Best Indie Horror Games

Best Indie Horror Games to Give You Goosebumps

There is something fun about being scared. Whether it’s a jump scare or a more psychological horror experience, I enjoy it. I guess it goes back to telling scary stories around a campfire.

Horror games mean a lot to me. I’m reminded of being with a group of friends late at night, huddled around a T.V. and trying to figure out the puzzles. There was something about whispering our guesses on what to do next that added to the tension in this indie game.

A few of the games on this list have to do more with atmosphere and telling a scary story. I like those games; they’re a nice break from the survival horror games.

There are a lot of horror games out there, even if they don’t get labeled as a horror game and mix a few genres. So, this won’t be just survival horror games. I tried to find a balance between the more traditional horror games and the games that I think fit into a horror theme.

Some of these are more retro-style games, a few are visual novels, and most are adventure games. Each of them brings a feeling of horror, uneasiness, or tension that I enjoy when I play a horror game.

Bottom Line up Front: Try World of Horror if you want to be scared!

Selection Criteria

Let’s talk about what qualifies for this list. I’m not just going to be putting any random game on this list. Because Horror games might not have a Metacritic score, I’ll be using either the Metacritic or the User scores.  Here are the selection criteria I’m going with:

  • The game has to be made by a small studio without being published by a large publisher. (i.e., EA, Activision, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, etc.)
  • The game must have a Metacritic score of 70 percent or higher or a user score of 70 percent or higher.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn

  • Developer: Lucas Pope
  • Genre: Mystery Adventure
  • Metacritic Score:  89

This game has you playing an insurance agent investigating the Obra Dinn, a ship that was lost at sea. It takes place in 1807. It also looks like a picture from that time period in some ways.

This is a stylish game. I love the way it looks. It feels like you’re playing within a photo from the 1800s in many ways. The horror in this game comes from unraveling what happened on this ship.

Try this one out; it is more than worth your time!

What Remains of Edith Finch?

What Remains of Edith Finch

  • Developer: Giant Sparrow
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Metacritic Score: 89

This is more of a mystery game, but it can creep you out. It feels like a psychological horror game. There isn’t much to do aside from learning about the Finch family and their history by exploring the family’s home.

The house is creepy, the yard is weird, and the changing perspectives and narrators are unsettling. It has a lot of strange things going on in it. This is one of the games I would recommend playing in the dark.

This does feel like a walking simulator, but I feel like it’s a horror game. Not everything needs to be gore and jump scares. Sometimes the horror you make up is better than anything you can see.

Murder House

Murder House

  • Developer: Puppet Combo, Vague Scenario LLC
  • Genre: Adventure-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: User Score 86

I would believe you if you told me that Murder House was based on a slasher movie from the early 80s. There is static over everything in the game that reminds me of an old VHS. Just in case you’re wondering, a VHS is how we used to watch movies in the 80s and 90s. I feel very old explaining this.

The controls, graphics, and voice acting make this game feel like it could have been a PS1 game. I think this works for what the developer is going for. The game takes place in the 80s, it’s about a slasher villain, and it just feels like it’s a throwback to horror games from 20 to 25 years ago.

It’s a pretty creepy game. I enjoyed playing this one. If you’re missing the survival horror games from the late 90s and early 2000s, this is a good one to pick up.

Detention

detention ps4 game

  • Developer: Red Candle Games
  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 83

Detention is an excellent example of how a simple idea can generate horror. It reminds me of reading a horror manga like Battle Royale. The game uses its setting very well, as I found myself getting a little scared while playing this.

This is a side-scrolling game. Your character wakes up in an empty classroom with the words Typhoon Warning written on the chalkboard. The music and graphics are creepy, which is something I love! I played this at night, and it did an excellent job of weirding me out.

I like how it takes something like a school and turns it into a place of horror. It’s simple, and it works very well. The time period the game takes place in helps as you don’t have the option to pull out a cell phone and call for help.

Infernax

Infernax

  • Developer: Berzerk Studio
  • Genre: Action-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 83

I’m adding this because it reminds me of Castlevania. Specifically, it reminds me of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, if it was a much better game. The graphics look like it could have been on the SNES or the Genesis/Mega Drive.

