What makes a UI spooky?

I’m creating a murder game, and I’ve been through 3 different iterations so far, but the noticable flaw is that, the UI just doesn’t feel spooky.

Based on previous games similar to my idea, the UI is nice and polished; however it just feels old-fashioned compared to the next generation of UI design. Because of this, I’ve tried to adopt Material Design 3 guidance, colours, and components. But it feels too cozy for the player, especially in a murder game. I’ve switched to a dark, red palette with a serif font along with special writing to try and fix this, however its just hard to make a design language designed to be comfortable and cozy into something spooky and scary.

So, what in the UI makes the player feel spooked? Or, is there something else I should try to give the UI a fresh, modern look?


The best you can do is adjust the UI Style to the game theme. Let’s say you have a game in which you have to collect notes to win, well in that case it might be a good idea to make the UI look like a book, a clipboard or a couple of notes, instead of adding some minimalist UIs, this helps a lot to keep the game on a style of graphics and can help a lot to contribute to the UI to be spooky.
Another of the most important factors is the degree of realism, it will not be the same to design a book or a clipboard with cartoony than realistic textures. So one of the objectives is also to make most of the UI as realistic as possible, and maybe using some other light fonths that are not that heavy Fondamento but not that light as source sans, in this way you keep a formalism that can contribute a lot to make the UI spooky.

So basically some of the most important factors to make a scarier UI are

  1. Realism
  2. Relationship between the theme of the game and the UIs
  3. Formalism

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