Best horror games: the scariest titles to play right now

Best horror games: Amanda Ripley from Alien Isolation on a blue background
(Image credit: Future/Sega)

The best horror games bring us scares in a way that can thrill us and make us feel alive in the face of a creepy thing that really wants us dead. Many of us enjoy the trapping of horror, whether that’s the tension that comes with anticipating a jump scare, fleeing from a monster with your heart pounding, or turning around and taking on some seriously twisted creatures.

Horror games come in many flavors, and our list will show you the examples that do it best. Japanese horror games called the shots in the genre for many years, upcoming returns of classics, such as the Resident Evil 4 remake or the Silent Hill 2 remake will show new audiences how this brand of psychological horror with memorable characters and tense resource management influenced a whole generation of games.

Today’s best horror games have new tools to scare you, letting you feel the fear in multiplayer with friends, or by stripping out inventories entirely to focus on immersing you in a more cinematic experience.

There are more games to choose from than ever before, so let’s make sure you chose right with our list of the best horror games.

Best horror games

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

Little Nightmares (Image credit: Tarsier Studios)

Little Nightmares

Escape The Maw

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PS4

In Little Nightmares, you control 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 you sneak past them instead of fighting these creatures. The tension comes from navigating complicated platforming sections while also being pursued by monsters.

Little Nightmares is a great horror game because it creates a feeling of helplessness while making it clear that you still have 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.

In any other medium, using children this way would be uncomfortable, and a shrunken protagonist would more likely make us think of 90s comedy films than tense horror, so Little Nightmares makes use of it being a game in all the right ways.

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

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Xbox One, and PS4

The Evil Within series comes from Shinji Mikami, the mind behind Resident Evil – and if that doesn't give you enough reason to pick it up, its nightmarish world likely will. 

This is a third-person survival horror that'll pull you into a world populated by grotesque and frightening enemies, 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.

The Evil Within sought to revive the style of Japanese horror games that were once a gaming staple, but have become much rarer. Who better to revive it than Mikami, the man synonymous with Japanese horror gaming? The Evil Within sought to modernize Japanese horror to make it less janky and more approachable, and The Evil Within games succeeded. The Resident Evil remakes may have drawn more attention and sales, but Evil Within offered new stories while Capcom returned to its old tales.

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

Dead by Daylight (Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

Dead By Daylight

Killer or Survivor - make your choice

Available: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC (Android and iOS versions are available, but don't come recommended)

Dead By Daylight stands out in this list for being a multiplayer game, showing that you don't have to be alone in the dark to be scared. In Dead By Daylight, a single player takes on the role of a savage serial killer, while four others flee for their lives.

It's a thematic staple for horror, and a thrilling twist on usual PvP combat to boot. With a host of original characters, each with their own abilities and advantages, there are lots of tactics to develop and deploy to either kill all the survivors or make your escape.

You can also unlock or download characters from films such as Saw, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which showcases the genuine love Dead by Daylight has for its cinematic roots.

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

Out there in the cosmos, no one can hear you scream

Available on: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC

Dead Space, 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.

Dead Space ushered in a new generation of horror games. Gone was the Japanese horror, to be replaced with jumpscare-heavy games by Western studios, and Dead Space prominently took its cues from Ridley Scott's Alien long before Alien: Isolation used the actual license.

The game's success comes from 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, its two sequels also developed the horror in different, delectable directions.

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

Survival horror comes come to the Bakers

Available on: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 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 horror movies and games while retaining that 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 in 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 game's success, along with the recent remakes of earlier titles in the series, gained a lot of new fans.

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

Inside (Image credit: Playdead)


Nothing's quite as scary as your own mind

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, 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, perfectly suited for those of us who aren't much for gore.

Inside 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 deformed monsters, Inside is a truly scary game, yet simultaneously beautiful. The particular kinship you feel with your little protagonist and the different dangers you overcome together makes this one a unique experience and one of the best horror games.

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

Alien: Isolation (Image credit: Sega)

Alien: Isolation

A terrifying and unforgettable classic

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC

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)
Their story is yours to tell - and destroy

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, and PC

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: strong acting, recognizable teen horror tropes, and myriad ways the story of a final night at a youth camp could go.

There are plenty of famous faces and veterans of the horror genre in this interactive horror, including Ariel Winter, David Arquette, Justice Smith, and Ted Raimi, and their great performances make The Quarry entertaining.

The Quarry is not only the backdrop but something our protagonists become over the course of the narrative. As they’re being hunted, your quick wits and decision-making will help them stick it out, or meet a sticky end.

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

Rendered helpless, how can you survive?

Available on: 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. The helplessness we feel as players makes Amnesia challenging yet irresistible.

To play the game on current platforms, pick up The Amnesia Collection, made up of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, its Amnesia: Justine expansion, and the sequel, A Machine for Pigs.

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

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Xbox One, and PS4

Resident Evil 2 Remake is exactly what it says on the tin: it's a remake of the classic '90s horror Resident Evil 2. 

Resident Evil 2 Remake elevates the grandeur of the original game into a masterful modern survival horror experience. This wonderful reimagining is the epitome of mature modern horror, offering puzzles, zombies, heart-pumping action, and a finely detailed environment that demands exploration.

Not only that – thanks to a second playthrough offering a different character experience, it'll keep you terrified for hours.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

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.

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