Are you looking to spice up your Halloween party with something other than pumpkin? Or are you just looking to enjoy a bit of terror on your own while checking over your shoulder every 5 seconds? Or maybe you’re not one for blood and gore and want some non-traditional frights that don’t rely on jump scares?

Whether you prefer your horror served on a plate of clichés or if you’re more into the non-traditional, we’ve got a game for you, from well-known iconic classics to hidden indie gems and everything in between.

So sit back, relax, and maybe make sure that noise behind you was just the wind…

Disclaimer: This list is completely spoiler free!

UNTIL DAWN

AKA: TEEN MURDER SIMULATOR

Which platform is it on?

Until Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive. You can get it here.

What’s it about?

A group of friends go to an isolated cabin on a mountain on the anniversary of the tragic death of two of their friends, who also happened to be the twin sisters of the prankster of the friend group. It turns out that there are sinister things lurking out on the mountain, including a mysterious man wielding a flamethrower and the terrifying masked Psycho, but that’s just the beginning of what lies beneath…

In Until Dawn, you’re tasked with making sure that 8 teenagers survive the night. Or don’t. Your choice!

Until Dawn takes traditional horror tropes and turns them on their head, cleverly deconstructing traditional narratives and building them back up with a nice dose of spine-tingling terror.

Also, Rami Malek’s there.

What kind of horror is it?

Traditional horror, filled with jump scares and things designed to stop you sleeping at night. It contains QTE sequences, dialogue and action choices that may greatly impact how your game plays out, and also utilises the DualShock 4’s motion controls in an innovative way.

How should I play it?

If you want to immerse yourself in the narrative and try your best to keep everyone alive, play it on your own. If you want a fun party game, invite over some friends, get drunk, and watch as everyone dies because you’re all too sloshed to hit the QTE buttons.

Until Dawn doesn’t have an actual multiplayer mode built in, so the best way to play would be to assign everyone a character and pass round the controller when the playable character changes. You can also take votes on non-timed dialogue and action options. Alternatively, you can just hand the controller to the most chaotic person in your friend group and watch as mayhem unfolds.

RESIDENT EVIL 2

BUT LIKE, THE 2019 ONE

Which platform is it on?

Resident Evil 2 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. You can pick it up on the Microsoft Store here.

What’s it about?

At the start of the game, most of the citizens of Raccoon City have been turned into zombies thanks to Umbrella Corp’s T-Virus. At a gas station outside of the infected city, police officer Leon S. Kennedy meets college student Claire Redfield, who’s looking for her missing brother. The two agree to traverse the zombie-infested Raccoon City together, but find way more than they bargained for.

Resident Evil 2 is a remake of the 1998 game of the same name. We gave it a 10/10 in the Official MSPoweruser review, so that should tell you all you really need to know.

What kind of horror is it?

Resident Evil 2 is your typical shooter-survival-horror-also-there’s-Romero-style-zombies game, but it’s so much more than that. It’s terrifying, it’s beautiful, it’s perfect, and you’ll be sleeping with the lights on for days.

How should I play it?

While Resident Evil 2 is sadly a single-player only game, and best enjoyed on your own in a dark room with all the doors locked, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing some friends around for moral support. You’ll probably need it.

DEATH ROAD TO CANADA

Which platform is it on?

PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One, PC, Linux, and macOS. Here’s the Steam page for it.

What’s it about?

Dying of dysentery on the Oregon Trail is soooo 1800s. Nowadays, it’s all about getting your guts ripped out as you flee from Florida to Canada during the zombie apocalypse.

Death Road to Canada is an excellent take on The Oregon Trail formula that combines mildly infuriating RNG with hilarious action and adventure. You control a car full of jerks (who may or may not be human – you can take on the zombie apocalypse with a team full of dogs if you play your cards right) on a randomly generated road trip, trying to stave off hunger, illness, and, of course, zombies as you try and make it to the Canadian safe zone.

What kind of horror is it?

The game is all zombie-themed and trades in things like jump scares in exchange for having your head gnawed off by the undead because you’re still getting the hang of aiming your shotgun. There are plenty of laughs and pop culture references scattered throughout the game, which adds a lighthearted touch to the survival horror aspect.

How should I play it?

You can take on Death Road to Canada on your own or with up to four friends in couch co-op. There’s also a character creator, meaning you can make your family, friends, and enemies and see where the apocalypse takes you!

FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S

Which platform is it on?

The first six main games are all on iOS, Android, and PC. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted VR is available on PC (with the use of Oculus Rift and/or HTC Vive) and on PlayStation 4 with PSVR.

The first five games in the franchise (FNaF 1, 2, 3, 4, and Sister Location) and FNaF: Help Wanted VR are all paid, while Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator is completely free to play. Both FNaF World and Ultimate Custom Night, two FNaF spin-off games, are also free.

What’s it about?

