Spooky season is right around the corner so lets get in the spirit! If you're anything like me, you like to load up on horror content throughout the month of October. We all of course have our favorites and popular titles like Silent Hill, Outlast, Resident Evil and Dead Space that get replayed all the time. This year, I figured I'd help highlight some more recentish hidden gems from the genre from the past 5 years.
Keep in mind, a lot of these won't be perfect experiences. They're from smaller teams and with that, often comes a lack of polish but that lovely horror charm is certainly there. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get quite a lot of enjoyment out of these and I hope you do too if you decide to check some of them out for yourself.
10. Moons of Madness
Horror but IN SPACE! Seems to be a very popular theme these days in the gaming world so you'd be forgiven for looking past this one. Back in 2019, I don't think it was to the point where it was annoyingly overwhelming. I could be wrong. Moons of Madness takes place on Mars where a team is investigating a mysterious signal. Things start going wrong quickly and you start suffering from visions and hallucinations. Of course, what would space horror be without being chased by weird, horrifying tentacle monsters? Yup, that's in there too.
9. Summer of '58
Summer of '58 was that small horror game from indie dev Emika Games that unfortunately was abused by Steams refund policy. Yes, the game is under 2 hours but when you can pick up the game for under $9, it's absolutely worth the admission price. It's a short and sweet horror experience that has a lot of great ideas going for it. I really enjoyed this one and I think you might too. You play as a paranormal investigator who is checking out an old abandoned summer camp. You set up your sleeping bag and get to work as things start to escalate quickly.
8. Corpse Party 2021
Now I didn't finish Corpse Party, but I do plan on returning to it this October. I had to include this game as I love what they've accomplished here. A top down spooky horror experience with an entertaining story to tell. You play as a group of teens performing a ritual in their high school. A ritual that has gone wrong and transported them to an alternate reality of a institution that stood where their school once did a long time ago. In order to survive and escape the horrors, they must uncover the awful tragedies of the victims trapped before them.
With a unique twist on the horror genre, Corpse Party 2021 is a breath of fresh air. Just don't mind the decomposing bodies scattered around.
7. The Beast Inside
The Beast Inside does a good job of setting itself apart from others on this list as it's almost two games in one. Part thriller, part survival horror. It has some jank and some of the mechanics probably could have been left out, but overall, it's a good time. You play as two different protagonists living in different centuries but both stories are tied together. It's up to you to figure out how. Each chapter alternates between characters. One being more thriller mystery, the other being survival horror.
On one side, you play as a CIA cryptanalyst. You and your wife have left the city and moved to the countryside in a nice two story house where you plan to crack a code that may alter the course of the Cold War. Things take a turn and get weird and you have to investigate. On the other side, you play a character in the past and you must survive the horrors that haunt the house. Things get creepy fast and I personally love some of the design choices the devs went with here.
6. Those Who Remain
Those Who Remain has a legitmately creepy af atmosphere going for it and I love it. I unfortunately never see anyone ever talking about it online and I really think that should change. It has that normal, overused darkness bad, light good thing going for it, but the way they go about it and the horrors that hide in the darkness really works out well. This is a psychological horror story done well and while it doesn't nail every idea it went for, the overall experience is a memorable one.
You find yourself exploring the small, dark town of Dormont where things start going horribly wrong due to the bad deeds of the people who live there. As you uncover the story, you meet a sinister spirit that allows you to judge those who have committed awful sins in the town. Will you choose to damn them for their mistakes? Or will you choose to forgive them for the wrongs they've commited? Your choices have an impact on the ending and again, while not perfect, the game was enjoyable for what it was.
This is probably the most well known game on this list and I almost hesitated to include it because of that. That said, I believe it deserves even more praise then it already got as it is truly a uniqe experience from start to finish. Detention is a wonderful side scrolling Taiwanese horror game. It has a beautiful, creepy art direction and the chilling story told is one you'll remember for a long time.
You play as a student as she finds herself trapped in her school as the once familliar location changes and is now haunted by spirits and evil creatures. This is dark, atmospheric horror done right and if you haven't had the pleasure of playing it yet, I suggest you change that.
4. Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home is all around fantastic. It has multiple horror elements going for it. Think Outlast meets Thai horror. While those stealth mechanics might be a turn off for some, this experience is well worth the headache as it has a lot more then run and hide from your pursuer going for it as it is inspired by Thai myths and beliefs which really makes it stand out. Home Sweet Home is shourded in mystery and tells an interesting tale. As you attempt to uncover the stories secrets, you're chased by an evil spirit that is hellbent on making sure you're having a bad night.
I must mention that the story continues into HSH Episode 2, which is a separate purchase. Both provide a good amount of play time and each have their own different antagonist that pursues you throughout the game. Episode 2 introduces new gameplay mechanics that I personally felt was unnecessary but makes up for it by having a stronger sense of dread throughout and having a more interesting spirit haunting you. Both games are incredibly scary and well worth diving into.
3. Song of Horror
Song of Horror is a gooood one and I'm honestly surprised it didn't pick up more attention then it did. Possibly due to the fact that it was released in chapters. Now you can just buy the complete edition and play all 5 chapters together to remedy that problem. You can choose from multiple characters who each play their own role in this spooky story. Be careful though, as each character can die causing you to permanently lose them, causing you to start the chapter over as a different person. You have to do some detective work in each location and figure out what's going on and to find out a way to escape the horrors that hide around every corner.
The game plays similar to older Silent Hill and Resident Evil games but without the combat. Song of Horror reacts to your choices and each playthrough will be different because of it. Hauntings will happen at different areas and at different times depending on your actions. I absolutely recommend this one as in my opinion, it's one of the best underated horror games out there.
Devotion is hauntingly beautiful from start to finish. It's also difficult to play as you can only buy it directly from the developers website due to bs political drama. Yeah, it's that game that got review bombed and pulled from stores due to a Winnie the Pooh refrence. Pretty dumb, but the game itself is fantastic, so don't let that stop you from playing it!
Devotion tells a sad story of a troubled family going through money issues. To make matters worse, their daughter starts becoming sick with a mysterious illness. The story is a sad one that shows the father looking for help in all the wrong places. The horror on display is subtle, but powerful. This is psychological horror done incredibly well and if you're a horror fan and have yet to experience it, I highly recommend picking it up.
For anyone who has been paying attention to my babbling for the past few years, Visage coming in as #1 on my list should come as no surprise. A P.T. inspired game, but don't let that fool you. Visage comes in hot with its own fun, fresh and terrifying ideas. Set in a large home, you play as Dwayne as he explores his house and uncovers its terrible, dark secrets. The story unfolds in chapters, each telling the story of a past resident that experienced the houses horrors that ultimlately led to their violent demise. The story is kinda hidden, but once you piece it together and everything starts making more sense, it's very rewarding.
As you explore, hauntings happen at random. It can be from subtle but unsettling lights being switched off around you, to catching glimpses of an entity or being chased by whatever is stalking you. These events happen more and more as your sanity declines. To combat this, you take prescribed pills and try to stay out of the dark. The more you explore, the more the house changes in chilling ways. Some of the puzzles are quite difficult and resource managment is not easy, which only adds to the growing tension. Visage is not for the light hearted and I absolutely mean it when I say that it is by far, the scariest game I've ever played and I can't recommend it enough.
Some games I will be checking out this October are Madison, The Mortuary Assistant and At Dead of Night.
What are some horror hidden gems you'd recommend this spooky season for others to try out?