The 15 Best Psychological Horror Games for PC

psychological horror games
Psychological horror is one of the fastest growing genres in the gaming world today.

15 Psychological Horror Games That Will Play Tricks On Your Mind

Psychological horror games are massively popular nowadays, with new and unique games coming out every year from every corner of the world. Of course, among this wave of games, there are some that are better than others. Here are the top 15 psychological horror games for PC.

15. The Park

The Park was released by Funcom in 2015 as a spin-off of The Secret World. The player takes control of Lorraine, a struggling single mother who is searching for her son in the Atlantic Island Park, a twisted amusement park filled with horror. The gameplay focuses solely on exploration, and the main character can only interact with certain items in the environment.

The game takes place entirely in Atlantic Island Park, which is abandoned and deeply unsettling in atmosphere.

One of the locations in the game is a house of horrors, the entrance to which is modeled on the gaping mouth of a witch. It's a marvel that any children dared to go inside.

14. Lucius

Lucius was developed by Shiver Games and released in 2012. It is a single player game in which the player controls a six-year-old boy named Lucius, who is the son of Lucifer, also known as Satan. The goal is to use the boy’s telekinesis and mind control powers to stage accidents that kill members of the household without leaving any evidence behind.

Apparently, Lucius' mission requires that everyone in the house dies, including the staff.

The player controls Lucius, and is responsible for killing everyone in the household with any means necessary.

13. Dead by Daylight

Dead by Daylight is a uniquely multiplayer horror game developed by Behavior Interactive. It was released for Windows in 2016. The game is usually played in groups of five, with four players taking the role of survivors that must escape the killer, who is controlled by the fifth player.

Gameplay for survivors involves evading the killer with stealth and attempting to escape, either by repairing a certain number of generators to open metal doors, or through a trapdoor that will appear at one of several predetermined locations and requires generators, though a lesser number,  to open.

As for the killer, their sole objective is to find and eliminate all the survivors. Killers can choose from six unique characters, each with their own special ability. Survivors can also choose characters, which carry ‘perks’ that affect gameplay.

Survivors play in third person, while the killer plays exclusively in first, giving each mode a distinctive tone.

The killers range from mere human psychos to otherworldly monsters, and each has a specific ability they can use to kill their prey.

12. Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep was developed by Krillbite Studio in May 2014. Players take control of a toddler who is accompanied by a sentient teddy bear, who guides him through the levels and acts as a light source when hugged. The player must navigate the expansive environments as they search for the child’s mother, all the while being followed by two terrible monsters that must be evaded.

The child is guided by a sentient teddy bear, who is playful and curious - but also somewhat unsettling.

There are two monsters that follow the player; a lean, rakish feminine shadow (pictured) and a figure with glowing eyes that appears to be wearing a trench coat.

11. We Happy Few

We Happy Few is currently in development by Compulsion Games and is due for full release sometime this year. The player finds themselves in a drug-fueled, dystopian city set in 1964, and everyone is in the throes of the delusion of happiness.

You must practice conformity, stealth, and minor combat skills to survive long enough to escape the city. The game can only be played in the permadeath style – once the player dies, they restart completely in a new city. There are also rumors that a movie adaptation of the game is also in development.

All the characters are uniformly happy, and they are going to notice if you aren't like them.

Those who do not conform to the happy delusions are referred to as 'Downers' and are dealt with severely.

10. The Town of Light

Developed by LKA and released in 2016, The Town of Light revolves around a young girl named Renee who has been institutionalized in a mental facility, where she undergoes horrific abuse at the hands of the medical staff. Players take control of Renee as she revisits the now abandoned asylum, and walk through her story. The game is deeply story based and lacks combat, stealth, and puzzle solving.

The institution is now abandoned and decrepit, but still holds many items that bring back all sorts of memories for Renee.

Her flashbacks are in the form of still drawings, almost as though the narrator has drawn them herself.

9. Detention

Detention (or, in the original Taiwanese, Return to School) was developed by Red Candle Games and released on Steam in January 2017. The game is a 2D side scroller in which the player follows Wei and Ray, two students who find themselves trapped in their high school during a storm in 1960s Taiwan. They soon discover that the school is haunted by evil entities and discover awful secrets about a place they thought they knew. A novella based on the game is due to be published sometime later in the year.

Wei (left) and Ray are trapped at their remote high school, where evil entities have begun to roam.

The monsters seem to be based on figures from Taiwanese religion and myth.

8. Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear was developed by Bloober Team and released in February 2016. Players take control of a psychologically disturbed painter that is obsessed with completing his masterpiece. The gameplay is based on basic puzzle solving and exploration of the Victorian mansion where the artist lives, which warps as he descends further into madness. The game features a ‘good’ ending, a ‘bad’ ending, and a ‘neutral’ ending; these are determined by the player’s actions throughout the game.

The environment is very atmospheric, and shifts without notice or reason.

In between levels, players return to the artist's workroom, in which the painting he is trying to complete stands.

