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The best horror video games to play on Halloween

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Don’t go in there!

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In this Resident Evil 7 screenshot, the antagonist Jack is seen approaching the main character with a shovel raised, ready to attack. The main characters bloodied hands can be seen, aiming a pistol and shooting it at the crazed attacker. Capcom

The horror genre is incredibly varied — just ask my suggested Netflix categories. Slashers, psychological thrillers and creature features all have their own cliches and tropes. Still, from the campy spectacle of American Horror Story to the atmospheric slow burn of A Quiet Place, all horror promises to do one thing: scare the crap out of you.

Nowhere does the horror genre live up to that promise more fully than through video games. Rather than watching someone maneuver a terrifying environment (and yelling at them to avoid obvious traps), you are tasked with making agonizing decisions, running from threats and, ultimately, staying alive.

For Halloween, we’ve rounded up our favorite horror and horror-inspired games to play when you’re in the mood to get spooked. There are plenty of haunted houses to explore, sadistic killers to outsmart (or hide from) and supernatural monsters to slay. And most lasting frights come from some unlikely places (I’m looking at you, Doki Doki Literature Club).

While not every game on this list is technically classified as a horror game, there are enough jump scares, creepy characters or psychological terrors to terrify all but the most strong-willed players. We recommend playing with the lights on.

Until Dawn

Until Dawn review main 1920 Supermassive Games

Until Dawn (starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek) is a horror adventure in which the choices you make have a “butterfly effect” on your actions later in the game. The plot is pretty standard horror fare: a group of teenagers try to survive a night in the woods after being attacked by a masked stranger. Any details beyond that veer into spoiler territory, but I will say that one of the reveals made me jump so hard that I knocked my glasses off of my face.

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Walmart | PlayStation Store

Alien: Isolation

alien isolation review hero 4

You’ll play as the daughter of Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Alien character, in this game based on the original 1979 film. Combining elements of stealth and survival games, Alien: Isolation is just as tense — and cinematic — as Ridley Scott’s horror masterpiece.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac and Linux.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Walmart | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam

Doki Doki Literature Club

doki doki literature club dialogue Team Salvato

For the first hour or so of playing Doki Doki Literature Club, you’ll wonder why it’s classified as psychological horror. It starts off as a pretty straightforward dating sim, but once things pop off, you’ll understand that horror label. I won’t spoil the twist, but I will say that the content warnings are there for a reason and should be taken seriously.

Available on Windows PC, Mac and Linux.
Get it here: Steam

Stories Untold

Devolver Digital

The four episodes of this creepy adventure/puzzle game tap into a specific, ’80s-era nostalgia for horror paperbacks, text-based adventures and VCR players. If you like Stranger Things, you’ll probably be into Stories Untold.

Available on Windows PC and Mac.
Get it here: Steam | GOG

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil 7 biohazard Image: Capcom

While the Resident Evil series has been pretty hit-or-miss, the most recent entry is a return to what the franchise does best: intimate, heart-pounding survival horror. If you’ve got a steel stomach, I’ve heard that VR ups the creepiness factor, but VR makes me queasy even without the added gore.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam

Kraven Manor

Kraven Manor Demon Wagon Studios

In the indie point-and-click puzzle game Kraven Manor, the layout of the creepy abandoned house you’re exploring changes when you add tiny rooms to a scale model of the manor. You’re tasked with piecing together what happened to the manor’s owner ... while being stalked by creepy mannequins.

Available on Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam

Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th: The Game Gun Media

The creators of Friday the 13th: The Game want to make you feel like a character in the iconic slasher movie — including the villain and the victim. The asymmetrical multiplayer game randomly chooses one player to control the masked killer Jason Voorhees, who tries to slay as many victims as possible before a 20-minute match is over. Everyone else plays Camp Crystal Lake counselors, who must work together (or not) to get out alive.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam

Amnesia collection

Frictional Games

In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you wake up in a dark, creepy castle with a note informing you that your memory has been erased, you are being hunted by a mysterious shadow, and you need to make your way through the castle in order to kill its owner.

The Amnesia collection includes a DLC story, Amnesia: Justine, and the sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac and Linux.
Get it here: Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam | GOG

Bloodborne

A character with an ax is attacked by a huge dragon in Bloodborne
Bloodborne
Image: FromSoftware/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Bloodborne is an action RPG, not a horror game, but the Lovecraftian monsters are based on classic horror literature, so we’ll count it.

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Walmart | PlayStation Store

Outlast Trinity

outlast review screen 3 Red Barrels

The Outlast games are pure, gory, psychological terror. You can’t fight enemies: all you can do is hide and try not to get killed. Hiding and running away is what most of us would actually be doing in a horror movie, which makes it all the more terrifying.

Outlast Trinity includes Outlast, the Whistleblower DLC and Outlast 2.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac and Linux
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Steam

Prey

Prey - Morgan Yu looking at his eye Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Prey, a first-person shooter that’s a spiritual successor to the legendary game System Shock, is more of an action-adventure game than outright horror. Still, there are some terrifying jump scares, courtesy of aliens who shape shift into inanimate objects, that earn Prey a spot on this list.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam

BioShock

BioShock Irrational Games

Also a first-person shooter and System Shock spiritual successor, BioShock is more outwardly horror-inspired than Prey, with gruesome scenes involving a deranged plastic surgeon, a sadistic artist and of course the Big Daddies. Gaining the ability to control the latter is what keeps BioShock from being classified as a fully fledged horror game, according to Polygon’s resident horror expert, Jenna Stoeber.

On modern consoles, BioShock is only available as part of the remastered BioShock Collection, which compiles remastered versions of BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC and Mac.
Get it here: Amazon | GameStop | Best Buy | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Steam

Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion

spookys house Albino Moose Games

The titular jump scares in Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion (previously Spooky’s House of Jump Scares) are kind of a red herring. The cute cardboard monsters that pop out at you are harmless. Those noises you hear in the ceiling? Not so much.

Available on Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam