It’s Halloween time! That means it’s the season of pumpkins, apple cider and horror games! The horror genre is an expansive one that encompasses slashers, psychological horror, comedic horror, and more! These genres extend into the world of gaming and out of it have come some great titles. To commemorate the spooky season, we’ve picked some of our favorite indie games in the horror genre.
A classic horror game using a JRPG interface. Corpse Party lacks the jumpscares of a lot of recent games, but makes up for it in atmosphere. The game follows a group of students trying to escape the haunted Heavenly Host Elementary School, a place outside of this world designed to kill and torture those trapped. Players will have to explore every corner to solve the mystery of the haunted school before it’s too late.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Now a popular media franchise, it’s easy to forget the humble roots of Five Nights at Freddy’s as a mysterious horror indie game from Scott Cawthon that just showed up one day. With it’s now iconic gameplay where players are tasked with staying safe while trapped in a single room. The original Five Nights at Freddy’s is a special piece of indie game history and a genuinely frightening game.
Now called Slender: The Eight Pages, it was originally a free to play game released in 2012. While the Marble Hornets series was only growing in popularity, Slender was the first game to fully feature the eponymous character. While Slender was more known for the Let’s Play videos and jump scares than the gameplay itself, it still stands out as another part of the Slenderman story.
Doki Doki Literature Club
“Psychological Horror” is the first tag on the Steam page for Doki Doki Literature Club and for good reason. It’s been long enough that it’s hard to spoil the game, but to stay vague this game subverts the cute anime aesthetic with gruesome and unsettling imagery. The way the game tricks the player isn’t dissimilar to the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Most noteworthy is the game’s use of meta clues and puzzles such as affecting the files in the game’s install directory.
For those a fan of Corpse Party, Detention is along a similar vein. In that, it is set in a deserted school cursed with ghosts. Detention is a Taiwanese horror game developed by Red Candle Games. There are themes of isolation and entrapment as you explore the school and uncover sinister secrets surrounding the ‘white fear’ period whilst narrowly avoiding the ‘lingered’ (spirits). It is significant for its chilling atmosphere, side-scrolling game-play and survival aspects. Fortunately, it relies on generating tension to entice fear rather than jump-scares for those weak-hearted.
Friday the 13th: The Game
Friday the 13th: The Game remains strong even a year and a half after release. It was a big success with players and fans alike, doing great service to an established IP. Though a rights lawsuit has frozen the addition of new content, there is still great fun to be had as horror icon Jason or the counselors, especially during spooky season.