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The best horror games to play in 2024

From founding fathers of horror to underrated gems, here are some of the best horror games to sink your teeth into.

Update: We expanded the list to include some excellent indie horror games from the past year that you simply don't want to miss!

2023 has been a great year for horror fans, so if you’re looking to scare yourself silly with some of the best horror games of all time, then you’re in the right place. Halloween has been and gone, but it's always an appropriate time to get cosy and play something spine-tingling. Whether you’re looking to lose sleep for fear of what lurks in the shadows, or you simply want some fear-fuelled laughs, there are an abundance of tremendously terrifying video games out there to try.

Resident Evil is one of the first games I remember, and the countless late nights I had binging horror movies with my dad have granted me an affectionate affinity towards horror as a genre. I’ve also realised that I don’t particularly like being scared, but I do really admire how horror games can make you feel so much at once when they’re done right. I also think monsters and aliens are kinda cool – and that's why horror games, in particular, rule: they can combine all of the above in an interactive, entertaining way.

With that in mind, here’s our list of some of the best horror games of all time (in no particular order) that you can still play today, ranging from recent award winners to some more off the radar titles.

Resident Evil 1, 2, and 7

Resident Evil 1 Remake

  • Released: 2015
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Capcom

Resident Evil 2 Remake

  • Released: 2019
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Capcom

Resident Evil 7

  • Released: 2017
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Capcom

KR: I can’t choose a single Resident Evil game for this list, so I’m going to make mention of a few for different reasons.

Both Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 are horror heroes to this day, and the remakes of each certainly helped immortalise and amplify the outstanding architecture and endless gore they possess, while still remaining faithful to the original games. The original Resident Evil game, and its successor, are arguably some of the founding fathers of the survival horror genre as we know it today.

Resident Evil is one of the founding fathers of horror games.

The third contender that I must make mention to is Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. I can’t begin to describe the relief I felt when I made my way through Biohazard for the first time. Having moved away from the less-than-impressive Resident Evil 5 and 6, Biohazard feels fresh, and is absolutely terrifying.

With Resident Evil 7, Capcom basically said, ‘You want horror? Here’s horror.’ and sent Ethan, a new character, on an adventure that feels eerily like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Shining. It’s a chilling experience from start to finish, especially with Jack and his family on your tail. And it sets you up perfectly for Resident Evil Village – if you want to graduate from horror to action in one quick step. That said, Resident Evil Village is still scary, but its Shadows of Rose DLC really amps up the horror.

While not explicitly on this list, Resident Evil 4 Remake is also a good shout for some more action-fuelled horror fun. Definitely a tad darker than the original 2005 title, it's well worth picking up if you're a fan of Resi.

Silent Hill series

Silent Hill

  • Released: 1999
  • Platforms: PS1, PS3, PC (Emulation)
  • Developer: Konami

Silent Hill 2

  • Released: 2001
  • Platforms: PS2, PC (Emulation)
  • Developer: Konami

KR: A classic brought to us by Keiichiro Toyama, Silent Hill (and its many sequels), will go down in history as some of the best horror games ever. Silent Hill intertwines physical and psychological hell; nothing is as it seems, and every character has plenty of personal demons to face in the desolate town.

There’s a reason Silent Hill remains one of the best horror games ever made.

The entire series hosts frightening enemies that you can only hope never appear in your nightmares. There’s the monstrous manifestation of Alessa’s fears, Double Head, in Silent Hill, the iconic Pyramid Head and Bubble Head Nurses of Silent Hill 2, and the horrifying Valtiel of Silent Hill 3, to name a few memorable encounters.

Most of the Silent Hill games offer great replayability too, if your mind can handle it. Each game has so much subtext, psychological analysis, and deeply embedded references to pop culture at the time that you’ll find yourself becoming a Silent Hill lore goblin sooner or later.

Better yet, there is also a remake of Silent Hill 2 in the works, so now is a better time than ever to revisit the original.

Signalis

  • Released: 2022
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Rose-Engine

Signalis is a fresh horror game that takes inspiration from the classics on this list, primarily Silent Hill and Resident Evil. So much so, that despite visually being a very different game, it evokes some of the same feelings that those late nineties and early noughties horror games once did.

