15 Best Indie Horror Games Released in 2022

A monster you encounter in "Iron Lung." Don't stare too long into that abyss. It may start to stare back.

Forget about AAA horror games that promise scares and leave you yawning in your gamer chair. Forget about the reboots and rehashes that are more obvious cash grabs than the blatant cash-grabber titles with terrible gimmicks. It’s time to show some love for the indie game developers, men, and women who work around the clock on their passion projects for a chance to share their stories with an industry that would have slammed the door in their faces years ago.

The recent surge in horror indie games has created an incredible variety for gamers and horror fans, and here today are a select 15 that deserve your attention and guttural screams.


15) Her Name Was Fire - (PC)

Starting this list is a little indie game that deserves some love and respect for its execution. “Her Name Was Fire” dropped from Tissue Inu in October of 2022, and immediately it tried to carve a niche for itself in horror and twin-stick shooter games. The game's goal is to battle through the five stages of grief and vanish the Major Allegories, whose names borrow from the major Arcana from tarot cards. You must cast fireballs, quick dash, and prove your inner and outer strength to reach the next stage of grief before it completely consumes you.

This game takes inspiration from “Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” and “Vampire Survivors” and fully embraces its twin-stick style while carving its niche as a card-building roguelike, which I never thought those two terms would be used to describe one game. Power-ups and boosts take the form of tarot cards with newer names, i.e., The Crawler, which the player can select after leveling up and immediately use.

These boosts can be as simple as moving 20% faster or as effective as having a 30% chance your fireballs will burn enemies, allowing them to take more damage over time. With tarot cards changing at every level and death not limiting your options, there are many combinations to choose from and several ways to combat and overcome your grief.


  • The game is bare-bones in plot and scares, and the gameplay can become repetitive, despite the tarot card stacking system and unique designs of the Major Allegories. However, it has replayability and is a fun little game that sparks the imagination and introduces newer horror fans to twin-stick shooters.

The sorceress in "Her Name is Fire" is fighting against the Major Allegory, The Hierophant. Not sure what water spells will do, but fighting back is better than being sucked underground by tentacles.


14) Prodeus - (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox Cloud)

From twin-stick to single stick, we have an indie entry that will scratch that “Doom” itch and then some. Humble Games, the indie game publisher responsible for cult classic “Signalis,” released boomer shooter “Prodeus” in September of 2022. The unnamed main character the player assumes control of is a corrupted agent of Prodeus, the world's creator. Your goal: destroy Prodeus by any means. Luckily, these means include shotguns, railguns, magnums, and anything that can be fired or thrown at any enemy.

“Prodeus” plays the same as any boomer shooter, with a collection of weapons to choose from and satisfying explosions of guts and gore. The automap is a welcome feature that can easily guide players through each level. The game’s shaders can also be set to create more pixelated elements, allowing the player to choose how much of their experience can resemble older FPS games.

This works in tandem with the option to turn the enemies into pixel sprites, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in a shooter that looks and feels like it came from the 90s. Your only job from then on is to eviscerate creatures, smear Prodeus’ name, and have as much fun as possible.


  • In a market with “Amid Evil,” and “Dusk,” “Prodeus” is a welcome addition to the boomer shooter roster and gives the player more freedom to tinker with its design elements. 

  • While the horror is mostly surface-level, this is one of the more fun entries on the list, with hours of bloody baddie bashing at your disposal.

Prodeus' rogue agent blasts several enemies as they make their way through the building's inner workings. Aim for the guy with red eyes in front! He's a charger!


13) SCP Secret Files - (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox Series X|S/Switch)

I won’t lie; I’m excited to talk about this one. As an internet horror junkie growing up in the early 2000s, I found myself diving headlong into SCP files like The Plague Doctor, the Little Misters, and the Builder Bear. So a game like this is a dream come true. “SCP Secret Files” was shown off as early as 2021 and finally released in September 2022 from Gamezoo Studio and Pixmain.

