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Bendy and the Ink Machine

The Best Hidden Horror Gems You Can Play On PC Right Now

10 of the Best Horror Games on PC That Might Have Slipped Under Your Radar

The strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown, as H.P. Lovecraft once wrote.

It seems like everyone and their mum has heard of games like Resident Evil and Outlast. But what happens when you go off the beaten track? It turns out that the horror genre is filled with hidden gems and forgotten classics, especially if you’re a PC gamer. Here we’re diving into the depths of terror to dredge up a hideous horde of forgotten fright-fests and niche nightmares.

For this list, we’ve chosen only those games that you can play right now on Windows. They’re all available on the likes of Steam or GOG; no need to go hunting down a special software or an old disc copy. These games might not be the shiniest or the newest (some are over 15 years old!) but they’ve all got something special about them that makes them worth a look… if you dare.

From paranormal prisons to seaborne scares, here’s our top 10 list of horror games that made the pick.

The Suffering series

The Suffering

Prison is hell, a phrase that’s taken literally here. Developed by Surreal Software, The Suffering and its sequel Ties That Bind are a pair of action-horror games originally released in 2004/5 for the PC, Xbox and PlayStation 2. Players take control of Torque, an inmate sentenced to die for a crime he can’t remember committing. Caught up in a mysterious supernatural cataclysm, Torque must escape first a haunted prison island and then a monster-infested city as he confronts his own tormented past.

The games can be played in either first- or third-person mode, with the player able to switch seamlessly between perspectives. Torque is no stereotypical defenceless horror protagonist either; players will have to shoot, burn and bludgeon their way through a horde of nightmarish creatures if they want to survive. Torque has a few inner demons himself, and can transform into a creature capable of going toe-to-toe with the beasts he’ll come up against. Both games also feature a moral choice system that not only determine Torque’s ultimate fate, but reveal the true details of his past as well. You can pick up both games right now over on GOG.com. They may be old, but they’re still some of the best horror games you can play on PC.

Devotion

Coming to us courtesy of Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, makers of the similarly excellent Detention, Devotion is an absolute masterpiece of horror. As heartbreaking as it horrifying, the game tells the story of the Dus; a middle-class family living in Taipei in the 1980s. Seen from the perspective of father and husband Du Feng Yu, Devotion is a first-person walking simulator similar to games like P.T. and Layers of Fear. Players must explore an increasingly twisted version of the Du’s apartment complex, uncovering a story of one family’s descent into tragedy and madness.

Many horror fans probably don’t even know they can buy Devotion. Ironically for a game exploring the dangers of cultism and societal pressure, Devotion itself became the subject of a furious nationalist backlash due to an accidental Easter egg that insulted China’s autocratic President, Xi Jinping. Pulled from Steam mere days after its release in 2019, for a long while it seemed like Devotion was lost to history. Things got worse in 2020, when GOG.com announced it would sell the game, only to backpedal hours later because of online criticism. It was only in March 2021 that Red Candle quietly decided to sell the game directly via its website.

Read our review of Devotion

Knock-Knock

Knock-Knock

If you’re afraid of things that go bump in the night, this isn’t the game for you! Knock-Knock is a 2D indie horror game made by developer Ice-Pick Lodge. In it, you play as The Lodger, an insomniac inhabiting a mysterious cabin in the woods. Something’s going very wrong here, and it’s up to you to figure out what it is. That is, if you don’t lose your sanity first…

Knock-Knock tasks players with surviving several nights as The Lodger. Complicating this are the Guests; ghoulish entities that stalk you throughout the procedurally generated landscape as you try to reach the end of another evening. Whether these creatures and the other weird happenings are real, or simply the product of a fevered mind, isn’t clear. The game is deliberately vague about its mechanics, leaving it up to players to decipher a way out as they play a tense game of cat-and-mouse with the Guests. If you’re in the mood for something different with a unique art style, you can pick this horror gem up right now on Steam.

Cold Fear

Cold Fear

Another golden oldie, Cold Fear is a game from 2005 developed by Darkworks for PC, Xbox and PlayStation 2. The game puts players in the shoes of Tom Hansen, a member of the United States Coast Guard sent to respond to a Russian whaling ship in distress off the Bering Strait. Finding the ship infested with a mysterious parasite, Hansen must escape the ship with his life whilst uncovering a sinister conspiracy.

In what has to be one of the unluckiest cases of poor timing in the history of videogames, Cold Fear was released only a few months after Resident Evil 4. Competing against what many have called one of the greatest horror games of all time, it should come as no surprise that Cold Fear sunk without a trace. It didn’t help that the game played in a similar manner to Resident Evil 4, with an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective and an aiming system that used laser sights. Still, if you’re a fan of old-school survival horror games, you could do worse than to give Cold Fear a look on PC. The game’s most unique mechanic is the ship itself, which rocks and sways realistically in bad weather. It can even throw players overboard if they’re not careful. You can grab Cold Fear on Steam.