KR: Taking on the role of Elster, who's shuttle has crashed on a remote planet, you wake up with two goals in mind: finding your partner, and finding some answers as to what's going on. Sure enough, you're then thrown into claustrophic corridors packed with enemy units that feel like sci-fi Silent Hill nurses, and industrial noises that are reminiscent of Akira Yamaoka's scoring for the classic series.

Simply put, if you're a fan of Silent Hill, you'll be a fan of Signalis and all the puzzles and secrets there are for you to uncover.

Until Dawn

  • Released: 2015
  • Platforms: PC (via PSN), PS4
  • Developer: Supermassive Games

KR: Until Dawn is the spiritual predecessor to The Dark Pictures Anthology (which itself features other amazing horror titles such as Man of Medan, House of Ashes, and The Devil in Me). Each of these games, including Until Dawn, follows a strong narrative where you must make decisions that impact the outcome of the story and the characters you meet.

Supermassive Games know how to immerse players, making Until Dawn one of the best horror games to try out.

While the newer games mentioned build on the formula of Until Dawn, it’s the 2015 horror game that where it all began. Until Dawn takes the form of a teen slasher, a formula we’re all used to seeing in the likes of cult classic horror movies Friday the 13th and Halloween, and turns it into an interactive, story-based game where you try to keep curious teenagers safe from whatever creature is lurking in the surrounding mountains.

The narrative is familiar, but it encapsulates the classic slasher experience and makes you the director, as you try to keep alive as many characters as possible. Or you can purposefully ensure everything is killed off, you do you.

This title was recently in receipt of a spiritual sequel too. While I think Until Dawn is the better game, I explain a lot more in my review as to why The Quarry is still an absolute ball regardless.

Murder House

  • Released: 2020
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Puppet Combo

KR: Murder House is an ode to the past created by one-man powerhouse developer (and publisher!), Puppet Combo. While Puppet Combo has a lot of horror games worthy of this list, it’s Murder House that has stuck with me for the longest.

Murder House reimagines the PS1 era that is home to some of the best horror games.

As a news crew break into the abandoned home of a serial killer, you’re reminded of VHS eighties horror, and the crew land themselves in some trouble when it becomes apparent that they aren’t the only ones there. Can you make it out alive?

Inspired by the low-poly style of the PS1 era, specifically the likes of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, Murder House is a point-and-click horror escapade that feels incredibly gritty and inherently nineties. The villain also wears a bunny suit while wielding a shotel, which might even remind you of Silent Hill 3.

Dead by Daylight

  • Released: 2016
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Behaviour Interactive

KR: When it comes to multiplayer horror, we are rife with good options, but when it comes to asymmetrical multiplayer horror, we are rife with bad options more than anything else. Dead by Daylight, however, is one of the best asymmetrical multiplayer horror games we’ve seen in recent years. The formula isn’t new, but it’s arguably done a lot better in this game than it is in the Friday the 13th game adaptation.

Dead by Daylight involves some of the biggest villains in the horror genre.

Dead by Daylight pits four survivors against one killer - the killer more often than not being a familiar face from Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, or more recently, The Ring. Much of its content involves licensed collaborations with various horror franchises to bring as many beloved characters to the title as possible, and encountering classic horror villains and protagonists regularly is part of Dead by Daylight’s fun. Oh, and Nicolas Cage is one of the survivors, for some reason, but I'm not complaining.

This one provides plenty of jump scares, although it provides plenty more laughs when playing alongside friends. Dead by Daylight is one of the best ways for any fan of horror cinema to burn off steam. If you're a fan already, or plan on picking up the game, don't forget to check out our page of Dead by Daylight codes, too.

Phasmophobia

  • Released: 2020
  • Platforms: PC
  • Developer: Kinetic Games

KR: Another win for multiplayer horror is Phasmophobia, and this ghost-hunting indie is still regularly having new features added. One day, we might even see it leave early access!

Phasmophobia will make you scream, and is one of the best horror games for facing paranormal activity.

The game has you and your trusty team of paranormal investigators flock to various homes and places (including a prison and a campsite) to seek out what ghosts lurk there. The team here will be your friends (or a random lobby, or nobody, it’s up to you). As you scare yourselves senseless, you’ll find that Phasmophobia is a lot of fun when you’re not being subjected to blood-curdling screams of your scared friends.

