A good horror game is a cerebral experiment that tests the limits of your psyche. It terrifies you but also intrigues your mind and makes you want to come back for more. The really good ones though, don’t rely on jump scares or monsters to get into your mind.
No, instead they rely on fear of the unknown. Because often nothing is more horrifying than the hallucinations and imagination of your own mind. Atmosphere and lighting combined with a good soundtrack go a long way.
These elements establish a playground for your mind to come up with all sorts of horrible creations. And in that vein, today I shall review the top 40 horror games of all time (PC, PS, Android, Switch). Whether you are playing these on Halloween or just looking for a good scare, put on your headphones, and let’s get started.
Top 10 Horror Games Of All Time For PC
In Alien Isolation, Ellen Ripley’s daughter is on a search mission to find her missing mother. The story of this game takes place 15 years after the original Alien movie. Amanda Ripley eventually finds her way to a space station holding the flight recorder for the Nostromo.
However, things go downhill from here as Amanda quickly discovers that the space station has been compromised. There is an Alien roaming around inside it, and many of the human-built service androids appear to have lost their minds. This is a game in which you literally can’t kill the Alien, so your only option is to sneak around while minimizing the amount of noise you make.
This one is a uniquely horrifying experience that you can enjoy solo, or with a part of up to 4 people in co-op mode. You play a paranormal activity investigator, armed with a radio and various gadgets to detect supernatural presence. The job is driving to various locations in your trusty van and getting clues on the type of ghost infecting each place.
There are different character models and customization options for each playable character, with 8 in total. Each one has a sanity meter that drops depending on paranormal events taking place around you. Eventually, it gets low enough and the ghost (of which there are 20 types) will attempt to kill you by locking all the exits.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 Stealth Games Of All Time (PS, Xbox, PC, Switch)
Metro 2033 Redux
Based on the award-winning novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 follows the story of Artyom. He is a survivor of the global nuclear conflict that wiped out most human life, forcing everyone to live in the “Metro”. These are basically metro train stations combined with a network of underground tunnels and nuclear bunkers.
People have built entire cities and livelihoods in these metro stations, with most never venturing outside the station they were born in. And for a good reason- everything from the radioactive wasteland called the “surface” to the dark tunnels of the metro is infested with horrifying mutated creatures. Metro 2033 combines horror elements with stealth and excellent FPS gameplay to create an experience that feels like Half-Life at times.
The original Dead Space is easily the scariest of the entire trilogy. The 2nd and 3rd entries leaned more into the whole space zombie action thing rather than sticking with pure sci-fi horror. In Dead Space, you play Isaac- an engineer who’s part of a rescue operation to recover a “Planetcracker” ship.
Planetcrackers are giant ships designed by humanity to harvest resources from alien planets since Earth is nearing the end of its reserves. Turns out, the ship you’re trying to make contact with was carrying a copy of an alien artifact called the “Red Marker”. The Marker releases a virus that infects humans and turns them into horrifying mutated creatures called Necromorphs (it’s like space Resident Evil).
Upon release, Doom 3 was heavily criticized by both players and the gaming press for veering away from the series’ roots. Instead of playing as the legendary Doom Guy, you are now a random UAC space marine. And instead of rampaging through endless waves of demons armed with a giant arsenal of weapons in wide-open spaces, you timidly sneak from one narrow hallway to another.
Clearly, everything from the character to the gunplay and level design had been revamped. The metal tracks from past games were now replaced with more sinister, slower-paced tracks that you expect to hear in a horror game. Doom 3 is atmospheric with an exceptional lighting engine that constantly keeps you in the dark, forcing you to conserve ammo and watch twice before stepping.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 Roguelike Games Of All Time (Android, Switch, PC, PS)
System Shock is a curious game that was a mix of multiple genres back when it was released. Not only was the original System Shock ahead of its time, but it also inspired several games that attempted to replicate its atmosphere and unique approach to storytelling. In basic terms, System Shock combines horror with a first-person immersive sim.
