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Best horror games: the scariest games to play right now

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best horror games: Amanda Ripley from Alien Isolation on a blue background
(Image credit: Future/Sega)

We have the best horror games on one handy list. From first-person classics from the era of jump scares to teen horror all the way to the best Resident Evil games, all different types of horror have their place here.

While horror games aren’t as popular as they were in the 90s or even their indie revival in the 2010s, the best horror games have lasting appeal, whether you’re into Japanese horror or indie hits such as Inside are  more your thing.

The team behind the Dead Space series for example has never stopped loving horror games, and while we wait for a remake of Isaac Clarke’s adventures for current platforms, there will be the spiritual successor Callisto Protocol for horror fans to enjoy.

Of course not every type of horror game has to be gory – if creepy visuals or the fear of the unknown in general are enough to make you shiver in anticipation, there are also plenty of games for you. Ghost, zombies or fantastical beast are just as much of a danger to the protagonists of the best horror games as other humans are.

Make yourself comfortable in front of the platform of your choice and discover the best horror games old and new right after perusing our guide.

Best horror games

best horror games – Little Nightmares protagonist Six walking down a dark corridor

Little Nightmares (Image credit: Tarsier Studios)

Little Nightmares

Escape The Maw

Reasons to buy

+
Unique art style 
+
Terrifying world and characters
+
Clever puzzles

Reasons to avoid

-
Platforming is often clunky

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.

best horror games – The Evil Within 2 character looking towards a large eye in the sky floating above a building

The Evil Within 2 (Image credit: Tango Gameworks)

The Evil Within 2

A great horror game evolved

Reasons to buy

+
Unsettling adversaries 
+
Solid storytelling
+
Explore at your own pace 

Reasons to avoid

-
Newcomers may struggle with the story

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. 

best horror games – View of the serial killer in Dead by Daylight from behind

Dead by Daylight (Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

Dead by Daylight

Tap into your killer instinct

Reasons to buy

+
Straightforward premise
+
Good variety of characters
+
Licensed killers available to buy

Reasons to avoid

-
Can become repetitive
-
Buggy at times

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.

best horror games – Dead Space protagonist Isaac pointing his cutter weapon at a monster

Dead Space (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

The Dead Space series

No one can hear you scream in space

Reasons to buy

+
Compelling story
+
Good pacing
+
Believable visuals

Reasons to avoid

-
Dead Space 3 isn't as good as the first two

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.

best horror games – a ghostly old woman in Resident Evil 7 looking straight at you

Resident Evil 7 (Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil gets its mojo back

Reasons to buy

+
Truly, viscerally scary
+
Haunted house setting is gleefully disgusting
+
Excellent voice acting
+
Great in VR too

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow movement

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.

best horror games – Boy trying to avoid detection by two adults in a building

Inside (Image credit: Playdead)

Inside

You'll never forget what lurks inside Inside

Reasons to buy

+
Great platforming action
+
Unsettling, unique atmosphere
+
Brain-bending puzzles

Reasons to avoid

-
Short

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.

best horror games – First-person view of the player shooting at the Alien in Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation (Image credit: Sega)

Alien: Isolation

Terrifying and unforgettable

Reasons to buy

+
Claustrophic environments 
+
Non-stop tension
+
Captures film's essence

Reasons to avoid

-
Alien AI can be annoying
-
Facial animations are a bit janky

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.

best horror games – the Quarry box art with the cast sitting around a campfire

(Image credit: 2K)
Canny valley

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous visuals
+
Actors give brilliant performances
+
QTEs feel natural
+
Buckets of replay value

Reasons to avoid

-
Not terribly scary
-
Clunky movement controls
-
Missable collectibles may frustrate

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.

best horror games – first-person view at a hand holding a lantern, shining a light onto a figure in a dark room

Amnesia (Image credit: Frictional Games)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

The pinnacle of horror

Reasons to buy

+
Makes you feel vulnerable
+
Clever puzzles
+
Terrifying monsters and sound effects

Reasons to avoid

-
Sanity meter and graphics are outdated

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.

best horror games – Claire Redfield points her gun at Mr. X

Resident Evil 2 remake (Image credit: capcom)
A stone-cold classic cements its legacy

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning RE Engine Graphics
+
Masterful environment design
+
Heaps of replay value

Reasons to avoid

-
Voice acting falters at times
-
Trapped by original story

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.

Vic Hood
Vic Hood

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.