Many games tend to take players on a power trip, offering robust tools and abilities in order to make you feel like you’re a hero who can overcome any obstacle. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to horror games, where the odds are usually stacked against you.

In the last decade, we’ve seen the horror genre evolve within gaming, finding new ways to scare players and offering more immersive stories and atmospheres than ever before. That’s why we’ve decided to make a list of the 13 best horror games you can play right now.

The Light Keeps Us Safe

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Platform: PC

Release Date: Oct 2018

The Light Keeps Us Safe is a procedurally-generated stealth game with survival and metroidvania elements. You are tasked with leaving the safety of your bunker and exploring an apocalyptic-world, overrun by robots that want to kill you. Equipped with just a flashlight, you spend your time searching through abandoned buildings looking for supplies and running from enemies.

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Items you scavenge range from food and medkits to bottles that can be thrown to distract the robots, to components used for upgrading your flashlight, which allows you to explore areas that were previously inaccessible. Upon encountering enemies, you have no real means of defense as your flashlight beam can only stun for a brief second, allowing you time to run and hide. Due to its procedurally-generated nature, each run provides a different experience than the last, adding some replayability to the game.

Little Nightmares

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Platform: PC / Xbox One / PS4 / Nintendo Switch

Release Date: April 2017

Little Nightmares is a puzzle platforming adventure game with stealth mechanics. You play as Six, a little girl, who’s been trapped in the depths of a strange vessel. The game has you sneaking past giant humans, all of which have an array of disturbing physical abnormalities like long arms and disfigured faces, as you try to escape the ship.

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Over the course of the game, Six experiences intense moments of primal-like hunger. These moments begin to occur more frequently and play an important role in the game’s story. While brief in length, Little Nightmares has a great atmosphere that stays with you and the game plays with scale in new and interesting ways.

Prey

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Platform: PC / Xbox One / PS4

Release Date: May 2017

Prey is an open-world first-person shooter with role-playing, survival, and stealth mechanics. You take on the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard the Talos 1 space station, which has been overrun by a species of violent aliens known as the Typhon. Your task is to survive by collecting resources and using weapons in order to defeat the Typhon and uncover the secrets behind Talos I’s history.

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The game offers a lot in terms of player choice, allowing you to pick Morgan’s gender, what weapons and upgrades you want to use, and make decisions in the world that affect how the game’s story plays out. Among Prey’s best features are the Typhon aliens you encounter, which have various sub-species, including shape-shifting creatures called Mimics. These spider-like aliens can take on the appearance of common items throughout in the game’s world, attacking you when you least expect it.

Inside

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Platform: PC / Xbox One / PS4 / Nintendo Switch / iOS

Release Date: June 2016

Inside is 2.5D puzzle platformer from the same studio that made Limbo. The game sees you playing as an unnamed boy exploring a dark, quiet world, pursued by zombie-like humans and vicious attack dogs. Progress is made by completing a variety of puzzles that use interestingly new mechanics, like a mind-control helmet that allows you to control lifeless bodies.

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Just like with Limbo, Inside’s story is very much left up to your interpretation as the game never tries to explain yourself but rather simply exists in all its eerie glory. The game features a number of hidden collectibles which grant you an alternate ending that’s just as ambiguous. While the game is rather short, Inside superbly delivers on its peculiar tone.

Stories Untold

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Platform: PC

Release Date: Feb 2017

Stories Untold is a puzzle adventure game that’s broken up into four episodes, with each chapter telling a different part of the story. The game utilizes elements from traditional adventure genres, such as text-based adventures, puzzle-solving, and first-person exploration. While gameplay slightly differs between each chapter, it usually boils down to completing a series of tasks in order to reach that chapter’s conclusion.

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The game has a 1980s retro aesthetic, incorporating technology as well as sci-fi tropes from the time period. With each episode offering little action, aside from one exception, Stories Untold uses well-written dialogue and immersive atmospheres in order to draw you in. It’s a refreshing take on the horror genre and does a good job at paying homage to classic adventure games.

The Forest

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Platform: PC / PS4

Release Date: April 2018

The Forest is a first-person, open-world horror survival game with combat. You play as Eric Leblanc, who along with his son Timmy, lands on a remote island after surviving a mysterious plane crash. Timmy is captured soon after and Eric discovers that the island is inhabited by cannibalistic mutants.

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The game revolves around crafting items, such as shelters, weapons, and tools in order to defend yourself from the inhabitants, search for Timmy, and uncover the island’s secrets. One of The Forest’s most fascinating aspects is the enemy AI, which reacts differently to the player based on the time of day. During the day, the mutants tend to keep their distance and observe the player while at night, they become much more aggressive.

