Fans of horror games tend to be pretty dedicated to the genre, but even so, some titles manage to fly under the radar.
Ever sinceCapcom revolutionized the genre in 1996 withResident Evil,horror games have gone from strength to strength, largely thanks toimprovements ingaminghardware that have allowed developers to create increasingly atmospheric, unsettling, and ultimately terrifying games than ever before.
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Video games have the power to elevate horror stories to a level that books and films can't, as they uniquely put players in the shoes of the protagonist. This powerful selling point has led to the horror genre being flooded with games over the years, many of which subsequently go under the radar. This list willfeaturegames that received praise for how unnerving or downright scary they were but didn't get the mainstream attention that they deserved.
Initially released in 2016,Layers of Fearis a psychological horror game that follows an unstable painter who is obsessed with creating a masterpiece. The game was well-received by critics, exemplified bit its78 score on Metacritic.
Layers of Fearwas developed by Bloober Team, who made a name for themselves with the 2019 survival horror gameBlair Witch, as well as the recently released psychological horror titleThe Medium.
The suitably namedImscared was initially released in 2012 before coming to Steam in 2016. The game offered an extremely unique experience by continuously breaking the fourth wallthroughintentional crashes and by adding game files to the player's PC.
Imscaredshowed that high-budgets and impressive visuals aren't essential in scaring players, and that simply takinggamers to a place that the genre hadn't explored before was far more unsettling.
Fatal Framewas released in 2001 on the PlayStation 2 before coming to Xbox in 2002. Like many horror games that were released in the years followingResident Evil,the game puts players in an atmospheric mansion.
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Fatal Framewas well received by critics, receiving Metascores of 74 and 77 respectively. The game inspired numeroussequels and successors, the most recent of which is the Wii U titleFatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
Penumbra: The Black Plaguewas developed by Frictional Games and released in 2008, making it the second game in thePenumbra series. Swedish developerFrictional Games are best known for theirAmnesiaseries, which is today recognized as being among the horror genre's most influential franchises, along withResident EvilandSilent Hill.
Much likeAmnesia:The Dark Descent,2008'sThe Black Plaguedifferentiated itself from other horror games at the time with itslack of weaponry and emphasis on exploration.
No Code's Stories Untoldis an episodic puzzle game set in England during the 1980s.Despite releasing as recently as 2017, much of the gameplay is reminiscent of classic text-adventures.
Stories Untoldwas well-received by critics, exemplified by its impressive Metascore of 81. Praise for the game was directed towards its excellent story, atmospheric80s aesthetics, and grippingly tense pacing.
Clock Towerearns a sport on this list for having one of the most terrifying villains in gaming history,Scissorman. The suitably named villain pursues the player with a giant pair of scissors and must be evaded or trapped due to players having no weaponry to fight back with.
The point and click game is particularly notable for its impressive eight different endings, as well as its emphasis on puzzle-solving, which was unique for a horror game at the time.
Somawas released in 2015 and is the second game on this list developed by Frictional Games. The game is one of the most critically acclaimed titles on this list, exemplified by its84 Metascoreon PC.
Praise from critics was directed atSoma's story, which offered a bleak glimpse into a possible future akin to an episode of Black Mirror. AlthoughSomahas numerous unsettling gameplay sequences, it's the game's thought-provoking story that provides the true horror.
A quick browse through the Steam page ofDoki Doki Literature Club!will likely give the impression that it's little more than a cheerful dating simulator. People wouldn't exactly be wrong to think this, as the game presents itself in this way for a significant amount of its runtime before taking sharps turns into dark and horrifying directions.
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The game was rewarded for its unique storytelling by the SXSW Gaming Awards, which gaveTeam Salvato's game theirMatthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award.
Free and open-source indie gameSCP Containment Breachwas released in 2012 and had a development team of just one person,Joonas Rikkonen. The gameis notablefor being based on thefictional SCP Foundation, as well as its unique gameplay.
SCP Containment Breach's gameplay stood out with its procedurally generated levels, which were rare at the time, and its Boo-inspired SCP-173, which closes in on the player when they aren't looking at it this is made more difficult by the playable character's need to blink.
Team Psykskallar'sCry of Fearwas released in 2012, initially as a mod forHalf-Life.The game impressed players with its innovative gameplay mechanics, such as the player's ability to dual-wield weapons or items.
Cry of Fearis infamous for having one ofthe most unexpected and terrifying jump scares in gaming history, which has likely caused many players to swiftly uninstall the game and start searching for something more lighthearted to play; hopefully, such people don't come acrossDoki Doki Literature Club!
NEXT:10 Horror RPGs That Will Keep You Up At Night
Next 10 Games From The 2010's That Are Still Worth The Full Price
A gamer since the age of 3, Jack is knowledgeable about virtually every genre of video game under the sun. He has a soft spot for platformers and collectathons though, and still hasn't given up hope of them making a serious resurgence! Feel free to follow his newly created Twitter account @JackPursey
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10 Terrifying Horror Games Most Gamers Have Never Heard Of - GameRant
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