonary games and are thirsting for more mind-bending experiences, don’t worry I got you covered. Here are 10 games like Zero Escape:
1. Danganronpa Series
Usually the first game that comes to mind when someone mentions “games similar to Zero Escape” is the Danganronpa series.
If you adored the plot twists, interactive story and make-or-break decisions in Zero Escape, then you’ll love Danganronpa. Both games share a similar air of life-or-death tension, as well as characters that are far more than they seem. Whereas Zero Escape has escape room scenarios, Danganronpa has murder trials that require quick thinking and logical deduction.
2. Whispers of the Luminaries
Murder mystery meets idol entertainment.
In Whispers of the Luminaries, you play as a detective investigating the case of a missing idol, diving into the underbelly of the idol industry. Gameplay revolves around point & click investigations, Danganronpa-style deductions and character relationships (similar to Persona 5).
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3. Ever 17
Ever 17 is a bit older, but it’s an OG classic in the realm of escape-room thrillers. Stuck in an underwater theme park, the story serves up many of the same psychological and environmental pressures like in 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. The puzzles may be simpler, and the story has pacing issues, but the narrative depth is on par with Zero Escape. In fact, some of the same folks worked on both games. Do I need to say more?
Ah, Steins;Gate, the realm of mad scientists and perilous time loops. While not exactly an escape game, it offers that same vibe of dealing with imminent disaster while grappling with complex scientific concepts. The story branches based on your decisions, leading to different timelines and ultimately different outcomes—sound familiar?
If you love the quantum theories and butterfly-effect scenarios in Zero Escape, this is the visual novel for you.
5. The Sexy Brutale
Don’t be fooled by the name; this one’s more about time loops and less about, well, whatever you were thinking. The Sexy Brutale sets you loose in a murderous casino where you need to solve puzzles, manipulate time, and prevent a string of homicides. It’s Zero Escape with a dash of Groundhog Day and just a hint of James Bond class.
6. 428: Shibuya Scramble
Imagine Zero Escape, but in one of Tokyo’s busiest districts. Using real-life photos and a ticking clock, 428: Shibuya Scramble brings a sense of urgency and reality that’s unique in the world of visual novels. It’s like bungee-jumping between multiple parallel stories and it’s every bit as crazy as it sounds.
The parallel narratives mechanic is very much like in Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward.
7. Chaos;Head & Chaos;Child
For those who like their psychological horror with a dose of urban mythology, the Chaos series delivers. Just like Zero Escape, these games feature complex branching narratives, but with a much darker and grittier tone. The choices you make don’t just affect the story—they can actually alter the protagonist’s grip on reality. Yikes!
8. AI: The Somnium Files
Also from the creator of Zero Escape, Kotaro Uchikoshi, this one dives deep into dreams and memories to solve crimes, all with its own fair share of twists. This one’s less about physical escape rooms and more about navigating mental landscapes, but both games share a similar game mechanic involving branching paths and multiple endings.
9. G-Senjou no Maou
If you love mind games and cat-and-mouse chases, you’ll love G-Senjou no Maou. It’s like Death Note on steroids.
The game takes you on a psychological journey where you play a high school student doubling as a criminal mastermind. Just like Zero Escape, the game incorporates elements of suspense, thrill, and moral complexity. It’s full of plot twists and surprises that in my opinion even surpass that of Zero Escape.
Although beware – it has a notoriously slow start. If you can get pass that, you’ll for sure be hooked on this visual novel.
Okay, imagine if Zero Escape and the classic party game Werewolf had a baby. The result would be Raging Loop. It’s a game of deduction, decision-making, and psychological warfare. You’re in a village trapped in an endless loop, much like how Zero Escape has you in locked scenarios. Every night, someone gets killed, and you need to figure out who the werewolves among you are. It has the same nerve-wracking tension, where a single bad choice can lead to dire consequences. Plus, it also comes with multiple endings depending on your choices.