Today is Dracula day! And whilst we hope you’re enjoying the blood-sucking festivities, we wanted to also acknowledge that we’re just under halfway to that all-important holiday for horror hounds, Halloween! As such, we wanted to take a look at a selection of terrifying titles to tide you over until that fateful day. We’ve decided to split this list up into games you can play right now, (for the impatient among us,) and high-profile indie horror releases to look out for between now and October 31st! So, let’s turn down the lights, make sure all the doors are locked, and try to keep composure, as we look into these 10 Indie horror games to sink your fangs into between now and Halloween!
Let’s start off with five games you can play right now! These are five great games for those with a penchant for terror.
World of Horror
World of horror combines simple yet frightening Junji Ito-inspired artwork with randomly generated roguelike gameplay to create a unique and scary experience that you can come back to over and over again.
We’ve actually already reviewed this game before, you can read that full review yourself, but for now I’ll quote; ‘World of Horror is a beautiful, stylish, random indie game that is a love letter to Junji Ito and embodies the key elements of cosmic horror. It uses pixel graphics and its music very effectively, and every short run can be used to collect all the random encounters and events in the metagame. Still in early access, this passion project is well worth purchasing if you enjoy cosmic horror, Junji Ito, collectathons, and the many other features of World of Horror.’
You can pick this title up on Steam or GOG to enter the world of horror.
With a soundtrack (and more than a little inspiration from) the Silent Hill franchise, The Medium is a must-play for fans of classic survival horror. Featuring fixed-perspective and complex puzzles, The Medium is the tale of a supernaturally gifted woman going to the most powerfully haunted location she has ever seen.
If you want to read the full review of the game yourself, feel free, but to summarise here; ‘I very much enjoyed my time with it, and it really scratched an itch I had for classic survival horror, and a game with a unique visual selling point. It’s a game that, even when nearing a year after its release, and even after two playthroughs, I’m still very torn on. It has a lot going for it, but ultimately comes together in a package that I feel will sadly end up being forgettable. All I’m hoping for is a sequel that perhaps delivers on the potential that this game sets up.’The Medium is only available on new-gen consoles (Xbox Series & PS5) and PC, due to the impressive split-world mechanic.
Pathologic, a game famous for many considering it all-but unplayable, it’s sequel, however, is fantastic and well structured, however we believe the original needs some love. This is a game where NPCs will lie to you about your quests as you go about your day-to-day in a plague-stricken town.
We’ve reviewed this game not just once, but twice, and here’s what we had to say; ‘Pathologic offers a unique narrative experience, and it may well be worth trying, provided that you want to deal with its bugs and are ready for the challenging mechanics.’ ‘It is a thriller that focuses on walking and talking but throws in enough things to manage and defend yourself from that you do not get too used to the gameplay or relax too much. The playable characters offer enough variety that playthroughs with them can be completely different, too. There are issues in the gameplay, but a lot of them might be by design, which is very well-aligned with the game’s lore and plot.’
The world’s first (self-assigned) ‘reverse horror’ game, you play as an amorphous glob of flesh from an alien world, stalking and consuming those who chose to imprison you. In a dark and grimy underground facility the only thing standing between you and escape are… everyone. This unique metroidvania does a great job of making you feel like a powerful force of nature without ever making you feel too overpowered.
To find out more about this blood-soaked adventure, read the full review, but for a brief overview; ‘A well executed, original addition in the pixel art metroidvania vein. Kept horrific by Cris Velasco’s ominous soundscapes (and the shrieks of your victims), kept fun by tactile movement and traversal and kept interesting by a non-linear approach to level design and by the unique way in which ‘The Creature’ navigates it.’
It’s been a while since multiplayer paranormal investigation game Phasmophobia has been in vogue, but it’s still getting regular updates and new content to this day, and has had new balancing systems added to make it more fair for smaller teams, and even allow single-player play.
Phasmophobia can be played in VR or desktop, and players in a group can group together no matter how they’re playing. You’ll have to use various tools to play the worlds scariest game of Guess Who and figure out what you’re dealing with so you can stop it. Players can directly tackle spirits within haunted locations or stay back at the truck and monitor CCTV feeds to guide everyone around the paranormal goings on.
There are ten different types of ghosts for you to find, and with full voice recognition, the spirits can hear every word you say. You can pick the game up now on Steam and keep up with the Early Access development on Twitter.
And that just about covers it for games you can pick up right now, right this second, and have some shrieking fun with, but what if you’ve already played these games? What if you just want to know what the next upcoming titles are, so you can mark them on your calendar and keep an eye out for them; well our next section may excite you. Here are five more indie horror games, this time they’re releasing between now and Halloween!
The Outlast Trials
This could be one of the most mysterious games on the list, we know very little about the game. What we do know is that this third instalment of the Outlast franchise is a prequel where you play as human test subjects at the Murkoff corporation, who are experimenting with brainwashing and mind control techniques during the cold war. Unlike previous titles in the series, this time you can fight the fear with friends, as this entry introduces co-op to the halls of the mysterious underground facility you find yourselves in. It’s even set to feature cross-platform multiplayer for those who need it.
