The best horror games offer a delicate, rare blend of tropes.
Whether you prefer first-person classics that honor the hallowed era of jump scares, co-op teen slashers fresh from the 80s, or still love kicking it with Leon Kennedy in the best Resident Evil games, horror is an eclectic genre – and that’s why we love it.
Following the announcements of a Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil 4 remake, it’s safe to say that survival horror is finally seeing a resurgence in popularity. Horror games were all the rage in the 90s, but the best games of the genre have lasting appeal. From gory Japanese horror to indie hits such as Inside and The Mortuary Assistant, there’s something on this list for everyone.
The team behind the Dead Space series, for example, has sustained their interest in horror games. Whilst we await a remake of Isaac Clarke’s adventures, its spiritual successor The Callisto Protocol is sure to whet our appetites for more intergalactic, gory goodness
Not all horror games have to be brimming with violence and viscera, however. If creepy visuals and the fear of the unknown are enough to make your blood run cold, there are also plenty of games on this list for you. Ghosts, zombies, or good old-fashioned creature features galore, your tastes in horror can be highly personal and we appreciate that.
Ready to stalk the shadows of your wildest nightmares? Let’s scope out the best horror games.
Best horror games
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia and PS4
Little Nightmares is a great example of a game that manages to inspire fear and disgust without using blood and gore.
The game puts you in control of a young girl called Six, who has to navigate a frightening world that’s far too big for her, populated by a wide array of giant and grotesque creatures.
Six is just a small girl, so instead of fighting these creatures, you sneak past them. You are sneaking around however, in levels designed for platforming, adding an additional layer of gameplay to the experience.
these sequences can be fiddly, but Little Nightmares is a great horror game because it perfectly creates a feeling of helplessness while making it clear that you’ve still got ways to escape. It takes familiar domestic areas that should be comforting and turns them on their head by making them repulsive and unsafe for Six to travel through.
Little Nightmares also got a sequel with an all-new protagonist which, while a great game in its own right, couldn’t replicate the tension of the first one.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC
The Evil Within series comes from Shinji Mikami, the mind behind Resident Evil – and if that doesn’t give you enough of a reason reason to pick it up, it’s nightmarish world liklely will.
This is a third-person survival horror that’ll pull you into a nightmarish world populated by grotesque and frightening enemies, the type of game Mikami has become famous for and has spent much of his career with, mixed with dashes of psychological horror – protagonist Sebastian Castellanos never quite knows what’s real and what’s a horror cooked up by his own mind.
In some ways, it’s regular horror fare: a town shrouded in darkness, a creepy facility, and a character looking for their loved one. However, the way The Evil Within 2 won many fans with its Resident Evil-esque blend of horror, action and helplessness fuelled by a lack of resources.
Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Stadia (Android and iOS too but the experience isn’t the same)
Dead By Daylight stands out in this list for being a horror multiplayer experience: in this game, a single player takes on the role of a savage serial killer while four others flee for their lives.
It’s a thrilling twist on usual PvP combat, with a host of original characters each with their own advantages in play as either a Survivor or Killer. There are plenty of tricks and strategies to execute in each map, with a character progression system that should keep you coming back.
For the horror junkies out there, you can also unlock or download characters from Saw, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Not only is Dead By Daylight one of our favorite horror games, but it’s also one of the best crossplay games right now.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC – also on Xbox Game Pass
Dead Space, published by EA and developed by Visceral Games, is perpetually among the best horror games for many players. The story, first set on an abandoned space vessel (duh), takes terrifying twists and turns – most of which involve zombified aliens waiting around said turns.
Following the formula established by Ridley Scott’s classic ‘Alien’ certainly helped – besides, the first Alien game to pull it off didn’t release for another few years.
All in all, Dead Space was one of the pioneering horror games of the modern , reannaissance of horror games. Its success comes down to some simple tenants: a compelling story, believable visuals and proper pacing. The games are a bit difficult to get to for anyone who doesn’t own a later generation console or Xbox Game Pass, but fear not – work on a Dead Space remake is underway.
