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10 games like Until Dawn that'll have you quaking in your decision-making boots

(Image credit: SuperMassive Games)

On paper, Until Dawn reads like a cliché. Eight attractive young adults head to a secluded house for a weekend, and are terrorised by a masked killer? So far, so Friday the 13th. But what sets Supermassive’s branching horror narrative apart is its smart dismantling of these horror tropes, even as it gleefully celebrates them. Every character lives or dies depending on your choices in a storyline that can be played again and again - even when you know the twists. But if you’ve thoroughly exhausted all the endings, here are 10 games like Until Dawn that will scratch your horror itch... hopefully not literally.

1. Man of Medan

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

After Until Dawn released to rapturous applause, Supermassive Games knew it had something good on its hands. The Dark Pictures Anthology is its answer to a demand for more interactive horror games with strong storylines, and Man of Medan is the first instalment. While there’ll be eight standalone games in total - each set in different universes - Man of Medan tells the story of four young adults trapped on a ghost ship. It builds off of Until Dawn’s formula, and adds a “movie night” multiplayer mode where up to five friends can pass the controller between them and each assume control of a single character. It’s a neat trick - after all, Until Dawn was as fun to watch as it was to play. 

2. The Inpatient

Available on: PSVR

If you still had questions about the Blackwood Sanitorium at the end of Until Dawn, The Inpatient is a must-play. You’re plunged face-first into the 1950s institution through PlayStation VR and step into the shoes (quite literally) of a patient suffering from amnesia. Thankfully the experience is anything but forgettable, with jump scares and a clever twist where NPCs will react to anything you say (or scream) thanks to voice recognition tech. This prequel to Until Dawn is a chilling trip back to the mountain, and once again, the outcome of the story hangs entirely upon the choices that you make.

3. Detroit: Become Human

Available on: PS4

Quantic Dream has been perfecting its brand of branching narratives for years now, and Detroit: Become Human is its most recent work. The game is set in a future where androids are as vital a fixture in humans’ daily lives as smartphones, but the plot grapples with a classic science fiction question: Can robots feel the same emotions as humans? Like Until Dawn, each character is vulnerable to permadeath, and player choice dramatically affects where the tale ends. This is sci-fi and not a ghost story, but if you play your cards right you might stumble across a creepy chapter in a house that borrows heavily from horror cinema tropes. Even if you don’t though, Detroit: Become Human is a satisfying interactive drama.

4. The Evil Within 2

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Shinji Mikami is the daddy of survival horror, which is the brand of games where players are vulnerable to grisly monstrosities and often unable to fight back - or are forced to do so with limited resources. Mikami invented the genre with Resident Evil in the 90s, and Evil Within was his return to it. In The Evil Within 2 you play detective Sebastian Castellanos who plunges into a psychological world called STEM - think The Matrix multiplied to the power of Insidious - in search of his missing daughter. One of the things that made Until Dawn so brilliant was its sense of constant mortal peril, and when Sebastian is scrabbling in the dark for an exit with two bullets left in his gun, all it takes is one jump scare for you to burden your pantaloons.

5. Oxenfree

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS

Where Until Dawn saw teenagers trapped on a remote snowy mountain, Oxenfree sees them stranded on a remote island. You play as blue-haired Alex who’s on vacation with some pals and her new step brother to explore and test a local myth that if you tune a radio to certain frequencies, you’ll hear ghostly voices. Without spoiling the story any further, the heartbeat of Oxenfree is learning more about the island’s history and the complex relationships between its cast. It’s as much a story about growing up as it is about scares, and the art direction is sublime. With its pastel hues and frosted lighting, this is a world you’ll actually want to get lost in. 

6. Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Available on: PC (Epic Games Store)

Ah Telltale. One of the ill-fated studios’ seminal hits was The Walking Dead, a choose-your-own adventure style narrative set in the comicbook’s universe. The first season released in 2012 and introduced a completely new cast including Clementine, a young girl who the player must protect as the apocalypse ravages American cities around you. The writers dance from brutally gut-wrenching decisions to quietly emotional moments of reflection with Clementine, and the resulting play of light and shade fashioned one of the strongest adventure narratives of the last decade. The game’s fourth and final season ended this year, making this the perfect time to go back and live The Walking Dead’s story again. 

7. State of Decay 2

Available on: Xbox One, and PC

State of Decay 2 is at its best when it surprises you. Its compelling “let’s ransack one more house” game loop shines when a seemingly safe building contains a Feral zombie. Here, your task is to take control of a group of survivors during an outbreak of a zombie virus, and as your group grows you can switch between characters at whim. Each person is fully voiced with a backstory and personality traits, and if they die there’s no respawn. Until Dawn’s tragic permadeath is found here, meaning unexpected encounters with those Feral zombies are toe-curlingly tense. There’s no strict narrative, but if your enjoyment of Until Dawn came from its unpredictability, you won’t go far wrong here. 

8. Life is Strange 2

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Teenagers and weird events are the hooks that link Until Dawn to the Life Is Strange series – but they follow two very different paths. Life is Strange 2 follows two brothers who are forced to go on the run after the youngest gains a supernatural power. Where Until Dawn celebrates horror, however, Life is Strange is about heart – and no, not ones being ripped from chests. This is the story of modern day America told through the eyes of two young men on the cusp of adulthood, and it explores masculinity, racism, drugs, and politics. There are branching narrative paths, and big decisions that will affect the outcome of the story – so make sure to weigh everything carefully. 

9. Vampyr

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

It’s refreshing to play a horror adventure game that’s as much about atmosphere as it is jump scares and shocks. Vampyr is a bracing take on a monster as old as horror itself, set in first world war London where you play modern-man-of-science-turned-vampire Dr. Jonathan Reid. Once more, expect big in-game choices that affect the plot (will you sacrifice Reed’s humanity, or try to spill as little blood as possible?) but there are many more shooty bangs and punchy kicks to throw here than in Until Dawn. Those that like their horror served with a handgun will be right at home on Vampyr’s cobbled streets. 

10. Batman Arkham VR

Available on: PSVR

Batman Arkham VR is a very clever game. Since big swooping movements cause motion sickness in virtual reality, the developers made a game about everything else Batman is known for. He might be a caped crusader, but he’s also a detective, and Arkham VR is a distilled mystery where you have to use the gadgets at Bruce Wayne’s disposal (and his ol’ noggin) to figure out what happened after Nightwing goes missing. It’s genuinely spooky too; a trip to a morgue has you craning your neck at cadavers and there are more than a few jump scares. Arkham VR has all the atmosphere of Until Dawn and an equally compelling secret at its core - you’ll have a lot of fun uncovering it. 

Want more scary stories? Why not check out our best horror games picks?