Looking for the best free horror games? Can’t say I blame you. As of press time, the world has hit pause in all forms of social activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And if there’s any fiber of doomsday prepper in you to tap into, you’d be hard-pressed to spend in any new video game
In this list, I have collected some of the best free-to-play horror games you can start playing — that is…if you dare.
The best free horror games to play in 2020
From rich gameplay demos to full-fledged games, I have below a list of some of the greatest horror games you can play for free. Fair warning: inside are the stuff of nightmares!
- “Slender: The Eight Pages”
- “[REC] Shutter”
- “Cry of Fear”
- “SCP – Containment Breach”
- “September 1999”
- “Bendy and the Ink Machine”
- “Black Rose”
- “Doki Doki Literature Club”
- “Kraven Manor”
- “The Static Speaks My Name”
A play-test for Hideo Kojima’s attempt at the best “Silent Hills” game we likely won’t see at any official capacity, “P.T.” literally means “playable teaser”. Interestingly, this brisk demo is being hailed by many as one of the scariest horror games of all time. In the game, you survey an insufferably spooky suburban home. And since Kojima collaborated with Guillermo Del Toro in this, you can bet there are certifiably nightmarish scenes you’ll have to go through.
“Slender: The Eight Pages”
Slenderman is the poster boy for creepypasta monsters. Lanky and faceless, its appearance is the stuff of nightmares so modular you can plug it in your very worst fears. Few pieces of media have tapped into the ambiguous terror that Slenderman brings like “The Eight Pages”, where you explore the darker parts of the woods. The game shot to virality in 2012 when YouTubers, chief among them Pewdiepie, just about made golden internet content with it.
Not to be confused with the hit Spanish film franchise, “[REC] Shutter” is a taut supernatural survival FPS made with FPS Creator. Developed by SteelKrill, the game puts you in a properly creepy house where you must survive horrors of the night with just a videocamera in your hand. Its lack of polish in both controls and aesthetic is compensated by how well the developers mount the dread and terror in every scene.
“Cry of Fear”
Over the years, “Cry of Fear” has built such a fan-base — for good reason, too. This co-op survival horror is one of the scariest experiences, and not only this writer will vouch for it. The mix of elements work perfectly: the monster design, the uncanny valley-ness of the animation, and the impressively crisp sound mixing. They work hand-in-hand to make up a proper and full horror game experience. This one’s definitely a must-play.
“SCP – Contaiment Breach”
This is a fun one. Based on the collaborative sci-fi “SCP”, “Containment Breach” is a horror game set in a research facility filled with ghastly-looking anomalies. You play as a test subject who needs to escape the facility after a power outage allows scary creatures to run amok. There’s one in particular that can only move if you don’t keep our eyes on it. It’s a unique thrill-ride.
You can say that found-footage cinema is borne out of survival horror games. With the subgenre’s ubiquity today, “September 1999” feels very of-the-moment. It’s a very brisk game that delivers on terror from its very first moments up to its terrifying conclusion. Though short, the game runs for just enough time for you to marvel at its design, which makes you constantly wonder if it was built 3D or filmed live-action.
“Bendy and the Ink Machine”
Disney has been clinging to this idea of a “perfect brand”, one that sees through everything with an indisputably PG, all-smiles filter. Of course, that can’t be further from the truth. And that’s what “Bendy and the Ink Machine” is riffing off here. Set in a spooky animation studio, you roam around to uncover the horrors that live within its halls. The distinct aesthetic and excellent game design come at a price, though: only the first chapter is available to play for free.
This bare, downright terrifying indie title is quickly getting traction among horror fans. You play as Linda, a young woman trapped inside an abandoned funeral home. You try to get to the bottom of its dark history, but a volatile entity will constantly be in your way. And when sh*t hits the proverbial fan, you’ll find yourself making a beeline to safety — wherever the heck that may be — with only a janky flashlight saving you from the horrors of the unknown.
“Doki Doki Literature Club”
Don’t let the kawaii sim aesthetic fool you. “Doki Doki Literature Club” is a fully terrifying experience. A big part of the game is getting ingrained with characters you make the mistake of trusting up until things go awry. The anime girls with cutely odd behaviors you encounter in the game all of a sudden become your worst nightmare.
More than the certifiably creepy aesthetic, “Kraven Manor” is terrifying because of its central baddie: a bronze statue that will only move when you don’t look at it. It’s all very Weeping Angel from “Doctor Who”, but not even your knowledge of that plot will save you from this surprisingly dynamic survival horror. Features like the ability to recreate the manor’s map make you feel solely responsible for your own survival…or demise.
I’m a sucker for quick frights. “Blameless”, which takes around 20 to 60 minutes to complete, helps to satisfy that — and then some. Your objective is to survive a twisted madman who has you held captive. There’s a good amount of difficult puzzles and obstacles you must go through that makes your eventual escape that much more satisfying, despite the game’s ambiguous ending.
A sick take on urban exploration, “Urbex” is a quick horror experience, clocking only at approximately five to ten minutes. In spite of its short runtime, the game has plenty of things to offer: from the thick atmosphere going from unpleasant to absolutely terrifying to the creepy mannequins you must go through. Oh, and there’s a secret ending that has proven to be difficult to unlock. Best played with its prequel, “Midnight Shift”.
“The Static Speaks My Name”
“The Static Speaks My Name” is an ingenious take on the horror exploration genre. Brisk, snappy, but no less cruel than its lengthier counterparts, the game revolves around a mysterious painting that will usher you directly to the gates of total madness. The game is so unnerving, in fact, that the Steam page had to leave a couple of trigger warnings about mental health and suicide.