Anglerfish is a horror game involving monsters, shotguns, and ice cream. It’s also unlike anything I’ve ever played. It won’t be for everyone, but this is an ambitiously wicked title that’s weird enough to be interesting and fun enough to be engaging.

The premise is simple; you play the role of a man attending his friend’s bachelor party. The group has decided to don Japanese schoolgirl outfits, but that’s the least weird part of this outing. The party takes place at a tavern called Anglerfish. The name is derived from those deep-sea fish boasting a well-lit frontal protrusion to lure prey. Anglerfish—the tavern—similarly lures its prey; in this case, unsuspecting humans to feed to hungry vampires.

Anglerfish - Nintendo Switch - screen 4

Have you ever seen the film From Dusk Till Dawn? If so, you’ll recognise the premise of humans becoming trapped in a bar-like venue overrun by the undead. In Anglerfish, your goal is to escape the tavern, taking out any monsters along the way.

To do this, you’ll need a weapon. A friendly, faceless bartender offers you a shotgun at the start of each run. No, this isn’t a procedurally generated roguelike, but death occurs just as frequently. In fact, one of the game’s unique features is that it only saves upon death. In other words, you’re basically meant to die, repeatedly. Each time you die, it’s back to the outside of the Anglerfish. Here, a dog asks you inane questions to which you must burst a yes or no-shaped bubble to answer them. Yeah, it’s quirky like that.

Anglerfish - Nintendo Switch - screen 1

Anyway, back into the tavern you go for another attempt at escape. The same bartender offers you an optional drink alongside the shotgun (naturally). These drinks don’t serve any real purpose other than to mess with your run. I won’t spoil what they do, but they certainly make things interesting.

In fact, the developers clearly like to surprise the player. And I love it. Whether it’s a jump scare from a skeletal vampire, a fake ending, or a boss fight during which attacks increase the enemy’s health bar, Anglerfish kept me guessing the entire time.

Anglerfish - Nintendo Switch - screen 2

It’s also very creepy. This is the sort of game I’ll recommend come Halloween. It’s scary. There’s blood. And, without giving spoilers, there’s a terrifying amount of human consumption occurring inside the Anglerfish. Another creepy feature is a maze-like room with barely any light but plenty of fearsome enemies to avoid. There’s a random mermaid in one place. There’s even a grotesque, slithering monster in a cage that, when you double back, has escaped. It’s like all your worst nightmares rolled into one.

It goes without saying that there are many horror elements to beware of; this isn’t one for the kiddies. However, if you like sitting on the edge of your couch and uttering words of encouragement to your on-screen character, then this is a title you’ll enjoy immensely.

Anglerfish - Nintendo Switch - screen 3

There are other enjoyable factors that make this a stand-out title. The gameplay alternates in style from side-scrolling to top-down. Each room brings new challenges, though despite the constant death rate, it’s not overly challenging. There are also multiple endings (and by multiple, I mean at least six) giving this one plenty of replay value. If you dare. 

Overall, Anglerfish is an interesting game that’s full of surprises. Its quirky sense of humor, strong horror elements, and high death rate keep you on your toes. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you like scary titles with a wicked sense of humor, Anglerfish is worth checking out.