One of this year's scariest horror games just came to Switch and it's only $6

Iron Lung
(Image credit: David Szymanski)

2022 was filled with viral games boosted by countless reactions on Twitch and YouTube, and Dusk creator David Szymanski's Iron Lung, an undersea horror masterwork that you can beat in one short sitting, is one of the most ingenious and memorable of the bunch – and it's now on Switch where it's also just $6.

Iron Lung launched on Steam in March and had a nice boom in the following weeks as folks like Markiplier, Power Pak, Pyrocynical, and Jacksepticeye picked it up on YouTube, praising the game and showing it to millions of viewers. It's now sitting at 4,619 "very positive" reviews on Steam, and it even received a more ambitious "lore update" in June after the game caught fire and found a hungry audience.

This isn't Szymanski's only weird, bite-sized game – he only just released Chop Goblins, a retro micro shooter about, well, chopping goblins – but it might be his most elegant work outside of Dusk. Iron Lung's premise, as its ominous intro scrawl explains, is that an unthinkable calamity wiped out "every known star and habitable planet" along with most of the life in the universe, leaving just a few off-planet, starfaring survivors in search of resources that could keep them alive. 

Unfortunately, the only notable planetoids left are anomalous moons of unclear origin. The focus of the game is a moon covered in an ocean of blood – the blood of what, or whom, is unclear. You play as a convict waiting for death back on some minor colony, and to pay off your sentence, you're assigned to explore the blood ocean and report back on what you find. Your only partner in this reckless mission is a rickety submarine that was explicitly "not designed for this depth," and this sub is the star of the show. 

Iron Lung is a first-person game with deliberately clunky controls that give the submarine a sense of palpable physicality while reinforcing how limited and trapped you are. You basically plod around the sea following vague coordinates and taking pictures at points of interest, and you do all of this from within a rusty chamber that would make even the cheapest apartment look luxurious. 

You can't see outside moment-to-moment because your portal had to be welded shut for structural integrity, so your photos are basically your eyes. And you don't control the sub; you control the poor soul inside the sub, and you quickly start to identify with them as your trip to the apocalyptic celestial blood ocean unsurprisingly goes south. 

Iron Lung is an unforgettable shot of claustrophobia chased with thalassophobia, and I highly recommend making it a huge problem for your anxiety. 

You'll find many more hits on our best games 2022 list. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.