Okay, so maybe you will want to run screaming from these 7 horror video games. But I can also pretty much guarantee that you’ll be blown away by how gorgeous and atmospheric they are. I certainly have been. Some are already available to play. Others will be available (tentatively) some time this year. They have demons, ghosts, hybrid robot-sea monster creatures, and – in some cases (I’m looking at you, Oxenfree) have phenomenal soundtracks. And all are bone-chilling in their own right.
Platforms: Macintosh operating systems, Windows.
Developer: Lunar Software.
After some time spent in creative limbo, Lunar Software recently announced that Routine is still alive and kicking. Routine takes place on an abandoned moon base where you will have to uncover the truth about what happened to its inhabitants. My guess? It probably has something to do with the aggressive robots, and that possibly-an-alien thing we’ve seen in demos. Fans of Alien: Isolation will likely enjoy Routine’s first person perspective and clever use of retro-futurism throughout.
Platforms: PC, PS4.
Developer: The Deep End Games.
The Deep End Games is an independent developer made of veterans of the gaming industry with credentials like Bioshock and Dead Space. And anyone who knows me knows that my ears perk up whenever I hear the words Bioshock and Dead Space. Perception is a first-person horror adventure game that tells the story of Cassie, a young blind woman. Cassie uses her wits, and echolocation, to traverse a decaying estate that has been haunting her dreams. Throughout the game, players will have to engage in a deadly game of hide-and-seek with a menacing entity known as “The Presence”.
3. Allison Road
Platforms: PS4 (unconfirmed), XBOX One (unconfirmed).
Developer: Chris Kesler.
Chris Kesler and his team have made it abundantly clear that photo-realism can be absolutely fucking terrifying, which is exactly what Allison Road is. In this first-person game, you take on the role of a nameless protagonist who wakes up with no recollection of prior events. Over a period of five nights, you will have to uncover the truth about your family, the house you’re in, and the dark, definitely demonic entities plaguing you.
4. Outlast 2
Platforms: PS4, XBOX One, Windows, Macintosh operating systems.
Developer: Red Barrels
True to Red Barrels’ form, Outlast 2 puts you in control of an investigative journalist hunting for the truth with the help of his night vision camera. You, Blake Langermann, and your wife, Lynn, are following a trail of clues that start with the brutal death of a young, pregnant woman. The investigation leads to the Arizona desert, where you stumble into a world of a violent and corrupt cult that believes end times are imminent. Not spooked yet? Red Barrels recently created a Kickstarter for Underscares, adult diapers for players to wear.
Developer: NVYVE Studios
P.A.M.E.L.A. is an open-world, sci-fi, survival horror game in which you play as a Sleeper awoken from your slumber by the titular Pamela. Pamela is an omnipresent AI (a la Cortana) who watched over the city of Eden. If you don’t think the name Eden is a giant smoking gun, then you’ve clearly never read, watched, or played your way through a sci-fi story featuring a utopian city. Eden has been overtaken by The Afflicted, former citizens of Eden who are driven to madness and violence by the horrible disease plaguing them.
Platforms: PS4, XBOX One, Macintosh operating services, Windows, Linux.
Developer: Night School Studio.
There are genuinely not enough words in the English language to describe how much I love this game. Oxenfree is spooky, atmospheric, heartbreaking, and most importantly, a whole lot of fun! Played from a 2.5-D perspective, Oxenfree is a point-and-click game that tells the story of Alex, her friends, and the night that they spend on Edwards Island that goes horribly wrong (as things usually do when you rip a hole in the time space continuum). Oxenfree also showcases some phenomenal dialogue, voice actors, and a gorgeous soundtrack.
Platforms: PS4, Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating services.
Developer: Frictional Games.
SOMA is a sci-fi horror game that is not only deeply unsettling, but will leave you lying awake at night wondering what it means to be human. Machines have started to think and act like people, the last humans are living on the isolated, underwater facility, PATHOS II, and time is swiftly running out. Players will have to deal with corrupted humans, twisted monsters, and one totally insane AI. SOMA also has one of the most detailed, well thought out plots in a horror video game that I’ve come across in a long time.