Want to get scared this Halloween? A bit strapped for cash? Tired of spending thirty to fifty dollars on the newest horror games and finding them more than a little uninspired? Same here. Luckily, the horror genre has a longstanding tradition of offering its enthusiasts tons of free content.
Sometimes, you don't need to open your wallet to find great horror games. In fact, some of the best are just a Google search away.
Let's take a look at eleven awesome horror games that are bound to entertain, terrify, or just weird you out.
This game is at the bottom of the list for one reason: it isn't really a horror game. Why is it here, then? Because it gets weird, disturbing, and yes, at times, it can definitely scare you.
But again, it isn't a horror game.
Yume Nikki is a free-to-play exploration-based game made via RPG Maker 2003. You can spend hours on end in the surreal dream world of the protagonist, Madotsuki. Now, this game doesn't do much to hold your hand, so sitting down to play Yume Nikki is a commitment; I promise you, it's worthwhile.
You can download the game here.
You're probably too tough to get scared by this ghostly little girl - but with a thousand randomly generated floors for you to explore, she might just be hiding a thing or two.
Why not check it out? After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Of course, since it's on this list, I'm sure you can infer: a lot.
The game is free-to-play and available on Steam.
A staple in RPG Maker horror games, in Ib, you take on the role of a young girl of the same name, who suddenly finds the art exhibit she was visiting with her parents eerily empty.
Exploration-based horror with puzzles and an awesomely surreal environment that only gets weirder, horror fan or not, you should check out Ib.
You can download Ib here.
Not a game in the strictest sense of the word, more a piece of interactive fiction; rest assured, for something that stays strictly on the browser, this is scarier than it has any right to be.
You can "play" through this story on its homepage. It isn't that long, but it's undoubtedly an experience you won't soon forget.
Another very brief game. In fact, it's so short, you can probably play it and then come back to this article. If you haven't played it already, click here to run it in-browser. I can't really give you the details without spoiling it, but if you have a couple of minutes, check it out and revel in its strangeness.
Short and sweet while still managing to create a creepy and intriguing setting, Deep Sleep is a browser game available on Newgrounds featuring point-and-click mechanics that allow you to navigate a minimalist, yet relentlessly creepy environment.
Explore a lucid dream that might be more than it seems while you come to understand the nature of the unsettling world you've stumbled upon in your sleep.
Yet another RPG Maker horror game, this time with both story and atmosphere that's a cut above the rest. You take on the role of young Viola as she explores (shocker) a witch's house. Survive, solve puzzles, and try not to alt + f4 out of sheer terror, this is an excellent horror game, and it has a story that might surprise you.
The Witch's House is available for free here.
And please, do yourself a favor, don't spoil the ending(s) for yourself.
I can't spoil what makes this game a truly unique experience, but rest assured: Imscared goes above and beyond to make you think you are playing a game that is genuinely haunted. It's relatively short, but like so many others on this list, it's an experience that is absolutely vital for horror enthusiasts.
You can download the game via GameJolt.
The free-to-play game that somehow managed to land a movie deal over in Japan, Ao Oni starts with your run-of-the-mill horror plot: a group of teens are locked in a haunted house.
If the picture above is any indication, things get more than a little strange from there, and while Ao Oni might not be the scariest of horror games out there, it's definitely one of the most polished and cleverly executed, with a menagerie of monsters that somehow manage to look both ridiculous and horrifying at the same time.
Download the latest version here.
Alright, I might have cheated with this game. Technically, you do have to pay to play it. Not for the games itself, but for the game you would need to run it: this is a mod. Luckily, in the case of Afraid of Monsters, you only need to own Half-Life in order to play this game, and let's be real here, everyone owns Half-Life.
The writing in Afraid of Monsters isn't anything to write home about, but this game gets everything else right. Guide drug-addled David Leatherhoff through his own personal Hell in a mod with atmosphere that will keep your knuckles white and your spine chilled.
If you need a good, old-fashioned scare without the whistles and bells, Afraid of Monsters is the perfect game.
You can grab the mod here.
Another game that originated from a Half-Life mod, Cry of Fear has managed to achieve independence, and is now available for free on Steam.
From the get-go, this is a game that makes you feel uneasy. Placing you against an isolated, urban sprawl, the game does a great job of making you dread to progress. Even when your character is clutching a gun, it feels like the smallest of comforts when placed against unsettling enemies and an environment reminiscent of Silent Hill.
For a game with a main campaign that takes hours to complete, Cry of Fear is possibly the perfect choice if you want something scary that won't cost you a dime.