Horror gaming has evolved a lot since the times we used to trick our friends into playing Scary Maze and then had them temporarily hate us with intense passion. In fact, you can hardly consider an online jumpscare based game a proper horror gaming experience, can’t you? Today, there are many scary games to play that will fully immerse you and send chills down your spine. Free or not free, recent or old, these are the 10 Scary Games To Play That You Will Remember.
Photo Courtesy of Bloober Team
#10 Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear is the ideal starting point for anyone who hasn’t crossed paths with that the gaming horror genre has to offer. In an age where frightening games are being massively produced, the two factors that can help one stand out are originality and the story. In this game, the premise is centered on a paranoid war veteran turned painter who seeks to create the perfect piece of art.
Played in first person, you control the protagonist through a familiar, yet surreal, setting as he searches for the right elements to integrate into his painting. Rich in creative puzzles, great twists, fantastic imagery, and a story cloaked in mystery, Layers of Fear delivers what its title promises – progressive feelings of dread knocking at the back of your head.
Photo Courtesy of K Monkey
#9 Dungeon Nightmares
This may seem like an odd choice, given how Dungeon Nightmares is an indie horror game. Don’t be deluded, though; there are plenty of indie games that manage to outshine many paid and professionally produced ones. This work isn’t for the lighthearted, as it heavily relies on sudden scares and palpitation-inducing chase scenes.
In Dungeon Nightmares, the player must navigate a darkened maze-like dungeon and find an escape. This happens every day for a whole week and the more progress you make, the more difficult the game gets. This game is a true nightmare, as you must carefully preserve your sprinting, search for a key, pick up candles, and escape the monstrous creatures that are trying to kill you.
Photo Courtesy of Konami
#8 Silent Hill 2
The Silent Hill franchise is, by all means, a direct equivalent of scary games. Having established the horror genre in gaming as we know it today, it’s packed with iconic creatures and a theme that has yet to be reproduced quite as masterfully by other game developers.
The second installment of the series is probably its best, as it features some of the most threatening monsters in the franchise. Despite that, the thing that protagonist Jason Sunderland needs to fear most in the misty town of horrors is his own demons, all materialized into a nightmare-inducing reality.
Photo Courtesy of Supermassive Games
#7 Until Dawn
The recently released Until Dawn took the world of gaming by storm with its outstandingly realistic graphics, the return of the third-person POV, and with its genius usage of the so-called “butterfly effect.”
The game features a series of protagonists that faithfully represent stereotypical horror genre characters in an equally stereotypical setting. The player controls them all in turns, from time to time being asked to make choices or perform quick-time events. While the scares and graphic violence are definitely up there, what truly makes this game nerve-wracking is the fact that your decisions have an irrefutable impact on the fate of the characters.
Photo Courtesy of Kojima Productions
Despite having been released only as a demo for the sadly canceled Silent Hills, P.T. managed to instill enough dread in our hearts even without having a follow-up. The masterful minds of Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima hurtled players into an ultra-realistic house of horrors which prickled at every single nerve we had.
Don’t expect any answers to the mysteries in this game, as the puzzles are incredibly specific and difficult, and their apparent solving is going to leave you more confused than in the beginning. One thing’s for sure – P.T. completely shattered the belief that modern horror games have become predictable.
Photo Courtesy of Frictional Games
Frictional Games has established itself as the studio with the best atmospheric horror games. Soma may not be wholly a horror game, but it definitely makes you think that it is.
The game is a surreal story-based adventure through some abandoned underwater facilities, packed with heavy themes such as human condition, existence, depression, suicide, and identity. When monsters come crawling around the corner, you can definitely feel the blood freeze in your veins. And even when they don’t, the unsettling atmosphere is going to leave you constantly glancing over your shoulder.
Photo Courtesy of Creative Assembly & Sega
#4 Alien: Isolation
Remember how incredibly scary we all found the Alien to be? Well, then, now you get to be personally hunted down by it. The famous Alien came to our gaming consoles, riddled with thrills and excitement (but not of the good kind).
When you’re stranded on a ship that stopped functioning in the middle of space, what’s there to do? Try to find an escape, obviously. But this task is made even more difficult by the presence of the Alien, which possesses intelligence high enough to let you know that, in this game, you actually need to be careful.
Photo Courtesy of Scott Cawthon
#3 Five Nights at Freddy’s
It’s difficult to believe someone who says they’ve never heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s. A game that skillfully blends jump-scares with a sense of helplessness and slow build-up, its sense of dread is only matched by the multitude of conspiracies and theories around it.
You play as the night shift guard at Freddy Frazbear’s Pizzeria, a place where the ever so entertaining animal animatronics are free to roam when the sun goes down. The downside? They’re trying to kill you and stuff your body into one of the suits. Could this be any worse? Yes, as all you can do is stand still, close doors, and be careful not to run out of power.
Photo Courtesy of Red Barrels
One of the best releases following the Amnesia craze, Outlast is an incursion into a world of shock, gore, cruelty, jump-scares, and blood-chilling chase scenes.
Playing as a journalist who has come to investigate the Mount Massive Asylum, rumored to be performing abominable experiments on its patients, players must infiltrate the building and then, once trapped in, escape it. This obviously isn’t as easy as it seems, given that the asylum is crawling with psychotic patients that are our on murder rampages and a supernatural ghost-like entity.
Photo Courtesy of Frictional Games
#1 Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Frictional Games’ best release up to date, The Dark Descent wasn’t just a door opener for PewDiePie and other YouTubers whose gaming careers were launched through a playthrough of this game. It was a door opener for a new era in horror games.
The premise of the game seems relatively simple, with players navigating a Victorian castle in the shoes of Daniel, a man with no memories of his life. As you explore the game, you discover Daniel’s true identity, his reason for being there, and his relation to Alexander, the castle’s baron, and the horrors lurking within its walls. Amnesia reinvented the genre through its atmosphere, the slow building of the dread, the excellent timing, and the overall ingenious use of primal human fears. It was the first game to introduce the concept of helplessness to the horror genre, with players being unable to do anything but run and hide.