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Picture this. You’re in a derelict building in one of the worst neighbourhoods in the city; knowing that an axe-wielding maniac could be just around any corner. Creeping through the darkened, trash-strewn halls, you hear a sound as someone – or something – slinks through the shadows. With only a bit of old pipe for a weapon, you slowly advance. Congratulations; you’ve entered the world of Condemned.

Condemned: Criminal Origins was a game developed by Monolith Productions in 2005 as a launch title for the Xbox 360 and released on PC a year later. The game follows homicide detective Ethan Thomas, tasked with tracking down serial killers in a city plagued by a mysterious outbreak of violence and murder. A first-person game, Condemned’s most unique feature is its melee-focused combat. Facing off against thugs, psychopaths and worse, players would have to grab whatever they could from their surroundings to defend themselves; from 2x4s and rebars to sledgehammers and fire axes. It might be more than 15 years later, but this is still one of the greatest horror games you can play on PC. It’s available to buy on Steam.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is a 2D horror RPG developed by Red Hook Games. Taking heavy inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and gothic horror, you play as the inheritor of a macabre mansion in which your ancestor has unleashed an unspeakable evil. Tasked with undoing his mistake, you must gather up a band of heroes and mercenaries to explore the depths of the mansion. You can halt the tide of nightmares before it’s too late?

Known for its delightfully morbid art style and punishing difficulty, Darkest Dungeon’s turn-based gameplay is a tension-filled journey of risk-and-reward. The deeper your adventuring party goes, the more loot you’ll find, but the deadlier the monsters you’ll encounter. As well as physical damage, you’ll have to pay close attention to your party’s mental states; the eldritch horrors they’ll encounter can cause them to crack entirely. If you’re a fan of cosmic horror and games with a deep level of strategy, Darkest Dungeon is undoubtedly a horror game on PC worth checking out. You can also grab this game on PS4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.

Read our review of Darkest Dungeon

Cry of Fear

Cry of Fear

Fans of the Silent Hill series owe it to themselves to check out Cry of Fear. Not only does the game take heavy inspiration from everyone’s favourite foggy town, it’s also completely free. Created by indie developers Team Psykskallar, Cry of Fear is a Source Engine mod that tells the tale of Simon, a mentally unbalanced young man who finds himself trapped in a hellish reality filled with monsters and supernatural phenomenon.

Where Cry of Fear really shines is its atmosphere. As you creep through the game’s darkened alleyways and abandoned apartments, the sense of loneliness and unease it creates will be guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. You can pick up Cry of Fear over on Steam.

Bendy and the Ink Machine

Bendy and the Ink Machine

If you didn’t think cartoons could be scary, think again. Developed and published by indie developer Joey Drew Studios, since releasing in 2017 Bendy and the Ink Machine has garnered something of a cult following. A first-person puzzle action horror game, it puts you in the shoes of Henry; an animator trapped in a bizarre studio where cartoons are brought to life… literally.

Inspired by the works of 1930s animators like Max Fleischer and Walt Disney, Bendy and Ink Machine isn’t just a visual treat; it’s absolutely pant-wetting as well. Players brave enough to spend any time in this world will soon come to learn its most important rule; fear the ink demon. It’s one of the best horror games on PC, playable on Steam, and it’s also on consoles, too.

ObsCure series

Oh, the trials and tribulations of puberty! Being a teenager is a real minefield, from the hormone changes, to the acne, to the dating. And of course, not forgetting the constant danger of being eaten by mutated plant monsters… Wait, what?

ObsCure and its sequel, ObsCure II: The Aftermath, are a pair of single-player/local co-op horror games created by French developer Hydravision. Taking inspiration from American teen horror movies like The Faculty and Scream, each game revolves around a group of teens trying to survive an outbreak of monsters at their local high school. Each character fits an archetypal role – the geek, the jock, the cheerleader, and so on – and has their own unique ability, which players will need to use if they want to succeed. If you’re in the mood from some campy horror fun from the early noughties, you can pick up both games right now on Steam.

Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea is roguelike survival RPG created by UK-based developer Failbetter Games. Released for Windows in 2015, the game takes place in alternate, dark gothic 19th century. In this world, London has sunken below ground into the Unterzee; a massive subterranean ocean filled with all manner of mysteries and eldritch horrors.

Players assume the role of a steamship captain tasked with exploring the leagues of this forbidding ocean. Gameplay is heavily narrative driven, as players brave the waters to discover new locations and stories. The Unterzee is a harsh mistress, however, and players who get too cocky will quickly learn to regret their brashness. Fuel and supplies must be constantly managed, and one wrong slip can quickly lead to death. Maybe you’ll die as a result of food shortages, ship failures, madness or cannibalism. It’s more of a slow-burning terror than edge-of-your-seat scares, but for our money, Sunless Sea is one of the best horror games on PC. It’s available on Steam (and a version is available on console, too).

Read our review of Sunless Sea

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