Are you not afraid to scream in terror in public? Do you love the idea of being immersed in your horror experience regardless of where you are? Clearly, the answers are yes, else you wouldn’t be here with us now. The Nintendo Switch is a surprising hybrid console that can do it all. It can make you laugh and cry. Grumble and chuckle. And, yes, even cower in the corner mumbling “It’s only a game. It can’t hurt me.”
We love the Switch for so many reasons, but being able to take our horror experiences on the go is top of that list. Utilize Nintendo’s hybrid console for some spooky delights with this list of the best Switch horror games.
Developer: Feral Interactive Limited Publisher: SEGA
Okay, so Alien: Isolation for the Switch isn’t out at the time of writing this list, but I have such high hopes for the latest port of The Creative Assembly’s successful survival horror Alien game that I’m going to geek out about it now. I’ll even tout with complete confidence that it’s going to be one of the best Switch horror games. At least of what’s out right now.
Just you wait, when you’re ducking under desks and hiding in air vents to evade the spindly fingers of Ridley Scott’s terrifying xenomorph, you’ll remember that I called it.
Horror games don’t often grip players with stunning visuals. It’s usually about finding the best way to make hearts race and hands quake. Detention touches on both the visual and horror aspects to flesh out a unique game set in Taiwan in the 1960s. This isn’t some vacation-gone-wrong, however, as the region of Taiwan has been placed under martial law and is ripe with supernatural terrors.
In the already tense setting, players follow two students who soon find the world they once knew has been infested with terrifying creatures. Detention uses the horror genre to tell a gripping story in an atmospheric setting that utilizes elements of East Asian religion, culture, and mythology.
Come for the horror, stay for the educational lesson on Taiwanese history. It’s certainly not what one would expect from a horror title.
14. Death Mark
Developer: Experience Publisher: Aksys Games
It starts with a mark. It ends with death. Death Mark.
That would make for one hell of an action movie tagline, but we’re here for the interactive visual horror novel, Death Mark. After finding yourself marked with the deadly titular blemish, you set out through the streets and dilapidated buildings of Tokyo’s H City to save yourself from a most gruesome fate.
Search through an array of environments, seeking out the clues that will help keep you alive. When the specters of H City get in your way, you’ll have to find the best combination of items found in the world to vanquish them. It’s a strange mix of strategic turn-based combat integrated into a stunning visual novel of horrific proportions.
Admittedly, this isn’t a game for everyone, but it is a game that everyone should try. Deadly Premonition is a strange experience from beginning to end, so-much-so that it’s not easy to lay out what you’re in store for. What I can say is that some people were killed in a fictional town and you’re there to solve the murders. Everything that unravels beyond that is pure mayhem, but in an entertaining form.
The gameplay isn’t incredibly unique as you’ll point-and-shoot through a number of strange monsters. However, when you’re not killing survival horror’s signature monsters, you’ll be exploring the town of Greenvale and unraveling the mystery through a range of puzzles.
Deadly Premonition Origins is the kind of game you really want to sit down with and allow to suck you in. Keep all distractions to a minimum, so invest in some headphones to get the full experience.
Developer: Illfonic / Black Tower Studios Publisher: Gun Media
When Friday the 13th first released, it did so with initially disastrous results. Nintendo Switch owners are able to benefit from that messy launch with the Ultimate Slasher Edition. This definitive title comes with all challenges, released content, new counselors, and new versions of Jason to play as, giving you everything PC, PS4, and Xbox One players had to work for.
Of course, the Switch release isn’t as polished, but it runs fine and you can actually get into matches without issue. Take the mantle as Jason Voorhees or scurry around campsites and iconic locations as counselors in the only real Friday the 13th game to release. That’s right, I’m throwing shade at the NES disasterpiece.
Come for the nostalgia, stay for the brutal slayings as you stalk your prey using a selection of supernatural abilities or scramble to find your way out of this 1980s nightmare.
