Have you ever had an encounter with a scary movie that left so much of an impact on you, that you kept sleeping with the lights on for days? A scary movie, so eerily realistic that you seriously kept looking over your shoulder for every nightly bathroom-run several weeks after the fact? Well, If that’s you, this list may not be your cup of tea. If on the other hand, you are among those of us who ignore all that, and jump head first into the fires of immersive horror experiences with nothing but fearless determination and reckless laughter, read on. Today we will take a look at some of the most impressive VR horror games currently available on the market, for you to pick up this year, if you have been living under a rock recently, or simply just acquired yourself a brand-new VR headset.
2020 seems to be one big year or VR horror games across all platforms, and once the long awaited Oculus Quest arrives this spring, it’s time to experience what it’s like to feel genuinely terrified and free as a bird at the same time.
In our list today, we will be showing off a little bit of everything, so whether you are the happy owner of a Samsung GearVR, a PlayStation VR or even an Oculus Rift or a Vive, you’ll find something here that will rock your socks off. One of the great things about the horror genre, is that you don’t need a lot of visuals to pull it off well. Sometimes, a loud noise or a sudden flash of light is all it takes. Let’s get on with the show. These are the 25 best horror games for VR as of 2020:
The Exorcist: Legion has been packing up a massive followerbase over the past 3 years, and has been heralded by many as the next big thing in immersive horror. Explore a 5-chapter epic by the horror-king William Peter Blatty. Whether you’re on the Vive or have gotten yourself an Oculus, you should be able to take this one for a spin today. Keep in mind though, that you may need some emotional backup as you’re heading into a world of hurt. Big fans here at the team!
Developer: Wolf & Wood Interactive Ltd
Narcosis is a game from early 2017 that still to this day is worth its salt on a list like this. The game brings together the paranoid vibes we like to associate with a masterfully crafted horror film, mixed with an almost Donny Darko-like psychological atmosphere. Any traditional fan of Fritictional Games will find this one right up their alley, as once again, you are trapped, alone and afraid somewhere along the ocean floor of the pacific. The game-play itself is smooth enough, and the visuals you experience while you try to make your way across this cinematic masterpiece is stunning to say the least.
The Inpatient is a creepy survival horror game said to hit the shelves this year. It is arguably one of the most anticipated VR-horror games of 2020, so watch this space. Being the prequel to the infamous Until Dawn Franchise (and built by the exact same team who ran the original launch title when PSVR began), it has quite a task in front of it.
Unfolding within the melancholic hallways of Blackwood Pines Sanatorium, the story of The Inpatient takes you through a blood-dripping tale of abuse, despair and change. As you progress through the game you get to shape and influence your environment and the plot, all the while being frightened to pieces by what you’ll see along the way. Every play through is somewhat different, and your actions have consequences for what will unfurl inside this iconic, hellish facility. That’s right – it’ll take you more than one try before you see all the work that was put into this hell-raiser of a game.
Paranormal Activity has brought shock, awe and horror unto the mainstream population ever since its original title film hit the big screen back in 2007. Its low budget, high horror factor led men and women from all corners of the world into their local cinemas and has cashed in millions of dollars on the concept. If you’re not scared off or intimidated by the possibility of being locked inside your house, while the presence of a ghost looms the atmosphere and haunts your step, look no further. Strap on your headset and prepare to scream. Paranormal Activity is one of the most visually impressive VR horror games on today’s list.
Compatible with: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR
Available on: Oculus Store, Steam, PlayStation Store
Syren has a very beautiful underwater cinematic feel to it that brings back memories from anyone who have ever fired up a game of SOMA. Awake at the bottom of the deep seas in a dark and gloomy underwater lab, and discover the frightening fact that you’re not alone here. Something is down here with you. Something hidden, something angry, and it knows you’re here. While we have many VR horror games on today’s list that have been flawlessly converted from regular platform games into VR, it’s nice to see that there’s a title here that was specifically designed for immersive technology. Looking for something that’s visually stunning, cinematic and atmospheric? Syren’s not a bad choice if that’s your thing!
Here They Lie is a warped and twisted example of how horror as a niche doesn’t need to depend on Japanese ghost-children and strategically scheduled jump-scares. It’s possible to create captivating VR horror games without either one of them. In the game you wake up in a hellish city in which there are no means of escape. You will have to endure, as you fight for survival, haunted and hunted by a menagerie of strange beasts. The creators of Here They Lie are nothing if not creative, and we salute them for creating such an iconic ambient feel to their game.
