PC is an evil laboratory where many new horror games are developed and tested. Some of the best modern horror games are word-of-mouth sensations that started out as experimental PC exclusives. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 horror games available on PC right now.
While some of these aren’t exclusive to PC, they all got their start or found an audience on the platform. Some are horror classics that have influenced countless imitators, while others are still undiscovered treasures lurking in the shadows of digital storefronts. These are our picks for the top 12 PC horror games.
IMSCARED: A Pixelated Nightmare is the only game on this list that extends its scares beyond its.exe boundaries and into the real world. An entity known as White Face stalks your every move as you creep through IMSCARED’s low-res environments, finding keys and attempting to escape the nightmare you’re currently in.
When White Face is caught, it causes a crash back to your desktop, and a folder containing a text document appears on screen, taunting your failure. It also plays with your mind in other ways: your browser might open unexpectedly, landing on a creepy YouTube video; elsewhere, HTML web documents appear in another folder, showing a map and the supposed exit to the area you’re in, but can you trust it? It even requires you to delete in-game documents in order to progress through certain moments. IMSCARED, like Eternal Darkness, takes its unique horror style outside of itself – a truly cursed game. Jesse Gomez’s
11. The Cat Lady
In the first minute of The Cat Lady, the reader learns that the protagonist, a lonely forty-year-old named Susan Ashworth, has taken her own life. She then awakens in an unfamiliar place, where she is met by The Queen of Maggots, who tells her to rid the world of five “parasites” before she can rest in peace.
Despite its weighty subject matter and serious tone, The Cat Lady is surprisingly straightforward to perform. You’ll navigate some twisted and bizarre locales, gather items for use in puzzle solving, and influence Susan’s interactions with others based on your dialogue choices. The game may look like a standard point-and-click adventure, but underneath the surface lies a touching tale inspired by the real-world struggle of a woman who has decided she no longer wants to live. Gomez, Jesse
10. Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight, an asymmetrical slasher horror game released in 2016, was a pitiful but well-intentioned offering in which a cast of bumbling teenagers tried to avoid being mutilated by stereotypical slasher movie baddies. In 2021, it has become the Super Smash Bros. of the horror genre, featuring everyone from Freddy Kreuger and Michael Myers to Resident Evil’s Nemesis and Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head. Despite its solid premise, Dead By Daylight regularly adds new characters, features, and more. Playing the game as a group of seemingly helpless survivors in one round is just as much fun as playing as a huge, powerful, horror movie monster in the next round. Altano, Brian
9. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Even though it’s one of the older games on this list, Amnesia: The Dark Descent still deserves a spot here because its gameplay inspired a renaissance (no pun intended) of the survival horror genre, which had strayed into action game territory before the release of the recent Amnesia sequel.
In the opening of Amnesia, the protagonist, Daniel, awakens in the foreboding Brennenburg Castle all by himself. As he looks around, he notices a shadow following him, and he has no recollection of how he got there (hence the name). There are other creatures roaming the castle that will give chase if they see you. The situation wouldn’t be so dire if you could defend yourself, but you can’t. Unlike more action-oriented horror games like Resident Evil 5, which came out the year before, your only defense is to run and often hide in the dark.
The catch is, though, that too much time spent in the shadows can cause mental collapse. Although it’s not the first game to feature a “sanity meter” (hello, Eternal Darkness), Amnesia does a fantastic job of implementing the concept. Achieving sanity in this game requires striking a delicate balance between using light to see what you’re doing and hiding in the darkness to avoid monsters.
Amnesia’s subsequent games all cleverly expand upon The Dark Descent’s gameplay elements, and this has caught the attention of other game designers. If you’re in the mood to sit in the dark for 10 hours, The Dark Descent is still worth a visit to Brennenburg, despite the controls and interface being a little rough on consoles. Avoid remaining in the shadows for too long. The Jobert Atienza Affair
8. World of Horror
If you enjoy the works of Junji Ito and/or H.P. Lovecraft, you may want to add World of Horror to your Halloween gaming lineup this year. Playing this “1-Bit” horror game is a lot like discovering a series of creepy, highly detailed drawings made in Microsoft Paint.
The player’s goal is to prevent the end of the world in this Shiokawa, Japan-based RPG by slaying monsters lifted straight from Japanese horror manga and urban legends. Obviously, World of Horror is a horror game, but it also incorporates roguelite and role-playing game elements.
World of Horror is a must-play on PC thanks to its mastery of tension, well-matched soundtrack, and general difficulty. Lyles, Taylor
The STALKER trilogy is one of the few video games to perfectly capture an encompassing sense of bleakness and foreboding. This living, breathing world is ready to bleed you dry, whether you’re racing to the site of the world’s worst nuclear incident deep within Chernobyl or uncovering the secrets hidden within the decrepit city of Pripyat. If the idea of facing off against ghosts buried beneath the earth, reanimated enemies who were once allies, and bloodsucking mutants appeals to you, then a trip to the Chernobyl exclusion zone is in order. Gomez, Jesse
6. Five Nights at Freddy’s
Dimly lit, rat-themed birthday party center with sad pizza, a mostly broken arcade room, and a giant animatronic animal band that would shut down in between songs to stare into the souls of children with giant, dead-eye looks—even as a kid, there was always something inherently creepy about being in a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
The entire plot of Five Nights at Freddy’s revolves around the fleeting fun and haunted magic of a seemingly lifeless collection of animatronic pizza restaurant mascots who suddenly spring to life and become horrifying nightmares, but instead of being a child at a birthday party, you play as an employee tasked with watching the restaurant after hours and surviving the night.
