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Best Free Horror Games That Are As Scary As Resident Evil

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Following the release of Resident Evil Village, many might be searching for some spooky games in order to keep the frights coming. While there are a ton of great horror games available though, paying for them all can be hard to justify.


Thankfully, there are plenty of free horror games that can be played through Steam, independent platforms, & even web browsers, meaning that players don’t need to splash the cash in order to fill the gap. Just like any other genre, free-to-play horror games can vary quite a bit in quality, but there are quite a few that are worth checking out at the very least.

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Updated on November 16, 2022 by Mark Sammut: Resident Evil is presently on a largely successful run, even if recent releases such as the Winters’ Expansion & Re:Verse do not rank among the franchise’s greatest output. Although a fine game, Village leans into action quite heavily, suggesting Capcom might be heading in this direction in the future. While waiting for Resident Evil 4’s remake to Advance out, fans looking for a scare can check out these free horror games.

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22/22 Dagon: By H. P. Lovecraft

Dagon by H. P. Lovecraft game

Evoking H. P. Lovecraft’s name can be a recipe for success & disaster. While it will pique the interest of quite a few horror aficionados, it also comes with a certain expectation of excellence. There are plenty of games based on Lovecraft’s work & they tend to be all over the place in terms of quality. Dagon is better than most, a compliment that is not solely due to its free status.

Lasting roughly 30 minutes, Dagon is a point-&-click adventure that guides players through quite a faithful adaptation of the source material. Although not heart-in-the-mouth scary, Dagon makes effective use of sound to create a constant sense of dread. This is a mood piece that does justice by Lovecraft’s cosmic horror.

21/22 Dark Deception

dark deception

Developer Glowstick Entertainment
Release Date September 27, 2018
Subgenre First-Person Maze
Steam Link Dark Deception

Only the first chapter of Dark Deception can be experienced for free, which should be enough for players to judge whether they would like to invest in the rest of the story. Glowstick’s project is an arcade-style maze game that tasks players with traversing a creepy hotel-like location filled with creative monsters.

Visually, Dark Deception is quite impressive, particularly when it comes to the designs of the creatures. In terms of gameplay, this is essentially just a horror version of Pac-Man, albeit one that introduces a fair few unique mechanics.

20/22 Slender: The Eight Pages

Slenderman creeping behind tree with flashlight shone in Slender Eight Pages

That Slender: The Eight Pages has almost been around for a full decade will likely make some readers feel old. For those who are yet to play the game though, it remains surprisingly fresh. It certainly helps that the game never really relied on visual fidelity to get its scares across, instead focusing on a terrifying antagonist who could show up at just about any time.

The game draws much of its strength from this uncertainty as well as its foreboding atmosphere & dark muted color palette. There are times when it can feel a bit like a walking simulator, but this only serves to build up tension for the inevitable jump scare.

Slender: The Eight Pages Remake is currently in Early Access on Steam, although this version is not free.

19/22 Imscared – A Pixelated Nightmare

imscared white face

Imscared eventually made its way to Steam through an updated release that costs $3.99, & while that is the best way to experience this horror game, the free-to-play version should not be dismissed either. Released in 2012, Imscared is a meta game that uses the player’s computer against them. Revealing anything else would be a disservice to Imscared since this is one horror game that lives & dies by its unpredictability.

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The great thing about Imscared is that it doesn’t rely exclusively on its meta antics to deliver surprises & the occasional fright. It is also unsettling outside these moments.

A non-free Steam version of Imscaredwas released on January 31, 2016.

18/22 Shattered Lights

Shattered Lights

Developer Team Morbid
Release Date June 11, 2019
Subgenre Virtual Reality
Steam Link Shattered Lights

In the world of VR gaming, Resident Evil 7 reigns supreme as the scariest game on any platform. However, players looking to keep the frights going after completing Capcom’s title have plenty of options at their disposal, including some freebies. Shattered Lights is an atmospheric psychological horror game designed to craft as immersive of an experience as possible.

As a room-scale VR project, Shattered Lights allows players to physically move around its world without relying on the controller. This technology brings out the best in the horror genre, crafting scares through its atmosphere rather than jump scares. If someone has a VR headset & the required space, they should give Shattered Lights a download.

17/22 Doki Doki Literature Club!

Doki Doki Lit Club Cropped

Doki Doki Literature Club! may not look like a traditional horror game at first glance, but it’s actually one of the most disturbing games on Steam. The dating sim elements might not be to everybody’s tastes, nor may the visual novel approach that is taken to storytelling. Those who persevere with it, however, will likely be glad that they did.

Rather than zombies, ghosts, or other supernatural entities, the game instead focuses on delivering a surreal &, at times, unsettling experience that will stick with players long after the game is over. It’s a strange title in many respects, but also an incredibly unique one that’s as hard-hitting as it is subversive.

