With so many horror games to choose from, it can be hard to figure out just where to start. While plenty of horror games have become massive hits, a few hidden gems remain ripe for the plundering. Some of these are indie games overshadowed by more successful Triple-A titles. Others once had a following in the past but have since faded into obscurity.
If you’re looking for something different, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a wide variety of games to scratch your itch. Here are a few of the most underappreciated horror games that deserve more love.
10 Neverending Nightmares
Neverending Nightmares was created by one man who sought to explore his own struggles with mental health through art. It does that quite well, with most of the “jump scares” in the game representing the creator’s intrusive thoughts. The Edward Gorey style visuals help create a sense of unease while immersing you in the game’s Victorian setting.
The gameplay is more or less a “walking simulator,” but there are still multiple endings dependent on your actions. It’s best to play this game as less of a challenge and more of an immersive experience.
Erevos is a point-and-click adventure game from the early 2000s that never got the attention it deserved. It’s a dark and disturbing ride reminiscent of early Vampire: The Masquerade editions. You’re a vampire in the big city, trying to destroy a secret cult of vampire hunters. The game is pretty gory, as it tries to accurately depict the vampiric unlifestyle.
The mix of CGI and FMV visuals helps create an unsettling mood, but this game is infamous for a fun Easter egg. Play during the daytime, and you’ll automatically get a game over screen. You’re a vampire, so play after sunset.
8 Rule of Rose
Rule of Rose is a psychological horror game along the lines of early Silent Hill titles. While the game had a small fan base shortly after its release, it’s almost forgotten now. The gameplay is similar to other survival horror titles, with resource management and puzzles being the main component.
However, the story is where Rule of Rose shines. It had surprisingly decent LGBTQ representation for its time. Furthermore, its exploration of childhood trauma and child abuse is far more in-depth than how other games have handled the subject. It’s an eerie, emotional game, great for everyone except dog lovers.
7 Eternal Darkness
If games like Rule of Rose and Silent Hill 2 pioneered psychological horror in gaming, then Eternal Darkness did the same for cosmic horror. The gameplay is typical for an old-school survival horror game, but Eternal Darkness was a trailblazer in other ways. If the player character’s mind-meter decayed too much, it would affect the game’s user interface, such as bluescreening or pretending to delete a save.
This Gamecube exclusive was hampered by its platform during release and never quite got off the ground. It now has a small online following, but the fans are as dedicated as it gets.
6 Lobotomy Corporation: Monster Management Simulation
Lobotomy Corporation is a roguelite that has you manage several horrific monsters. Your goal is to care for and expand the SCP-style facility you’re keeping all of these monsters in, which is harder than it sounds. Don’t let the cute visuals fool you; this game is seriously punishing.
The gameplay is surprisingly in-depth, with each “abnormality” having an intricate set of needs and abilities. You’ll need to remember as much as you can if you want to make any progress, which would be easier if these guys weren’t so terrifying.
5 Fear and Hunger Series
Most new players will try to tackle Fear and Hunger as if it were the fantasy RPG it appears to be. In reality, both the first game and its sequel, Termina, are survival horror games. The atmosphere for both is oppressive, and there’s a rich tapestry of lore that delves into the cosmic horror genre. However, the real horror comes from just how brutally unforgiving the games are in terms of difficulty.
Both games were only popular in Eastern Europe until recently this year, when English-speaking streamers took notice. It’s possible this gem might not be underappreciated for long.
4 Who’s Lila
Who’s Lila is a point-and-click adventure game from the same creator behind T-Gotchi. The game received some attention from Youtubers around the time of its release but quickly fell into obscurity after. It’s a shame because the game is unique in every facet. Let’s start with the gameplay: instead of choosing multiple-choice options for dialog, you contort the main character’s face into different expressions.
On top of that, the story is a wild ride from start to finish. Add the eerie low-res graphics, and you have a game that can put you on edge for hours.
If you haven’t heard of Detention, that’s probably because it doesn’t have much of a player base outside of Taiwan. This side-scroller has an excellent story that tackles plenty of heavy themes. Some of the context might be lost if you’re not familiar with Taiwanese history, but you’ll still understand enough to follow the plot.
While the writing is Detention’s strongest point, the visuals are also top-notch. The monochrome graphics look like they stepped out of a painting. It all comes together to create a bleak, oppressive atmosphere fitting to the game’s story.
2 Growing My Grandpa
Yames is the creator of low-res body horror games such as Discover My Body and Water Womb World. They return with one of their first full-length games: Growing My Grandpa. You spend most of the game playing as a little girl who’s putting forth a massive amount of effort to grow her grandpa. Yes, you heard that correctly.
With an array of questionable minigames, Growing My Grandpa’s gameplay is more unique than most games released in the past couple of years. The story is a bone-chilling Cronenbergian tale of love and loss, so give this game a try.
1 No One Lives Under the Lighthouse
This PS1-style indie horror game released not long ago to little fanfare. However, it’s a great cosmic horror story with twists and turns you’ll never expect. The atmosphere is also top-notch. You spend the entire game in a small seaside town with a dark secret and feel every moment of that experience.
If that’s not enough, No One Lives Under the Lighthouse features one of the most unique chase sequences in gaming. There’s plenty of genuine creativity that was put into this title, so it absolutely deserves its moment to shine.
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