Developer: Behaviour Interactive Publisher: 505 Games
You know a developer has succeeded when it can make playing as the hapless survivor just as rewarding as playing as the killer. In Dead by Daylight, the two experiences are so very different, but both have their merits.
Of course, as the killer, you enter the playing field with deadly abilities and murderous weapons. Your goal is to kill each of your four prey, survivors that are fodder for the overseeing Entity. Dead by Daylight has a lot going for it, but the fact that you can play as memorable horror icons like Ghostface, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and even the Demogorgon from Stranger Things come out on top.
The survivors have their own helpful skills and tools, which pair nicely with some advantages that keep them from dying instantly. Their task is to power up generators and escape before they become the next sacrifice. Expect a lot of running and hiding, but there is a strategic level to Dead by Daylight that really requires both killer and survivor to think about their next move.
Though Friday the 13th and Dead by Daylight share the same format, they are two very different games. They can – and should – both coexist in your Switch’s memory.
It’s all about atmosphere in this survival horror experience that takes you through some truly dingy environments. Darkwood is the horror game for people that hate jump scares. While you definitely want to play with your earphones on, the game relies heavily on building tension naturally. For the most part, it works well and proves you don’t need things thrown in your face.
The slower-paced title sends players into a world of deadly challenges, where an infestation threatens to consume everyone in its path. Survive by crafting items and holing up in scattered hovels, placed by a random map generator. Creatures of all manners stalk the night, making day your only refuge to scavenge and seek out supplies.
No two experiences are the same, especially with the branching storyline that lets you forge your own tale.
Developer: Playdead Publisher: Playdead
In a dark and dreary world, a lone boy evades immense dangers as you escape ruthless pursuers.
The spiritual successor to Playdead’s equally as grim Limbo promises the same heavy themes as you help the boy maneuver through a ruthless and unkind world. The primarily greyscale platformer utilizes lighting and shadows perfectly to create a depressing setting that illustrates the boy’s hopeful quest for freedom.
Trained dogs, unknown horrors, zombie-like people, and social constructs put in place to keep everyone in line threaten the boy’s path. Puzzles and platforming segments are sure to hinder your progress and the themes are sure to weigh heavy in your heart as you slowly come to realize there there is no happy ending for our nameless protagonist.
8. The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games
Fans may have turned away from AMC’s tiresome television series, but Telltale Games will delight its followers with The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season. This award-winning title introduces players to Robert Kirkman’s world of the undead as Lee Everett, a criminal that finds himself protecting a young girl named Clementine.
Remaining true to its form, Telltale Game’s made The Walking Dead an interactive graphic adventure. Though the gameplay doesn’t have much depth, so many of the actions you take can shift your story and lead you down a different path. What The Walking Dead succeeds most at is beating players down emotionally.
Like the graphic novel and the TV series’ earlier seasons, The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season tricks you into getting close to characters that have no chance of surviving the zombie apocalypse.
7. Bendy and the Ink Machine
Developer: Kindly Beast Publisher: Kindly Beast
What happens on the inside of your favorite animation studios? Is it a normal ecosystem that thrives on creativity? Or is there something sinister lurking beneath the surface that’s a far cry from its more jovial works? If we’re talking Joey Drew Studios, it’s very much so the latter.
Bendy and the Ink Machine gives us a first-hand glimpse of an animation studio that produces pure horror shows. Follow Henry as he gets sucked into the zany world of Bendy, the once lovable children’s character that’s corrupted into an Ink Demon.
Survive this first-person puzzle adventure to unravel what has happened in the 30 years since Henry worked for Joy Drew and how the mysterious Ink Machine distorted Bendy and friends.
Developer: Frictional Games / The Chinese Room Publisher: Frictional Games
It’s good when you can get three horror experiences for the price of one. It’s even better when trio is made up of quality, memorable experience. The Amnesia: Collection for the Nintendo Switch includes three high-quality horror titles, including The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, and the expansion for the latter, Justine.
