Video games often present themselves as a power fantasy where the player is fully equipped to handle any challenge they’re presented with. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to the best horror games available in 2019.
Titles like Outlast 2 and Inside put players in situations where they have no means to defend themselves and must resort to either hiding or fleeing in terror. Games like this use atmosphere (along with the occasional jumpscare) to get their point across—this place isn’t safe and there’s not much you can do about it.
Here, we’ve highlighted the best horror games to play in 2019 with an emphasis on recent releases. We’ll be updating this list in the future, so make sure to check back. And if you’d like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
Apsulov: End of Gods (PC)
Apsulov: End of Gods is a Viking-themed horror game that blends Nordic mythology with futuristic technology. The result is an epic, sci-fi first-person adventure in which players are tasked with uncovering the secrets of Yggdrasil, a mythical land comprised of nine different realms.
Throughout the game, players acquire augmentations for their character called artifacts, which can prove useful during terrifying encounters with a wide array of powerful, mythical beasts. However, the main appeal of Apsulov stems from its highly-detailed environments and unique visual style.
A Plague Tale: Innocence (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure horror game set France, 1348 and sees a pair of siblings on the run from the English army after their countryside estate is raided. The game’s historical setting coincides with the existence of the Black Plague, and therefore, features both human enemies and hordes of diseased rats that players will have to sneak past.
Controlling both Amicia and her younger brother Hugo, players are tasked with navigating dark sewers, decaying city streets, and dense forests in hopes of making it out alive. While both siblings are pretty much defenseless for a majority of the game, basic tools like Amicia’s torch and Hugo’s slingshot prove useful for solving puzzles and distracting enemies.
Pacify is a survival horror game in which players take on the role of a Paranormal Investigator tasked with determining whether or not an old abandoned house is in fact haunted. The home in question was at one point a funeral parlor, with its owners rumored to have been offering a special service that allowed people to communicate with their deceased loved ones.
Naturally, things take a turn for the worst when the ghost of a young girl begins appearing throughout the home, making her presence increasingly known. Featuring support for up to four-player online co-op, Pacify is a jumpscare nightmare with challenging, time-sensitive puzzles that are much easier to solve with friends.
Resident Evil 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Following the success of the first Resident Evil remake, Capcom’s updated version of Resident Evil 2 is nothing short of a survival horror game masterpiece. It features completely redone assets as well as some QoL improvements that make the 20-year-old title feel like a current-gen release.
Players control rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as they attempt to escape Raccoon City in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. While the core experience of RE2 has remained pretty much the same and sees players scavenging for ammo and healing items, the story has been reworked in some areas, giving characters like Ada Wong a much more prominent role.
The Light Keeps Us Safe (PC)
The Light Keeps Us Safe is a procedurally-generated stealth horror game with survival and Metroidvania elements. Equipped with only a flashlight, players are tasked with leaving the safety of their bunker and exploring an apocalyptic-world overrun by bloodthirsty robots in search of supplies.
Salvageable items range from food and medkits to bottles that can be thrown to distract enemies and components for upgrading your flashlight, allowing you to explore areas that were previously inaccessible. When encountering enemies, the player has no real means of defense and can only momentarily stun robots using their flashlight’s beam, giving them just enough time to hide.
Little Nightmares (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Little Nightmares is a horror puzzle platformer with an emphasis on stealth. Players control a small girl named Six who’s been trapped in the depths of a strange vessel. As they make their way upwards, navigating through the ship’s multiple levels, they’ll have to sneak past disfigured humans whose size dwarfs that of the player.
Over the course of the game, Six experiences intense moments of primal-like hunger, becoming more frequent as the game progresses and Six gets closer to escaping. Clocking in around 3-4 hours, Little Nightmares is a brief yet terrifying experience with a high degree of atmospheric horror that sticks in the back of your mind.
The Blackout Club (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The Blackout Club is a first-person cooperative horror game that proves encountering the unknown is a lot better with friends. In it, up to four players can team up as they control a group of friends who stumble upon a dark force plaguing their small town, led by a sinister figure known only as “The Shape.”
While there are weapons in the game, the player’s primary tool for survival is a trusty smartphone, which can illuminate dark corners and document everything that’s happening. Additionally, the game offers procedurally-generated missions that vary based on player level and progress, increasing it’s replayability.
Prey (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Prey is an open-world, horror first-person shooter with stealth, survival, and RPG elements. Players take on the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard the Talos 1 space station, which has become overrun by a species of violent aliens known as the Typhon.
The goal of the game is to collect enough resources and weapons to be able to stand a chance against the Typhon. Along the way, players will uncover secrets about Talos 1’s mysterious history and be able to make decisions that directly affect the story. Among Prey’s best features are the Typhon alien species, which encompasses various sub-species such as the shape-shifting Mimics. These spider-like aliens can take on the appearance of common items in the open-world, attacking when you least expect it.
Inside (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Inside is a 2.5D horror puzzle platformer from developer PlayDead, the studio behind Limbo. In it, players seize control of an unnamed boy and explore a strange and silent world while being pursued by zombie-like humans and rabid dogs.
During the game, players are forced to solve a variety of puzzles set in increasingly tense environments. While its runtime is brief, clocking in around 3-4 hours, Inside offers a brisk stroll through a dark world who’s otherworldly manifestations go far beyond the surface.
Stories Untold (PC)
Stories Untold is a horror puzzle adventure game that’s broken up into four episodes, with each chapter telling a different part of the story. The game has a 1980s retro aesthetic, incorporating technology as well as sci-fi tropes from the time period to create a deeper sense of immersion.
Players may recognize elements from traditional adventure games, with each chapter focusing on a different style of gameplay (text-based, first-person exploration, puzzle-solving). The game offers a refreshing take on the horror genre and does a great job of paying homage to classic adventure titles that came before.
The Forest (PS4, PC)
The Forest is an open-world, survival horror game that sees players take on the role of Eric Leblanc after crashlanding on a remote island along with his son. Soon after waking up, Eric realizes that his son’s been captured and that the island he’s on is inhabited by cannibalistic mutants.
The game is centered around crafting a base, tools, and weapons in order to defend yourself from the local natives while searching for your son. What makes The Forest stand out is its enemy AI, which reacts differently to the player based on the time of day.
Layers of Fear (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
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.
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 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
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 while telling an even darker story. Players take on the role of Blake Langermann, a cameraman whose accompanied by his wife Lynn and a pilot, as the three fly over the Arizona desert searching for clues surrounding the murder of a pregnant woman.
While gameplay remains largely unchanged from the first game, requiring players to use a handheld camera in order to see in the dark and document key moments, the addition of new tools like a microphone that allows you to hear enemy footsteps from a distance, adds new opportunities for stealthy gameplay. Outlast 2’s real horror lies in watching your camera’s battery deplete, unsure when you’ll find another.
Visage is an Early Access Steam title that sees players exploring a family home which has seen a myriad of grisly events take place. While traversing through the house’s different rooms, players will also have to prevent themselves from going insane by avoiding the dark and keeping themselves medicated.
The game draws heavily from notable horror titles such as the P.T. demo and Amnesia, offering an engaging experience that’s thoroughly unsettling. Since entering Early Access, the developers have provided consistent updates, recently adding a new chapter to the game’s story.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.