Now, a disclaimer is in order for both hardcore horror fans and those who try to avoid this popular genre. None of the games on this list are your typical screamer-filled worlds; instead, they could be called digital stories that you get to go through yourself. We would only say that as we go down the list, these stories will get darker and, yes, a little scarier. Enjoy!
What Remains of Edith Finch
Created by an American independent developer, this little game managed to find a place in the hearts of many a gamer a couple of years ago, receiving numerous awards for its original narrative. Here, we dive deep into the mysterious family history of Edith Finch, who goes back to her house in search of answers she may or may not find there. Even though we always have the thought of a family curse in the background, it is still somewhat cozy and comforting to go through the story peeking into keyholes and finding secret doors and passages in the old house. A great way to spend your blanket-covered evening with a carved pumpkin by your side.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Yet another indie treasure on this list, this time from a Polish developer. The startlingly realistic graphics take you on an investigation into the world of Paul Prospero, a famous paranormal detective, as he uncovers the mysteries he was led to by a fan letter from young Ethan Carter. This one is an open-world game, allowing you to explore every nook and cranny of a peaceful forest filled with soft sunlight that throws the dark narrative into sharp relief. The story will pull on every string of your heart while also providing you with enough ghost tales to fill your long weekend with.
We’ve reached our final item and it is the only one on the list that is categorized as “survival horror”, but don’t let this scare you away. The developer team behind it is another independent company based in Sweden and famous for their Penumbra horror game series. This time they’ve ventured into science fiction, managing to ask some of the genre’s classic questions in a way the authors have always dreamt of: putting the player (or reader) right onto the strange Earth of the future and making them search for clues that would put the pieces together; a quest that will hold you in the dark until the very last minute of the game. There may or may not be a couple of low key screamers in, although, as you will see, the true spine-chilling things are deeper than that.
Bonus item: Monstrum
Obligated by good manners, we have to include at least one of those “classic” horrors, if you will. A Scottish indie project, Monstrum is a survival game that doesn’t leave you any time to ponder the deep questions of the world or uncover a backstory of any sort. With monsters pacing the cargo ship that you find yourself on, you have to sneak around finding all the necessary items for one of the several escape routes you discover. Depending on your luck and hiding skills, game sessions may last from mere minutes to even a couple of hours, as you have to start anew after every disastrous meeting with the monster. Would you dare to enter?