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Ultimate Carl ([personal profile] ultimatecarl) wrote2012-10-20 17:40
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Free Horror Games List

This is a list I'll be maintaining of free (mostly) horror games! Think I missed anything? Let me know!
Last Updated October 17th, 2013

WARNING: Considering that these are horror games, some of them may contain very violent or otherwise disturbing images and concepts. I would consider everything on this list to be at least a PG-13 equivalent either due to the content or the nature of the experience in general, with some the entries leaning more towards 18+. This list also contains screenshots, and while I'm trying not to spoil anything or traumatize anyone, there's probably going to be some blood and/or monsters and stuff in some of them. ...Also I'm kind of foul-mouthed in my comments sometimes, heh. If any of this sounds no good to you then please do not click past the cut/scroll down!

I also don't vouch for the quality of any of these. MostSome of these really suck, but are included for completeness and because obviously different people have different opinions. For instance I can't stand Slender of any of the million knockoffs, but some people can't get enough of that crap, so.


For the purposes of this list, scaring/unsettling the player must be one of the major design or thematic directions of the game. So for example, while Yume Nikki or OFF may have some unsettling and bizarre moments, they don't make up the bulk of the gameplay or atmosphere and scaring the player was clearly not the developer's main intent. Likewise, Survival Crisis Z contains many horrific elements (zombies, limited resources, bleak prospects for the future, overwhelming odds), but these are merely trappings for what is otherwise an RPG-ish action game. Also no lame single-jumpscare BS "solve this puzzle, make sure to look cloOH A ZOMBIE FACE" games.

Really that's just an arbitrary classification system for my own benefit. I don't consider myself some kind of authority on what games are and aren't horror, it's just that when I'm in the mood to play a "horror game", I want something that's consistently frightening in both intent and practice rather than something with only a few scares in one level like Thief 3, an action game with horror tropes like the Castlevania series, or just random mindfuckery like Killer7. Besides, if we leave the category too open, there'd be no end to what I can list!

The list is divided into categories and then alphabetically within those. I'll include my personal thoughts with any games that I've actually played, but take those with a grain of salt! After all, opinions are just that - opinions. You may love something that I dislike, and as someone that's finished every Silent Hill by myself in the dark with headphones, my idea of "not that scary" might be very different from your own!


* Entries marked with a blue asterisk are recommended. There's a lot of stuff here and some of it isn't so great, so it can be helpful to have some suggestions.

Downloadable Games
The 4th Wall

Bizarre first-person platformer/wanderaround with a unique yet vague visual flair. Is a remake of an older version which is still available on the same website, but it's suggested you play the remake first.

Anchorhead

Absolute classic Lovecraftian interactive fiction game.

Ao Oni Series

Bizarre series of Japanese adventure/puzzle/chase games made with RPG Maker. Translations available. Shitton of spinoffs and fangames.

Blame

In a playable Alpha. Pretty decent effort for one guy and a first game.

The Briefcase

Short, atmospheric first-person wanderaround where your objective is to recover the eponymous briefcase and escape with it. Haven't played it yet so I'm not sure about much else.

Candles

Short first-person puzzler similar to Amnesia about lighting up your house with candles after the power goes out. Honestly I found it almost as cute as scary...

* The Chzo Mythos

A four-game series of oldschool type-and-click adventure games by Yahtzee. Some of the puzzles get very obtuse and frustrating, but the writing is brilliant and the atmosphere is astounding considering the format and humor the author is better known for today.

Cold Fusion

Welp.

Corpse Party

Successful enough that it got a PC remake and a PSP port/remake that made it to the US, but the original was a Japanese RPG Maker maker game still available for free and with an English translation available.

The Corridor

Atmospheric first-person Russian wanderaround. Still in development, but a playable demo is available and worth a play! I can't seem to find the original site anymore, but there's a mirror for an older version.

The Crooked Man

Freeware horror adventure game surprisingly not make in RPG Maker - it's make in WOLF RPG Editor which is basically hipster RPG Maker. Same creator and style as Mermaid Swamp and Paranoiac below.

Dark Ocean

Haven't actually played this one, yet, but it looks like a third-person zombie shooter set on a liner out at sea. So... Kind of like budget RE4 on a boat.

