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Why Poppy Playtime’s Toys Make It Scarier Than Other Horror Games

The toys of Poppy Playtime manage to instill fear and terror into toys that were once considered to be personal nostalgic safety blankets.

In a modern time of horror gaming, Poppy Playtime manages to stand out among other popular titles such as Dying Light 2 or Ghostwire: Tokyo. The game’s main antagonists come in the form of toys and dolls with malicious intent against the player. That singular difference is what makes it more terrifying than many other horror games, and this is due to taking away the comfort of security people typically associate with childhood toys. The dolls that were once cherished are now the enemies that want to hunt down and kill the player.

Other popular horror series will typically define an enemy as such due to its monstrous capabilities or appearance. In Resident Evil, for example, the monsters are zombies that the player fights through. Poppy Playtime does not immediately define the entities attacking players as monstrous or something that would automatically be defined as evil. The game is set in a toy factory where the player is shown that the toys in Poppy Playtime were made for kids to love and keep by their sides. The toys are initially painted in a good light that makes it hard to automatically associate them with monsters. This makes the reveal of Huggy Wuggy chasing the player through the vents of the factory that much more shocking.

Related: Why Police Are Warning Parents About Poppy Playtime

The appearance of Huggy Wuggy is initially innocent. A large blue fluffy entity with spindly limbs and comically red lips does not scream “scary” at first sight. Only when its mouth is open to reveal the rows of sharp teeth looking to devour the player does the atmosphere change. Compare Poppy Playtime’s toys to Child’s Play’s Chucky, for instance, and the natural response to both aren’t entirely dissimilar. Both are dolls that come off as harmless initially but are actually murderous entities hiding in plain sight. This is what catches players off-guard, as Poppy Playtime uses classic toy designs to inspire the innocent look of otherwise monstrous beings.

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In horror game worlds where zombies, aliens, ghosts, and monsters exist, the mundane does not scream “imminent danger” at first sight. Poppy Playtime is terrifying because it capitalizes on the disregard for the mundane. The purpose of a factory that once made toys for young girls and boys around the world is to make a friend. Those toys, by society’s standards, are dubbed as safe and secure because of what is told about them. What the game delivers instead is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the result of horrifying experiments in Poppy Playtime to create living constructs.

The player’s suspension of disbelief is tested because of this delivery, and it’s what makes the game terrifying as a result. A simple old doll that could very easily exist in the real world earns its terror from how viewers associate with it. The monsters of Poppy Playtime are not fantastical creatures, nor are they myths that simply cannot exist. The monsters are science experiments gone wrong – these are toys that resemble ones many players had growing up. This is what makes the game stand out from others in the horror genre, as it targets the dolls that were once trusted and held close to the heart.

Next: Every Monster Toy Confirmed For Poppy Playtime Ch. 2

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