Phasmophobia can also be played in VR, making the supernatural experience even more immersive. I’m too much of a scaredy-cat for Phasmophobia in VR personally; it’s hard enough staying alive as it is.

Alien Isolation

  • Released: 2014
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive

KR: Alien Isolation is the 2014 sci-fi horror adapted from Ridley Scott’s iconic 1979 film, Alien. In the game, you find yourself in the claustrophobic environment of a trading station floating in space, with Xenomorph in pursuit of you. As Amanda, Ripley’s daughter, your mission is to not only stay alive, but to also try and find out what happened to your mother when she vanished 15 years ago.

Xenomorph stalks you throughout Alien Isolation, can you handle it?

If there’s any one way to do sci-fi horror, Alien Isolation did it, and they terrified us when they did. You find yourself entirely immersed in the universe of Alien, regularly running and hiding, so you don’t end up as prey in this stealth FPS.

Alien Isolation perfectly encapsulates the classic, Alien, and feels incredibly fresh as fear relies on ever-increasing tension, dread, and unscripted jump scares.

The Outlast series

  • Released: 2013 (Outlast), 2023 (The Outlast Trials)
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (Outlast) | PC (The Outlast Trials)
  • Developer: Red Barrels

KR: The Outlast series has its highs and lows, but fortunately, I’m here to tell you where those high points are. In 2013's Outlast, you are Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist. After receiving an anonymous tip-off that inhumane experiments are going down at Mount Massive Asylum, Miles takes himself to the psychiatric hospital to see what’s going on. Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty.

The front of the police station in The Outlast Trials
Image credit: The Outlast Trials | Red Barrels

From there on out, it’s a terrifying experience from start to finish. It forces you to confront your fears head-on, and you’ll no doubt spend a lot of time simply fleeing homicidal enemies in fear. Its sequel, Outlast 2, doesn’t provide the same thrills, though, so I do recommend giving that one a miss.

If, however, you do enjoy Outlast, The Outlast Trials released in 2023, acting as a multiplayer prequel to the game. This prequel feels a little more action-oriented given its multiplayer format, but you’re placed into the shoes of one of Murkoff Corporation's many unfortunate pawns, forced to be a sleeper agent. It’s good fun, and a great experience after playing the first Outlast.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

  • Released: 2010
  • Platforms: PC, Mac OS, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Frictional Games

KR: I fondly remember my first laptop of my own, and downloading Amnesia: The Dark Descent onto it. The poor laptop fought for its life, but I managed to complete what I’d deem to be an absolute classic when it comes to horror games.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent has been an inspiration behind many of the best modern horror games.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a simple game, with another stereotypical start (you’re an amnesiac who awakes in a strange castle), but its legacy will forever live on. The game arguably kickstarted the careers of multiple YouTubers – one who is known for their fascination with the barrels of Amnesia – and inspired multiple games and budding creatives.

As for the game itself, it’s your job to try to flee from imminent danger if you wish to make it out alive. Regardless of its fame, Amnesia is a frightful experience that’ll leave you wanting, and if that’s the case when The Dark Descent comes to a close, there are dozens of custom, community-made stories to explore.

You want to know what's even better about this pick? Amnesia: Collection is now available on Xbox Game Pass. The collection includes The Dark Descent and its Justine DLC, as well as Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Amnesia: Rebirth is also available on the pass, too! There's also the brand-new Amnesia: The Bunker which is well worth checking out.

SOMA

  • Released: 2015
  • Platforms: PC, Mac OS, PS4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Frictional Games

KR: SOMA comes from Frictional Games, who are, funnily enough, the same team that brought us Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Even more funnily enough, SOMA is also currently on Xbox Game Pass. The sci-fi horror is another classic that explores some of the same themes as Frictional’s prior game: identity, morality, and the differences between mind and body.

SOMA raises so many questions, making it an eerie and intriguing horror game.

In SOMA, you play as Simon Jarrett. Simon has a brain injury from a car accident, and for some reason, agrees to take part in Mr. Munshi’s studies on back-pedalling brain damage. When Simon goes for a scan, he later wakes up in a very different reality. 80 years have passed, human life is nowhere to be found, and the machines have started to think that they’re human.

