Sometimes, you want to experience terror with friends instead of by yourself. Or you want to watch those friends who are easily scared face the terrors of horror games. In either case, here are the 10 best multiplayer horror games! This list focuses on games where you and your friends work together instead of games like Dead by Daylight where one player is the enemy.
10 Best Multiplayer Horror Games to Play in 2023
Phasmophobia lets you hunt ghosts with up to three friends. You choose a location, and then you receive a bit of information about the spirit haunting it. From there, you must work together to collect evidence and figure out what type of ghost haunt the location.
This really makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a Travel Channel ghost hunting show. But much deadlier. The spirits of Phasmophobia, which you can use our cheat sheet to help you identify, range from the hostile Demons to the Mimic, which can take the identity of any other ghost. You get to use traditional equipment like cameras to items like a spirit box to help you collect the evidence you need to identify the ghost you’re dealing with.
As your sanity drains, the risk increases and eventually the ghost will hunt you down. Between the set of locations to pick from and the randomization of the spirit types, you can play Phasmophobia for hours.
Demonologist is the biggest competitor to Phasmophobia right now. You play as a ghost hunter with up to three friends here, as well. However, you’re actually an exorcist instead of just an investigator, putting a whole new spin on things. Some ghost types overlap, like Demons and Mares, but Demonologist includes unique types as well, like the Boogey and Gul. You’ll also have new tool types like Tarot Cards, which can resurrect players; Salt Barriers; and the Fulu, which increases ghost interaction and aggression.
Demonologist kicks up the terror and has more urban legend influences added in. However, as Phasmophobia has been in development for much longer, it provides an overall smoother experience and more content. But that doesn’t mean Demonologist isn’t worth playing with friends this Halloween.
8. The Outlast Trials
The Outlast Trials brings all the terror and atmosphere of Outlast to a multiplayer experience. You might think that having friends along would make it easier to complete in-game tasks. However, the game scales with more players, meaning that you might end up having a harder time getting through levels.
You might as well be in a Saw movie with the way the tasks work here, and the gruesome scenes you’ll come across. At least you get a limited number of ways to handle enemies, such as items that can be thrown to stun them and give you time to run. Or you can use items to make noise and draw enemies to a different location. And between your runs through these terrifying trials, you have your own room to customize and outfits to purchase. Plus, your personal room is available for others in the game lobby to see, just as you can explore and view the rooms of others.
Although it’s in Early Access with a limited number of levels, The Outlast Trials is an experience reminiscent of the first game and definitely worth trying with a few friends.
7. Sons of the Forest
The sequel to The Forest, Sons of the Forest once again puts you and up to seven of your friends on an island of cannibals and secrets hidden deep underground. Instead of looking for your son, you’re tasked with finding a missing billionaire family, which just so happens to be your employer. Not only are you trying to survive, but you also have the ulterior motive of wanting to keep your job by finding them. Of course, it’s not that easy. Between basic survival and dealing with cannibals, you dive deeper into the caves to find horrors that are much scarier than those above ground.
This time, you have an extra helper in the form of Kelvin, who you can force to collect items like sticks or fish for you. He performs these tasks indefinitely, which makes base-building a little faster. With these resources, you’re able to use a pre-made structure like a hunting cabin, or use the pieces like walls and roofing to design your own, unique base to call home.
6. Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 leans heavily into action with horror elements as an FPS horde-style game. Like the first game, you fight waves of enemies with up to five of your friends and level up to improve the classes you play as, like the classic Medic or the Berserker. This is a good choice if you want something where you can fight back against enemies. It’s also easier on the horror aspect in favor of action, so it could be a choice to play with friends who typically avoid horror. While it feels repetitive if you play it often, it can be a great way to spend time with friends after a stressful day.
If you played the first game, you’ll also find that the bosses in Killing Floor 2 have gone up in difficulty and include more types. There’s the King Fleshpound who brings a bunch of Fleshpounds with him to the fight, which would be hard enough on its own. However, at low health, he also has a laser to fire at your team. With the varying bosses, you need to strategy to beat them. Otherwise, you’ll find completing the boss level is a struggle at best.
