Horror games can take you from the depths of the ocean to the streets of an abandoned city. Whatever the setting for a horror game, the end goal is the same every time. Players are supposed to quake and peek over their shoulders just to make sure that whatever is on their screen hasn't ended up in their living room.
Series like Silent Hill and Resident Evil made a name for the horror genre, and since then titles like Five Nights At Freddie's and Outlast have been keeping the screams coming. Horror has become one of the most popular genres in gaming, and hopefully, with upcoming titles like We Happy Few and Resident Evil 7, it will keep growing.
Here are a few horror games that should have you keeping the lights on for a bit after you're done with them.
The Path is an independent game which was released by Tale of Tales back in 2009. Borrowing from the classic story Little Red Riding Hood, the player chooses to control one of six sisters who are told by their mother to go to their grandmother's house. Following the path to Grandmother's house is simple enough -- you just have to walk forward and you'll eventually reach it. But that isn't how you're supposed to play the game.
Once you start wandering off the path, you will encounter items that begin to tell a more disturbing story than one about a girl simply visiting granny. The sounds in this game are enough to give someone nightmares alone.
The Path isn't a long game by any means so it's worth your time if you're into atmospheric horror games. You can pick up The Path on Steam for under $10.
The Forest starts off simply enough: your character is in a plane crash, and when you wake you see what is presumably your son being carried away by a pale humanoid. After that, you're free to do whatever it takes to survive.
If you're lucky, or unlucky, enough to see some locals of the surrounding area, you'll realize that you're on an island populated by some kind human stripped down to their most basic instincts who have a penchant for cannibalism. No worries though, if you run away from them you'll most likely get away, and you can start collecting resources from the surrounding area to build a proper shelter.
But then you start finding effigies made up of body parts. And then you start finding pitch-black caves with huge amounts of corpses hanging from the ceiling. And then you start finding mutants that look like someone decided to make a spider out of fused human torsos.
The Forest is currently in development, but purchasing it now guarantees the full version when it is finally finished. The game is updated regularly with the new structures to build, animals to hunt, and enemies to evade.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent puts you in control of a young man named Daniel who is trapped in a castle without his memory. Daniel has forgotten the extent of his identity and has no idea why he in this creepy fortress. It is up to you to guide him through the castle's dim corridors, which also happen to be filled with monsters that you have no choice but to run away from.
The game has no combat and no weapons. Your only chance for survival is to run away from the horrors you encounter, while trying to keep a grip on your sanity.
Frictional games, the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, seem to have the formula for atmospheric horror games down to a science. In their newest production Soma, players take control of a man who has undergone experimental brain surgery to fix his amnesia, but when he awakes, it is in an underwater research facility in the Atlantic Ocean.
As if that wasn't enough to have a creepy environment, the facility appears to be in ruins, and everything above the ocean's surface has been devastated by a huge comet which caused an extinction event.
Soma also includes cool sci-fi elements, which are a nice change from Amnesia's medieval castle setting.
Layers of Fear lets players take control of an artist descending into madness. In order for the artist to finish his newest project, various items must be collected. This means that you get to walk around his creepy mansion filled with psychological tricks and terrifying images that you can't even be sure are real.
As you navigate the mansion and find more and more items, the disturbing story behind the painter and his madness are explained, and by the end of Layers of Fear you'll wish you had never wondered what was going on in the first place.
Nameless protagonists seem to be a theme in horror games, and Lone Survivor is no exception. In this game, you take the role of a young man who lives in a post-apocalyptic future. The protagonist is guided by hallucinations around the map in order to locate specific items and resources used to progress further into the game.
The main character's sanity plays a large role -- and in order to combat your frail mental state, sleep and proper nourishment are required. There is a trade-off to taking care of yourself, though, as certain items may be located in a more easily if the protagonist is hallucinating.
Don't let Lone Survivor's 2D art style fool you -- this game can deliver chills with the best of them.
It was announced a while ago that Resident Evil 4 would receiving a facelift for its re-release on PS4 and Xbox One, and I couldn't be happier. I won't lie, I'm a fanboy of this game. It played a pretty important role in my childhood gaming timeline, and it scared the absolute sh*t out of me the first time that I played it.
Resident Evil 4 starts out with the player taking control of Leon Kennedy in a remote Spanish village as he investigates the disappearance of the president's daughter, Ashley. The villagers don't seem to approve of his presence, and as you navigate the dismal settings filled with hordes of mindless foes that don't ever stop walking towards you, a more nefarious plot begins to unfold.
This game is amazing, and I have fond memories of not wanting to get any nearer to some of the enemies in the latter parts of the game, who seem to enjoy ritualistically chanting in a manner that I hope nobody ever has to hear in real life. The only thing that makes this game annoying is a sequence of babysitting that you have to do later on. Besides that, it's wonderful.
The final game is more of a hopeful inclusion. For a long time, there has been a lack of games that do justice to H.P Lovecraft's stories about unimaginable terrors from beyond the brink of understanding.
At E3 this year, Focus Home Interactive released a trailer for their upcoming game Call of Cthulhu, and it seems that we might finally have a game that will live up to its source material.
If Focus Home Interactive is able to pull off the atmosphere purveyed by their trailer, and they are smart enough to include as many possible references and interactions based off of Lovecraft's stories, then it is sure to be awesome.
I just want to see more than a recycle of A Shadow Over Innsmouth or Call of Cthulhu, the story that is. If Focus Home Interactive can include some cool stuff from the stories that are less known, but still within Lovecraft's canon, than we'll be in for a pleasantly maddening experience.
What other horror games have kept you up at night? Did any of your favorites make the list? Let me know in the comments!