The 17 Best Horror Games in the World

17 Best Horror Games in the World
The best horror games have horrific enemies

Horror games are popular across the globe.

Get scared. Be masochistic. Or share the love (and sadism) by inflicting the pleasure on your friends. Playing horror games is a global phenomenon, with these 17 Best Horror Games in the World.

17. Resident Evil HD

Resident Evil HD Gameplay

Wild dog attacks, jumpscares, a creepy mansion, and of course, zombie-killing missions, have made the franchise world famous. It went from humble beginnings in Japan to widespread love, with movie and merchandise campaigns. Fear had never translated so well to a gamer's screen until Resident Evil. It was one of the original trendsetters in the horror survival games world. The 2015 remaster of the original Resident Evil (1996) gives a cleaner render, better onscreen text, and small fixes to lighting. Otherwise, more or less the same game. And what a game!

The HD update yields cleaner text, and a smoother image render. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to self-destruct. You know how important that self-destruct mode is.

“What do you mean you disarmed self-destruct mode? That is vital for going kamikaze on those zombies if they get too close!”

16. Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear Gameplay

Artists are often disturbed and… let’s say… unusual. A first-person perspective lets you explore a mansion. You are a painter with a wee bit of schizophrenia. Get spooked while trying to solve puzzles and uncover mysteries of the past. Think Francis Bacon's twisted portraits meets Van Gogh's troubled life meets horrorhouse jumpscares. Lots of thunder and lightning create projected shadows across the house interiors. To complete each layer of paint is to decode bits and pieces of the gruesome backstory. With three possible endings, the game is worth playing three times, as the final resolutions are quite different in tone and message.

Cheers to your interior designer. Even the walls of this home look like splashes on an artist’s paint palette. Attention to detail is one of this game’s strong points. They managed to match the environments to the theme – which is about a painter.

Enter the artist’s studio at your own risk. Van Gogh cut off his own ear. Francis Bacon drew portraits of twisted and morbid bodies. There’s no telling what the lunatic who painted THIS might do.

15. Detention

Detention Gameplay

Escape a haunted school in 1960s Taiwan. While a typhoon rages outside, clueless students try to navigate a not-so-empty school. Subdued colors surround you as you pick up clues to understand why you woke up in the deserted school. This is why you shouldn’t sleep in class, kids. Found-footage styled clips punctuate gameplay with violent imagery. Communism and Chinese history are the backbone for some of the clues, but prior knowledge isn't required to win the game. This side-scroller has a lot of atmosphere, and explores the soul's feelings of confusion and helplessness as the body may be returning to ash somewhere in another universe. To say more would spoil the slowly-revealed complexities of the plot.

How can this girl ever repay you? You should probably collaborate with her – who knows what she’s capable of in this dark, abandoned school. There’s no way to know for certain if she is friend or foe.

Ms. Yin, it’s about that corpse in your class. Second desk from the front. Were you aware that he hasn’t been paying attention to your lesson?

14. Outlast 1

Outlast 1 Gameplay

Someone from an unethical psychiatric hospital beckons a journalist to come investigate patients known as Variants. Nanobots, deranged patients and a scary entity called a Walrider hinder the investigation. But hey, at least the player has access to a cool night vision device to navigate the dark nooks and crannies of the hospital. One of the in-game challenges is that the device’s batteries become drained easily. Go search for a recharge ASAP! Also, defeating the lunatics is not a matter of killing them, but finding every way to evade them. Downloadable content fleshes out a side story that eventually ties into the main plot. It also serves as the bridge to the game's sequel.

That’s never a good sign. As long as that Wilrider isn’t nearby, maybe we can get to the emergency exit leading to the basement.

Okay, looks like the basement has been flooded. Plan B. When the taps run red, it’s time to call a plumber.

13. Outlast 2

Outlast 2 Gameplay

Outlast's sequel introduces new characters Blake and Lynn. The couple is lured into a cult. Blake, a journalist, has to find his wife after a helicopter crash. Lynn mysteriously becomes impregnated with a peculiar baby: the Antichrist. Blake unfortunately loses stamina easily, and his night vision capabilities often require a recharge (same as in the original Outlast). Spiritual anxiety and Blake's hallucinations propel the terror element of this single player game. Discover powerups and other vital items in order to keep Blake's energy and night vision in top shape.

    

There are numerous religious symbols in Outlast 2. This dude was just hangin’ around.

As night vision begins to dwindle, objects start to to be difficult to decipher. This might be a crown of...horns.

12. Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 Gameplay

As usual with Resident Evil games, be prepared for adrenaline, jumpscares, and terror. Enjoy the challenge of trying to vanquish some cannibals or monsters, while looking for healing serums. A virus needs to be eradicated. But first you'll have to find clues before the grotesque creatures get you. As we saw at #17, Resident Evil is one of the seminal horror universe game franchises. Its seventh game gives a wink to older gameplay style with the benefit of new implements. Also, where all previous Resident Evil games were played in third-person, this is the first time we can try first-person point of view.

Resident Evil is full of cannibal killers, so watch out! Last to finish dinner gets dishes cleanup.

Since cannibals can’t seem to afford cleanup staff, they’ll have to manage like any other normal family. The dishes aren’t going to clean themselves, boys!

11. Dead by Daylight

Dead by Daylight Gameplay

Like many children’s games such as hide and seek, Dead by Daylight has one player take on an enemy role while up to four others try to escape/survive. In consequence, the game plays in third-person as a survivor, and first-person as the killer. The cute part is, some of the survivors are based on famous horror movie characters – the most recognized being Laurie Strode from the Halloween franchise. Each survivor has unique abilities that can be taught to other survivors when the moment is right. Meat hooks are the killer's weapon of choice, and there are a few ways a survivor can attempt to spring free. Hooks can be sabotaged, and broken generators must be fixed to push the game forward. Quite an interesting approach to the horror survival genre.

Brutality is a good attack plan. But if that isn’t your style, the game offers several other options. Try Deviousness if you’re feeling a little adventurous. Earn bloodpoints to buy powerups.

My dear, you look lovely under the light of the moon. However, I would avise you to stay put. Some things are prettier from afar.

10. Fran Bow

Fran Bow Gameplay

This cartoony point-and-click horror game starts off cute enough but soon meets a brutal turn of events. While in a children’s psyche ward, an orphaned girl (Fran) resorts to popping pills to find clues about her parents' murders. Stylish artwork, scheming doctors and a whole lot of messages written in blood make gameplay original and whimsical. Oh and if you like cats, there are cats! Little Fran is fed up of life in a hospital. She wants her kitty back and it's up to you to choose the path she should take to reach her goals. Fran is a crafty girl, so go ahead and try combining found objects to make better objects. But beware of creepy monsters that pop out of nowhere!

Fran Bow and her cat, Mr. Midnight have a quick conference before continuing their journey. “Kitty, I’m sure this leads to a great fairytale land!”

Mr. Midnight tells Fran she was dead wrong. This is more like a lugubrious nightmare.

9. Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home Gameplay

Where are you and how did you get there? This puzzle survival game is based around Thai folklore. It incorporates the archetype ghostgirl we've come to know from Asian horror cinema. In a mostly derelict building with endless corridors, you’ll encounter blood-spattered walls, gross gutteral sounds off-camera, and lots and lots of doors. It's all fine and good to search for keys and revelatory journal pages, but be careful: There are no weapons per se. If the ghost finds you despite your attempts to hide, the game will end. Get ready for an unexpected finale!

This may have been someone’s old bedroom. Maybe there’s a clue in that slightly open drawer. If not, it might be a good idea to rummage through those items scattered across the floor. Just try to be quiet or the noise may awaken something horrible deep within the walls of this building.

You made noise, huh. This might be your last sight before you die. Really, you don’t want that. Next time be a bit more cautious.

8. Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation Gameplay

Fifteen years after the original Alien movie, Ellen Ripley's daughter is on the trail of her mother's disappearance. The retro 70s style makes it feel as though you're in the 1979 classic. The game designers opted for a ton of creeping ambiance rather than overdoing the gore and kill-thrills. Use stealth and a motion tracker to avoid a big bad alien, while staving off other random enemies. Though there are elevators to access more ground, these won't necessarily open when you want them to. The trick is collecting passcodes or outright breaking and entering. The younger Ripley faces similar challenges to those of her mother before her. In other words, expect hulking, drooly enemies and low-lit frights.

Here, kitty, kitty. Where are you? I’m looking for you now. Stop hiding. Come to mama alien!

A-ha! I got you! Now would be a good time to run. But to be fair, I’ll give you a three second head start. 3...2...

7. The Evil Within 1

The Evil Within 1 Gameplay

When your safehouse is actually a mental hospital, it kinda makes you wonder if those baddies are real or hallucinated. You see, it seems some of the healing serums (against said baddies) have adverse side effects. Watch our protagonist, Castellanos slide on bloody surfaces and encounter gross monstrosities with half a face or multiple limbs. You'll learn about Castellanos' daughter, and about Mobius – an organization working on a brain control program called STEM. This is a third-person point of view, single player game. Fight or flight? Either way, try to avoid bombs and various traps. Bombs, however, may be deactivated by playing minigames.  Some enemies can reanimate, so make sure you torch them good – fire is the only permanent kill weapon.