The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs are two very different games, with the first release putting nyctophobia (fear of the dark) and sanity in the spotlight. The follow-up changed things quite a bit, allowing players to focus on exploration and puzzles instead of emphasizing running and hiding from enemies.
Each game is a solid horror experience, though players may find the unique gameplay of The Dark Descent to be a bit more varied and engaging than A Machine for Pigs.
5. Layers of Fear: Legacy
Developer: Bloober Team S.A. Publisher: Bloober Team
If you’re a creative person, you know that your mind is always creating new worlds and scenarios. Thankfully, none of them actually come to life. Layers of Fear gives us the chance to find out what it would be like if all of that creative energy spilled over into the real world, altering and twisting our surroundings during our quest to create a masterpiece.
Layers of Fear is a subtly scary game that lets the story play out without distracting players with too-frequent jumpscares and impossibly complex imagery. It’s simple without being boring and without losing that ability to grip players.
Play through a painter’s growing madness and become terrorized yourself by the supernatural elements that let their presence be known. The closer he gets to finishing his gruesome Magnum Opus, the darker things become.
Developer: Red Barrels Publisher: Red Barrels
It’s a tale as old as time.
An investigative journalist breaks into a dilapidated, run down asylum at the insistence of a mysterious email alleging human experimentation. Rather than uncover the story of the century, he’s thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse, where he’s the mouse and the escaped inmates of the asylum are very hungry, severely disturbed cats.
Equipped with a video camera, battery-draining night vision, and one helluva threshold for pain, Miles Upshur is trapped within a hellish nightmare, forced to set the story of Mount Massive Asylum aside and escape with his life. In the darkness and cramped halls await the unstable inmates that now run the asylum and are on a perpetual hunt for something to terrorize.
3. Little Nightmares
Developer: Tarsier Studios Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Oh the horrors that await in the depths of the Maw.
Guide tiny Six through a world of ironically gigantic nightmares in this puzzle adventure where every twist and turn could lead to your imminent doom. The deeper you get into the oceanic Maw, the scarier things get as ou come face-to-face with disfigured terrors like The Janitor and The Twin Chefs.
You have nothing at your disposal but your small size and quick feet, but it will take some quick thinking to evade the ravenous fiends standing between you and your freedom. Little Nightmares is a dim and unsettling journey that will keep your heart racing.
Character design is an amalgamation of Tim Burton and Tim Schaefer’s most disturbing work, so don’t be surprised if these little nightmares come to find you in your sleep.
Must I say anything about Resident Evil 4 at this point? It’s been ported to nearly a dozen consoles after shaking the Resident Evil series up on the GameCube in 2005. Fans of the franchise have raved about it and praised its ingenuity and departure from the tank-like controls of the original trilogy.
The Switch version of Resident Evil 4 is yet another faithful port that lets the game shine on its own, without updated mechanics or anything else that may muddy the waters. Since just about every Resident Evil game is available on the Switch, there is no question as to whether or not players should be diving head first into the spread of the Las Plagas parasite.
Even if you were put off by the slow pacing of the first three Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 4 kicks things up a notch with an over-the-shoulder camera angle that puts a heavier focus on action. It’s still not as action-oriented as Resident Evil 5 or Resident Evil 6, so it remains a true horror game that’s sure to delight and fright.
Very infrequently do I choose two games from the same series, and this was a choice I wrestled with. However, Resident Evil 4 and the Resident Evil Origins Collection are two completely different animals that it seemed appropriate to mention both. Where Resident Evil 4 took the series in a new direction, the Origins Collection stuck true to its roots, for better and for worse.
Slightly improved tank-like controls are less of a hindrance thanks to reworked camera angles and both Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero are vast improvements over their original incarnations. Chronicle the events of Alpha and Bravo Team across two acclaimed titles.
First, combat an infestation of mutated leeches as S.T.A.R.S. member Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Billy Coen. Then, enter a mansion crawling with zombies and B.O.W.s as S.T.A.R.S. officers Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield and uncover the secrets lying beneath the ornate building and within your own ranks.