It takes the large, open-ended level design from Ultima Underworld and mixes it with sci-fi horror elements. The antagonist of this game is an AI called SHODAN, who is in charge of a giant space station that you’re trapped within. Oh, and there are no NPCs or cinematic cutscenes for the most part.
The story is carefully drip-fed to you via audio logs and emails. You gradually unravel what happened in the space station and why it’s devoid of any life. Well… devoid of humans at least, because there are plenty of mutated space zombies trying to kill you.
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was a truly horrifying game that changed up everything compared to previous RE titles. It was presented from a first-person perspective, with less focus on action. The emphasis was instead placed on narrative and survival.
And now, we still get a similar-looking game in Village but it plays very differently. In fact, this game is much closer to RE 4 than it is to RE 7. RE Village marks a return to action and wacky antagonists, with much-improved gunplay (and very generous supplies of ammo).
Inside is a spiritual successor to 2010’s Limbo. It is made by the same company (Playdead) and uses a similar 2.5D graphics design with creepy atmospheres and puzzle-platformer gameplay. While Limbo used a monochromatic black and white color palette, Inside features some color (very washed out greyscale colors).
The atmosphere of this game is eerie and you aren’t presented with lengthy cutscenes or dialogue to explain the plot. Instead, you are told a story entirely via gameplay. Observing your environment and the horrific acts happening all around you is enough to get an idea of what is happening in the world of Inside.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 Sandbox Games Of All Time (PC, PS, Android, Xbox)
Outlast is one of the finest stealth survival games you’ll ever play… and it’s absolutely insane. And I mean insane quite literally because your character is trapped inside a poorly maintained mental asylum full of homicidal inmates. How did you get in there?
Well, you’re an investigative journalist following a tip from one of your informers regarding a dilapidated psych ward. This mental hospital is located in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado. While your character can climb, run, vault, crouch, etc., you can’t directly attack enemies (there is no player health bar either).
Man of Medan
In the game’s prologue set just after WW2, you witness an operation being conducted in Manchuria by a US navy battleship. Under mysterious circumstances, all of them begin dying one by one after evil spirits take over their ship. When the game actually starts in the present, you are witnessing a pair of brothers setting out for a diving expedition in the South Pacific Ocean.
They are in a team of 5, including the diving boat’s captain. On the way, they get run over by pirates who force them to go towards the SS Ourang Medan (ghost ship). During this entire sequence, you can make certain choices for characters that will decide who lives and dies.
In Man of Medan, your entire team of 5 is trapped on the ghostship. You can interact with each other, making choices to progress the narrative. These choices affect character personality and decide which ending you get.
Top 10 Horror Games Of All Time For PS (PlayStation)
Silent Hill 4
Henry Townshend just moved into Ashfield, a city that’s about half a day’s drive away from Silent Hill. Silent Hill of course being a rural town that served as the backdrop for the previous 3 games. After moving into a rented apartment, you find out that something is wrong with the place.
A couple of weeks later, you’re trapped inside the apartment. The door is chained up from the inside, and the phone stops working. You can still see people walking right outside your apartment through an eyehole in the door.
But nobody seems to check in on you despite the fact that you haven’t come outside for a week. It seems like you’re trapped inside a place that was home to a former serial killer. And even though he is dead, his spirit seems to permeate every wall of your new apartment.
You eventually find a portal to a hellish dimension in your apartment. This leads you down a rabbit hole filled with all kinds of horrifying apparitions.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Previous Resident Evil games put you in the shoes of wisecracking super-agent Leon Kennedy or stoic macho man Chris Redfield. But Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is very different; it doesn’t try to portray the protagonist as some seasoned zombie-murdering veteran. You are a regular family man, armed with nothing but a phone and a video message from your wife who went missing in a derelict mansion.