One of the few horror games that most kids can play without suffering lifelong trauma, Five Nights at Freddy’s has you flipping through security cameras and other devices while unsettling mechanical faces pop up here and there or generally go bump in the night. Animatronic animals are terrifying, so this game series has the potential to appeal to both young and old horror fans, which is unusual. Altano, Brian
When it was first released in 2006, Pathologic was way ahead of its time. Pathologic combines horror and mystery for an original take on the genre, taking place in a mysterious town hit by a mysterious plague. The player can assume the role of one of three survivors who have 12 days to solve the mystery of the’sand plague.’
Every day, players will have access to brand-new quests that will bring them closer to the truth. However, these quests will only be accessible on a specific date, and once that day has passed, they will no longer be accessible.
The atmosphere in Pathologic and its sequel, Pathologic 2, is superb. Despite a dearth of truly terrifying moments, your time spent in Pathologic will leave a lasting impression on you thanks to the pervasive feeling of dread you’ll have the whole way through the game. It was Matt Kim who said this.
Phobophobia appeared suddenly and dramatically. Up to four players can work together as amateur ghost hunters, using items like night vision cameras, holy water, and radios. There are still a lot of technical issues to be fixed, but the basic concept works very well for an early access game. Perhaps this is why Steam has seen a proliferation of Phasmophobia clones in recent times.
You’ll be making your way through haunted houses and old prisons while pleading with the dead. Get enough information and you might be able to figure out what kind of ghost is lurking around there. You can earn a lot of money if you can deduce things correctly.
The clock is ticking, and with each passing second, the odds of encountering a ghost grow, along with the severity of any potential consequences. When you and your friends are running away quickly from Phasmophobia, nothing beats seeing one of your companions suddenly twist and contort as a result of being attacked by one of the many evil spirits that inhabit the game. It was Matt Kim who said this.
3 Chilla’s Art Games
The Chilla brothers, both Japanese, started the independent development studio Chilla’s Art. The two have released over 15 horror games in the “micro” genre on Steam since 2018. These games may only last a few hours, but they are incredibly terrifying.
All games by Chilla’s Art are one-of-a-kind adventures, but they share a common formula in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist experiencing an everyday event that quickly spirals out of control. The Convenience Store is a popular role-playing game in which players work the night shift at a convenience store. All sorts of spooky things, from odd customers to unexplained noises to terrifying encounters, ramp up as the night progresses as players go about their night restocking items and checking inventory.
There are so many excellent options at Chilla’s Art Games that it’s difficult to settle on a single suggestion. But even if you only try a few, you’re almost certain to have a good time because of how easy it is to do so. It was Matt Kim who said this.
2. Puppet Combo Games
The Night Ripper, The Power Drill Massacre Retro Bowl, and the Babysitter Slayings… These aren’t obscure exploitation movies from the ’80s; they’re Puppet Combo’s horror games, which he develops all by himself.
Over the past decade, over twenty games have been made available on Patreon and itch.io, and they all feature no shortage of tense and unforgiving moments. Puppet Combo is unapologetically faithful to its PlayStation 1-era, VHS horror roots, whether you’re running from a serial killer while babysitting, playing cat and mouse with a psychotic nun in a boarding school (in the aptly named Nun Massacre), or managing a park ranger on a cold and stormy night as something stalks them from afar.
Every game in the Puppet Combo series is a nightmare you won’t soon forget, thanks to the combination of terrifying settings, shady companions, and relentless killers.
As a result of Konami’s cancellation of Silent Hills in 2015, a number of games that were clearly inspired by the playable teaser released shortly before. Among these is Visage, the first video game developed by Sad Square Studios.
You take on the role of Dwayne Anderson in this 1980s-set horror game as he tries to escape his haunted mansion and figure out what’s causing the supernatural disturbances.
Light bulbs will break, lights will turn on and off, and doors will slam as you explore the mostly dark and quiet house, all in an attempt to scare you away. Visage is a challenging horror game because of the constant sensory terror and the need to keep Dwayne’s sanity under pressure. The game is based on trial and error, but those who stick with it will be rewarded with a compelling plot and plenty of tense moments.
Visage isn’t Silent Hills, but the spirit of Konami’s cancelled game lives on in its veins.
And that wraps it up! Those are the best PC horror games in our opinion. Don’t agree with the order? Do you feel like there should have been another inclusion? Have your say in the poll down below, and please share your thoughts with us in the comments!