A lot of video games take quite a bit of time to complete. There are games we can sink dozens of hours into and still not discover all the secrets or complete all the quests. And then, some games can be finished in a couple of hours. While some short games are fun for a little while, they leave little to talk about. Still, some tiny gems are worth checking out.
When it comes to short games, there are games in just about every genre that you might imagine. The horror genre has recently seen a ton of shorter games; here you can check out the best short horror games out there.
Updated September 24, 2023 by Jacqueline Zalace: Short horror games are perfect if you want some quick thrills. We’ve added several new horror games to this list, giving you plenty of options to choose from.
26 Bioshock – 12 Hours
There is nothing quite like a dystopian city under the sea. Once your plane crashes and you descend to Rapture, Bioshock pierces its splicer hooks in you. You get delivered to the doorstep of a world where the highest of society turned into power-mongering abominations. The limits of science expand, and you become its next experiment.
Bioshock, a first-person shooter by nature, focuses on visceral combat with its weapons, plasmids, and intricate story. Rapture has long since had its glory days, leaving you to wander in the wake of its wars and progress. While not every moment is terrifying, the atmosphere built and dark traits of its characters elevate Bioshock to new heights…or depths.
25 Spirit Hunter Death Mark – 10 Hours
You wouldn’t expect a hand-drawn visual novel to match the chills and thrills of a 4K Triple-A experience. However, Death Mark delivers plenty of heart-palpitating frights that will burn mind-shattering images into your brain.
The novel focuses on a protagonist whose unknown supernatural contact gives him an odd mark on his wrist. Unfortunately, he’ll die unless he finds the ghost that marked him. There are six chapters, each with two endings. Your choices in all six chapters will determine the final ending. While each chapter takes around an hour, you’ll find plenty of reasons to revisit each.
24 Fear – 8 Hours
Fear is the original horror shooter and is touts one of the longer completions on this list. You are part of a First Encounter Assault Recon team hunting down a paranormal entity. Alma Wade influences the game’s events, killing your team from the shadows and conveying hallucinations.
While the first-person shooter nature of the game might detract from the horror atmosphere, the development team went to great lengths to craft a narrative and pathway to maximize scares despite your character’s abilities.
23 Amnesia – 8 Hours
Amnesia: The Dark Descent and its barrels helped cement PewDiePie as a popular Youtuber back in the day. Thankfully, Amnesia has plenty to offer outside of these infamous barrels. Invisible enemies, darkness, and insanity will plague you as you try to remember who you are and why you are stuck in some castle.
Sporting more adventure-style gameplay sets Amnesia apart. It is not about fighting enemies or blowing them up. Instead, more often than not, there is a puzzle to solve, a plank to cross, and a lamp to light. You’ll need the right tools to quickly make your way through the castle and solve the mystery.
22 Until Dawn – 8 Hours
Until Dawn is an interactive horror game launched on the PlayStation 4 in 2015 and follows a group of friends grappling with grief. One year after the disappearance of two close friends, a group of companions reconnect at a mountain retreat. Unfortunately, the friends become unwilling targets of a mysterious villain that seems to have it out for them.
The game has various possible endings depending on the player’s choices throughout the game. Players can either make it out of the cabin with all the characters alive, no survivors, or somewhere in between.
21 Resident Evil 3 Remake – 6 Hours
The Resident Evil 3 remake is one of the shortest Resident Evil games in quite some time. However, while many fans lament the game’s concise length, speedrunners and horror enthusiasts looking for a quick and scary playthrough are usually left satisfied.
The game follows Jill Valentine through Raccoon City as the monstrous Nemesis hunts her down. There are plenty of terrors throughout the cityscape, including new and old zombies. RE3’s gameplay focuses heavily on action. Still, well-crafted cutscenes and encounters create an uneasy atmosphere as Nemesis could be around any corner, waiting to pounce.
20 Doom – 5 Hours
The original Doom ropes you in with the sweet promise of slaying demons level after level. But, unfortunately, no one tells you that exploration and completion might leave you fearful for your life. The concept of Hell and its demons invading anywhere is enough to set the tone, but Doom wants to hide some things away, waiting for you to fall into its trap.
Secrets constitute a significant part of the series, with hidden powerups, weapons, and enemies abounding. Walking up to a random wall and spamming buttons could introduce you to demons you would rather not have seen. While Doom’s original horror has lessened with time, it is worth a quick playthrough to battle monsters and find out what frights might be for you.
19 Outlast – 5 Hours
Outlast is a horror game in which you take on the role of a journalist contacted by a whistleblower working at Mount Massive Asylum. The whistleblower alerts the journalist to dark and inhumane asylum experiments that must be uncovered immediately.
The game is focused entirely on finding evidence and taking footage of Mount Massive as you try to find out what has happened there and make your way out of the facility. DLC set before the game’s events was also released, and both are pretty short but worth playing.
18 Blair Witch – 5 Hours
Blair Witch is a survival horror game that launched in 2019. This game is set in 1996, two years after the events of the classic found footage film from 1999, and is every bit as scary as the movie was.