The game follows Karl, a new archivist, as he assists Dr. Richard Hamm of the SCP Foundation, known to “Secure, Contain, and Protect” objects, beings, etc., that pose a danger to humans or themselves. The player then assists Karl in observing and archiving several SCP, learning their stories and committing them to memory, even if the information is best left forgotten. 

This game is a visual feast from start to finish. Each SCP report is given its own presentation, so the gameplay never stays stale, and every story moves along at its own pace. One record may be a survival horror, and the next may be a storybook and rhythm game. No matter the form, this anthology horror game is an excellent introduction to the sprawling lore of the SCP Foundation, and playing it is a real experience for horror fans and indie game fans.


  • The scares are genuine in a few of the stories, and the nature of the anomalies will leave you questioning whether what you saw was real or if it was another fabrication.

  • Not all of the SCPs presented are dangerous or terrifying. While you may expect horrors, be prepared to experience heartbreak.

A mannequin looks on as Bella, an agent of the SCP Foundation, retrieves a package from a site containing SCP-701. I think I understand why people are creeped out by these things now.



I never thought I would recommend a game like this to anyone, but then again, I never thought disco would be popular again, but here we are. “POPGOES ARCADE” is a “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fangame - you heard that right - that incorporates original characters with Scott Cawthon’s lore as part of the “Fazbear Fanverse.”

While the original game, “POPGOES: The Dead Forest,” came out in 2020, the version on Steam includes the original and the added DLC content of “POPGOES and the Machinist.” The game follows Popgoes, a weasel mascot, as they find scraps, stop the animatronic corruption, and defeat the King before time runs out.

The game is framed in an arcade cabinet with a retro 8-bit style, paying homage to the minigames founds in the hidden layers of the original “Five Nights at Freddy’s” games. The only difference is this game runs longer than a usual FNAF title, with more achievements and secrets to unlock.

The gameplay is RPG based, allowing for the customization of weapons, items, and allies on and off the battlefield. While leveling up isn’t a complete option, you can upgrade Popgoes and your character, ensuring your victory against the animatronics you once called your friends. 


  • Once you look past the game’s inspiration, you can see it has genuine charm and imagination at its core, providing a unique blend of horror and retro RPG gaming for the indie scene.

Popgoes comes across a giant hole in the ground of a bar with Minora Mouse. They’d be cuter if they weren’t animatronics that could snap you in half.


11) Her World - (PC)

Visual novels are not as easy to create as people think they are. Artwork, story, composition - these elements need to be crafted carefully and placed in a way that makes the story and characters shine. The same can be said for horror visual novels. Korean visual novel “Her World” dropped in October of 2022 from Taleshop Co., Ltd. and has garnered little to no response from fans outside of the visual novel circle.

The story is simple, with an unnamed main character running from an unknown incident and winding up in an alternate world thanks to a mishap in a hospital elevator. There he runs into three women: Hyeon-ah, a brunette who brandishes a knife; Yuri, a silver-haired sourpuss with a bandage on her head; and Woobi, a rain-coat-clad child who is far more mature than she appears to be. It soon becomes apparent the protagonist needs to leave this world, lest they succumb to the strange black monsters or the girls they so desperately wish to save.

It’s rare to see a horror visual novel weave an intense and engaging story with its characters at the center while never resorting to shock material - “Saya no Uta,” I’m looking at you. Every character has something important to say, do, and never overstays their welcome or overshadows another character. It makes talking to them and moving along in the story all the more enjoyable. 

As a bonus, added content in the game can be unlocked thanks to a unique gameplay mechanic involving quests. These quests are done through retro RPG-style gameplay, with more becoming unlocked as you interact with the leading ladies. 


  • The story can be vague at times, and some parts can lag, but the payoff is tremendous, with all stories being tied together in a neat bow.

  • The game has an anti-frustration feature: the quests can be skipped without consequence, allowing you to read the story without succumbing to ludonarrative dissonance.

The main character looks on as Hyeong-Ah, one of the main characters of "Her World," holds a knife out at them. Okay, think clearly before you make your next move. She can't just stab you. Right?


10) Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel - (PC/Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S/PS4/PS5)

Now for an entry that I classify as not only South American horror but also as a step in a new direction for survival horror. Maximum Games and Pulsatrix Studios released “Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel” to limited fanfare. The main character, Roberto Liete Lopes, is sent to investigate the St. Dinfna Hotel in beautiful Santa Catarina in the South region of Brazil based on a tip he received from his friend, Stephanie.

Upon arrival, he and the player are whisked on a horrifying journey through time and space that crosses several boundaries of moral and mental thresholds, leaving both with the question of whether some mysteries should stay mysteries.

Much like in “Fatal Frame,” an antique camera with unique lenses is a vital artifact that’s necessary for plot progression and puzzle solving.  Once acquired, the plot moves forward, turning what was thought to be a puzzle-solving walking simulator into a survival horror game with gun action.

The lenses show glimpses of other timelines or dimensions, which Roberto can use to find hidden objects or locate items in the same locations. How every item plays into one another, and how Roberto fits into this quantum conundrum, is ultimately for the player to discover, even if it means unwinding the fabric of reality.


  • The plot is interesting, the monsters are unique, and the added camera mechanics are welcome to the survival horror genre.

  • The game isn’t without its fair share of bugs, unshakable camera speeds, and movement that becomes clunky as pathways grow narrow or blocked by flesh piles, but the game is worth checking out if you need something to scratch your “Resident Evil” itch.

Roberto fires his shotgun at an enemy in the halls of St. Dinfna, blowing its head into a blood gusher. Nothing beats a well-timed shotgun blast.


9) Martha is Dead - (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox Series X|S)

A picture is worth a thousand words. However,  more may be necessary when the story involves loss and abuse. “Martha is Dead” dropped from LKA and Wired Productions on February 24th, 2022, and was met with praise and controversy. The story takes place in WII and focuses on Giulia, twin sister to the titular Martha. After a strange night on the lake, Giulia finds Martha is missing.

In order to solve the mystery of what happened, she needs to pretend to be her sister to appease her demanding mother and prevent trouble. The stakes keep rising as Giulia must keep her true identity hidden and unearth long-buried secrets about her golden child sibling, shedding light on a truth Giulia never wanted to face. 

This is another game on this list where a camera is necessary for plot progression and puzzle solving, but not in the same ways as other games here. An added mechanic is the development of the photos taken, allowing both Guilia and the player to see the truth hidden behind the presented image. The mechanics of the game also change depending on locations and plot development, i.e., a puppet theater in her childhood bedroom, a chase against a ghost, etc., which leads to the aforementioned controversy the title garnered.

The PlayStation versions of “Martha is Dead” were censored, removing two disturbing and graphic body horror sections of the game. The plot structure was kept the same, but the scenes were scrubbed from the product. Luckily, no part of the game is compromised with this removal, allowing it to tell a story of a girl whose world is turned completely on its head due to factors beyond her control.


  • This is a brutal game that has themes of abuse, loss, and gore in an urban German WWII setting, with a shocking finale that will leave the player shaking and speechless. While the story it tells is poignant and tragic, it may leave some players with a bad taste in their mouths, so discretion is advised.

Giulia develops a picture of herself from her camera in her dark room, noting how she is who she is. Is she sure the only her is her?


8) Everything is for Humanity - (PC/PS4/PS5)

From psychological horror and photo manipulation to manipulation of technology, we come to another entry on this list of indie delights that remains just as poignant and important as an Asimov novel. “Everything is for Humanity” is a sci-fi horror title that dropped in June of 2022 from Vanquisher Games. The player enters an alternate 2020, where many wealthy businesses have funded the creation of synthetic humans with working brains. 

Daniel, a tech developer for an artificial intelligence known as SynOS, finds his work is given control of the synths by his director, Dr. Jeffery Phill. The player assumes control of Daniel after the AI gains complete full control, and the game becomes a race to escape and stop SynOS from utilizing the synths to create a race of superior beings.