This is a fun and bloody game. It’s the gore that brings in the horror here. This game is very gory as your enemies explode when you kill them.

The 8 and 16-bit graphic style attracted me to this game, but the gameplay, story, and excellent cut scenes kept me playing. Not every horror game is about scares sometimes; they can be about throwing as much blood and guts at you.

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale Innocence

  • Developer: Asobo Studio
  • Genre: Adventure-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 81

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a strange story set in the Middle Ages. It’s a dark game. You play as a young woman trying to protect her little brother after the church kills their family.

The rats are what stood out. There are so many rats, which represent the Black Death, and they also play a part in the story. I was kind of surprised by how every character seemed to accept the number of rats in the game. I’m guessing this happens a lot in the game’s world.

It’s an emotional story, but it doesn’t go far enough with it. The story is told well, the graphics are very good, and it controls nicely. This is one of the larger indie games that have been coming out in recent years, and I’m glad it was made! There is also a sequel coming out, A Plague Tale: Requiem, which I hope is just as good as this one.

Visage

Visage horror game

  • Developer: SadSquare Studio
  • Genre: Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 80

Visage warns you right off the bat that it is hard and you need good resource management. There is a sanity mechanic in the game. This is a fun mechanic in horror games. In Visage, spending time in the dark can make you less sane.

This is the type of game I could see freaking me out late at night. Like many games in this genre, you’re trying to solve a series of mysteries. You need to explore a house, and along the way, you find different objects that can advance the plot. Randomly, paranormal events will take place that mess with you.

This is an excellent type of game. It plays like a survival-horror game which I always find fun. This is more of a psychological thriller as opposed to an action-packed game.

World of Horror

World of Horror

  • Developer: Panstasz
  • Genre: RPG-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 80

This is an early access game. It has a great look to it, and it sounds very good. World of Horror looks and sounds like an 8-bit computer game. It also reminds me of horror manga—especially the Tomi stories or similar manga from the 80s and 90s.

In this game, you’re trying to solve mysteries. The first one is about a missing classmate who seems to have been lured away by a strange woman. This is like the Japanese legend of the Slit-mouthed woman who is a vengeful spirit. Similar to the movie Ju-on and The Ring.

World of Horror is a lot of fun! It has a lot of strange imagery, and the cases you have to solve can be very scary. I wish there were more games like this. It plays like an adventure game but has some RPG elements to it. Check this one out if you like Japanese horror!

The Letter

The Letter

  • Developer: Yangyang Mobile
  • Genre: Visual Novel
  • Metacritic Score: 79 User Score

This is a ghost story. It’s a story that has been told plenty of times for a good reason. Old houses with a tragic backstory make a wonderful setting for a horror story.

I like games that take place in creepy mansions. Not all of them have to be Resident Evil. Games like this are a nice change of pace as they let you experience a story.

It tries very hard to scare you. Mostly, it’s just cheap jump scares, which I think I’ve become immune to over the years. The Letter is a nice take on this type of story. It reminds me of games like Maniac Mansion or Uninvited.

Tormented Souls

Tormented Souls

  • Developer: PQube
  • Genre: Adventure-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 75

Tormented Souls has you exploring an abandoned hospital. After being knocked out, you find yourself naked and in a bathtub. There is a lot of weird stuff going on in this game, and the mystery is set up in a strange way.

Things get explained as you move through the game, and you get some bizarre imagery. I like this type of story! Even if it isn’t set up all that well.

There are a lot of games like this out there. I think this one stands out with how its story unfolds. I think they could have done a better job of setting it up. Once you get into it, the game is entertaining. I feel like it could have been made back in the late 90s with all of the other Resident Evil and Silent Hill clones.

Carrion

Carrion

  • Developer: Phobia Game Studio
  • Genre: Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 75

Carrion is an interesting idea. I’ve played a game like it before, which I’m sure no one remembers. It was called The Ooze, and it had a lot of similarities to Carrion. You play as a blob or a mass of something in both games.

What I like about Carron is that you play as an alien or an experiment. You break free from a containment unit and tear through the facility you were in. Your character is a mass of tentacles, mouths, and teeth. The more people you kill, the bigger you get.