You approach this seemingly abandoned property in search of her and right from the start, there seems to be something fishy about the place. You find body parts of dead investigators, flies swarming around rotten food, and other ominous forebodings. Eventually, you meet your wife… but she has changed into some weird monstrosity that’s now trying to kill you.
Hey, do you remember that horror game Hideo Kojima was working on which failed to materialize and eventually got canceled? Well, the team behind Visage took great inspiration from that project (called P.T.) and set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund their indie project. This is a psychological horror that received critical acclaim from industry professionals and the gaming press.
Visage’s approach to psychological horror relies on the environment informing your subconscious mind instead of bombarding you with jump scares and screams. You are trapped inside a house with an evil past.
People have been tortured and murdered here by their own family members, suicides have been committed, and some were even sacrificed to appease evil spirits. As you walk around the house, its shape morphs in real-time with ghosts of previous residents watching your every move.
Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
The original Resident Evil 2 was a masterclass in survival horror. It forced you to contend with limited healing items and ammo in the middle of a zombie outbreak. And it had some really memorable locations like the police HQ, sewers, NEST, etc.
While the atmosphere and soundtrack of that game haven’t aged a bit, its gameplay and visuals are extremely dated. Worry not, because Capcom gifted us with this exceptional remake that remains faithful to the original game in both style and spirit. The narrative is pretty much unchanged, except Mr. X is now present in both scenarios A & B.
Returnal is part-roguelike with its endless time loop mechanic and changing worlds. You play Selene, a space explorer working for ASTRA corporation who lands on an alien planet called Atropos to investigate a mysterious signal. Upon arriving at this alien planet, Selene is forced to crash land which damages her ship’s communications cutting off all contact with the ASTRA base.
She is forced to explore the planet on foot, trying to reach the source of this mysterious signal dubbed the “White Shadow”. However, something isn’t right- the planet has traces of an ancient alien civilization. And Selene can see dead corpses of herself scattered all over the place.
Every time she dies, a time loop puts her right back at the start where she crashlands on Atropos. And periodically she has visions of seemingly disconnected people/ creatures from an unknown time period. Upon reaching the signal source, she discovers that the place is a copy of her childhood home.
It’s less of a game and more of an interactive crime drama movie with a cast of quirky characters and extended dialogue sequences. The plot is a typical slasher fiction story that seems like a fan-fic of a Friday The 13th movie. The game starts with a prologue section in which we are shown a lodge on Blackwood mountain.
The resident and owner of this lodge Hannah Washington is pranked by a mysterious person. Scared, she escapes into the woods and is followed by her twin sister. Eventually, both of them are cornered by a flamethrower-wielding murderous maniac who forces them off the edge of a cliff.
Their bodies are never found by the cops, until a year later when Hannah’s brother decides to throw a party at this very same lodge. He invites a bunch of friends over to the lodge, and that’s when people start disappearing one by one. The game is extremely narrative-focused, and you’ll make plenty of choices along the way that decides who lives and dies.
Dead By Daylight
An asymmetric horror game in which you have a group of prey trying to escape a powerful hunter. This game can be played as a 1 v 4 online multiplayer in which one person takes upon the role of a scary killer. Four people trapped inside an arena-like area need to escape by powering up generators that operate the exit gates.
Dead By Daylight contains licensed characters from various movies, games, and TV shows. There are some killers whose names you might be familiar with are. Like the executioner from Silent Hill, The Nemesis from Resident Evil, and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Survivors can’t directly fight with the killer. But they can blind or stun the killer to create distance using certain items and objects in the environment. The killer moves slightly faster than a survivor’s sprinting speed, but can’t jump (so killers have to go around obstacles).
The Evil Within 2
A game about an alcoholic father descending into an alternate dimension to rescue his daughter who was presumed to have died in a house fire. The Evil Within 2 combines different story elements into a plot with excellent pacing to create a sense of tension and foreboding. You have sci-fi elements mixed with the supernatural to create a horror game that feels so disconnected from reality yet eerily familiar.