16/22 Blameless

blameless game horror

Developer Vaclav Hudec
Release Date October 13, 2016
Subgenre Puzzle
Steam Link Blameless

Blameless is shockingly effective. Steam has plenty of free horror games, but few Advance close to eclipsing the simple brilliance of this 2016 release. The setup is straightforward: an architect visits a desolate house, gets knocked out, & wakes up alone in an intimidating part of the estate. Now, they must puzzle together a few tools & make their way out.

Blameless relies on atmosphere & mounting tension through environmental storytelling, steadily building up anxiety towards a final scare that makes the whole experience worthwhile. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome, as it can be easily completed in 20 minutes, but it makes full use of every second. While not as scary as something like Resident Evil 7, Blameless can give Resident Evil 6 a run for its money.

15/22 Play With Me

play with me horror game

Developers Grégory Martin-Teyssier, Marco Lorenzo/C6H8O7
Release Date August 25, 2016
Subgenre Exploration
Itch.io Link Play With me

Is there a genre that has benefited more from the invention of virtual reality than horror? History has more than proven that games do not need VR to produce bone-chilling frights, but it certainly does not hurt to fully immerse players in terrifying worlds that are home to, in this case, clowns. Heck, Resident Evil 7 is one of the best virtual reality games of all time & arguably the scariest entry in Capcom’s franchise.

Play With Me is quite straightforward, which works in its favor. Finding themselves in a spooky house, players must search through the rooms for c⩽ however, they are not alone. The main villain’s design is the stuff of nightmares, regardless of whether someone has a pre-existing aversion to clowns or not.

Play With Meiscompatible with the Oculus Rift.

Blink: The Last Night

Developer Ab&oned House Studios
Release Date July 8, 2020
Subgenre First-Person
Itch.io Link Blink: The Last Night

Although technically a demo of a game that’s currently in development, Blink: The Last Night offers over an hour of content to mess around with. This makes it a great way to kill some time while also getting a good idea of what the final release is going to look like.

It’s a first-person psychological horror game that follows a babysitter watching over a little girl. The demo may be short, but it offers a lot in terms of its eerie atmosphere & intriguing mystery. The full game is being developed by a team of only two people, but things look pretty promising so far.

13/22 Exhibit Of Sorrows

exhibit of sorrow

Developer Adayofjoy
Release Date April 2022
Subgenre Point & Click
Itch.io Link Exhibit Of Sorrows

Welcome to the circus, & this one specializes in frights rather than laughs. Exhibit of Sorrows is a point-&-click Itch.io game that centers around a string of carnival-style exhibits. Players can interact with each toy in one way, & things naturally go wrong before too long.

Exhibit of Sorrows nails its presentation. While not especially complex, the visuals utilize a colorful art style that lends itself surprisingly well to horror. The animation is also pretty good. All these elements are elevated by an effective soundtrack that creates a sense that something terrible could happen at any moment.

12/22 Weep Of Fear

Cry Of Fear

Developer Team Psykskallar
Release Date April 25, 2013
Subgenre Multiplayer
Steam Link Weep of Fear

Weep of Fear is definitely starting to show its age a little, but it’s still a great game to play either in single-player or in co-op. The game takes place in a deserted town full of terrifying creatures & boasts a very uncomfortable atmosphere.

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The mysterious narrative is engaging, & it can be a lot of fun to play with another person. The only real problem with Weep of Fear aside from its dated visuals is its odd control scheme. If players can get past that, however, they’re in for a pretty unique experience.

11/22 Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion

Although Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion starts with a lighter atmosphere & funnier tone, the game becomes a lot more like a traditional horror experience over time. Its cutesy aesthetic might make it seem like a bit of a non-starter in that respect, but it really does Advance into its own as the narrative progresses.

It’s much better to go into the game blind, although it is worth noting that many players may set the game aside before it really gets off the ground. Those who stick with the game will be surprised by how scary it can actually get. As the name suggests, players will need to prepare for a few jump scares along the way.

10/22 September 1999

september 1999 game

Developer 98demake
Release Date October 10, 2018
Subgenre VHS
Itch.io Link September 1999

A VHS horror game, September 1999 does a lot with very little. Akin to something like P.T., this indie title restricts players to a very small area; in this case, the setting revolves around a single room & a hallway. As players explore, the game will jump to different dates & times, altering the apartment as the story slowly unfolds.

September 1999 can be completed in under 10 minutes, & it makes every second count. This freebie is largely devoid of significant gameplay since the changes happen automatically, & September 1999 gets its scares by simply forcing players to helplessly exist in an environment as it progressively goes to hell.