Death: Unknown

Yet another "walk around this dark haunted house until jump scares" me-too sim. The fact that the website uses PewDiePie-esque facecam videos for advertisement makes me a bit queasy.

Demonophobia

Ugh, why did this have to start with a 'D' so it would end up so early on the list? I'm kind of loathe to include it at all, but it's kind of fascinating and technically fits the bill. Basically, a Korean (I think?) sidescrolling loli guro escape/torture sim. Yeah. Needless to say, violence nudity and other general fucked-up warnings go here. Haven't actually played it, but as I understand it's hard as hell and almost every failure results in some long, unique, extremely violent (and sometimes semi-sexual) cutscene of your character's death. Scary mostly in the sense that it leaves you with a very sick, dreadful feeling in your stomach. Has a "sequel", Xenophobia.

Desert Nightmare

Neat little adventure made in RPG Maker. Originally German, but has a translation patch.

Enclosure

Adventure game in the style of old-school Sierra games. Started this one a while back but never got too far.

Erie

First-person wanderaround a la Hide and Slender by Utah's EAE Master Games Studio Program.

The Escape Game

Looks pretty lame, really.

Euthanasia

Gritty, gory first-person shooter that doesn't sacrifice action or atmosphere. Seems to be a little troublesome to get working for some, though.

* Eversion

Honestly, including this one at all is kind of a spoiler, but it's great and well worth the short play. There's also a paid version on Steam now that adds updated graphics, backgrounds, and achievements.

Fiend

Top-down 2D Lovecraft-y shooter by Frictional, creators of Amnesia.

Flash Frozen

Really cartoony-looking Unity wanderaround. Looks like a crappy Penumbra, but I haven't played or heard anything about it so it might be okay.

* .flow

Interesting "lost in your own head" simulator/adventure game made with RPG Maker as an homage/fangame of Yume Nikki. YN is overall a very dreamy, trippy experience, and while some of that comes through in .flow as well, .flow is clearly intended as a much darker, more violent and horrific game.

Forget Me Not Annie

First-person puzzler where you play as a girl and summon her magic (creepy) teddy bear! Looking forward to playing this one.

Ghoul's Forest 3D

First-person game where you play a hunter charged with killing three "ghouls" in a dark forest. Hard as hell and mostly jumpscares. A standalone remake of the Ghoul's Forest mod series.

Hidden in the Shadows Series

Interesting little adventure game made by one guy in a custom engine. Because of that I want to cut it some slack (and I will cut the rather Engrish-y script some slack since the creator is not a native English speaker), but the game isn't exactly amazing: the controls are needlessly bizarre, items are almost impossible to distinguish from the backgrounds, finicky pixel-perfection is needed to interact with certain objects, and the whole thing reeks of cribbing from Amnesia. Has a sequel that I haven't played yet, but it looks like more of the same. Evidently a third game in the series is in a very early alpha as well.

* Hide

Very cool first-person adventure/collection game with a unique art style. Slender seems to have taken a lot of pages (hurr hurr) from it.

Hide and Seek

7 Day FPS project, seems like yet another Slender knockoff.

* Ib

Very nice RPG Maker (are you noticing a pattern, yet?) adventure game with a translation patch and multiple endings. Much like Slender, this is the game that launched a thousand RPG maker clones (at least in the US; Corpse Party might have done the same years earlier in Japan). Amazing atmosphere for an isometric game, surprisingly engrossing story, and very clever puzzles that don't err into the territory of frustratingly difficult.

* Imscared - A Pixelated Nightmare

First-person adventure with a neat graphical style that appears to mess with the player even outside of the game.

Inside

Somewhat generic first-person haunted house sim. Lots of jump scares, kind of creepy but not terribly imaginative.

Irisu Syndrome

Awesome puzzle game game with a translation patch. Like Eversion, even including this one on the list in he first place is kind of a spoiler. More of a full multi-media experience than a straight horror game.

Judith

Short first-person adventure that definitely demonstrates the "less is more" concept. Amazingly creepy for how modest and simple it is.

Katabasis

Atmospheric first-person wanderaround where you're looking for your son. I found it kind of boring and anticlimactic, kind of like a less artsy and more overtly creepy Dear Esther.

Labyrinth

First-person maze exploration game. Mazes are randomly generated and you have to try and escape.