When originally announcing Outlast 3 in 2017, Red Barrels also announced that they could not easily add any DLC to Outlast 2 due to the structure of the game, but will be releasing a smaller project before releasing Outlast 3. They described this project, which would later become The Outlast Trials, as a ‘TV series’. It was originally planned to release in 2021, but has been delayed due to COVID-19, but that means that it’s got to be coming our way very soon!
The game is currently available to Wishlist on Steam, and will be made available on other platforms closer to release.
Sons of the Forest
Sequel to one of the best survival games you can play, The Forest, has you play as someone sent to find a billionaire on a remote island, only to find yourself trapped in a cannibal-infested hellscape. Now, you have to craft, build and fight to survive. Co-op returns in this game, but it may not help you as the forest has even more nastiness to throw at you.
Even with a seemingly greater focus on the story this time, Sons of The Forest still lets you tackle this dark world however you want. And that’s a good thing too, as there are no (friendly) NPCs to guide you through your journey. The Cannibals and mutant creatures of the first game return, with the latter gaining many more to their ranks. You must arm yourself with the huge variety of weapons the game offers, including pistols, axes and stun batons. We don’t know yet if VR support returns here, but we don’t mind as this looks like one of the most exciting horror titles releasing this year.
And hopefully there isn’t long to wait, having previously had a release date of May, this title is now scheduled to release in early October, just in time for Halloween. Keep an eye on the game by wishlisting it on Steam now.
The Peterson Case
Since it’s explosive arrival and swift removal from the world, P.T. forever changed the indie horror scene. This title, previously titled ‘Once Upon a Time in Roswell’, is one of the games that takes clear inspiration from that short demo. This first-person psychological horror has you investigating the story of a family’s disappearance in 1947 Roswell, USA. You explore their home, witnessing flashbacks and strange occurrences, and conduct an investigation that can’t possibly lead anywhere good…
When first announced, this walking simulator didn’t really seem to stand out, but since then we’ve learned a lot more about this title, and it looks to be a unique story and mystery. This game will have you travelling from the streets of Paris to the mines of Roswell in rich and atmospheric environments, finding evidence and memories to discover what could have happened to this family. It’s also been revealed that there is a stealth element to this game, and in general it seems to be more than meets the eye…
You can wishlist the game now on Steam and whilst the game doesn’t have a solid release date, it is releasing at some point in the middle of this year.
Oh boy, am I excited to talk about this one… When I was putting this list together, this is one of the first things that came to mind, and it turns out that it’s fully independently published, even with the fancy Xbox exclusivity deal they have with Microsoft, so I’m more than happy to include it. On the surface, in the minute-to-minute of the gameplay, this looks to play like a reasonably generic first-person horror shooter, and if I’m being honest, it probably will. What really makes this game stand out, however, is the look.
Taking clear inspiration from the work of H.R. Geiger and other, related artists, (Zdzislaw Beksinski anyone?) Scorn creates a surreal, alien world, one that is truly horrifying. According to the developers it’s designed around the idea of “being thrown into the world”. The game is focused on exploration, and is presented in a non-linear fashion. Each location in the game will have its own theme, puzzles and characters that are integral to the world building. This maze-like structure (presented without cutscenes) ground you and force you to focus on the horrifying world of th game. Another thing that adds to this is full-body awareness, your in-game body is always present, everything that happens to you is tangible and everything you do feels like you’ve done it.
I’m extremely excited for this game from Ebb Software, and whilst Xbox has paid the big bucks for console exclusivity, it is still going to be available on Steam, where you can wishlist the game now.
The Callisto Protocol
Now, I know I said I was excited for Scorn, but let me tell you this; Dead Space 2 is my favorite game of all time. Knowing that, I’m now going to talk about the first game from Striking Distance, a studio set up by the creator of Dead Space. The Callisto Protocol is published by KRAFTON, the collection of AA independent development teams responsible for games like PUBG and TERA.
Set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto in the year 2320, The Callisto Protocol claims to be a next-generation take on survival horror. The game challenges players to escape the maximum security Black Iron Prison and uncover its terrifying secrets. A blend of horror, action, and immersive storytelling, the game aims to ‘set a new bar for horror in interactive entertainment.’
We know very little about this game, but it does have a 2022 release window, and if I’m honest, it could easily be wishful thinking to think that this game is coming out before Halloween. They don’t even have social channels that are updated regularly enough for me to justify linking here.
And that’s it! That’s some of the classics from the last few years that we recommend you play this year, and some new games to look forward to later in the year. We hope you have a great dracula day, and we’ll see you however many days closer to halloween we see you next. Feel free to read the full reviews of the games in the first section of this article, and stay here on Indie Game Fans to stay up to date with all the latest Indie Game news and reviews!