In terms of gameplay, The Evil Within 2 feels like an open-world action RPG. You can gun down creatures, sneak past dangerous bosses, and craft equipment using resources gathered from the surroundings.
A game about confronting your own fears rather than escaping from some scary-looking monster. Amnesia: Rebirth puts you in the shoes of Tasi Trianon, a woman in search of her crew. They all went missing while exploring some ancient cave networks filled with tombs.
Moving around is very hard inside these caves since everything is pitch black unless you fire up your lamp which has limited fuel reserves. You also get the occasional torch or candle along the way, but foraging for matchsticks is a must if you want to use these. Tasi has a fear meter that rises the more you wander inside these dark tunnels.
Too much fear will cause her to hallucinate and hear whispers in the dark. You will occasionally come up against monsters, who may or may not be figments of your imagination. Hiding from them is essential to bring your fear levels down.
If you want a horror game with narrative front and center, few beat SOMA. It features a protagonist who acts as a blank slate for the player to project themselves onto. Your player character has no predefined psychological traits or past, you just find yourself in a weird underwater research facility occupied by sentient machinery.
SOMA tackles the very concept of what it means to be human, and each enemy you face represents an idea or theme rather than a physical threat. As the game progresses, you gradually being to discover more about your own past and how you ended up at this research facility.
Top 10 Horror Games Of All Time For Android
Five Nights at Freddy’s
This game is both funny and creepy at the same time, kind of like a homicidal clown. Five Nights at Freddy’s is a point-and-click game that makes it similar to old school adventure games from the 90s, except with a lot more scares. You are a security guard in a family pizza restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
At night, all the animatronic mascots come to life and try to hunt you down. Your goal is to make it through the midnight shift without getting jump-scared by one of the 4 animatronic mascots. You sit in your office, watching the camera feeds for anything abnormal, and manage power consumption to make sure you don’t run out of electricity.
The Walking Dead: Season One
A zombie survival horror based on The Walking Dead universe. Not the TV series, but the comics which are written by Robert Kirkman. Unlike the comic which focuses on Rick Grimes, this game features unique characters.
One of them is a professor and convicted criminal called Lee Everett who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. He rescues a young girl named Clementine and bonds with her, promising to help her get to her parents. This game is more of a visual novel than anything else so you’ll often make dialogue choices that affect the storyline.
Into the Dead 2
With its huge variety in weapons and level design, Into the Dead 2 stands far above your average mobile zombie shooter. It has a fully fleshed-out narrative that extends across 7 chapters and 60 missions. Each mission has unique crafted challenges, so no two stages will feel similar.
But is it horrifying? Well, kind of… about as scary as a zombie apocalypse game can be these days. However, the real selling point of this game is its narrative which has multiple endings and a story that changes based on your choices.
Because even though the actual zombies might not be scary, you care a lot about each character and don’t want them to die. And of course, you gain upgrades to all your weapons as you progress further.
Eyes- The Horror Game
This might seem like one of those cheaply made jump-scare horror games with one scary monster design that they milk for the entirety of the game. And in some ways, it does feel creatively uninspired. But trust me- you’ll get plenty of scares if that’s what you’re looking for.
In Eyes, you play a thief from a first-person perspective. You just need to sneak into a mansion during nighttime and make away with a few bags of loot. But there’s this creepy-looking killer ghost with giant teeth and crazy eyes that will hunt you down if you aren’t careful.
Dead Effect 2
Dead Effect was a standard sci-fi shooter with space zombies and futuristic weapons. In the story of the first game, you are part of the crew on a human space exploration ship. And you are abruptly awoken from cryostasis by the ship’s computer, only to discover that every other member of your crew has turned into mutated zombies.
You find the source behind the outbreak, which turns out to be a science experiment to create mindless combat drones. Dead Effect 2 continues the story even further and introduces a whole new range of weapons + levels for you to play with. You also have light RPG mechanics in the form of cyborg upgrades for your character.