5. Dead Island 2
A true miracle of gaming that made it out of a rough developmental cycle, Dead Island 2 brings action and humor to its horror for up to three players. This game doesn’t take itself seriously, but some of the boss battles and missions you come across are truly terrifying. Dead Island 2 gets your adrenaline pumping, but it feels like a lighter experience similar to Dying Light 2 where the seriousness is lifted by comedy.
In Dead Island 2, this could take the place of a livestreamer you’re trying to rescue live streaming you and your party while you slaughter the zombies in the area. Apparently, zombie killing is the latest viral trend. That makes it another good choice if you want to play a game with some horror, but your friends prefer action. While you get classic weapons like guns, you also have unusual options like a sword called The One or a mace called Abuela’s Ashes.
4. Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the more classic co-op horror games. You and up to three friends are survivors in a zombie outbreak who try to escape various levels. This might mean completing tasks before you can escape or holding out against the horde for a set amount of time until help arrives. The horde-based style feels like Killing Floor 2, but you might have a level where you need to find gas cans and fuel up a vehicle while fighting off enemies rather than a standard boss fight with a particularly strong enemy. You’ll also find special zombies like Spitters and Bloaters to make the game harder, as Spitters deal damage from a distance and Bloaters explode when killed, hurting players who are too close to them.
With multiple levels to choose from, Left 4 Dead 2 brings a suitable amount of variety with it. And despite its age, it holds up well and still plays smoothly. Plus, it has around 17,000 concurrent players on Steam even now, which is impressive for a game from 2009.
Devour lets you play with up to three friends, but instead of being survivors, you play as cultists. It turns out that one of your fellow cultists (an NPC) tries to summon a goat demon, and you need to prevent it from doing so. To stop them, you’ll need to find and destroy 10 effigies to do so, and they could be anything in each of the game’s dark, terrifying levels – rats, goats, eggs, pigs, and then burning tomes. Not knowing what to find while fumbling through the dark ramps up the tension, but some maps make you take these objects to specific places before you can destroy them. It creates a perfect blend of scary, fun, and stressful.
Pacify is somewhat similar to Devour. Another faster paced horror game, you work with up to three friends to pacify the evil terrorizing a mansion. Although it’s not polished to the extent of some games, Pacify keeps you on your toes. The animations are a bit clunky, and when the evil spirit successfully attacks you, I’ve had issues with the game taking a moment to make me a mini-me (where you’re not fully dead) or stuttering when I was fully dead.
You’re forced to try to work fast to cleanse the mansion, but avoiding evil at the same time makes it difficult. Especially since the spirit can camp outside the room you need to use to burn the items and dispel it. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but it’s certainly hard to complete the level with one entrance being guarded by the evil. In these cases, you end up having to draw it away with one player to let the others continue trying to purify the house. Is it perfect? No. Is it a ton of fun with some friends to spend a night hanging out? Definitely.
1. Escape the Backrooms
Escape the Backrooms lets you explore areas with up to three friends. You search for an escape, but you also need to avoid the entities you come across. Like Amnesia or Outlast games, you feel helpless without a way to fight back. Plus you need to solve puzzles using information from your surroundings, like counting the number of certain colored cars to find how many times you press the same colored buttons as an elevator code.
At best, you find hiding places to avoid entities before continuing your escape attempt. Some enemies like Hounds, you need to blind with your flashlight before running away because they’re much faster and will catch up to you otherwise. Each enemy type has different strategies to deal with, like you might need to stay in the light instead of trying to hide. Or you need to remember to not shine a flashlight at a Female Death Moth, but make sure to shine it at a Hound. I honestly am not the biggest fan of The Backrooms’ games, but even I had fun when I brought friends into the mix.
And that wraps up our 10 best multiplayer horror games to play in 2023. Hopefully, you have ideas for games to play with friends this Halloween from this list. And hopefully multiplayer horror games continue entering the market to show that isolation isn’t required to scare players. Until then, check out our list of the best horror games for Halloween 2023.