Alien: Isolation

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Platform: PC / PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360

Release Date: Oct 2014

Alien: Isolation is a first-person horror survival game with stealth mechanics, based on the popular sci-fi film series. Set 15 years after the original Alien movie, Isolation has you play as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the film’s protagonist Ellen Ripley, as she investigates the disappearance of her mother and the other crew that were aboard the Nostromo spaceship.

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While en route, you discover that the courier ship you’re on is occupied by none other than, a Xenomorph. Gameplay focuses on crafting items and obtaining new tools in order to progress, making sure to avoid the alien and numerous other hostiles aboard the ship. Alien: Isolation handles its source material amazingly and manages to create a sense of dread for what’s lurking around every corner, and even scarier, what’s in vents above you.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Release Date: Sep 2010

Amnesia is another first-person horror survival game with an emphasis on stealth. You play as Daniel, whose memory has been wiped and only upon reading a note written by himself, learns he must explore a dark and villainous castle, with the goal of reaching the castle’s inner sanctum. Along the way, Daniel has the constant feeling that he’s being followed everywhere he goes in the castle.

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The game features a cool mechanic where the dark itself is an enemy, as standing without light for too long begins to drive Daniel insane, drawing monsters called Gatherers to his location. With no means of protection, you are forced to find and create sources of light in order to keep Daniel sane and regain your memories. The game is highly regarded and its terrifying gameplay still holds up after all this time.

SOMA

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Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Release Date: Sep 2015

While adding to the list of great first-person horror survival games, Soma places an emphasis on psychological scares rather than conventional methods. You play as Simon Jarrett, who finds himself in PATHOS-II, an underwater research facility, under unclear circumstances. Forced to explore the facility in order figure out how Simon ended up there, the player begins finding clues about who Simon is and what’s happened.

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Gameplay focuses on exploring different underwater stations, solving puzzles, and avoiding enemy detection. Ditching combat altogether, Soma instead places an emphasis on creating an immersive narrative, which makes it stand out from other games on this list.

Layers of Fear

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Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch

Release Date: Feb 2016

Layers of Fear is a first-person horror survival game that has you play as a painter attempting to make his greatest work yet. However, he has had trouble finding inspiration and begins to explore his home, completing environmental puzzles in order to guide him towards his goal. The game is broken up into six chapters, with the player searching for different items in order to progress.

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Along the way, you quickly learn that the painter is psychologically-disturbed and begins having twisted visions of his wife and daughter who are nowhere to be seen. The house itself plays a role in the game areas begin to shift and become distorted as you continue. While the game leans heavily on jumpscares to hit its mark, the story is still satisfying and has branching paths.

Outlast 2

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Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch

Release Date: April 2017

Serving as the follow-up sequel to the 2013 game, Outlast 2 is a first-person horror survival game that refines the mechanics of the first Outlast and tells an even darker story. You play as Blake Langermann, a cameraman who, accompanied by his wife Lynn and a pilot, is flying over the Arizona desert in search of clues surrounding the murder of a pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe. Suddenly, your helicopter crashes and Blake awakes to find his wife missing and the pilot dead, his body mutilated.

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Although Outlast 2 plays much like the first game, forcing the player to use a handheld camera in order to see in the dark and document key moments, the addition of new tools like a microphone for listening to enemy footsteps adds new opportunities for stealthy gameplay. The game’s shift between the main story and flashback instances from Blake’s childhood help with pacing and keep things exciting. While there are plenty of enemies waiting to reach out and grab you, the scariest part of Outlast 2 has to be watching your camera’s battery quickly deplete, unsure when you’ll find another.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

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Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Release Date: Jan 2017

Resident Evil 7 is a return to the series roots, shying away from action and instead focusing more on survival and exploration. This is also the first game in the series to feature a first-person point of view as you play as Ethan Winters, a man searching for his girlfriend in a Louisiana plantation, home to a family of sadistic cannibals.

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Ethan has to navigate through the family’s home, finding and combining objects in order to gain access to different parts of the house. Along the way, he encounters each member of the family, resulting in a series of boss battles, each with their own distinct theme and mechanics.  The game has been received fairly well and bodes well for the future of the franchise.

Visage

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Platform: PC

Release Date: Oct 2018

Visage is an Early Access Steam title that shows a lot of promise so far. Even in its current state, the first-person survival horror game manages to deliver on its atmosphere and immerse you in its world while drawing inspiration from titles like P.T. and some others mentioned earlier in this list. The game has you exploring a family home which has seen a myriad of grisly events take place.

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You are tasked with exploring the home, managing to keep yourself from going insane by avoiding the dark and staying medicated, while solving puzzles as the house around you changes. You’ll find doors suddenly lead to different areas than before; discover hidden messages on walls, all the while being stalked by sinister creatures. While still in development, Visage is definitely worth keeping your eye on as the final product will no doubt be one of the most engaging horror games of this generation.

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