Normally, when you think about a visit to Grandma’s house what comes to mind? Great food, sweaters, lots of love, and stories about when you were a kid. But this granny is a little… different.
She is possessed by demonic spirits and keeps you locked up, to do some evil stuff with you. And you have 5 days to escape before your life ends. The game lets you hide underneath beds and inside closets.
You also have to solve puzzles in order to reach different parts of the house. If you drop something like a vase, granny will come running right away and munch on your throat like a hungry wolf.
Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land
If you’re a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, you’re definitely going to like this one. Call of Cthulhu: Wasted Land is set in an alternate reality during World War 1. Some of the plot points are inspired by Herbert West-Reanimator (an H.P. Lovecraft novel).
In the game, you have turn-based tactical role-playing elements similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Wasted Land’s narrative is quite grim, it follows the story of a British special ops team tracking down German paramilitary forces. These Germans are using ancient magic powers to reanimate corpses in the war and raise their own army of the dead.
All right, it’s an IT rip-off made with an extremely small budget and no innovative gameplay features. But I would be lying to you if I said this game isn’t scary. If you’re the brave type, play it alone at night with earphones.
I mean, you can’t go wrong with killer clowns stalking people in amusement parks. In terms of gameplay, Death Park is very much like Granny. You solve puzzles and use stealth to stay out of sight, only this time it all takes place in an amusement park instead of a house.
Evil Nun: Scary Horror Game
If you want a good old-fashioned puzzle stealth game with a creepy-looking nun chasing you around, this is it. Evil Nun may feel generic and low-budget with its barebones UI and outdated graphics but for mobile devices, I feel it’s a pretty good horror game. You are a student trapped in an old school all alone, with a demonic creature chasing you all over the place.
Make any sound, and you will be ripped to shreds. The school has various locations to hide in, such as classrooms, parks, playgrounds, etc. You will even find some children who are locked up in a room, you can help them escape.
Fran Bow tells a story that is both tragic and deeply unsettling. It’s set in 1944, and we play Fran who’s a 10-year-old girl admitted into Oswald Asylum after witnessing the death of her parents. She is given drugs that cause her to hallucinate, resulting in creepy visions of an alternate dimension.
Everywhere Fran goes in Oswald Asylum, all she sees are dead people and visages of mental patients who were tortured to death. Eventually, she escapes from this asylum only to end up in a haunted forest and then a haunted house.
Top 10 Horror Games Of All Time For Switch
Resident Evil Revelations Collection
For some reason, the Resident Evil Revelations games were never that popular back when they were originally released. The first Revelations came out sometime after RE 4 and follows the story of Jill Valentine alongside Chris Redfield as they investigate a plan by bioterrorists. These guys have created a new strain of the T-virus, and they plan to release it in the Earth’s oceans.
RE Revelations 1 is considered by many to be the proper sequel to 4, instead of what we got with 5. Revelations 1 and 2 try to return to the series’ roots by emphasizing survival and strategy instead of shooting. This collection contains both RE Revelations 1 and RE Revelations 2.
One of the few horror games made by a Taiwanese company, based on local folklore and spooky tales. Detention is spelled “returning to school” in the local Chinese dialect where this game was developed. And it tells the story of two students trapped in a haunted school.
It is set in the 1960s during the White Terror period and is a side-scroller game. Both of the students try to escape from this haunted school, gradually unveiling mysteries surrounding its dark past. Along the way, they have to hide from dangerous monsters who will kill them on sight.
Little Nightmares II
Little Nightmares II is a prequel to the first game. You play as Mono, a boy with a paper bag on his head who is having dreams of walking down a hallway with a door at the end. The door has an eye, and no matter how many times Mono tries he can’t get to the door.
Eventually, he takes a trip into the forest and finds a little girl called Six being held captive by a masked hunter. The two kids kill the hunter and flee to a city of mist, filled with creepy television sets that act as portals to an alternate world.