Mad Father

More adventure horror from WOLF RPG Editor. Pretty akin to Ib above. Predictable and not terribly scary, but enjoyable for what it is and surprisingly good at points. Same creator as Misao below.

Maere: When lights die

Interesting, ambitious little project evidently designed with VR and the Oculus Rift in mind.

Mall Monster

Classic top-down escape game. Sounds a bit cheesy and, well... It kind of is, but you might be surprised how well it can get to you!

Maze

First-person maze exploration game very much like Labyrinth above, though I'm not sure which came first. You're shown a map at the very beginning and can mark walls with an "X" as well as solve a few small puzzles. Try to find your way through while creepy shit happens, that sort of thing.

Mental Hospital

The title and screenshot pretty much say it all.

Mermaid Swamp

Freeware horror adventure game by the same creator and in the same style/engine as The Crooked Man and Paranoiac.

Midnight Man

Doesn't look too great, but it's neat that it's based on the Midnight Man summoning urban legend.

Misao

Same creator, engine, and style as Mad Father above, but this one is older and doesn't look quite as nice.

Missing: The Distant Island

Kinda' iffy graphics but it might be legit.

A Mother's Inferno

Graphically trippy game that preys more on an adult fear of hoping for a child's safety than simple fear for yourself.

The One Night Trilogy

Series of three RPG Maker adventure games. I've only played the first and it was quite a while ago, but I remember enjoying it.

Pesadelo

What more is there to say about these types of games at this point? Um... This one is Brazilian?

Paranoiac

Same creator and style as The Crooked Man and Mermaid Swamp above.

Paranormal

Technically has a full paid version now, but the earlier beta "demo" is still free and available for download.

* Penumbra 2006 Tech Demo

Hardly a demo and more of an actual short first-person adventure, made by Frictional, probably best known today for Amnesia. Before Amnesia, however, Frictional made the Penumbra series, and before even that they made this tech demo. The "demo" is thematically similar to the beginning of the first Penumbra game, but none of the puzzles or areas are reused in the final product, making this into a disconnected precursor of sorts. Clever design, historically interesting, and very atmospheric.

Phobia - Fear of the darkness

First-person puzzler that reminds me a bit of Amnesia in a more modern setting.

Prodigal

Surprisingly eerie first-person adventure thriller.

Schuld

Another RPG Maker game, this one also translated from German like Desert Nightmare above. Much more of a "slow burn" unnerving and psychological than balls-to-the-wall scares.

SCP-087-B

Very cool first-person exploration game based off of The SCP Foundation, specifically SCP-087. A remake of the original SCP-087 game.

* SCP Containment Breach

Another very cool first-person exploration game based off of The SCP Foundation. Basically in a state of constant update/work, but it's technically a complete game now. Very unique mechanics, amazing atmosphere, and if you're a fan of the original stories it's very cool to experience them.

Slender

First-person adventure/collecting game based on Slender Man. The game that launched a thousand clones. Personally I wasn't a fan (I'll spare you the diatribe) but the internet shit its collective pants over this one a year ago. Has a paid sequel now and a renamed remake in the Source engine that I'm pretty sure is dead in the water.

Slender 2D

Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

Slender Man's Shadow Series

Series of like a billion Slender knockoffs.

Slime Bomb Knight

Holy shit.

Stairs

Are you getting sick of these "walk around this dark haunted house until jump scares so people on YouTube can make shitty facecam vids" games yet? Because I am. That's not entirely fair, I guess... It's a pre-alpha so there's room to grow, and the devs claim to want to "go back to old-school horror", so.

* The Suffering

Great third-person shooter set in a prison. You play as an inmate and your actions dictate his personality/ending. A bit heavier on the action than the scares, but it still has some great moments and very tense atmosphere. Was originally released on consoles as well, but the PC version was released as freeware a few years back. Here's hoping they do the same for the sequel eventually!

Survivors

Basically Russian, multiplayer Slender clone (are you getting sick of these yet?) with a werewolf.

Tracked

Short, lightweight pixely horror. Reminiscent of Hide above.

Vanish

In playable alpha. At least this one looks like it might be trying a few new things.

* Which

Short first-person puzzler with a very unique and awesome visual style.

* The White Chamber

Short sci-fi point-and-click adventure game with multiple endings. Very atmospheric, no jump scares. Puzzles are fairly intuitive and you shouldn't get frustrated.