This game forces you to explore the woods using your video camera, cell phone, flashlight, and dog to uncover the mysterious secrets of a missing nine-year-old.
17 Doki Doki Literature Club! – 4 Hours
Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel that may seem bright and fun, but fans know it’s far from that. This game is free to play and has become a popular horror game since it came out.
The story follows a high school student who joins his school’s literature club and gets to know its four different members. Although the game may seem may feature bright colors and adorable characters, there’s much more terror beneath the surface. It’s best to go into this game knowing as little as possible!
16 The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan – 4 Hours
Man of Medan is the first in The Dark Pictures Anthology interactive survival horror series launched in 2019. This game plays best with someone else, either locally or online; each player controls a different character in the adventure.
The game presents an unfinished story by a character named The Curator. The Curator’s tale is about a group of friends who go ocean diving; once they get out on the water, things start to get strange, and the decisions you make will change the story and its characters’ fate.
15 The Toilet Chronicles – 3 Hours
If you enjoy films like Scary Movie, The Toilet Chronicles is for you. This horror comedy tasks you with escaping a Rose Red-Esque public bathroom that’s ever-changing.
The Toilet Chronicles is silly, eerie, good-natured fun. Disturbing moments, like blood-letting sinks and menacing tentacle monster attacks, get paired with absurd potty jokes and laugh-out-loud meta-humor. Plus, with twenty-two endings, you’ll have plenty of reasons to return to the stalls!
14 The Mortuary Assistant – 2 Hours
If you thought your job was bad, wait until you play The Mortuary Assistant. This point-and-click adventure/embalming sim puts you in the shoes of Rebecca, a newly hired assistant at a local funeral home. But, unfortunately, her boss Raymond left out one crucial job requirement on the listing: she must excise demons.
In short, The Mortuary Assistant is a whodunnit of bodily possession. First, Rebecca must identify the name and markings of the demon haunting the funeral home. Then she must find the dead body housing the demon and burn it, thus banishing it and saving herself from its possession. Each playthrough is randomized, keeping the experience fresh.
13 What Remains Of Edith Finch – 2 Hours
What Remains of Edith Finch isn’t exactly a horror game in the way that many others are. It’s more of a fantasy-adventure game, but the unusual atmosphere and heavy focus on death give this game a bit of an eerie vibe without venturing into full-fledged terror.
In this game, the player controls a character named Edith Finch. Edith is part of a family with a mysterious generational curse: each generation, except for one person, dies unusually.
12 Five Nights At Freddy’s – 2 Hours
The first Five Nights at Freddy’s game launched in 2014, and since then, the series has added many sequels, fan-made games, and books. Although playing all of them and diving into the lore could suck up a lot of time, the first game was a pretty quick and frightening horror game.
In this game, you take on the role of a night security guard at a pizza restaurant inspired by Chuck E. Cheese. You must keep a sharp eye on the animatronics because they wander the restaurant at night and are very dangerous.
11 No One Lives Under The Lighthouse – 2 Hours
No One Lives Under The Lighthouse is a retro horror game that places you in the role of a lighthouse keeper. In the game, you replace the previous keeper, who went missing. Sounds simple, right?
If it were actually that simple, No One Lives Under The Lighthouse wouldn’t be on this list! In this game, you can expect to encounter some Lovecraftian themes, as well as three different endings to play through.
10 Lake Of Voices – 2 Hours
Lake of Voices is a short visual novel set on, as you guessed it, a lake. Your goal is to make it across this lake, but you will need to make some important decisions to keep yourself and others alive.
From the start of the game, you’re made aware that you won’t be able to save everyone though. The studio behind Lake of Voices, GB Patch Games, has also developed romantic (dating sim) visual novels, so you can expect to see some light romance in Lake of Voices as well.
9 Iron Lung – 1 Hour
Iron Lung gets straight to the point; you are trapped in a small submarine, where you must navigate through a blood ocean. While being short, Iron Lung manages to squeeze in a full claustrophobic experience.
Every second of Iron Lung will leave you feeling quite tense as if you are actually on the submarine. The horror element isn’t as in your face as other jumpscare-filled games, but you will definitely leave this game with an eerie feeling.
8 Ao Oni – 1 Hour
Some images can linger far longer than is welcomed, and the sinister, creepy face of Ao Oni‘s monster is one of those for many who have played it. This Japanese survival horror game has been around since 2004, becoming popular enough to receive an official novel and fangames.
The game features a solid cast of characters who all have different fates depending on the version of the game played. While all versions are Japanese, only some have English translations. The game is free to download and created with the RPG Maker game engine, a true testament to the engine’s capabilities and game creativity.
7 Erie – 1 Hour
Another excellent freeware horror game is Erie, a retro-themed title set in 1966 where reporter Oliver Victor must investigate an “incident at a power generator.” You will soon realize you have been trapped in the facility and are the target of whatever horrible and violent creatures have sprung from the terrible accident.
Made by UGF in 2012 using the Unreal engine, the game involves not just survival but exploration and item-collecting to solve the mystery of the facility and escape it alive.