Something is unsettling about a game focusing on the synthesis of life and artificial intelligence, primarily when most chats on the internet today focus on the application of AI as a tool. The mind games are the real meat of the story, with SynOS continuously challenging Daniel’s perspective of humanity and, by extension, the player’s.

Combined with the unsettling imagery of incubating synthetic beings and environments that seem less accurate with every passing minute, the player is soon faced with an interesting question: do we accept AI and respect it as something that is beyond human comprehension, or reject it in favor of keeping human morality as our normal and refuse to play God? 


  • The relevance of the plot and actions taken by Daniel are familiar, and while not explored in complete depth, they do provide some food for thought. 

  • The game is a walking simulator, so expect no combat. What the game lacks in action, though, it more than makes up for it with exciting and disturbing visuals.

Daniel stumbles on a synthetic human  wandering the same halls he’s investigating in "Everything is for Humanity." Don't look over here, don't look over here - 


7) Golden Light - (PC)

Surreal horror is a genre I wish the public would embrace more often. Luckily, games like this help to show horror and indie game fans the appeal of surrealism. “Golden Light,” often presented with the subtitle of “Meat Song,” dropped in March of 2022 from Hypetrain Digital and Mr. Pink. The game's plot is straightforward: You have lost your love, She, in the bowels of The Gut, and you need to get her back before The Gut does something awful to her. This means making deals with cults, finding weapons with eyeballs, and destroying furniture to dig deeper into The Gut and find every piece of Her possible before you succumb to the same fate.

I cannot express how much I adore this game. Everything about this game screams surreal body horror, plays like an FPS combined with a Prop Hunt mod from a peyote-induced nightmare, and is encapsulated by roguelike elements for endless gameplay. Every weapon is edible, every piece of furniture can suddenly become sentient and attack you, and power-ups range from gaining extra fingers for dexterity to growing a tumor on your nose that acts as an enemy-seeking missile. To fully explain everything you can do in this game would require far more room than I have at my disposal, so the most I can do is encourage you to pick up this one-of-a-kind game and play it for yourself. 


  • This game is often compared to “Cruelty Squad,” not just because of the amount of death or the subject matter but because of the sheer surreal nature it has as a whole. People who are squeamish regarding body horror may want to avoid this title.

  • You can eat your weapons for health. I am not making this up. 

You brace yourself as you light a bonefire, a creature made of bones in the shape of a bonfire, with your fire affinity Toothy Chomper. You gotta love this game.


6) MADiSON - (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S)

Funny how most horror games use cell phones and cameras as a way to tell a story and scare the pants off of unsuspecting players. This game is no exception, although it does take some liberties with the concept. “MADiSON” was released by Bloodious Games in July of 2022 and quickly garnered a reputation for jumpscares and intense visuals.

The player assumes control of Luca, a young man who receives an interesting camera on his 16th birthday. The camera’s haunted history comes back to bite Luca, as his new photographs and trek in his home reveal a cursed story 30 years in the making.

This is another game on this list that uses a camera as a conduit for horror and a vehicle to drive the story. Luca’s camera is used to unlock rooms, find items, or trigger events for him to progress in the story and through the house, with each image being printed off instantly, and the player needs to wave them about to clear said image. The camera acts as a bridge between the world of the living and the dead, often revealing ghosts or other apparitions to Luca, much to his chagrin.

This allows the camera to be used as a defense mechanism like the Camera Obscura from “Fatal Frame”. One or two snaps, and the creature is gone. All the while, you are actively searching for answers to why the camera is now in Luca’s possession and what caused the demon named Blue Lips to attach to him.


  • The scares are plenty, and the atmosphere is overwhelming. You get an immediate sense of claustrophobia from the narrow halls and corridors, and feel unsafe in an environment where safety is always the most significant factor.

Luca develops a photo from his camera as he walks down a long corridor in "MADiSON." Gotta love game elements that play peekaboo with your camera.


