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Best horror games to scare yourself silly with

Best horror games
(Image credit: Supermassive Games)

The best horror games aren't just about blood and loud noises to make you jump. I mean, that can be a big part, but a good horror game knows that letting you scare yourself is better than any monster jumping through the window. This list of the best horror games you can play right now encompasses a broad range of terror from more contemplative slow burners to full on monster filled splatter fests. There's something to fit every mood, so decide whether you want to be creeped out, terrified, disgusted, or just experience the worst horror has to offer - [spooky voice] miiild periiil! Whatever you're after, we've got something for you in our list of best horror games, and certainly enough to keep you busy until the rumored Silent Hill PS5 reboot arrives. If that ever happens it'll almost certainly earn a place on this list but where? Better get playing so you've got some reference.

25. Pathologic 2

(Image credit: TinyBuild Games)

Yes, Pathologic 2 is a mess to play. Yes, you should play it, because the slow disintegration of the town you’re moving around in is a refreshing alternative to your character simply being dropped into a hellish situation, or you walking down ever-repeating hallways with miniscule unsettling changes. Pathologic 2 isn’t only scary, it’s also just plain weird and occasionally disgusting. If you’re willing to deal with its systems, you’re in for something unique, and in a genre often bogged down by sameness, a truly unique game that is more interested in being suspenseful and pleasantly unsettling is a welcome alternative to all the games that purposefully try to shock you.

Available on: PC 

24. Lone Survivor

Jasper Byrne made his name "demaking" Silent Hill into 2D games, and you can feel that series' influence throughout his side scrolling indie debut. Creeping monstrosities scrape down barely-lit corridors, the world seems to shift around you, and you can never quite trust that your surgical-masked protagonist is the good guy.

As the only living human - as far as you're aware, anyway - you'll have to scavenge for supplies and hide from the Things That Go Bump in the Night if you hope to keep on keepin' on. Oh, and you also have to maintain your sanity. Periodically returning to your apartment - your base of operations - to eat some food and get some rest stops you from hallucinating. The longer you're deprived of life's basic necessities, the harder it'll be to tell what's real and what's not. And that's when things get really bad...

Available on: PS4, PC

23. Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

Picking up on the tropes of Japanese horror and folklore that were made famous in The Ring and Ju-on, the Fatal Frame series has always been unsettling. Characters are frozen in place with fear, their only weapon against soul-stealing ghosts is an ancient camera. This means the only way to fight your enemies is to face them head-on, an increasingly terrifying proposition as the game wears on. The franchise has several great entries, but we choose to single out the second game as the best fit for this list.

Crimson Butterfly updates the graphics a bit from the first game, and it's the most inviting in its difficulty, making sure there's an ever-present threat without getting too frustrating. It also has the best story, a personal journey between two sisters dealing with loss and guilt. Its always nice when the intense experience is backed up by a plot thats deeper than 'survive'.

Available on: PS4 and Xbox One (via backwards compatibility)

22. World of Horror

(Image credit: Ysbryd Games)

A game within a game, World of Horror is a homage to old Macintosh RPGs that you play on a bulky in-game computer. World of Horror isn’t so much scary as it is complex – you’ll fight several creepy apparitions in a series of vignettes and manage your stats and equipment between them. Every mystery you encounter is described with intricate detail, and every decision you make has the potential for help or harm. Add to this the monsters inspired by the work of Junji Ito, and you get a game that covers several classic horror genres and turns them into a convincing whole.

Available on: PC (early access) 

21. F.E.A.R.

This first-person shooter was heavier on the shootout action than most horror games (the remarkable enemy AI still impresses to this day), while its arsenal of weaponry gets more brutal - wall-pinning, weaponised railway spikes, anyone? - the more you play. But just as you begin to feel powerful, something that can't simply be shot comes along to put you in your place. 

F.E.A.R.'s best scares came about when you were riding the high after clearing out a room full of tough enemies. Thats exactly the moment when you'd notice a strange figure staring at you from the end of a hallway. You'll come to dread the thought of bumping into the ghastly little girl, Alma, when you least expected it. If creepy, phase-in-directly-in-your-face dead girls aren't enough, Paxton Fettel seals the deal as a telepathic cannibal who leaves behind remnants of his feasts for you to find. Objects start to move on their own, all the lights would turn out one by one. What happens next, well guess you'll have to play it to find out.

Available on: PS4 and Xbox One (via backwards compatibility)

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