As Simon attempts to solve the troublesome mystery that he’s found himself a part of, a lot of questions are raised in this psychological horror, and you’ll often find yourself querying what it actually means to be human.

Dead Space

  • Released: 2008
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Visceral Games (previously known as Redwood Shores)

KR: Another sci-fi horror, another disconcertingly quiet spaceship, another win for horror games. The one thing that I consistently see nailed in sci-fi horror is atmosphere and suspense-building, Dead Space is no different in this regard. Let's not neglect the remake of the original 2008 game, either, which brings the USG Ishimura up to date.

Dead Space is one of the best sci-fi horror games that utilises combat.

As Isaac Clarke, you’re searching for your missing girlfriend aboard a seemingly abandoned spaceship. However, you’re (obviously) not alone. Rather than fleeing and hiding from the sight of aliens, coined Necromorphs, Dead Space relies more heavily on combat, making it unique to that of other sci-fi horror games on this list.

Even with a bloodbath of alien dismemberment on your hands, the unnerving nature of Dead Space never falters. Dead Space 2 and 3 are also worthy of a mention, but these games did what Resident Evil 5 and 6 did; they moved away from horror, and leaned more into action elements.

There’s also good news if you haven’t played this yet. A Dead Space remake is on its way, and is expected to arrive in 2023.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

  • Released: 2002
  • Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, PC (Emulation)
  • Developer: Silicon Knights

KR: A sanity mechanic in a horror game wouldn’t be surprising nowadays, but back on the Gamecube, you could argue that it was game-changing (literally). Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was one of the first horror games to make the most of this, and it messes with players in the best way.

Eternal Darkness introduced us to new horror game mechanics, making it one of the best.

While the game, at the time, wasn’t all that successful, it has gone down in history for how unique its gameplay was, and the way in which it tried to psychologically mess with the player. Perhaps the best way in which Eternal Darkness messed with those fortunate enough to play it would be by making them think all of their save files had been deleted in a moment of madness - something that we’ve seen more recent horror games, such as Doki Doki Literature Club, employ since.

This meta-game tactic might not seem fresh right now, but rest assured, Eternal Darkness was the first game to really f**k with its players and make them think their sanity was slipping.

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

  • Released: 2003
  • Platforms: PC (Emulation), PS2, PS3, Xbox
  • Developer: Tecmo

KR: Developer Tecmo struck themselves with the fear after creating Fatal Frame. The fear being that players were not finishing their game because of how scary it was. To overcome this problem, Tecmo placed more of an emphasis on narrative when it came to Fatal Frame 2. By doing this, they could create a horror game so compelling that players would have no choice but to play it to completion.

Fatal Frame 2 oversees you tackling spirits using a camera.

Needless to say, Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly was, and is, a success. Leaning into Japanese folklore, Crimson Butterfly is equal parts haunting and harrowing. You’re Mio, twin sister to Mayu, and you wield a camera as your weapon. In this supernatural horror, you must face your fears directly as you use photography as a means of dispelling spirits and ghouls across Minakami Village.

While focusing on survival isn’t exactly a unique goal across horror, Crimson Butterfly feels a lot more soul-stirring as you attempt to protect your sister first and foremost, and is a game that certainly sticks with you for a long time afterwards. If the game doesn't make you feel some kind of way, the snappy camera angles certainly will.

Little Nightmares

  • Released: 2017
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Tarsier Studios, Supermassive Games

KR: Little Nightmares (and Little Nightmares 2) are both games that truly encapsulate what it means to be a ‘cosy horror’. Both instalments are puzzling platformers with a simple gameplay loop, and through both narrative and design, they're incredibly charming and difficult to put down.

Little Nightmares and Little Nightmares 2 are some of the cosiest yet creepiest horror games of all time.

In Little Nightmares, you are Six, and have somehow ended up in the strange, sinister world of Maw. Hungry, alone, and afraid, you must make your way through various levels and traverse the dark, eerie, and structurally bizarre world of Maw in an attempt to escape.