This one isn’t so much a horror game as it is a psychological detective thriller. A future noir in video game format, and it takes heavy inspiration from the 1986 cult classic “Blade Runner”. The great Rutger Hauer voices Daniel Lazarski, i.e. the Observer.
Lazarski is a detective in a dystopian cyberpunk future where nearly everyone has neural implants that record every moment of their life through their own eyes. When Lazarski receives a call from his son, he goes to investigate a building. But only a headless body remains.
Now the Observer must solve this mystery by going down an endless rabbit hole of murders. All while a digital plague takes over Poland. You plug into the heads of victims and relive their last moments.
Layers of Fear: Legacy
In Layers of Fear, you aren’t a player as much as you’re an observer. You witness the descent into madness of a talented painter trying to create his finest piece of work yet- his Magnum Opus. However, there is something weird going on with his house.
Filled with portraits and paintings that reflect upon the painter’s talent, the house often seems alive with a mind of its own. It’s almost as if the paintings are watching you. Clearly, something much more sinister resides in this building… are you brave enough to investigate and find out?
Friday The 13th: Ultimate Slasher Edition
Remember Dead by Daylight? Friday The 13th is one of the movie franchises that inspired it. And this game is a pure horror slasher in which one Jason Voorhees hunts down 7 people.
Much like Dead by Daylight, Friday The 13th is an asymmetrical survival game. Online multiplayer was closed, but P2P matchmaking is still allowed. There are multiple maps for this game, each based on a location from one of the first 5 Friday The 13th movies.
Deadly Premonition Origins
Deadly Premonition is one of the earliest games to start the whole survival horror craze, it was released all the way back in 2010. The Origins version is basically the director’s cut of this game, minus some extra cutscenes that you get in the actual director’s cut version. It also seems to be the most stable of the bunch, with the least FPS issues and bugs.
In this game, you play a detective visiting a rural town to investigate a series of murders caused by someone named the Raincoat Killer. The entire game is about good and evil, co-existing in the same world. Survival mechanics like hunger, sleep, hygiene, etc. are all present which is truly innovative for the time in which this game was released.
Okay, hear me out. What about a game in which you walk through a mansion infested with evil beings… as a blind woman? Sounds terrifying, right?
Well, you aren’t entirely powerless as the protagonist has echolocation powers. She can use the sound of her body to reflect off the surroundings and perceive the shape of objects nearby.
But you don’t have a continuous view of what’s around you. Instead, you see in pulses or brief glimpses.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
It’s a simple survival horror game presented from a 3rd-person perspective. You walk in an area on Hikami Mountain which is infested with ghosts of various types. And there are 3 playable characters to choose from.
As you walk through various environments like jungles and urban centers, ghosts will try to walk up and grab you. You can break free of their grab or use your special camera which damages the ghosts.
Depending on the angle of your photo and the distance, they will take varying amounts of damage as fragments of their past fly off. These fragments give you a glimpse into who they were back in the world of the living.
Darkwood is yet another survival horror game, but this one plays very differently from other games of its genre. For starters, it is presented from a top-down perspective and utilizes stealth mechanics. Plus, the world is somewhat open-ended allowing for a high degree of player freedom as you pick and choose which objectives you want to do.
There is a basic crafting system, a standard affair for mobile survival games. And you also get a day/ night cycle which significantly affects the way you combat enemies. The storyline has a branching design and you will play through different parts of the narrative depending on the choices you make.
These days, you don’t see a lot of high-quality horror games that live up to the standards set by Silent Hill. Especially in the AAA sphere, which is overrun by open-world action RPGs and battle royales. And the sad part is that you don’t need a big budget to craft a good horror game.
This is evident from some of the indie horror titles being put out on Android and PC. Yeah, a lot of them rely on cheap scares and gimmicks that get old after a while. But if you know how to sift through the junk, you’ll occasionally stumble on a gem of a horror game that bores its way into your mind.
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