The Witch's House

Cute little RPG Maker adventure game with a translation patch. Took me about 45 minutes to finish the game and get both endings without looking anything up, but some of the puzzles were rather annoying and the game has an irritating tendency to hand out game overs constantly (save often!) with instant-death action sequences that are nearly impossible to succeed at without knowing what's coming beforehand. Personally, I wasn't scared or even so much as unnerved even once (and I actually thought the game was hilarious - it made me laugh out loud multiple times) but it evidently really bothered some people. I thought the "true" ending was extremely effective.


Web Games
* 1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg

Okay, the first paragraph on the homepage makes this game sound metal as fuck. And you know what? It is.

72

Plodding wanderaround in Unity with awkward controls. Kinda' unsettling, though.

Covetous

Really more like those BS interactive "art" deals than a real game. Still, short and creepy.

* Deep Sleep

Neat, short little point-and-click adventure. Kind of easy to accidentally misclick and miss otherwise simple solutions, but nothing too frustrating and includes a walkthrough. Very nice atmosphere, no jump scares.

Cellar Door

Garden variety jumpscares; move along.

Exmortis Series

A series of three point-and-click games. Pretty simple puzzles/gameplay, almost entirely shitty jump scares.

The Halloween

Looks like more of the same as Exmortis, by the game guy that did The House below.

The House

Short nonsensical point-and-click "adventure" "game". Basically just click madly until you stumble upon whatever random thing you're supposed to arbitrarily click to continue and get rewarded with cheap jump scares.

I Can't Escape

Surprisingly unique visual style in this little adventure game that pleasantly reminds me of old dungeon crawlers.

The Lost Souls

Unity game; looks like a budget Amnesia.

Neverending Light

Cool, short and unique little isometric exploration game.

Phobia

Looks surprisingly good and atmospheric for a unity game.

Purgatorium

More from the creator of Exmortis above. Same type of game, different name.

* Snowdrift

Isometric exploration/survival game in a desolate future. Jump scares mixed in with creepy bits. Neat gameplay and multiple endings.

Story of the Blanks

Yet another game that kind of spoils the surprise just by telling you that it's a horror game at all, but still surprisingly effective. Contains ponies if that bothers you.

Where am I?

Short but interesting little game made for the Ludum Dare. Atmospheric and creepy, but I felt like it was too much buildup.


Mods
Doom II - The Ghoul's Forest Series

A series of three Doom II WADs where you play a hunter charged with killing three "ghouls" in a dark forest. Hard as hell and mostly jumpscares. Has a standalone remake in Ghoul's Forest 3D.

* Doom II - Unloved

Made for GZDoom. Still has the run-and-gun gameplay of Doom (and it's hard as hell to boot), but the mod is legitimately unsettling and has some amazingly oppressive environments and a lot of scary moments.

Crysis - The Worry of Newport

Unique little Lovecraftian mod if for no other reason than it's a horror mod for Crysis of all things.

* Half-Life - Afraid of Monsters: Director's Cut

Surprisingly very creepy and quite lengthy horror mod. Combat starts out sparse but ramps up later without sacrificing any tension. Mostly jump scares, but good ones. The older, original version of the mod is still available. Storyline is kind of weak, but there are multiple endings.

Half-Life - Cry of Fear

Newer mod by the same creator as Afraid of Monsters. Very similar (and in my opinion not quite as good) but still very scary. Cutscenes are basically The Room: The Game. Looks remarkably good for a HL1 engine game, though. Recently officially released on Steam, still free.

Half-Life - Mistake Series

Series of two mods set in an insane asylum. Minimal combat, short maps. Very nice atmosphere and very unnerving but not really very scary.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Aberration

Action/horror mod that reminds me somewhat of Nightmare House 2.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Centralia

Atmospheric and neat-looking little mod still in development.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Ghost Hunt 2

Note: Requires not just Ep.2, but also base Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 1. Also possibly Garry's Mod? I can't remember. A rompy little "haunted house" type of map with no real objective. There's also lots of other little scary maps made for GMod.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Grey

Same creator as Mistake, and he's clearly improved a lot even if it is still pretty derivative scares.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Nightmare House 2

Rips off of FEAR a hell of a lot, but still pretty neat. NH2 has an "intro" which is basically an updated remake of the first, but if you're interested and have the original Half-Life, there's a download for the original on the page too.