7 Horror Games That’ll Scare You Without Breaking the Bank This Halloween

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It’s my favorite time of the year: where the best season, the best holiday, and my birthday all collide. It also gives me an excuse to catch up on the horror games I’ve missed all year long, or maybe dive into those 4th Survivor missions in Resident Evil 2 that I never got around to.

Like I’ve done in years past, I’ve cobbled together a round up of the horror games you might have neglected to play in 2019; or maybe you never even heard of in the first place. Of course, you can always turn to the big horror games that released this year, like the aforementioned Resident Evil 2, or even Bloober Team’s haunted dog companion simulator Blair Witch, but if you’re looking for something a tad more obscure, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven scary games to keep you up at night this Halloween season.

Faith: Chapter 2 is effective, despite its minimal pixels. | Airdorf

Faith: Chapter 2

Platforms: PC

There’s a moment in Faith: Chapter 2 that rattled me when I played it earlier this year. As a priest, you’re lost wandering in the 8-bit woods, when you come across what looks like blood smeared around a piece of paper. You pick up the paper and find a newspaper report on ritual murders. As you’re reading it, it devolves into manic, all-caps madness before ending on an upside down cross, spelled out with 666. Then the chaotic sound that kicked up while you were reading goes silent, but just for a moment.

Faith: Chapter 2 is definitely enriched by playing its much-shorter predecessor, but still, its creepy MS DOS-like art stands on its own. It even features jarring rotoscope animation that always shocks—like an instance where I neglected to read a clear message on the wall telling me to not move when a monster appeared, leading to switching to an unsettling animation of it killing me in an instant. It’s a relatively short experience that revolves around the era of “Satanic Panic,” and aside from some frustrating boss fights, it’s bound to linger in your mind before you hit the hay. Mortis.

Buy on itch.io

The Glass Staircase

Platforms:: PC

Puppet Combo is one of the most reliable horror game creators out there. Their work is always uniquely uncomfortable, whether it’s calling back to slashers like last year’s Nun Massacre, or some other era of horror film making. And that’s really what his games always remind me of: an era of filmmaking that wasn’t afraid to be at once silly in retrospect and genuinely terrifying.

I’ve fallen way behind on Puppet Combo’s games, save for The Glass Staircase. Luckily, The Glass Staircase is an extra special one: it bottles up what makes Puppet Combo’s work so enticing—a delectable blend of PS1 aesthetics, slasher film gore, and chunky controls—into one go-around. Opening doors even feels reminiscent of old Resident Evil games. The Glass Staircase pins you as a few servant girls in a manor, who you learn are actually test subjects of Edward, the owner of the estate. Slowly but surely, all the girls are killed by a mysterious monster, until you take control of the rifle-armed Margaret, who shoots her way through the estate’s monsters to free herself. Its eerie blood-curdling screams and other sound design elevates The Glass Staircase into being a must play this Halloween season.

Buy on itch.io

Inmost will be coming to PC and Switch later this year, according to its press kit. | Hidden Layer Games/Chucklefish


Platforms: iOS, Apple TV, Mac via Apple Arcade

I’ve had my eye on Inmost ever since I played a demo back at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference. Intricate pixel art may feel a little old hat now, but there’s something about the design of Inmost’s world and monsters that stuck with me. Over the weekend, it actually surprise launched on Apple Arcade, a subscription service that costs just $4.99 a month and offers its first month for free. With Apple Arcade’s newly introduced capability on both Apple TV and MacOS, it’s able to be played on a screen bigger than your iPhone, which is where it belongs.

Download on Apple Arcade

The Interlude is billed by developer Crawlspace as an “anti-thriller.” | Crawlspace

The Interlude

Platforms: PC, Browser

The Interlude is not so much a horror, but a really solid thriller with good atmosphere. In the browser and PC game, you sit in your car waiting for the person you’re meeting to show up. All you can do as you wait is sit, in real-time, and mess around in your car nervously. You can turn on the windshield wipers. You can play Snake on your “Lokia” phone or read old messages. You can listen to the radio. It’s all tense, because you don’t know what fate will await you at the end.

Download on itch.io

Stela is coming to PC in early 2020. | SkyBox Labs


Platforms: iOS, Apple TV, Mac via Apple Arcade

Stela is another game that surprise launched on Apple Arcade in the weeks following its crowded debut. Stela first caught my eye for how much it looked like Limbo, but playing a little bit of it luckily proved it has a bit more going for it than just that comparison. Lanky monsters and stunning sequences help make Stela a standout on Apple Arcade, thanks to it not having much competition in the horror department.

Download on Apple Arcade

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Okay, I’m totally cheating by including Man of Medan, but it’s already at a relatively budget price for a triple-A game at $29.99, and honestly, it’s the perfect Halloween game to play with friends. Thanks to its co-op features, you can have a spooky shared experience either on the couch, or even online with other players. In Until Dawn fashion, it’s up to you (and now your friends to) to help these young adults live through a deadly ghost ship, with plenty of character drama that’ll suck you in all along the way. If you’re planning on having friends over for a Halloween get together, Man of Medan is a must.

Buy on Amazon

Missed Messages

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Missed Messages is probably the most untraditional horror on this list, but like Gone Home before it, it plays with moments of horror in a myriad of ways. In Missed Messages, your goal is to try your best to avert a tragedy. It’s a short and sweet visual novel with many different endings and outcomes, giving it a lot of replay value. All in all, it’s a hearteningly human mix of horror, love, and the memes you share for laughs in between the rough stuff in life. Missed Messages is free too, making it readily accessible for anyone this season. Just be warned for some heavy topics ahead.

Download on itch.io.

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