This title, and its sequel, are both relatively short and sweet. Even as you get accustomed to where danger lurks, Little Nightmares doesn’t become any less spine-tingling, and you’ll never be emotionally prepared for how it ends.

Alan Wake Remastered

  • Released: 2021
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Remedy Entertainment

KR: Alan Wake is a bit cheesy at the best of times, but in the same way that early Resident Evil was. Expect dialogue that is blatantly obvious, and some of the most typical horror tropes of all time, but don’t let it put you off; it’s kind of the whole point, and brings us back to what was a fantastic era for horror.

Alan Wake places you into the shoes of the troubled author. What should be a relaxing trip turns into the frantic search for Wake’s missing wife, and things get supernatural and strange very quickly. This eerie fever dream of a game is fantastic, and the Remastered version packs in its two story expansions, so you’ve plenty of content to play through. Oh, and Alan Wake returns later this year in Alan Wake 2, too.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

  • Released: 2021
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Team Salvato

KR: Honestly, the less that you know about Doki Doki Literature Club, the better. It might look like a romantic visual-novel on the surface, but Doki Doki Literature Club hides some pretty dark secrets. Not just a little bit dark, either. I mean, super dark.

Monika in Doki Doki Literature Club

You’ll start out life in DDLC by going to school, attending literature club, and writing poems for the girls you come to befriend. You’ll be able to choose a favourite, catering your poems to their taste and ultimately building a relationship with them, but you’ll want to be careful.

You really don’t know what consequences your actions might have in this one… and they’re best experienced for yourself in this psychological horror story.

Layers of Fear (2023)

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Bloober Team, Anshar Studios

KR: I was hesitant about mentioning Layers of Fear (2023), because in my review of the remastered game, it turns out that I didn’t actually enjoy most of it. That said, the original Layers of Fear from 2016, which makes up the first act of the 2023 remake, is incredibly strong.

This particular horror game is what you’d call a walking-sim, packed with environmental storytelling and myriad corridors, designed to put you on edge and keep you like that for hours to come. It makes you uneasy, uncertain of reality, and has you piecing together the story slowly but surely. I’d even argue that this game is as close to the P.T. demo as you’re going to get in 2023.

Layers of Fear’s first story, The Artist, whisks you away into a beautiful mansion packed with a dark, troubling history. The never-ending nightmare that is The Artist’s story is a great, short experience I’d recommend to everyone, especially those with a keen interest in art!

That said, Layers of Fear’s sequel (which makes up the latter half of the remake, plus some new additions) is a let down. I definitely recommend picking up Layers of Fear (2016) if you can, but if you’re particularly curious about Bloober Team’s endeavours, the 2023 remake which combines both Layers of Fear and Layers of Fear 2 might be up your street.

The Mortuary Assistant

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Bloober Team, Anshar Studios

KR: Role-playing as a mortuary assistant is pretty creepy as it is. I know someone has to do it, but still. The Mortuary Assistant throws you into a job embalming corpses, but in this particular mortuary, things are not as simple as they seem.

River Fields Mortuary is privy to some terrifying, supernatural forces. When you’re called into work late one night to handle some last-minute embalmings, this becomes all the more apparent. You no longer have to solely embalm bodies, but help banish demons, and hopefully, survive.

There’s quite an interesting story at play in The Mortuary Assistant, and this game is one that you might find yourself doing multiple playthroughs of…

The Evil Within

  • Released: 2014
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
  • Developer: Tango Gameworks

KR: The Evil Within comes from the wonderful mind of Shinji Mikami and the studio he founded, Tango Gameworks, who directed the original Resident Evil. He also produced Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and many more, so you know that you’re in safe hands with The Evil Within.

The Evil Within is survival horror at its finest. You’ll spend most of your time playing this game simply questioning what the f**k is going on, and that’s why it’s so great. The Evil Within does its very best to provide you with an immersive, deeply horrifying experience. What it lacks technically, it makes up for in atmosphere. It’s definitely a tad aged by now, but if you have a Resident Evil itch to scratch, and also fancy something a little more paranormal, give The Evil Within (and The Evil Within 2!) a whirl.

Scorn

  • Released: 2022
  • Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Ebb Software

KR: Scorn is a strange game with little direction, and that’s what makes it such an entrancing horror experience. This survival horror game will see you prodding various fleshy crevices and placing your hands into many slimy holes in an alien world as you try to figure out what the hell you’re even doing.