And while we recommend the first game for the purest horror experience, you’re bound to get a kick out of its two mainline sequels too.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, Amazon Luna and PS4 (and PSVR)
Resident Evil 7 was a breath of fresh air for an increasingly stale series, bringing in a modern understanding of both horror movies and games while managing to retain that very distinct Resident Evil feel.
Moving the perspective from third to first person made the fear feel closer and more immediate, while leading the way 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 wouldn’t get. The success of the game, along with the recent remakes of earlier titles in the series, gained the series a lot of new fans.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC, Xbox One, iOS and Mac
The minds behind Limbo gave us a game that wasn’t so much about horror, but more about unease. They had used the image of a small child in an unfamiliar and hostile place before in order to make our skin crawl, but Inside goes a step further.
This is a game that is as visually haunting as it is creepy, as tense as it is intriguing. Here, you have to solve puzzles and sneak your way past anything that could mean you harm, something this game has in common with the Little Nightmares series. Even without gore or deformed monsters, Inside is a truly scary games, and one of our games of the generation. If you like playing from a child’s perspective and enjoy the mystery of the unknown, this is a game for you.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC – also on Xbox Game Pass
Of the countless games to use this precious creative license over the years, developer Creative Assembly is the first to actually create a game that lives up to it. The game takes place 15 years following the events of the 1979 Ridley Scott film, putting players into the space boots of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda Ripley.
Taking on a first-person perspective and squaring you off with a single xenomorph hunting you across a vast space station in darkness, Isolation nails what it felt like watching the film for the first time. The vibe makes it so deserving of the title of one of the best horror games, and Isolation feels as if you’re playing through the movie.
Throw in the excruciatingly-clever artificial intelligence afforded to the alien, along with an absolutely gripping virtual reality experiment, and you have the trappings of a modern horror classic.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC
Another one from Supermassive Games, the studio which has proven a particular affinity to teen slasher horror.
The Quarry is one of the best horror games because it’s great at the same things that made its spiritual predecessor Until Dawn so good. The Quarry sees you taking control of nine unlucky teenage campers who find themselves struggling to survive unspeakable horrors of all kinds as an impromptu final night of partying goes south.
The quarry is not only the backdrop but something our protagonists become over the course of the narrative. As they’re being hunted, it’s your quick wits and decision-making that’ll help them stick it out, or meet a sticky end.
There are plenty of famous faces and veteran of the horror genre in this interactive horror, including Ariel Winter, David Arquette, Justice Smith and Ted Raimi.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Android, Xbox One, PC and Mac
Amnesia is one of the best horror games (and series) of all time, with the first game in the series, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, proving to be one of the most terrifying games we’ve ever played.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re being chased by a monster and have no means of defending yourself. All you can do is run for your life, and at best, slam a few doors in its face to slow it down. Perhaps you can barricade yourself in if you’ve got the right tools, but essentially you know that if you’re caught, you’re dead. That’s the terrifying gist of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a game that also saps away at your player’s sanity if they’re exposed to darkness for too long. Good thing there’s plenty of light to shield you from the darkness, then. Oh wait… there isn’t.
Although Amnesia: The Dark Descent was first released for PC back in 2010, you can pick up the whole collection for current-gen platforms. The Amnesia Collection is made up of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, its Amnesia: Justine expansion and the sequel, A Machine for Pigs, but our favorite remains Dark Descent.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC
Resident Evil 2 Remake is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a remake of the classic ’90s horror Resident Evil 2. If you played the original, and didn’t think it could get any better, then get ready to be proved wrong – one of the best horror games got even better. In fact, our full Resident Evil 2 Remake review called it a “stone-cold classic that just cemented its legacy”.
Resident Evil 2 Remake elevates the grandeur of the original game into a masterful modern survival horror experience. This wonderful remake is the epitome of mature modern horror, offering puzzles, zombies, heart-pumping action and a finely detailed environment that demands exploration.
And thanks to a second playthrough offering a different character experience, it’ll keep you terrified for hours.