TW: The games on this list have pretty intense themes and graphics. Try at your own risk!
Halloween is inching closer, and we know a lot of you are hyped. I’m personally not that excited because one, Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday (sue me) and I’m not quite the horror fan either. This repellency on gore and blood is no thanks to Chucky for being my childhood nightmare fuel.
But I do find myself intrigued by the genre, mostly in the media I like consuming. I’ve grown to like thriller webtoons (at least, the ones that don’t make my phone vibrate), and I found out I can stomach some horror movies at best. There’s a treasure trove of horror potential in video games as well, with many of your fave streamers shitting their pants on camera playing the likes of Amnesia, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Outlast.
If you’re quite the scaredy cat and can only handle a few high definition jumpscares in your life, here are a few games that utilize other game aspects to induce equally eerie vibes.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
It’s like Among Us with a bit of “Hunger Games” sprinkled in there. A sadistic bear has trapped your character, a new student, along with a bunch of other high school students, and the only way to get out (or “graduate” in-game) is to kill everyone else. But don’t get caught doing it―every time someone dies, the remaining students will vote out the culprit. Guess correctly and the culprit gets executed. If they guess wrong, the culprit is set free and everyone else dies.
Try this game if you’re a bit iffy about seeing blood but intrigued by psychological horror. Each execution is different than the last: some are quick and painless, while some are just pure torture.
Forests are often the choice of setting for many horror movies―a camping gone wrong, a bunch of friends trekking the scary woods for fun or even just your typical cryptidcore adventure. In this survival indie game, you play as a scientist trapped in the woods by a demon. The graphics are sketchy (both in the literal and figurative way) and the goal is simple enough: To not die (obviously) so you have to use what you can around you to survive, even if it means eating that monster you just slayed.
Literally any Rusty Lake game
If you’ve ever played an escape room game, you know that stressful feeling of going back and forth between puzzles, trying everything until you finally get something moving. It’s like that with Rusty Lake’s games, with the graphics, music and storyline amping up the creepy vibe. The devs even dropped some hints across the games, connecting them to each other for clues on additional content.
The Witch’s House
Don’t be fooled by games in pixel art. It might look reminiscent of your Gameboy faves, but this 16-bit horror game isn’t even the least bit close to Harvest Moon. You play as a girl named Viola, who wakes up in the middle of a forest and a really sketchy house nearby. Common sense will tell you to go to the house for some tools or something, but you soon fall into a spiral of events deeper than the illusion of an abandoned house. Be aware of some body switching, demon contracts and maybe one or two (or more) jumpscares. Don’t worry, they’re not like Phasmophobia jumpscares.
Like The Witch’s House, this game is a horrorfest dressed in cute pixel art. As the main character Aya, you try to uncover the mystery of your father’s sketchy laboratory while trying to escape the man himself. Don’t get caught, lest you wish to go down the bad ending route―it involves dolls, a chainsaw and, well, a mad father.
In this stealth game, you try infiltrating the house of your middle-aged neighbor, who seems to be hiding something in his basement. The house has more secrets than the basement though, and there’s something more to the neighbor than a paranoid man living alone. This isn’t the usual kind of horror with monsters and ghouls haunting you, instead you have an angry man who chases you down when he sees you, and knows your moves every time you try again after some fails.
Careful about messing with that Ouija board, ’cause it’s all fun and games till you encounter actual tortured souls. This indie Japanese game follows a group of high school students who did a cursed ritual for funsies but ended up getting trapped in an alternate world, tormented by souls of children who met tragic ends. They have to piece together the mystery of how these children died, if they want to keep their sanity.
Still from Mad Father