Halloween is a time for experiencing the spooky and supernatural. And what better way is there than by immersing yourself in some of the most terrifying video games ever created? Whether you’re a fan of jump scares, psychological horror, or survival horror, this list of games will definitely provide you with all the terror you could possibly need. So, fasten your seatbelts, dim the lights, turn up the volume, and get ready to experience the scare of your life with these scary video games you can play on Halloween.
The Forest & Sons of The Forest
Endnight Games’ The Forest and its sequel, Sons of the Forest, have earned their reputation as two of the best open-world horror games due to their unique blend of survival, exploration, and psychological horror. These games offer an immersive and terrifying experience that sets them apart from other horror titles. These games are set on a remote, heavy-forest, and not-so-lonely island that is both beautiful and terrifying. The scary atmosphere, unpredictable enemies, and stunning scenery create an intense sense of fear and curiosity.
What makes these games truly exceptional is their approach to storytelling. The narrative is not handed to players on the silver platter. Rather it’s presented through cutscenes and is discovered through exploration. It’s similar to Minecraft but in a horror 3D world. Players put together pieces of the story of the island and its dark history, adding to the immersion and mystery. The creatures and enemies in The Forest series are grotesque and horrifying. So-called mutants and other cannibalistic tribes that roam the island provide constant tension and fear.
The unpredictable behavior of these enemies keeps players on edge. The option to play cooperatively with friends enhances the experience, as the shared fear makes the horror even more intense. Players must work together to survive the island’s horrors. Strategic elements such as survival, crafting, and base-building add depth to the gameplay. It’s not just about running and hiding. Players must plan defenses, manage resources, and adapt to new threats. The developer’s commitment to their games is seeable through regular updates and community engagement.
This ongoing support for both games has kept the players engaged and the games feeling fresh. The Forest and Sons of the Forest offer a unique and terrifying horror experience that combines survival, exploration, and psychological horror in a stunning, atmospheric world. These games keep players on edge, making them some of the best horror titles in recent years. Whether you’re a fan of survival horror or just looking for a game to keep you on the edge of your seat, these titles are worth playing.
The Five Nights at Freddy’s series
The Five Nights at Freddy’s series of games has become so popular because of its reputation as one of the best horror game franchises. It introduced an innovative gameplay concept where you play as a night security guard, tasked with surviving against animatronic characters gone rogue. This fresh approach to horror gameplay was a game-changer. The series is masterful at creating relentless tension.
The core mechanics involve monitoring security cameras and managing limited power resources, making every moment a heart-pounding experience. Jump scares in Five Nights at Freddy’s are executed perfectly. They are strategically used to keep players on edge without being overused or boring. With each sequel, they are becoming more and more innovative and scarier in their own way.
What’s most fascinating for me about this series, is its ever-expanding lore. Multiple stories add depth to the horror experience, as players can unravel the dark history of the animatronics and the restaurant by piecing together hidden clues. Fan theories, multiple games, spin-offs, and even a recent movie are all helping to expand this world.
Five Nights at Freddy’s demonstrates that horror can be effective without elaborate graphics or complex gameplay. Its minimalistic design allows players’ imaginations to make the horror feel more personal and intense. Creator Scott Cawthon has shown an impressive level of dedication to this game franchise. He consistently delivered new content and entries, engaging with the fan base and addressing feedback. This series is celebrated for its innovation, constant tension, perfectly executed jump scares, deep lore, and many more.
The FNAF series of games has redefined the horror genre, leaving a meaningful impact on the gaming industry and the horror genre itself. They continue to be recognized as some of the most effective and memorable horror experiences in recent years.
Alan Wake & Alan Wake II
Alan Wake and its sequel, Alan Wake II, are celebrated as some of the best horror games for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, their storytelling is rich and psychologically intricate, delving into themes of human psychology, the blurred lines between reality and fiction, and the nature of horror itself. This deep narrative complexity sets them apart from more straightforward horror games and provides players with a thought-provoking experience.
