Horror gaming is a pretty vast category, particularly when you consider all video games, and not just those you can play on popular consoles. But with so many titles out there, it can be easy for some pretty enjoyable (and spooky) games to slip through the cracks. So in the interest of providing fellow horror fanatics with as much scary or horror-themed entertainment as possible, I’ve compiled a list of eight obscure games worth checking out.
Decay: The Mare
A while back, Shining Gate put out a game that could be purchased on Xbox 360 called Decay. It didn’t make a whole lot of noise as a relatively simple point-and-click adventure, despite the fact that it was pretty genuinely horrifying. But Decay: The Mare, a largely unrelated sequel that became available on Steam in 2015, is probably even more horrifying, and is well worth a look if you haven’t previously heard of it or tried it out. Basically, you start your adventure hallucinating in a rehab ward and that’s about as ordinary as things get.
The House Of Horror: Can You Escape
A number of “escape” and exploration gaming apps have become popular on mobile devices, with Year Walk and The Room series standing out in particular. Those examples are actually pretty creepy themselves, but The House Of Horror: Can You Escape, an app by Tiny Boy, is scarier than both. It’s a beautiful and unsettling app that’s best played with the lights off and headphones in.
A 2005 Playstation 2 game that was actually developed by Capcom, Haunting Ground is not for the faint of heart. It’s been compared to Resident Evil, and that combination of puzzle solving and action should give you an idea of its atmosphere. However, in Haunting Ground, your main objective is to escape stalkers who are trying to capture, menace, and kill you.
This 2012 game is actually pretty mainstream compared to most of the others on this list, but still seemed to drift by largely unnoticed. Developed by Superflat Games and available on PS4 and Wii U among other platforms, it’s a survival game designed with retro, heavily pixellated 2D graphics. Basically, it’s an escape/survival game in which you’re fleeing a plague-infested zombie town, and you can do it via stealth or aggression.
Full Moon Fortunes
Full Moon Fortunes is a whole different type of game. Gala Bingo’s site is known for a range of promotions and VIP features made to attract players, but within the actual selection of games, there are numerous themes and genres to appeal to a wide range of gamers. Perhaps inevitably, some of these games play to horror fans, and Full Moon Fortunes is the best of them. It’s not as genuinely scary as some other games, but it’s a nice example of how the mere atmosphere of a spooky story (in this case werewolf-related) can appeal to gamers.
Rule Of Rose
Rule Of Rose is another title that may not be considered particularly scary by typical standards, but it’s undeniably unsettling. Developed by Atlus and released for Playstation 2, it was a sort of recollection story about a girl named Jennifer and her past at an orphanage. There’s a sort of Lord Of The Flies culture at the orphanage, and as you play through Jennifer’s journey of a bizarre childhood culture she vaguely recalls, you encounter all kinds of creepy details and goings on.
This app by Somethin Else may be known to fans of mobile gaming, but to others, it’s probably an unknown title. As it happens, it’s one of the most unique games out there, and one that’s got a very original sort of creepiness. Papa Sangre invites you to “see with your ears,” offering an entirely audio-based touchscreen experience through which you attempt to escape a pitch-black labyrinth. Beware the sound of your feet encountering obstacles, or unseen villains laughing at you from around a corner.
Another game that debuted on the PS2, Siren was developed by Project Siren and is one of the scariest console games you can find. Basically, you control a number of surviving villagers in a fictional Japanese town where religious extremists have summoned a demon god to turn the population into corpse people. Most of the fun of the game comes in controlling different villagers in succession and trying different ways to avoid the corpses and religious extremists. It’s no longer the easiest game to get your hands on, but there was actually a new version called Siren: Blood Curse made for PS3.
If you really look into obscure horror gaming, you’ll actually find dozens more titles that are worth looking into. These eight, however, cover a range of platforms and sub-genres, and they demonstrate both pure horror and the general wide appeal of spooky atmospheres.