This feels like a sci-fi movie. I feel like I’ve watched a movie like this. It’s an outstanding concept, and I’m glad there are games where you play as the monster.

Superliminal

Superliminal

  • Developer: Pillow Castle
  • Genre: Adventure-Horror
  • Metacritic Score:  75

In Superliminal, your character is in a dream. At least, that is how the game presented things to me. There is a lot of reality-warping going on as objects change size as you move them around. It messes with you!

This is a bizarre game. It plays with depth perception and objects’ actual size and makes you think a bit about solving the puzzles creatively.

This feels a bit like the Portal games. In this case, you’re working through a dream world. Your character seems to be trapped in his or her head. I like this game! If you’re a fan of the Portal games, you might like this one.

Lamentum

Lamentum

  • Developer: Obscure Tales
  • Genre: Adventure-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 74

Lamentum has some good ideas. I like the art style and the setting. It’s an interesting story that is a bit of a slow burn. You’re trying to save the life of your character’s wife. It’s an excellent way to start a scary story.

Once the story gets going, things get strange! My characters don’t seem to notice how the scenery changes around them until you wake up in the mansion that the game takes place in.

Despite the slow start, the game picks up and is a lot of fun. There is a lot of puzzle-solving, which is one of the things I love about horror games, and the story gets very good!

Ring of Pain

Ring of Pain

  • Developer: Simon Boxer
  • Genre: Card Battle-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 74

Ring of Pain is a little like Slay the Spire but has a darker atmosphere. The artwork is unsettling, and the music adds a level of creepiness to the game that I enjoyed. Being in first-person makes the game feel different than Slay the Spire. You’re going on this adventure instead of controlling a monster.

It has some flaws. While the monsters are a little disturbing, they aren’t anything special. I do like the idea of the game, and I like how dark it is. Ring of Pain isn’t as scary as it could be.

This is a challenging game. It plays like a roguelike in many ways. There’s a strategy to this game that makes it fun to get into and eventually figure out.

Mundaun

Mundaun

  • Developer: Hidden Fields
  • Genre: Survival-Horror
  • Metacritic Score: 72

Mundaun feels like it could exist in the Silent Hill series. It’s not as good as those games, but it gives me that feeling. The whole reason your character is here has to do with the death of his grandfather. Strange things start happening here, and you have to solve a mystery.

Have you ever looked up pictures from the 1920s? Well, Mundaun looks a bit like one of them. It’s a grainy black and white game where things look off. It reminds me of the artwork from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books.

I had fun with this one! It’s a dark and disturbing game. If you’re looking for something to play late at night, this is a great choice.

Best of the Rest

I wish I could have added more to this because there are some great horror games out there. Unfortunately, I had to cut it off at some point. Here are the games that didn’t make the list of our best Indie horror games.

  • GTFO
  • Layers of Fear
  • The Beast Inside
  • Infliction
  • Transference
  • Phasmophobia
  • Fatum Betula
  • The Convenience Store
  • We Went Back
  • At Eve’s Wake
  • Lunacy: Saint Rhodes
  • Imposter Factory
  • Unforgiving: A Northern Hymn
  • Stories Untold
  • Lovecraft’s Untold Stories

FAQs

Question: What are Some Upcoming Indie Horror Games for 2022?

Answer: Here is a shortlist of the games I could find. I’m sure more will be announced as the year goes on. It seems like there are always games that sneak up on me.
• Scorn (October 2022) – This one has been delayed a few times. It might be out in October this year, from what I can find.
• Heartworm
• Sorry We’re Closed
• Janitor Bleeds
• Post Trauma (Demo is available on Steam)

Question: What is a Good Horror Game to Start With?

Answer: It depends on what you’re looking for in a game. If you want something closer to Minecraft, I would start with 7 Days to Die. If you just want to explore and be scared, I would start with Layers of Fear. If you like Japanese horror films, I suggest starting with Detention or World of Horror.

Question: Are Any of These Games Based on a True Story?

Answer: Detention was inspired by an incident in 1947 at Keelung High School.

Conclusion

Horror games have always been some of my favorite games. I like being scared, and I like seeing how indie game developers try to scare people. Each of these games brings something different to the horror genre.

I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store for 2022. There is something here for everyone, and I think you’ll find a game you can enjoy.

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