I will warn you that Scorn is very confusing, and pretty tough. All storytelling in this game is done via the inextricably detailed environment, and that means you might find yourself running around in circles often (or delving into my walkthrough!). Don’t let this put you off, as this incredibly eerie experience in a world inspired by H. R. Giger is incredibly interesting to explore, and it’s troublesome puzzles are so satisfying to finally complete.

I will warn you, though, if you venture through Scorn and begin hoping for answers; stop. Scorn won’t give you any answers, and instead puts it on the player to determine their own meaning of the bizarre goings-on in this world. This definitely puts some players off, but if you have some time and patience for Scorn, it’s a unique horror experience that you won’t be forgetting about anytime soon.

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
  • Developer: Square Enix

RJ: As is so often the case with visual novels, the less you know about Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo before you play it, the better. It's incredibly hard to talk about this game in anything but broad strokes without giving something vital away, so my best advice is: go play it, and it feels like slow going at first, make sure you stick with it until the thing happens. Trust me, you'll know.

A woman named Yoko stares in fear at the player, pointing at something behind them and screaming incoherently.
Image credit: Square Enix

If you need more reasons than just my say-so, consider the beautifully realised setting in 1980s Sumida, a ward of Tokyo that gets a lot less love in fiction than some other, more iconic and bustling areas of the city. I love a bit of mundane horror, and this lower-middle-class manufacturing district is as ordinary as it gets, which makes the outbreak of deadly paranormal curses that much more unnerving.

I will also say that even though Paranormasight telegraphs its jump scares well enough that any experienced horror aficionado will see them coming, they still have the power to get you good. But it's the creeping dread you feel even in a pleasant city park in the middle of a sunny day that is Paranormasight's real horror achievement.

Dredge

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Black Salt Games

RJ: One of the breakout indie games of 2023, Dredge unites a couple of simple and popular concepts in a way that's as fresh as the catch of the day. Lovecraftian horror and fishing games are both very in vogue at the moment, but Black Salt Games took the themes of the former and married them with the gameplay of the latter. That's where Dredge broke the mould, and was rewarded by becoming one of the most successful single-player indies ever, selling a million copies within six months of launch.

A lighthouse on a rock looms against a sky of black clouds and windswept dark forests, while a small fishing boat struggles on a choppy green sea. Below the surface of the water, a red-eyed fish with dangerous-looking sharp teeth draws close to the boat.
Image credit: Black Salt Games / Team 17

As the new fisherman hired to trawl the waters of a remote island chain, it quickly becomes apparent that something is very wrong in town. Most of the locals seem resistant to going out on the water themselves, but will happily commission you to go looking for a valuable item, a keepsake from a lost loved one, or a very special catch on top of your regular day job duties. Just don't take your boat out at night; you've seen those strange lights out at sea, after all...

Slay the Princess

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
  • Developer: Black Tabby Games

RJ: Fans of meta horror visual novels and dark romance in equal measure should be sure not to miss out on Slay the Princess. You play the hero: a brave fellow out to prevent a world-ending catastrophe. The twist? The beautiful princess locked up in the dark dungeon isn't an innocent prisoner; she's the very catalyst of evil that needs to be destroyed in order to save the world. Or is she? Can you really trust the voice in your head that says she needs to die?

The Princess wistfully tells the Hero that they might meet again in another life. The Hero's clawed hand is extended towards her from a first-person POV.
Image credit: Black Tabby Games

As you progress through multiple variations on the same short story, you'll begin to uncover clues to the terrible secret underlying this fairytale world, as well as witness a love story developing against overwhelming odds. Sometimes gory, sometimes psychological, but always compelling, it shouldn't surprise you that Slay the Princess emerged as the cult indie horror hit of the tail end of 2023.

Lily's Well

  • Released: 2022
  • Platforms: PC
  • Developer: PureIceBlue

RJ: Lily's Well is so faithfully retro in its pixellated graphical style that it can be quite hard on the eyes at times, but given the often grim subject matter, you'll find yourself feeling grateful that you can't see all the gory details. The story starts out simple enough: a young girl, home alone at night, hears a voice coming from the bottom of the well in the garden. Being a nice kid (if entirely too trusting and evidently completely genre-blind), she sets about making a rope out of various items she finds lying around the house and its environs, intending to rescue the person in trouble.