9/22 Perdition

Perdition

Developers Carrill, LoPintoSound
Release Date June 14, 2014
Subgenre Sci-Fi
Newground Link Perdition

Although Perdition is played through a browser window, it feels like a traditional 2D side-scroller that one would expect to see on any major platform. Granted, it’s not quite as well polished as a triple-a title, but it’s definitely up there with some other great indie titles that have been released over the past decade or so.

Perdition is available on Newgrounds, which is great, as it’s easily accessible through either an internet browser or the Newgrounds Player. The game utilizes a horror sci-fi aesthetic that makes it feel pretty unique. While the mechanics of the game can be fairly shallow, the experience is really sold through the intriguing narrative & complex visuals.

8/22 Face Your Fears

face your fears vr game

Developer Turtle Rock Studios
Release Date October 26, 2016
Subgenre VR
Oculus.com Link Face Your Fears

From the team behind Evolved & Back 4 Blood comes Face Your Fears, a free-to-play VR horror package split into distinct experiences. As the title suggests, the stories all revolve around challenging common fears. Outside of scrolling through a menu, users are passive participants in these shorts, so this release is more of an immersive movie than a st&ard game.

Also, not every experience seeks to terrify the audience to their core, although they are all scary or intense to varying degrees. Face Your Fears 2 is a premium experience, & a decent one at that, but its predecessor’s free status makes it a must-own install for anyone with an appropriate VR headset.

7/22 Wrong Floor

Wrong Floor

Developer N4bA
Release Date October 16, 2020
Subgenre First-Person
Itch.io Link Wrong Floor

Wrong Floor is short, but it offers a truly terrifying experience. Unlike longer horror games, it instead leans heavily on its tone, offering players an extremely short game that packs one hell of a punch. Everything in Wrong Floor works to create an experience that’s as fascinating as it is unsettling.

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The way that the camera works & the sound design add a unique touch that can make any player feel uneasy about what might pop up around the corner. This one is a perfect game to play in the dark — although players should be prepared to sleep with lights on for a few days after doing so.

6/22 Deadeus

Deadeus free horror game

Developer -IZMA-
Release Date September 24, 2021
Subgenre Game Boy
Itch.io Link Deadeus

Styled after Game Boy releases, Deadeus is a free horror game that sells itself on the fact it comes with 11 endings. As the campaign is on the short side, the meat of the experience is tied to replaying the story, & the endings are unique enough to justify multiple playthroughs.

The premise follows a boy who is trying to stop an ancient deity from wiping out everyone within three days. Deadeus is a text-heavy adventure game with a decent amount of puzzles, & scares are a bit on the low side for large chunks of the campaign. That said, Deadeus makes clever use of the Game Boy’s unique color palette to craft some genuinely creepy visuals. Obviously, a Game Boy-tyle horror title is not scarier than Resident Evil at its best, but Capcom’s franchise doesn’t always bring the frights.

5/22 SCP Containment Breach

SCP Containment Breach

Created as a companion to the viral SCP Foundation wiki, SCP Containment Breach is a free survival horror game that takes place within a secret organization tasked with researching threatening creatures, objects, & locations. It also features a procedurally generated map, which helps to ensure that no two playthroughs will ever feel exactly alike.

Like some other free horror games that are out there, SCP offers interesting lore to define its world. Due to its association with the wiki — which effectively serves as a companion guide of sorts — players have a lot of extra unsettling information that they can dive into in order to enhance the experience.

4/22 Bloodborne PSX

bloodborne psx wolf

Developers LWMedia
Release Date February 9, 2022
Subgenre Action-Survival
Itch.io Link Bloodborne PSX

Somehow, they did it. LWMedia released a fully functioning demake of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne, one of the best action-horror games of the 2010s. Such a project could easily be dismissed as a novelty, but Bloodborne PSX works shockingly well as a st&alone experience, & it manages to be authentic to not only the 2015 title but the PS1 era the demake seeks to emulate.

The result is a free-to-play horror game that delivers more than just a charming nostalgia trip; it also comes with solid gameplay, creepy gothic visuals, & even a couple of changes that should catch die-hard Bloodborne fans by surprise. The same creator is also working on a Bloodborne kart racer, which is something that sounds just wacky enough to be great.

3/22 Unfortunate Spacemen

Unfortunate Spacemen

Developers Geoff ‘Zag’ Keene, Deep Field Games
Release Date June 12, 2020
Subgenre Survival
Steam Link Unfortunate Spacemen

For those that are still enjoying Among Us, Unfortunate Spacemen is definitely a game worth checking out. It’s a co-op game that features a lot of the same social deception mechanics as Among Us but instead opts to go with a first-person shooter approach.

Unlike Among Us, Unfortunate Spacemen is much more focused on action elements & creates a much darker atmosphere. This game isn’t really a traditional horror game, although the tone & atmosphere can create some pretty scary moments. It’s completely free-to-play too, which makes it perfect for those looking for a co-op game to try out with friends.

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Source link gamerant.com
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