Welcome to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, valued employee! If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve made a very poor career choice…

The Five Nights at Freddy’s series revolves around the Freddy Fazbear franchise and its iconic animatronics. In most of the games, you get hired as a night guard to watch the restaurant at night and make sure that the animatronics don’t get up to anything, such as breaking things, escaping the restaurant, and forcibly separating your spine from your body. You know, the usual.

You wanna know the true horror here? You’re barely making minimum wage.

What kind of horror is it?

Five Nights at Freddy’s relies on survival horror and jump scares for the main scares, with bits of existential horror and terrifying realisations sewn into the narrative. If you like jump scares, you’ll love it! If you love piecing together bits of lore to work out what’s going on, you’ll still love it, but you’ll probably wind up looking a bit like this.

How should I play it?

On your own, in a dark room, with all the lights off and your headphones on. You can also invite some friends over (and maybe even split the controls to make everything even harder) so you can all be terrified together!

LITTLE NIGHTMARES

Which platform is it on?

Little Nightmares can be enjoyed on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

What’s it about?

In Little Nightmares, Six is a little girl clad in a bright yellow raincoat who’s trapped in the deepest and darkest depths of The Maw. Six is starving, alone and confused, and will stop at nothing to escape, even if it means mutilating and tearing apart those in her path.

It’s up to the player to help Six out of The Maw while uncovering the horrific secrets behind it all and finding a way to rid Six of her hunger pangs. After all, the guests aboard The Maw must eat, and The Maw must survive.

What kind of horror is it?

The game is a puzzle-platformer horror that’s both beautiful and deeply unsettling. It also features stealth mechanics and an emphasis on what lurks in the dark – along with jump scares, there’s plenty of tension and things sneaking around in the shadows that’ll keep you on your toes.

How should I play it?

As it has no official multiplayer mode, Little Nightmares is best played on your own, in a dark room, with headphones on. However, Little Nightmares can be quite tricky to play at times so, if you’re prone to rage-quitting, you might find it best to take turns playing with a friend.

LAYERS OF FEAR

Which platform is it on?

You can pick up Layers of Fear on Windows PC, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You can get it on Steam here.

What’s it about?

In Layers of Fear, you are a painter trying to complete your magnum opus and you’re also probably the reason they say that artists have to suffer for their art and that’s why it’s called painting.

The game is a first-person psychedelic horror game that details the painter’s descent into madness. It has a big focus on story and exploration, which makes a nice change of pace from your typical horror games. But wait – was that chair always there? And was that painting always hanging crooked? And what’s that noise…?

What kind of horror is it?

Layers of Fear relies on psychological fear to make you feel like you’re losing the plot. The game technically has no game overs and no actual danger, only different endings, but has plenty of jump scares and tension to drive you up the wall.

How should I play it?

Layers of Fear is more of a horror walking simulator and art piece than anything, so it’s best to enjoy it on your own to really drink in the atmosphere. Lights are optional but headphones are a must. It’s not really a game you’d have at your Halloween party, but it can be enjoyed with a couple of friends who appreciate walking simulators and have a half-decent attention span.

DOKI DOKI LITERATURE CLUB

Which plat- wait, what? How is this a horror game?

Just trust me on this one.

Alright, fine. Which platform is it on?

Doki Doki Literature Club is available on Windows PC, macOS, and Linux and is a completely free game. You can check out its Steam page here, but if you want to avoid spoilers, steer clear of the reviews.

What’s it about?

Hello and welcome to the Literature Club! As the latest club member, it’s up to you to help Monika achieve her dream of making something special out of the things she loves.

The Literature Club consists of Sayori, the cheerful bundle of sunshine, Natsuki, the small but fierce one, Yuri, the mysterious and shy bookworm, and of course, Monika!

Doki Doki Literature Club is a lighthearted dating simulator-slash-visual novel that features both a nice storyline and a lovely little minigame about poem writing that makes the Literature Club feel really alive. You can choose which girl you want to get to know and which route you want to take and, most importantly, really be a part of the Literature Club!

What kind of horror is it?

Doki Doki Literature Club is a perfectly harmless visual novel.

(However, it’s not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.)

How should I play it?

You can enjoy Doki Doki Literature Club like any other dating simulator, so curled up in bed with a nice blanket and a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day would be ideal!

MANHUNT

Which platform is it on?

Manhunt is available on PlayStation 2, Windows PC, and Xbox. At the moment, it’s currently best played on a PlayStation 4 using the PlayStation backward compatibility feature, and you can buy it here.

What’s it about?

In a stark contrast to Doki Doki Literature Club’s sugary sweetness, Manhunt is all about being forced to participate in making several snuff films. By which I mean you’re forced to commit murder in the name of entertainment.

You play as James Earl Cash, a death row prisoner set to be executed by lethal injection. In the first of several turns of events, the injection turns out to be only a sedative, and you wake to find yourself in the middle of a disturbing and violent game where you must kill to survive.

What kind of horror is it?

Manhunt is just straight up violence-and-gore porn, even with its low-quality PlayStation 2 graphics. Sure, there’s a plot, but let’s be real – Manhunt’s reputation as a horrifically violent videogame tends to precede it.