The town of Bright Falls, seemingly normal, becomes darker as the story unfolds. The attention to detail in crafting the setting contributes to the overall sense of unease and intrigue. The unique gameplay mechanic of using light to combat darkness adds an innovative and tension-inducing element to the experience. Players must strategically manage their light sources, making them a crucial tool for survival. Psychological horror takes precedence over jump scares, adding layers of uncertainty, ambiguity, and existential dread to the atmosphere.
These games consistently challenge the player’s perceptions and expectations. The well-developed characters and their evolving stories draw players into the narrative and connect with the game’s events. Its episodic structure and storytelling in a Stephen King style create a stylish and unique atmosphere. And even more, the anticipation of Alan Wake II has generated immense excitement, as it promised to delve even deeper into the intriguing story and expand upon the world and characters.
Even though Alan Wake II was released only a few days ago, I can only repeat what I said in my review. This game is one of the best of 2023, and saying that a horror game is so praised, says something very positive about this series.
The Dead Space series
Dead Space series has earned good ratings as one of the best horror game franchises for many reasons. Reasons that I as a non-horror person didn’t understand back then. But when I learned about them through gameplay, I was more shocked rather than surprised.
Firstly, it successfully combines science fiction and horror, offering players a unique and immersive experience within the confines of a terrifying and isolated space station. Secondly, the series excels in creating an uncomfortable and tense atmosphere, with scary corridors, flashing lights, and very uncomfortable ambient sounds.
Dead Space introduced players to a groundbreaking gameplay mechanic – strategic dismemberment. This required players to target and sever the limbs of Necromorphs (a.k.a. scary monsters as I like to say), adding a tactical layer to the gameplay. The rich lore and storytelling that unfold through in-game audio messages and story logs provide an engaging narrative that enhances the horror experience.
Isaac Clarke, the main protagonist, is an engineer rather than a hero. It allows players to be emotionally invested in his journey through the series. At least in a meaningful way. The sound design in Dead Space games is outstanding. Every sound, from creaks to whispers, from roaring to shrieks, contributes to the overall atmosphere and immersion of this world. It allows us to present consistent quality and ambition across all installments in the series. Demonstrating the developers’ dedication to delivering a true horror experience.
Bloodborne is a gothic, Lovecraftian-style game that combines dark and horrifying visuals with challenging gameplay. The city of Yharnam, which is a very dark, Victorian-inspired setting, brings thrilling, Lovecraftian themes to life. Monstrous and scary enemies, known as “Beasts,” play a significant role in the game’s horror design. They are grotesque and scary, going from different monstrosities to cosmic horrors that defy the “laws of nature”.
The gameplay is really challenging, demanding quick reflexes, precise timing, and careful strategy. The sense of vulnerability and the powerful enemies contribute to the overall tension and dread. It’s kind of similar to Dark Souls, which already tells you what to expect. Bloodborne is famous for its terrifying boss battles, known for both their difficulty and their design. Each boss offers a unique, horrifying experience that is both exhilarating and terrifying.
As I mentioned before, the game draws inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft’s works, exploring known themes and “forbidden knowledge”. It slightly adds more layers of scary and horror elements to satisfy players. The game’s rich and enigmatic lore is also a central and important element of the game. The game’s multiplayer features (allowing you to summon two players to your world) including invading others’ worlds or cooperating in challenging boss battles, adds tension and unpredictability to the horror experience.
Bloodborne maintains an active player base and community, with ongoing discussions, theories, and exploration of the game’s depths. It really offers a deeply immersive horror experience that has made a significant impact on the gaming world. The game’s relentless tension and nightmarish world have set a high standard for horror gaming, making it a standout masterpiece in the genre.
What are some of your favorite horror games to play?
Which of those games is your favorite horror game? Do you have other suggestions to try and get in a spooky, scary Halloween mood? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus and the Cosmic Circus Discord.