7. Visage

Developed by SadSquare Studios, Visage is due to be released this year. The player wanders a huge empty house in which horrible things have occurred. The game is majorly story based, and much of the gameplay is based on interacting with objects and collecting memories.

The house seems to be endless, with new revelations and horrors around every corner.

There is evidence that the environment becomes progressively more surreal as the player collects more memories.

6. Cry of Fear

Cry of Fear was developed by Team Psykskallar as a mod for the game Half-Life, but now functions as a standalone game. The player controls Simon Henriksson, who wakes up in an alley shortly after being hit by a car. The player must then navigate the city, solving puzzles and killing monsters to progress.

The environments alternate between ‘normal’ levels in the city and ‘nightmare’ levels, like those found in Silent Hill. The game can progress in multiple directions, depending on the player’s decisions, and features multiple endings.

Cry of Fear is unique among a lot of psychological horror games because it places an emphasis on combat as well as evasion.

Not knowing where he is or how he got there, Simon traverses a strange nightmare realm, trying to get back home.

5. Danganronpa: Tripper Happy Havoc

Created by Japanese developer Spike Chunsoft (formerly Spike), Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is the first in a series of psychological horror games.

Players take control of Makoto Naegi, who has been selected to attend an elite high school called Hope’s Peak Academy.  Soon after he arrives, he loses consciousness and wakes to find himself trapped inside the school with 14 other students. They are told that they will be forced to live there until they ‘graduate’ by murdering another student and getting away with it.

When a crime scene is discovered, the students gather to discuss who the murderer is. If they can guess who carried out the murder, the perpetrator will be executed. If they can’t guess, the perpetrator can leave the school, and the rest of the students are executed.

The gameplay revolves around interacting with other characters, gathering evidence, and discussing the murder with other students through a series of minigames.

Players can interact with all 14 other characters, and their decisions will affect the gameplay.

The game features several minigames that are used to achieve certain goals or get certain pieces of information.

4. Fran Bow

An insanely popular horror game, Fran Bow was developed by Killmonday Games and released in 2015. Players take control of Fran, a young girl struggling with a mental disorder after witnessing the murder and dismemberment of her parents.

Trapped in an oppressive asylum for children, Fran decides to escape to find her cat, Mr. Midnight, and go home to her Aunt Grace, who is her only remaining relative. The game features a variety of puzzles, and gameplay revolves around seeking out objects, combining them, and using them to solve these puzzles.

The game's theme revolves around the significance of objects, as seen in the main menu.

Fran alternates between reality and a surreal nightmare realm that she enters when she takes her medication.

3. Mad Father

Mad Father is an indie game that was created in the Wolf RPG Editor by a developer called Sen. Players take control of a young girl who, after reminiscing about her mother who died a year previously, asks her father if they can celebrate the anniversary. After her father agrees and sends her to bed, she awakes in the night to find the house overrun by walking corpses.

The gameplay centers around exploration of the environments and solving puzzles. After its initial release in 2012, a Steam version was released in 2016.

The game is drawn in a pixelated style, with more detailed images of the characters appearing when they speak.

The main character soon finds out that her father has been conducting horrible experiments in his subterranean laboratory.

2. SOMA

SOMA was developed by Frictional Games and released in September 2015. The game follows a man that finds himself in an abandoned underwater research facility with no memory of how he got there. He is forced into uncovering its past and the potential horrors of its future to make sense of his predicament, and must try and survive the machines inside the facility, that have begun to take on human characteristics.

The gameplay emphasizes stealth and puzzle solving, while putting aside other common mechanics, such as inventory management, in favor of a tighter narrative arc.

The environments are underwater and have been abandoned for some time, giving the game a similar atmosphere to that of Rapture in Bioshock.

It becomes evident as the game progresses that the facility is abandoned for a reason, and that bad things have hapened within.

1. The Cat Lady

This creepy indie game was developed by Harvester Games and released in 2012. Players take on the role of Susan Ashworth, a depressed woman who’s only friends are stray cats that she summons to her apartment by playing the piano.

Upon attempting to take her own life, she is met by an entity called the Queen of Maggots, who grants her immortality and gives her the task of ridding the world of five ‘parasites.’ She returns to the normal world and is soon forced to carry out her task as she is put in increasingly horrific situations.

The gameplay focuses on interacting with objects to solve puzzles, much like Fran Bow.

The game resembles a collage, with the characters taking on the appearance of paper figures.

One of the 'parasites' that Susan encounters is a crazed doctor that abducts and mutilates his female patients to turn them into artwork.

Are you scared yet? Pull out your night lights and enjoy these creepy horror games!

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I'm a girl. I play games. And then I write about them. I'm also interested in books, movies, and some genres of music that should never again see the light of day.
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Bioshock: Infinite, Uncharted 2, Don't Starve, Stardew Valley, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Blameless
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock 2, Don't Starve, Watch Dogs
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