Horror games are not hard to find, but the best horror games can be elusive. There are so many games that promise a good scare, yet so few deliver, and sometimes when they do, it’s not very good. So we’ve brought together the 15 best horror games to play in 2023 so that you can find your next scare easily.
Top horror games, ranked
15 – Dredge (2023)
Dredge is a horror game that explores psychological horror and deep-seated fears. What makes the game scary is it borrows a lot from HP Lovecraft, who is a master at creating scary worlds and giving the reader a sense of existential dread. The story is thought-provoking, and it takes a unique approach to fear, focusing on the unknown parts of the human psyche. It’s worth trying and is an indie game, so it won’t cost you much.
14 – Sons of the Forest (2023)
Another indie game on the list, Sons of the Forest is a survival horror game set in a mysterious, supernatural forest. The game has cannibals, a four-armed mystery woman, and a companion who seems to want to break everything you make. It’s scary at first and will make you really think about what you’re doing. It has an eerie atmosphere, horrifying creatures, and the constant need for resource management.
It’s a lot of fun with friends, and while I didn’t really enjoy it because of the storyline, I think it’s a game worth trying.
13 – Little Nightmares (2017)
If you’ve never played Little Nightmares yet, you are missing out. It’s a 2.5D side-scrolling survival horror game that follows Six, a young girl who is trapped in the Maw, a mysterious ship full of grotesque creatures. Six has to explore the Maw and find a way to escape while avoiding the creatures that hunt her.
The game’s environments are dark and menacing, and the enemies are truly horrifying. What made it scary for me was that you have to do puzzles while going through this creepy world, and it’s like the idea that you might be killed adds to the thrill and difficulty.
12 – Dead by Daylight (2016)
Dead by Daylight isn’t for everyone, and it’s only as scary as the killer decides to be. You will definitely feel your heart pounding and will want the killer to leave you alone if they do their jobs right. It’s a multiplayer game where four players are survivors trying to escape an area by powering generators, while a fifth player is a killer.
When it’s done right, it’s great, but some players cheese the game to make it unfair, which can make you want to quit. Either way, it’s worth playing with a group of friends because you’re going to have more fun than not.
11 – Until Dawn (2015)
Until Dawn is a cinematic survival horror game that follows a group of teenagers who are trapped in a cabin in the woods. This is like TellTale but better, and you make sure the teenagers work together to survive the night while being hunted by a mysterious killer.
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Your choices matter, and if you mess up or make bad ones, you can very well end up with a bunch of dead teenagers. You’re constantly on edge but the story is really good, so I love it.
10 – The Quarry (2022)
Yeah, I like The Quarry more than I liked Until Dawn, it’s true. It might be because I had a crush on Brenda Song during the Suite Life of Zack and Cody days, but this one is better. The Quarry is a spiritual successor to Until Dawn and features many of the same elements. A group of teenagers are trapped in a remote location and being hunted by a mysterious killer. The game plays like a TellTale experience and has a bunch of consequences for your actions throughout.
Like Until Dawn, the Quarry has a lot of gore and gives you difficult decisions that will normally lead to the death of characters. There are jump scares here, but not overdone.
9 – Phasmophobia (2020)
Play Phasmophobia if you haven’t. What are you doing not playing the game? This is a cooperative horror game where you have to investigate haunted locations as paranormal investigators. The environment and the scare tactics change every game. The ghosts are genuinely terrifying and playing with friends makes it a ton more fun. You legitimately feel like a paranormal investigator, but you also feel so unsafe by the end of each session.
8 – Alan Wake Remastered (2021)
Alan Wake is a psychological horror game about a writer who is struggling to write his next novel. He and his wife go on a vacation to a small town in Washington, but she goes missing shortly after they arrive. It’s then up to Alan to explore the town and unravel the mysteries behind his wife’s disappearance.
It’s a very good horror game and a lot of people like it. It’s not my cup of tea, as I don’t like horror games that give me this much to do. However, it’s got a big fanbase that is itching for more games, so it’s worth trying.
7 – The Evil Within (2014)
I couldn’t finish The Evil Within because I was too scared. I was so scared that I just turned off the TV and didn’t turn the console off until later — that’s how scary this game was to me. Evil Within is a third-person survival horror game that follows Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who is investigating the Beacon Mental Hospital.
Sebastian is knocked unconscious and wakes up in a nightmarish version of the hospital. You have to explore the hospital and survive the area while you look around. There are puzzles, traps, and things that will make you reach for the remote to turn the TV off.
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6 – Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the game that made PewDiePie popular. It’s an older first-person survival horror game where the player takes over Daniel, a man who wakes up with amnesia (I said the thing!). You have to explore a castle and dungeons to piece together your memories while avoiding the monsters that are trying to kill you.
The game is well-known to be scary and to have great puzzles. What makes it even better is the story that you piece together during it. It’s definitely worth playing through if you never have because the way they tell you the story is ironically unforgettable.
5 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
Resident Evil 7 is a first-person survival horror game that follows Ethan Winters as he searches for his missing wife, Mia, in a plantation house inhabited by the Baker family. This game was seen as the return to form for Resident Evil. I played the two before, and I wasn’t impressed. This is Resident Evil how you remember it, a terrifying adventure, not an action zombie game.
What makes Resident Evil 7 scary is its atmosphere and its use of first-person perspective. The game’s environments are claustrophobic and oppressive, and the player feels constantly vulnerable. Also, there is a lot of subversion, as the game reminds you that you are not safe when you believe you are.
4 – Resident Evil Village (2021)
Resident Evil Village is a first-person survival horror game that follows Ethan Winters as he searches for his daughter, Rose, in a village that is inhabited by strange creatures. The game features a variety of horror elements, including jump scares, gore, and disturbing imagery.
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What makes Resident Evil Village scary is its atmosphere and its use of enemies. The game’s environments are dark and atmospheric, and the enemies are truly terrifying. The game also features a variety of boss fights, which are challenging and suspenseful.
3 – Alien: Isolation (2014)
Alien: Isolation is one of the older games on this list, but it’s still unmatched in how it works. You play as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley from the Alien films, as she explores a space station that is being hunted by a Xenomorph. A lot of the elements are the same as the movies, these aliens are killers and you are not. However, it uses AI in a way that no game can match.
The Xenomorph is a truly terrifying creature, constantly stalking the player throughout the game. It adapts to your behavior and actions, and you can’t hide in the same place twice because it will remember how you got past it. The game also gets easier and harder depending on how well you play.
2 – Dead Space (2008)
Dead Space is a well-known name in the horror game genre and my first experience was in a demo that came with Mass Effect 2 on PS3. Dead Space is a third-person survival horror game that follows Isaac Clarke, an engineer who is sent to investigate a mining ship that has gone silent. The ship is infested with Necromorphs, which are mutated human corpses that attack Isaac. They also can’t be killed by conventional means.
So you have to aim well, think ahead, and kill abominations while you can. It’s incredibly dangerous and you don’t even get to pause to work on your inventory. The story is also really top-tier.
1 – Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Yes, we all have our personal choices, and Resident Evil 4 is mine. I know how the game ends despite never finishing it myself because it’s too scary. The game makes such good use of needing to ration your bullets and paired with the difficult aiming, makes it too good. It’s like it wants you to mess up, and you can still find people playing the game today. It’s totally worth trying, and the story is really cool. Leon S. Kennedy has to fight through a remote village to save the president’s daughter. He’ll need to bring her back home and try and survive. It’s really good.
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