Top 7 Spooky Space Horror Games for PC

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Infinitely huge and infinitely unknown. Anything could be lurking in the big black....Screenshot: the Xenomorph from Alien Isolation.

Experience horror in deep space

In melding our fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, and fear of being unable to breathe all into one setting: space is already pretty terrifying to many of us - and reasonably so. Many game publishers, directors, and authors have capitalized on this setting over the years, bringing us some of the greatest works of horror fiction. Below is a list of 7 terrifying Sci-Fi horror games, which we feel were most effective in capitalizing on the spookiness of space.

7. Dead Space 3

 

Dead Space™ 3 Official Announce Trailer - E3 2012

Although the co-op focus takes the edge off the atmosphere: Dead Space 3 still has enough intense, Necromorphic action to keep you on edge. As Isaac Clarke: you are stalked through a greater range of environments, namely across the tundra planet of Tau Volantis.

Even with Isaac Clarke and John Carver facing the horde together: the now huge range of Necromorphs can still throw formidable challenges – and jumpscares – your way.

Scarier in the snow: Isaac Clarke battling a Necromorph on the planet Tau Volantis

Isaac Clarke gives his many-armed-foe a warm welcome on the Tau Volantis colony.

6. Solarix

Solarix is – at its core – a stealth game in the same vein as Thief. The main difference is that you’re in space and there’s very little thievery involved. Only constant sneaking from shadow to shadow – as you try and outwit zombified colonists in the pitch black.

Like Thief: head-on encounters with the enemy generally will not end well for you. You must stay quiet and stay sharp, as you hug your only friend – your trusty silenced pistol.

In Solarix: stealth is your only means of survival. Here the protagonist stalks his prey.

The fate of a zombified colonist..

5. System Shock 2

Later having a massive influence on the superb Bioshock series: System Shock 2 wins major points in nailing tension and creepiness for a game of its time. System Shock 2 gives you the creeps without the need for 1000 polygons in every blood splatter.

Things are off to a chilly start – literally given that you wake up from cryo at the beginning – and you are ejected into a world of man versus the infected and a cold, killer AI.

Much like Bioshock: the player finds themselves scrambling through metal corridors, desperately trying to find their nemesis.

System Shock 2 would inspire the hugely successful Bioshock series…both prominently feature weaponized wrenches for example.

4. Doom 3

The spookiest and most claustrophobic game in the series; Doom 3 has you literally descending straight down into Hell, via a space station filled with carnage.

It has you bordering on paranoiac as you edge through cold metal corridors, hiding from all sorts of demons. Your own demons and literal demons from actual HELL that is. That mirror scene - in the space station’s bathroom - might just make you think twice about using public restrooms…

The player is pitted against the legions of Hell itself…

Dancing with Demons…the player is hunted by monsters on Mars.

3. Dead Space 2

Though relying far more on speedy action sequences than the first Dead Space; Dead Space 2 stuns you with it’s emphasis on a more psychological horror-theme. Unfortunate protagonist figure – Isaac Clarke – is pushed further and further to the edge of his own sanity.

You should expect to find Isaac’s struggle with staying sane relatable after one or two encounters in the Sprawl’s nursery…

Isaac Clarke faces a colony overrun with mutating Necromorphs

The player is pushed to the edge of their sanity, seeing humans transform into monstrosities.

2. Alien Isolation

This is perhaps the only game - to spin off of the Xenomorph franchise - with enough atmosphere and backbone to match its masterpiece movie counterparts. Maybe because it takes Ridley Scott’s old-fashioned approach to movie horror monsters. That is that your greatest fear is the unknown

This game fittingly keeps you in the dark about what exactly is stalking you. With no pulse rifle to speak of: your greatest weapon generally ends up being the nearest office desk you can cower under as the Xenomorph creeps on by. Talk about tension…

“How about we make a make a campfire, sing a couple of songs?” Unlike in previous Alien games: the Xenomorph is a hulking beast to be reckoned with.

Ellen Ripley’s daughter is mercilessly hunted by a vicious, alien predator.

1. Dead Space

 

DEAD SPACE LULLABY TRAILER

Never has running through (what feels like) the same corridor repeatedly felt so terrifying! Personally I never got used to the crippling sense of dread that crept up every single time I had to walk past an air vent or (seemingly lifeless) corpse.

Dead Space constantly jumps from moments of breath-taking silence to complete and utter chaos as you are hunted by creatures resembling distant, disfigured cousins of The Thing – only 10 times faster and 10 times freakier.

Welcome to a world where air-vents are your arch enemy. Dead Space, everyone. Anything could be creeping around the corner on the USG Ishimura.

In the first game of the franchise: the player is forced to fight – or flee – the Necromorphs in the pitch-black confines of the USG Ishimura.

​Judging from the games that we've listed above, it's not hard to see why space is such a spooky setting. In the empty swallowing black - without oxygen or gravity - we are rendered helpless before anything else that might be hunting us, be it Xenomorphs, Necromorphs, or anything else. Space, then, is a great setting if game-designers want to ramp up fear-levels and tension.

Looking for other ways to spook yourself? Check some more of our articles on horror games:

 

As a Welsh freelance writer, representing my country well is of utmost importance. I accordingly travel everywhere atop a red dragon, wearing nought but a strategically placed Welsh Cake.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 4
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Borderlands
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