Don’t Knock Twice is an interesting title, that have yet to surface for us all to enjoy. It’s odd, because in one way, it seems like just another jump-scary hide-and seek kind of 1st person horror game. Yet, there are some elements to the game that seem to be the brain child of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and The Shining. The game allegedly explores an old and horrifying urban legend, and it seem to involve not only an old and suspicious manor – but something angry, satanic and insidious as well.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, is arguably the most immersive and horrifying experience on our list today. Resident Evil lets you explore every nook and cranny of a cabin in the woods, where your long lost love is being held captured by a mysterious family with a dark secret. There’s something “off” about the whole thing, and there’s a deep sense of immediate regret from the very first step you take into the threshold of their home in the woods. This is absolutely not your average jump-scare game, and on our list of VR horror games, this one stands out like a prime example of how to do VR properly.
The music, the compelling story and the honest-to-God tendency to make you toss your headset away, swearing you’ll never expose yourself to such jump-scares again, only to pick it up 30 minutes later for another go. Of all the games on our list today, this is beyond a shadow of a doubt our #1 favorite.
A Chair In A Room is an American horror story, set in the Deep South. In the game you awake as patient no. 6079 in The Greenwater Institute, where you will be thoroughly tested as you try to uncover what put you in there. The ambient feeling of this game is very well thought through and as you play the game, you quickly get a sense of just how much attention has been put into the writing of its story. If you have any room in your heart for compelling storytelling, this should be a first pickup for you.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a morbid and psychotic game, which is going to scare the living hell out of anyone who has ever in their life had even the slightest fear of clowns. Experience a dark carnival unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and try your best to stay alive among the nightmarish creatures awoken in this dark circus. These hellish clowns acts as living homage to the horror franchise as a whole, and each one of them makes Pennywise look like a cuddly Ronald McDonald who just wants a hug. VR horror games are off to a great start, with content such as this spearheading the way.
Emily Wants to Play is almost as traditional as a horror scenario can be. Imagine this: You’re a pizza delivery boy and you’re just about to wrap up the night. There’s one more home on your route and then you’re done with tonight’s shift. While the lights are on and the front door open, no one seems to be just inside the door. You therefore take a few hesitant steps inside the house, as the doors slam shut behind you. At this moment, you start to realize that something is not as it should be. Something is wrong with this house, and you need to get out, and head home as soon as you can. As you turn around to grab the door, it refuses to give in. The door is locked, and you’re trapped. Trapped, but not alone… And Emily wants to play.
Note: Emily Want to Play Too will likely be coming for virtual reality, sometime in 2020. We’ll be adding it as soon as it hits the shelves, so you can take that one for a spin as well.
Arizona Sunshine is VR horror game that lets you out-live every single zombie-apocalypse fantasy you’ve ever had. If there’s any fans of The Last of Us or The Walking Dead out there, this is your chance to save the world from the onslaught of the undead. We can’t tell you why, dear reader but there’s just something oddly soothing about effortlessly taking out a pack of zombies with a fully-automatic machine gun. This is by no means a traditional jump-scare horror title, but given its awesome gameplay mechanic and use of a zombie invasion as a theme, we thought it deserved a spot on the list nontheless!
Affected – The Manor is a great little game for you to hand over to a friend for a quick tour of how jump-scares are just that much more horrifying in VR. Affected as a game is not very lengthy at all, yet it showcases why horror is such a popular genre. While 360 videos of elephants, smurfs or cartoon characters are interesting, you never really feel as immersed as when you are also a little bit scared. Affected accomplishes this fast and effectively. In the realm of VR horror games, this one is a light-weight classic and it goes with virtually every headset you can think of that isn’t built by Sony!
Dreadhalls were back in the days, one of the very first VR horror games to surface online, as popular YouTubers such as JackSepticEye, PewDiePie and Markiplier began uploading videos of themselves exploring the dark dungeons of the game. Dreadhalls is actually not very impressive visually, yet its game play mechanic and subtle special effects is horrifying enough to make even the most lion-hearted among us take a quick break from all these VR horror games, realizing that calling mom might just be the thing to do!
ARAYA is an oddity on the list, as it is the only Thai-based game. What this means is that all signs of visually represented communication will be illegible for you, making it all just a bit more mysterious. The concept behind ARAYA is quite simple. You’re trapped inside a hospital, and you are to piece together what you can in order to figure out what happened in the murder case of Araya. Throughout the game, you get the chance to embody 3 separate playable characters. Marisa, Rama and Boon. Definitely a worthy title on today’s list of the best VR horror games out there.