In an extremely retro pixel art image, a young girl with bright pink hair stands on a bridge across a river on a dark and rainy night. To the north of her, on the other side of the bridge, is a shed or shack.
Image credit: PureIceBlue

By the end of the game, though, you'll have uncovered a tangled conspiracy to rival that of Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation, not to mention died dozens of times in a trial-and-error investigation process that's actually essential to figuring out the wider story. Bearing in mind that the protagonist is a nine-year-old child, this can be too much for some people to stomach, but this isn't mere shock for shock's sake, and the payoff has earned Lily's Well an extremely positive reception.

Alan Wake 2

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • Developer: Remedy Entertainment

KR: I spoke about how amazing Alan Wake 2 is at length in my review, but if you missed it, this is one of the best horror games of recent years. It's got all the atmosphere of Silent Hill while being entirely unique. Remedy Entertainment has really made a mark on the industry when it comes to creating fascinating, bizarre, but wholly entertaining games, and Alan Wake 2 is it's best. There's no telling what Remedy is capable of doing next.

Saga Anderson in Alan Wake 2 aims at a cult member in a run-down convenience store. The only light is a flashlight in her hands, and the cultist weilds a fire axe.
Image credit: Remedy Entertainment

Alan Wake 2 expands on its 2010 predecessor, Alan Wake, and is a real delight to those who are already fans of Remedy's games. You'll step into the troubled authors shoes alongside new protagonist, FBI agent Saga Anderson, as you strive to get to the bottom of what The Dark Place is and its hold on the peculiar town of Bright Falls. Packed with new mechanics and layers you won't be able to stop peeling back, Alan Wake 2 is a real trip.

Combat is better than ever before, you get to play the role of detective amidst some terrifying scares (and more comical moments, in true Alan Wake style), and of course, the game is just beautiful. It's got some rather high specs to keep in mind, but if your PC or console can keep up, there's no game I'd recommend more to any horror fan than Alan Wake 2.

Lethal Company

  • Released: 2023
  • Platforms: PC
  • Developer: Zeekerss

KR: Lethal Company comes from solo developer, Zeekerss, and is quite an impressive feat for just one person. Having developed games for Roblox previously, Zeekerss took the plunge and Lethal Company was launched in Early Access on Steam on October 23, 2023. It took no time at all for people to have some goofy fun with it, and for the game to climb Steam's top sellers charts.

The player faces two other players in a small room in Lethal Company, with a 'Systems Online' notification shown on the screen
Image credit: Zeekerss

In Lethal Company, you and your friends are tasked with retrieving scrap from different abandoned moons that you'll be travelling to, but it isn't that simple. Each moon is riddled with monsters that will try to steal your scrap and kill you. Your goal is to find scrap and survive, but it rarely goes as planned. With prxomity chat involved and some of the silliest running animations I've seen, you'll find yourself equal parts scared and amused while playing this survival horror co-op game.

Honourable mentions

There are certainly some outstanding games that didn’t quite make this list, not for any particular reason or fault, but solely because we’d be here for weeks if we tried to discuss them all.

Kelsey's honourable mentions go to: Returnal, Bloodborne, P.T., Eternal Darkness, Limbo, Inside, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Parasite Eve, Milk Inside A Bag Of Milk Inside A Bag Of Milk, Slender: The Arrival, Metro Exodus, Oxenfree, Darkwood, Left 4 Dead 2, Visage

Rebecca's honourable mentions go to: Danganronpa series, Detention, Sucker For Love, Dark Deception, The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories, Rusty Lake series, Simulacra, Song of Horror, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, My Friendly Neighborhood, Anemoiapolis, The Letter, Mundaun, Ghostwire: Tokyo, I'm on Observation Duty

That’s all from us, but we’d love to hear what you think the best horror games of all time are. Be sure to let us know! In the meantime, check out our compilation of 50 of the best FPS games of all time or if that's not to your liking, take a look at some of the best co-op games of all time instead.

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