It seems that some clues may be hidden inside nasty corpses. Let’s see if the evil really is ‘within’.

This procedure didn’t fare well. It looks like someone already came looking for some clues, but chose the wrong corpse.

6. The Evil Within 2

The Evil Within 2 Gameplay

STEM, as seen in the original Evil Within, is a mind control program. It combines multiple minds to fabricate one sentient entity. Former police officer Castellanos is now an alcoholic. To find his daughter, Lily, he agrees to cooperate with STEM. It seems that his offspring is hidden in a simulated town concocted by STEM. The town is invaded by threatening creatures. Kill or avoid them, as you see fit, while playing as Castellanos. Stealth and active combat may both be useful. Track your progress with a communication device, and save Lily.

When minds are combined to form one sentient machine, things like this happen. Brain melt. That or this weirdo likes wearing melted cheese as a hat. Take that off right now or I’ll shoot!

Eye in the Sky.

5. The Forest

The Forest Gameplay

An open-world game with non-linear play puts you on a small island after a plane crash. Cannibalistic occurrences will mar your journey. Chase the locals through a dense forest, or discover mutants in underground caves. There is no specfic mission here, so you're free to roam, investigate, scare away enemies, or build a base. There is, however a plot arc about your child, who has been kidnapped. If you’re any kind of good parent, you might want to find and rescue the boy. There is an in-game resurrection capsule, but you won't be hugely successful with that unless you find acceptable human sacrifices. Since they (who, we're nor sure) have your offspring, maybe someone has already beaten you to it.

This contemporary sculptor likes to use human parts in his installations.

He seems to favor upper body limbs.

4. Condemned: Criminal Origins

Condemned: Criminal Origins Gameplay

A crime scene investigator moves through derelict buildings in search of the jerk who framed him for murder. All the while, a malevolent force seems to be encroaching on the city's inhabitants. If you like melee style play, this is the game for you. In addition, you must gather evidence by solving puzzles and using forensic techniques. Make use of a flashlight through most of the game (which is only dimly lit). When that stops working, you'll need to improvise a new light source. Enemies will jump out of unexpected areas, and use false attack or retreat moves to trick you into focusing energy in the wrong places. You can be sure the atmosphere will be creepy, as the game creators were influenced by films such as The Silence of the Lambs.

I’ll ask you once, nicely: Go away.

You should have listened to me.

3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Gameplay

In a dark castle, hunt for clues about your past. The player controls amnesiac Daniel as he searches for a predetermined enemy hiding in the bowels of the castle. As pieces of the past materialize, you are made aware of an otherworldly orb. Daniel’s sanity becomes central to his game stamina, and may produce hallucinations if not kept in check. Though you have no access to weapons, stealth and balancing your time in shadows versus light, will help you avoid monsters. The game features three possible endings, as well as a downloadable side story about a female amnesiac.

What is wrong with this thing’s face?

A serious case of slackjaw.

2. Dead Space

Dead Space Gameplay

Necromorphs – reanimated corpse creatures – are your enemy. Playing the game as engineer Isaac Clarke, get rid of these menaces by using weapons with holographic displays. But how to kill these monstrous beings? Ah, very specific dismemberment might do the trick. Then again, the creatures sometimes do have the ability to regrow new body parts. But since Clarke has engineering knowledge, his arsenal includes items such as rotary saws and plasma cutters. There is also a zero gravity option that helps slow things down for increased accuracy. So, Necromorphs, beware - you're going down!

Die, you ugly Necromorph!

I should have capped him in the knees instead of the face!

1.Until Dawn

Until Dawn Gameplay

On the anniversary of the disappearance of twin girls, a group of friends set out for a fun night in a secluded cabin. If we've learned anything from horror movies, this is already a bad omen. It's not long before the teenagers are pursued by a masked lunatic. Gameplay allows you to take the role of each of the eight teenagers to help them survive. This affects many plot devices, so the game can be played several times. Each action may hold consequences later on in the game, due to the in-game system denoted as the Butterfly Effect. So watch what items you pick up – they may later force you into layers of ethics with your buddies. For its unique mechanics and creepy environments, Until Dawn is a well-received, well-loved game in the horror-survival genre.

If the lunatic starts chasing you, that towel is coming off, you know.

Hey it’s like that game, Headbands. Only, with targets.

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Daria is an octopus (multi-tasker!). Since graduating from Film Studies, she has freelanced as an arts & culture writer. Currently she focuses on film critique – specializing in horror and genre film.
Gamer Since: 2001
Top 3 Favorite Games:, ,
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