When it comes to PC horror gaming, there is no shortage of titles for you to play when the moon is high and the lights are dimmed. The best PC horror games offer an unending list filled with indie-developed terrors and AAA fright fests of varying qualities.
With the limited time we all have to put into playing this ever-growing library of horror games, it’s best to focus on those that come highly rated. To keep you from scrolling through pages of games until your mind fractures and you’re left muttering some chant that’s sure to summon the Great Old One, we’ve put together this list of the best PC horror titles.
First- and third-person shooters, RPGs, point-and-click games — they’re all here. You know what isn’t here? Duplicates from the same series. We want your library to have variety, so we’ve chosen the best from a series and have given it the spotlight.
Developer: Monolith Productions Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
Combining survival horror with a fast-paced first-person shooter isn’t an easy formula to perfect, but Monolith Productions was able to come very close with F.E.A.R. If you needed any additional proof that ghost girls are the scariest thing ever, just turn to this action-packed shooter.
Short for First Encounter Assault Recon, F.E.A.R. sends players into a supernaturally charged world as the nameless superhuman Point Man. Throughout much of the game, you’re battling against telepathic soldiers, which isn’t that scary. However, Monolith crafted a hybrid horror-shooter by introducing Alma, the little girl that pops up at inopportune moments to give you quite the fright.
When not immersing you in firefights or throwing jumpscares in your face, F.E.A.R. toys with your mind with disturbing imagery and a good use of psychological horror.
14. Visage (2018)
Developer: SadSquare Studio Publisher: SadSquare Studio
Though still in development as of this writing, SadSquare released the first chapter of this spiritual successor to P.T. as part of an early access period. While it may be hard to gauge the full game based on one chapter, what has been released is that good to warrant being on this list. Think of it as a deeper version of P.T., but with the promise of being completed in the near future.
Visage uses every trick in the survival horror book to turn a seemingly innocent home into a literal house of horrors. The premise is eerie and will make you question the very place you call your home. Within a centuries-old abode that’s ripe with a dark and bloody past, you’re tasked with reliving brutal killings to piece together a gruesome history. That means coming face to face with the ghosts that lurk in the shadows.
The specter design is pretty phenomenal, the jump scares are plenty, and SadSquare succeeded in creating a familiar but horrifying atmosphere through dynamic lighting and sound design.
Keep in mind, this is only a 1.25 hour-long early access chapter. Just imagine what frights await in later chapters, scheduled to release in 2019.
13. Lobotomy Corporation (2016)
Developer: Project Moon Publisher: Project Moon
What would happen if you combined Cabin in the Woods, the SCP Foundation, and Fallout Shelter? You’d get the chaos that is Lobotomy Corporation, a rogue-lite simulation game teaming with dozens of different monsters.
As an administrator of Lobotomy Corporation, you’re tasked with managing the Abnormalities that are being used as a new energy source. It’s a zany concept, but it works in the quirky world of Lobotomy Corporation.
There is a lot to maintaining order, especially as you collect more monstrous Abnormalities. Lobotomy Corporation has a steep learning curve, but the fun of understanding and interacting with your collection of monsters will keep you engaged as you work through the many mechanics.
With so many Abnormalities in your lab, disasters are inevitable, and that’s where the real fun strikes. Picture the Raider attacks in Fallout Shelter, just a lot more involved. With the rogue’s gallery of monsters in Lobotomy Corporation, you’ll feel like you’re still facing new challenges well into your time with this shambolic game.
For a game to succeed largely on its narrative, it must remain engaging from start to finish. Thanks to a haunting atmosphere, a chilling soundtrack, and great storytelling, Paratropic doesn’t need to rely on beautiful environments and deep gameplay. It’s an ugly game, but there is something about the pixelated characters and world that works into the game’s elements of horror.
Paratropic features three intersecting stories with their own horrific themes. It’s difficult to get into each of them without spoiling some of the finer moments of the game’s plot, so we’ll just say that each one is just as twisted as the next.
It’s not a long game by any means and can take just under an hour to complete, but the experience is one that all horror fans should afford themselves.
11. Dusk (2018)
Developer: David Szymanski Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Even in the current generation of gaming, something doesn’t have to look pretty to be good. Dusk is a prime example with its early-90s textures, character models, and animations. What it lacks in visual polish it more than makes up for in gameplay and lore.
Like the early shooters it’s modeled after, Dusk charges players with scrambling through labyrinthian levels in search of an exit. Along the way, they’ll tackle swarms of baddies, including cult members, chainsaw-wielding brutes, and unique bosses. Thankfully, players are armed to the teeth with pistols, dual-wield shotguns, crossbows, and so much more.
It may sound easy to compare Dusk to games like Quake and Doom, but the similarities are shallow. Set in a word inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Dusk’s environments (as textureless as they can be) are more in line with the horror genre. You won’t be jumping out of your seat with fright, but the fast-paced shooter was undoubtedly built with horror fans in mind.