5) Uninvited - (PC)

From camera-centered mechanics to exploration horror, we come to another entry on this list that deserves admiration and recognition. “Uninvited” is an indie game from Octari Navarro, creator of titles like “Midnight Stories” and “The Librarian.” The game came out in May of 2022 and has yet to reach its peak in popularity.

After you draw the short straw with your friends, you are forced to explore an abandoned house on your street. Armed with only your bag, an item of your choosing, and a jar of fireflies, you must explore every inch of the house and look for the complete set of trading cards inside. You need to be silent and swift, not only because you have a limited time in the house but because something else may be in there, and it wants you gone just as immediately.

This game is done in the same style as Navarro’s other games, with pixelated graphics being partnered with 3D rendering to create unique assets and backgrounds. The excellent use of light and shadow, combined with muted colors, creates a tense atmosphere from start to finish. The search mechanic is utilized well, leaving the player vulnerable for a set time when searching each drawer, cabinet, and vase in the house. There are no means of protection, so all you can do between searching is run and hide from other beings lurking in the house's darkness.


  • This is a charming horror indie title, and I highly recommend playing this alongside Navarro’s other games. The stories take on a Twilight Zone level of eerieness, and with the added rogue elements of card placements and items available, there are no proper ways to play. All that matters is having fun and enjoying the scares given!

The player finds a Scarecrow Zombie card in the bathroom of the haunted house in "Uninvited." I wish these cards were real. They look so cool!


4) Security Booth: Director’s Cut - (PC)

Some can argue there’s an abundance of PS1-styled  horror games that rely on cheap scares or insane mechanics to keep them relevant. I say bring on the creativity and exciting premises. Makes for better indie games, such as this title. “Security Booth: Director’s Cut” is a short but entertaining horror indie gem that dropped in August of 2022 from Kyle Horwood, a game developer with big titles such as “Little Hope” and “Marvel’s Spiderman” under his belt.

You play as a security guard for a large company, Nova Nexus, on a random night in 1996. You are meant to go about your job properly: ensure security for the vicinity, allow employees with appropriate clearance admission, and contend with the anomalies that pile up on top of each other as the night eerily progresses into something that defies logical explanation.

I appreciate short games like this that give little to no explanation for what exactly is going on, leaving it for the player to fill in the blanks. Absolute terror is admitting ignorance and committing to a set action despite the outcome, which is precisely what the game forces on the player.

You need to pay attention to individuals' license plates and identification tags and not respond to certain stimuli or people standing across the road, lest your conclusion differ immediately. All the while, it feels as if everything is going slow and encourages no panic, despite the fact something truly horrifying is taking place.


  • The mystery is half the fun with this game, as you will find yourself going through multiple endings to learn the truth of Nova Nexus and its groundbreaking tech.

  • The game has been called a lo-fi indie horror game, and I agree with that sentiment. The game feels low stress and minimal while still carrying a sense of urgency, and that duality is rarely seen in any video game.

The titular security guard’s booth is covered in bloody hand prints from an unknown entity. I am not going to clean that up.


3) Ib - (PC/Switch/Android)

And now for something retro and exciting. This version of “Ib,” released in April of 2022, is a remake of the original 2012 RPG-maker game from Kouri, this time with a Playism touch. The game is from the same era of self-created and internet-published games such as "The Witch's House,” “The Crooked Man,” and "Misao".

This game, in particular, follows a young girl, Ib, on a trip to the art museum with her family, only to wander off and become lost in a work of art. Her journey back to the real world becomes fraught with dangers of both the physical and paint kind, and her new companions Garry and Mary are ready to help her overcome these challenges.

Like other RPG-maker titles, the game is puzzle focused and relies on the player’s knowledge to advance in certain areas and make decisions at the crack of a whip. Not every decision is wise, and some will lead to death before they lead to an answer. The same can be said regarding interaction with Garry and Mary, Ib’s companions, in this macabre masterpiece.

Who you choose to trust and how you solve every puzzle will lead you to a new conclusion each time, leaving the game open for hours of replayability. Just don’t let your rose die in the process.


