10. Yuppie Psycho
The first day on the job can be a challenge but for Brian Pasternack it’s a nightmare. Employed by the powerful Sintracorp he is presented with a monumental task – slay the witch that has tormenting the building and its staff.
It turns out Sintracorp’s success isn’t down to just business smarts, they’ve been dabbling in the occult and its effects can be felt throughout their corporate tower.
This surreal horror has you unravelling the mysteries of Sintracorp’s past exploring the damned building and battling the horrors that now haunt it. That’s not all though, there’s also the abstract horrors of everyday office life and politics. Not sure what’s worse, attending an awkward office party or slaying an accent and powerful witch.
9. Cry of Fear
Cry of Fear looks like your standard noughties first-person shooter, and that’s probably down to its origins as a Half-Life mod. In reality, this horror shooter takes a multitude of standard horror genre tropes and extends them to gruelling ends.
As you fight your way through a cold and mysterious Swedish city, as well as the gruesome creatures that lay within its walls, your limited 6 item inventory will become all the more precious and your relatively small stamina gauge will become all the more stressful.
It’s an experience that brings the helplessness of survival horror’s core mechanics to the forefront and does some truly terrifying things with the rule set that emerges.
8. Little Nightmares
Don your yellow raincoat and slip past the creatures that await you in the Maw, you’re in Little Nightmares now and the world is a very different place. A horror game that combines stealth and puzzles with an atmosphere of that strange childlike mixture of curiosity and terror, Tarsier Studios managed to build an entire world simultaneously creepy and delightful.
As Six you are exploring a mysterious realm filled to the brim with bustling monsters and horrific situations. Death and gore are around every corner in a unique art style that warps your surroundings into twisted terrors of childhood fear.
7. Stories Untold
This creepy experimental text adventure explores four unique short stories that blend across genres. Combining text-based adventure with classic point-and-click gameplay, Stories Untold mysterious anthology takes you on a tense, psychological journey.
Shrouded in a deep ’80s retro nostalgia this innovative title sees you processing radio transmissions, conducting experiments on bizarre artefacts and uncover hidden secrets.
Praised for its experimental nature and genre-fusing mechanics, Stories Untold grips you with its terrifying horror. With a cool synth-wave soundtrack inspired by its 80s aesthetic and a strong narrative depth there’s a lot to discover.
6. Lone Survivor
The only thing more terrifying than being immediately infected by an apocalyptic zombie virus is being one of the only remaining people alive when everyone else has succumbed. That’s the situation which Lone Survivor puts you in, as its name suggests, and the result is a memorable indie horror experience.
While your apartment is a safe place to hole up, you can’t stay in there permanently – a survivor’s gotta eat. You take it one day at a time, venturing first into the rest of your apartment complex and then into the surrounding city. Clues from diaries, radio broadcasts and maps will point you in the direction of weapons and supplies, or even potentially other survivors.
A mysterious source named ‘The Director’ is a rare source of contact, helping you explore the world and even gifting supplies. It’s hard to know who to believe or trust, though – even your character themselves, as they experience surreal events throughout the course of the story and show signs of mental breakdown.
5. The Forest
The Forest is a survival horror game with the emphasis on the ‘survival’ part – like many open-world survival games of its type, you gather resources, construct shelter and build yourself tools and weaponry. But there’s a clear undercurrent of horror too, which reveals itself as you explore more of the strange land that you find yourself on after a plane crash.
Straight away, you encounter a native tribe of cannibals that kidnap your son. The cannibals have suffered mutations, and are understandably wary of your presence on their peninsula. While the titular forest is where you’ll spend a lot of time, particularly at the beginning, a network of caves can be explored that holds twisted secrets and dangers in equal measures.
While the survival genre is infamous for unpolished presentation and abandoned Early Access builds, The Forest stands head and shoulders above many of its peers. In his review for TIGW, Juan praised its near-AAA-standard visuals, challenging gameplay and a limitless range of things to do.
The idea of entering a haunted funeral parlour is not exactly enticing especially so when there’s rumours of missing people and the laughter of little girls. Well, that’s just what you do in Pacify, a first-person multiplayer horror from
There’s tell that this place offers visitors the chance to speak to their dead loved ones and maybe more than a few unwanted visitors. Entering alone or as part of a team of paranormal investigators, it’s your job to find out.
Your goal is to get to the bottom of the mysteries of this 100-year-old haunted house and pacify its hostile inhabitants including one very creepy little girl. Playing alone or with 3 other friends online you’ll have to stalk around this dark and terrifying environment finally putting an end to the rumours by finding the truth.
Detention is set during the period of White Terror that gripped Taiwan during this time period, and deals with a country stranded in martial law. A deeply psychological game, players will encounter a school’s dark history and the personal tragedy of one particular student.
As students Wei Chung Ting and Fang Ray Shin explore the depths of their school’s mysterious past, they also uncover a story of political oppression and dissent under a Chinese government. This is a story told through the threads of the fabric of everyday life; through newspaper clippings, handwritten notes and scraps of documents.
After setting the horror genre alight with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Frictional Games decided to try something different with SOMA. Set almost a century in the future, it takes place in an underwater research centre. After a comet struck the earth, however, you’re now one of the last remaining members of the human race.
SOMA’s fascinating sci-fi story is front and centre, a real highlight of the game. But you’re also regularly under threat from monsters, which you’ll have to hide from and try to sneak past – and this is where its similarities to Amnesia become apparent. You’ll also have to solve your fair share of puzzles to survive and work out what’s going on in this extinction dystopia.
If the narrative and setting have piqued your interest, you have the option of experiencing SOMA with all of the scares but none of the deaths with its Safe Mode that was later added to the game.
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Frictional Games are no strangers to survival horror. Following their success with the Penumbra series, this specialist horror studio decided it was time to introduce us to the disturbing world of Amnesia. It’s got all the puzzles, breathless hiding, and undefeatable horrors you’d expect from a survival horror extravaganza. But there’s a more iconic mechanic that has stuck with Amnesia: The Dark Descent’s legacy since its release.
As well as your own life, you must also manage your sanity. Spend too long in the dark and the world around you will distort into blood-curdling hallucinations, rendering your attempts to evade the lurking creatures around you useless. This, and the lack of defence afforded to you throughout the game, put The Dark Descent on the horror map, still offering an innovative take on Halloween’s favourite genre today.
Enough adrenaline? If not, be sure to check out our favourite free horror games for scares on a budget. If you’re in need of a horror detox, why not try our best strategy game picks to take your mind off the terrors of this collection! Or, for an all-round good time head over to our best indie games of 2019 (so far)!