The Brookhaven Experiment is yet another amazing survival shooter for virtual reality. Take up arms against the current tide of zombies, as you struggle to survive. Thankfully, you get a chance to upgrade and expand your weaponry along the way. Feel the wind in your face like a true action here, and blast this invading horde to atoms, while hopefully living to tell the tale. Fans of Rick Grimes are going to appreciate this one!
Organ Quarter is a creepy, Resident Evil-like VR horror game that will have you freaked out by the endless labyrinth-like environment as you engage in combat with a score of horrifying monsters. Trust us on this one, when we say that the trailer doesn’t do justice to the insane levels of dread you feel, as you make your way through this masterpiece by Outer Brain Studios.
The Forest is up next, and for those of you who are big fans of compelling visuals – you’re up. While not originally intended to be a VR horror game exclusively, this gorgeously presented game takes a dark turn. The plot is quite simple – you wake up on a remote island in the middle of the ocean, following a terrifying plane crash. With an event like that taking place, your objective is to do what any thinking person would do: try to survive here. As you’ll come to see, that may not be such an easy thing to do after all.
We Were Here follows you and a friend, splitting up inside an old abandoned castle. Your friend is at the other end of your walkie-talkie connection, so at times it does feel like you’re entirely alone. The game breaks the style a little bit, if we were to compare it to our titles here on our list of the best VR horror games. The art is a bit more polished, and is by no means a gory game either. If you are a fan of eerie suspense, creepy atmosphere and a compelling story line, we recommend you pick this one up.
Monstrum mixes up some of the core elements we’d normally find in a top-selling horror franchise, mixes it up with pristine graphics, virtual reality and a hint of AI-driven enemies, hell-bent on ending your life. This game is one of our top favorites of the genre, and we dare you to pick up that controller, with the lights out when nobody’s home.
Doors of Silence has a creepy vibe – there’s no other good way of putting it, and the jump scares make that fact a whole lot worse, as you realise that the beautiful visuals you fall in love with, will be used against you at some point, and that a change of underwear may be in order! Doors of Silence is one of the most popular VR horror games out there at the moment, and it seemed like a shame not to have it on our list, just because it’s a little short in length.
KOBOLD is more VR Experience than an actual game, but thanks to its cinematic realism, free movement and thrilling storyline, it had to have a mention on today’s list. In the game you get to explore an intriguing mystery while trying desperately to stay alive. You are chased by what seem to be some kind of ancient evil, and must do what you can to push on and make your way to the end.
Sophie’s Guardian blends VR survival horror with FPS into an awesome immersive cocktail that will make for an awesome introduction to virtual reality. There is an arcade-like feel to the way its setup like a waveshooter, while still maintaining the atmosphere we know from great horror titles on today’s list. Pick it up from Steam and fire up that HTC Vive.
Gates of nowhere is a gorgeously made monster-hunting combination of fantasy and horror. Built for both the Vive and the Oculus, you get to play the role of an ancient seeker, chasing down ancient wisdom, scribbled down by the alchemists of old. Step into an eerie dungeon filled to the brim with horrors from near and far, determind to make your way out anything but easy.
Contagion is a highly-acclaimed follow-up to the original Contagion. It’s not exactly a sequel, but it utilizes the same elements that made the original wonderful. Suspense, terror and immersive action from start to finish.
Get prepared to emerge into onie hell of a storyline, as you take on the role of a doctor of psychology whose task it is to dig into the twisted nooks and crannies of the mind. Dig into a 1970’s horror story packed with so many captivating visuals that you’ll lose any sense of time. Stay hydrated though, and make sure to not throw your headset in any direction where it might break apart.
Summary: VR Horror Games
With that, we reach the end of our list. We will of course expand on the list as we move towards the end of the year and more titles starts surfacing. If there’s anything we have missed in today’s list, please let us know below. We want this to eventually be the go-to list for every horror-fan out there equipped with any kind of a VR headset. Whether you are a fan of intense psychological horror from movies, or you’re into slaughterhouse scaries – we’ve got you covered.
Final note: this list contains a plethora of awesome titles, many of whom are for PlayStation VR. If you would like to take a look at what else is available, head back over and read through our list of favourite PlayStation VR games to play this year.
We thank you for your visit to this list of our favourite VR horror games, and can’t wait to be with you later this year with more recommendations of frightening games and experiences for you to take for a spin!