  • The game is short, but the ways the story plays out are worth watching, and there are a few conclusions that feel better than others. You will need to pay close attention to what you do if you want to get those endings, though. Keep a guide nearby.

  • The soundtrack for the game was done by YASUpochi, and it is every bit ethereal as it is calming. 

Ib and Garry look at their reflections and the writing in the mirror of a new room in the museum. That tension you're feeling is from knowing there's a jumpscare coming up.


2) The Heilwald Loophole - (PC)

The fact no one has even mentioned this game outside of smaller indie Youtubers is infuriating, so let’s fix that. “The Heilwald Loophole” is a German horror game that dropped back in February of 2022 from Jan Malitschek. The character the player follows is an unnamed person who wakes up in the Heilwald Klinikum storage room out of nowhere.

Doctors who want to remove your liver and nurses who think it’s fine to give you 10,000 volts of electricity will stop at nothing to get you, and all you can do is run away and maneuver the twisted halls to the best of your ability. Before you can escape, however, you need to stop whatever madness is going on and find who is behind the torture of the staff and the patients of Heilwald.

Everything about this game is incredible, from the retro PS1 aesthetic to the eccentric nature of its characters like Nurse Anne and The Trashman to even the boss battles the player winds up in if they happen to meander into the bathhouse too early.

There are optional side quests, lore hidden in plain sight, and an insane mechanic encompassing the game: you cannot die. In place of death, you are teleported to another part of the Klinikum, where you will find a hypnotic light, a hole in the ground, and head back out to face horrors unknown. 


  • There are moments where the terrifying becomes comical, as my friends and I found out playing this game. It feels like a German twist on Twin Peaks in a clinical setting. 

  • The game isn’t short of horror, as genuine moments of fear always strike the player.

The player sits down in the cafeteria of the Heilwald Klinikum to a bowl of fleischuppe. This may be the atmosphere talking, but you do not want to experience that soup.


1) Iron Lung - (PC/Switch)

Oh, I wanted to talk about this game for so long. “Iron Lung” is an indie horror game David Syzmanski had a hand in creating and developing - the same David Syzmanski of “Dusk” and New Blood Interactive fame. The game dropped on March 10th, 2022, and has become a top hit among horror game fans thanks to the massive influence of internet gamers and Let’s Players. The game takes place after the “Silent Rapture” has caused stars and planets to vanish, leaving only small human settlements behind.

One such settlement located on the asteroid AT-5 contains a small piece of hope for survival: a submarine known as the SM-13, or the “Iron Lung,” specifically designed to navigate the blood ocean on AT-5. As stated by the Consolidation of Iron, the goal is to find the key to sustaining human life. Piloting the sub is you, a convicted criminal, who becomes the reluctant hero - read victim - of this fantastic voyage.

This game is one of the most unique on this list and in the horror genre. The player is tasked to navigate the blood ocean using longitude and latitude controls while monitoring their pressure and oxygen gauges. The lower you go, the harder it is to maintain proper amounts of both. Photos of the undersea floor will also need to be taken for the scientists.

What lies under those waves, however, is nothing short of horrifying. Whether the creatures are friendly isn’t the question; the only question you soon ask yourself is how you can survive your tiny enclosure without losing your mind.


  • This game is effective in scares, utilizes pixelated graphics and 3D rendering, and is oppressive with its soundtrack. The submarine creaks and groans with the pressure and movements around it, so be sure to play this game with headphones for the full effect.

  • As a bonus, Markiplier is set to direct a short theatric piece about “Iron Lung,” so look forward to that as well!

The inside of the sub, the "Iron Lung," creaks as the prisoner works the controls. Is anyone else feeling claustrophobic?

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A bard down to the last letter, Kay is consistently writing and drawing new worlds of fantasy, magic, and intrigue. Her only known weaknesses are a can of Dr. Pepper and a new manga.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: 13 Sentinels
Top 3 Favorite Games:Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance , South Park: The Stick of Truth, Undertale

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