While it’s difficult to play Manhunt nowadays, it’s included on this list just because of how disgustingly gory it is. It’s so violent that it’s actually banned in several countries including Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

How should I play it?

You can play Manhunt however you want! Maybe with all the lights on and the doors locked, though. Just make sure that if you’re having friends over, let them know about the game’s bloody reputation and maybe provide a bucket if they have weak stomachs.

THE SHROUDED ISLE

Which platform is it on?

The Shrouded Isle is available on Windows PC, macOS, and Nintendo Switch.

What’s it about?

In The Shrouded Isle, you take on the role of a high priest in a doomsday cult on an isolated island. You’re counting down the days until your god, the almighty Chernobog, returns to bless the earth. Or tear it asunder. That depends on how good your sacrifices are.

Each season, you must choose a villager to sacrifice to the almighty Chernobog. You must find out each villager’s randomly generated vice and virtue and choose your sacrifice accordingly – sacrificing a virtuous villager will earn you nothing but disdain, while sacrificing a sanctimonious sinner earns you Good Chernobog Points.

For more information, you can read the Official MSPoweruser Review here. Spoiler alert: it received a 9/10.

What kind of horror is it?

The Shrouded Isle is, at its heart, a management simulator. However, the creepy atmosphere, morbid art, eerie soundtrack, and terrifying narrative all combine to make something greater than the almighty Chernobog himself. Just kidding – that’s heresy! (Not kidding – this game is great.)

How should I play it?

I personally found it easiest to play The Shrouded Isle while on my own, with my headphones on, focusing intensely on which villager would be getting the chop this season. Having said that, it would actually make a great party game, with each guest voting on which villager heads to the sacrificial altar and you all working together to keep your island colony afloat. Praise be to Chernobog!

AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT

DID YOU REALLY THINK WE’D DO A HORROR GAMES LIST AND FORGET AMNESIA?

(Pun intended.)

Which platform is it on?

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is available on Windows PC, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The Windows PC version of the game has an extremely popular and vast modding scene so, for those seeking extra thrills, get that version! You can pick it up on Steam here.

What’s it about?

The game takes plate in late August, 1839. Daniel, a young man from London, awakens in a mysterious castle with almost all of his memories wiped – all he can remember is his name, where he’s from, and that something is after him.

As usual, not everything is as it seems. Daniel delves deeper into the castle’s depths and discovers traces of supernatural encounters, unearthly monsters, and his very own diaries that ask more questions than they solve.

What kind of horror is it?

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the classic horror games and the perfect example of survival horror. It contains jump scares, chase sequences, enough tension to snap a guitar string, and terror by the bucket-loads. It’s a must-play for any horror enthusiast.

How should I play it?

The good thing about Amnesia: The Dark Descent is that there’s no wrong way to play it. It’s a great game to stream online (and watch as your stream’s chat repeats “F” as you die for the 20th time), play on your own, and even play with friends. While there’s no official co-op or multiplayer mode, it’s just fun to have all the pressure on one player while the rest of you yell at them to not go through that door.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Although we tried to include a nice little variety of games in this list, we still feel that some other games deserve a shout-out for being so good. We also don’t want to get torn to shreds in the comments for not including Silent Hill 2.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of Games That Are Good, But Just Somehow Not Quite Good Enough To Make The Cut:

Man of Medan – Until Dawn’s spiritual successor. While the game has actual multiplayer built in (both couch co-op and online!) and packs a hearty punch, it ultimately lacks the story and tension of its predecessor. You can read the MSPoweruser Official Review here. (Note: The review contains Until Dawn spoilers.)

Silent Hill 2 – Often referred to as the best instalment in the Silent Hill series, Silent Hill 2 emphasises item-finding and riddle-solving over combat. It has a heavy dose of atmospheric and psychological horror and, at the end of the day, embodies all the good stuff that the Silent Hill series is known for.

Alien Isolation – Alien Isolation takes stealth and survival horror into space, where everybody in your house can hear you scream. It’s just Amanda Ripley (daughter of the iconic Ellen Ripley) versus a single Alien, but that Alien is smarter than ever. And also has a flamethrower. Run.

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream – The videogame adaptation of one of Harlan Ellison’s most iconic works is truly harrowing. While the game is a point-and-click adventure that requires puzzle solving, it’s the story that will truly haunt your thoughts for years to come. I know it’s haunting mine.

UNDERTALE – Everyone knows what Undertale is! But not everyone knows just how truly terrifying the game’s Genocide route is. Not only is it a nightmarish display, but the game permanently edits your files so that your murderous rampage is etched onto the world of UNDERTALE forever. You monster.

That’s the end of our Best Horror Games for Halloween 2019 list! Hopefully you’ll be able to find some fresh and frightful fun somewhere in this list, regardless of whether you’re a horror connoisseur or just someone looking to dip their toes into the genre.

If we left off your favourite or if you can think of another game to add to the list, let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Until next time – Happy Halloween!

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