Little Nightmares is a great example of a game that manages to inspire fear and disgust without using traditional blood and gore.
The game puts you in control of a young girl called Six and has you navigate a a frightening world that’s far too big for her, populated by a wide array of giant and grotesque creatues.
You don’t have to fight these creatures, you just have to sneak around world and hide to get past them in what is absolutely a platforming puzzle game.
Little Nightmares is a great horror game in that it perfectly creates a feeling of helplessness while making it clear that you’re capable of escaping. It takes familiar and the domestic areas of the home which should be comforting and turns them on their head by making them repulsive and unsafe.
Little Nightmares can be played now on PC, Xbox One and PS4
Resident Evil 7
After so long away, Resident Evil’s return could have been something of a disaster but fortunately for fans of the series the seventh installment was a great success.
Resident Evil 7 was a much needed breath of fresh air for the series, bringing in a modern understanding of both horror movies and games while managing to retain that very distinct Resident Evil feel.
By moving the perspective from third to first person it also made the fear feel closer and more immediate and it also made it possible to include a genuinely frightening VR experience to the game.
With a great story and tight gameplay, Resident Evil 7 was the addition to the horror series we all wanted and feared we would get. Read our full review here.
You can play Resident Evil on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Slender: The Eight Pages
Released in mid-2012, Slender is based around long pauses followed by sudden movements that are totally unexpected. In other words: jump scares. Essentially, it is a horror film in video game form. It’s a bit cheap, but – boy – does it work.
Your mission is simple: Don’t get killed, collect the eight pieces of a book and run. The “thing” pursuing you – known as Slender Man (directly inspired by the meme) – is a faceless, eerily (unnaturally) lanky man in a pinstriped suit.
Basically, he’s the perfect horror game villain.
The game relies heavily around the player having virtually no resources beyond a flashlight and the ability to jog. Naturally, both of which are limited for obvious reasons, making escape all the more difficult.
Overall, Slender is a fun, not-so-clever horror game that is guaranteed to scare you senseless nevertheless.
You can play Slender: The Eight Pages on Windows and OS X.
Outlast and Outlast 2, developed by Red Barrels Studio, are now must-plays in the horror genre. Both games put players in control of investigative journalists but while the first is set in an asylum for the insane, the sequel takes place in the much more open location of a dilapidated rural part of Northern Arizona.
What helps make the Outlast games, well, last is that they follow a cardinal rule of horror games: don’t empower your players too much, otherwise it’s no longer a horror game.
Offering a refreshing break from zombies and aliens, Outlast and its sequel are fine games to play if you want a longer – and arguably scarier – break from your average gun-toting jump scare-fest.
You can play Outlast and Outlast 2 on Xbox One, PS4, Windows, OS X and Linux.
SOMA, released in 2015 by Amnesia developer Frictional Games, is a thoughtful – and thought-provoking – game that could easily be considered an interactive film. Are you sensing a theme here at all?
The game contains neither zombies nor aliens, but instead a shift between 2015 and 2104, when humans have been wiped out by a comet and what’s left of humanity must fight to survive underwater in an abandoned research facility gone rogue.
While SOMA may not be as outright scary as, say, Amnesia, it is still a fantastic game, thanks to its brooding atmosphere, surprisingly fresh subject matter (for horror games) and incredible audio design.
You can play SOMA on PS4, Windows, OS X and Linux.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
As the name would suggest, this game is about forgetting things – but the only thing the player will not forget is how damn scary this game is. The game is based around a series of puzzles, which the player can opt-out of with dramatic consequences (usually a gruesome death).
Made by Frictional Games and preceding SOMA, Amnesia follows a protagonist – i.e. you, from the first person perspective – trying to figure out what is going on after waking up in a torturous dungeon. If you don’t, you get slaughter by some disgusting, slack-jawed humanoid creature, and that’s that.
Our friends at PC Format once said, “[it] isn’t a game, [but] a trip into the human psyche’s darker spaces. Not for the faint of heart, but horror junkies will lap it up.” You can’t really give much higher praise than that.
You can play Amnesia: The Dark Descent on Windows, OS X and Linux.
The Evil Within
The Evil Within comes from the mind behind Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami and if that doesn’t give you reason enough to pick it up, we’re not sure what will. This is a third-person survival horror that’ll pull you into a nightmarish world populated by grotesque and frightening enemies.
Now is a great time to pick this title up, too, as there’s a sequel coming on October 13 2017 which will see its protagonist return in a new and sure to be equally as terrifying story. You can read everything we know about The Evil Within 2 right here.
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