[Top 15] Best Sci Fi Horror Games

A banner showcasing a group of Necromorphs chasing Isaac Clarke from Dead Space
Godspeed and Good Luck!

In my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than a dark stormy night, a couple of cans, and a good horror game to scare your socks off at three in the morning. Whether it’s zombies, aliens, robots, or something equally terrifying, you can always count on a classic science-fiction horror to keep you up at night and glued to your screen. 

While the genre HAS existed since the 80s at its earliest, the rise of 3D polygonal graphics with consoles such as the Playstation and Nintendo 64 brought it into the mainstream in the late 90s with its improved visuals, controls, and sound design. Since then, sci-fi horror has weaved itself in and out of the gaming sphere, giving us more classics than you can shake a boomstick at. 

So, while we’re here, here are the top fifteen best science fiction horror games (ranked in order of fun to most fun). Just a reminder that, while I’ve tried sticking to classics, everything here is subject to my opinion, and if you think there are any that I missed, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

15. Iron Lung - 2022 (PC/SWITCH)

Placed within a metal coffin and dropped into an ocean of blood, you - the unnamed player and prisoner exiled into the titular Iron Lung - must investigate the deepest trenches of this mysterious sea in search of resources for those remaining above the planet. Set in a desolate universe in which every habitable planet has disappeared along with its people - leaving only those on spacecrafts and satellites, you and your submarine are the only hope for those left alive. 

The shortest entry on this list, Iron Lung only has an hour of content and has very minimal gameplay - consisting of piloting your tin can of a submarine and taking pictures of the outside. In spite of this, it manages to be one of the most genuinely terrifying games I’ve ever played through its worldbuilding and ability to make you feel as powerless as possible. If you’re looking for a more conventional game, read on  - but I cannot recommend this game enough to people looking for a true horror game experience. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Short but sweet indie games
  • Sci-fi dystopias
  • Inventive scares

^A view of the Iron Lung from the inside, and the last room you’ll ever see…

14. Duskers - 2016 (PC)

In the vast graveyard of an empty universe, you awake to find yourself the only one left alive. Piloting a tiny spaceship, the only option you have to survive and figure out what happened to the rest of humanity is to investigate your surrounding ships: completely deserted fleets and derelict spacecrafts litter the null space around you. Rather than investigate yourself and risk death, you send out old drones to explore. But these ships may not be as lifeless as they initially seem.

Duskers is one of the most inventive sci-fi horrors I’ve had the chance to play, swapping first person scares for old computer-style strategy. The interface and gameplay may turn off some people but if anything they added to my experience. Every screen, menu and data log looks like something you’d see on a busted terminal in Alien or Robocop (the aesthetic term is Cassette Futurism for those interested). The game uses this immersion to make typing in command lines - an unusual form of controlling the player - the most stress-inducing and terrifying thing ever. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, I would highly recommend giving Duskers a look. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Cassette Futurism
  • More strategic and methodical horror games
  • Unexpected scares 

Piloting your drone into certain doom? Maybe. Play it and find out!

13. Doom – 1993 (PC/XBO/PS4/SWITCH/etc.)

The ORIGINAL sci-fi shooter, you follow an unnamed marine (affectionately titled the Doomguy by fans) who is assigned to secure a military base on Phobos, a satellite off Mars, after a demonic outbreak. With the rest of his combat force dead, the marine becomes a one-man army, fighting off endless hordes of Satan’s spawn before eventually having to fight his way through hell itself. Most players won’t even know the whole story though, as it’s infinitely more fun gunning down armies of imps, cacodemons and cyberdemons than reading through old manuals for lore. 

Such a classic that it created an entire genre and defined a decade of crappy FPS copies, Doom needs no introduction (though I’ll try in vain). While definitely less inclined towards horror than other games in this list, there’s still nothing better than sprinting around endless halls of demons/zombies/whatever gets in your way and blasting them to hell and back, even thirty years on. The 2016 remake deserves an honourable mention for capturing the same spirit of blood, guts and fun, however it pales in comparison to the influence the original had. 

Choose this game if you like: 

  • High octane shooters 
  • 8-bit blood and guts
  • Heavy Metal music but bit-crushed and fed through an NES (the best kind) 

12. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream - 1995 (PC)

In the not so far future - after an AI designed for planning and fighting wars becomes sentient and kills the majority of the Earth’s population - the last five humans on Earth are forced to play elaborate games based on their trauma for a chance to escape the mad supercomputer’s clutches. 

The black sheep in this list, IHNMAIMS is the only Point-And-Click title I’ll be mentioning. Based on the cult classic short sci-fi horror story of the same name, what the game lacks in straightforward scares it makes up for with its atmosphere and sense of dread. At times goofy and at other times unnerving, it should be said that the game deals with sensitive issues such as suicide, genocide and rape but if you’re prepared and have done the research, you are in for a treat. 

Choose this if you like: 

  • Classic Point-and-click adventure games
  • Pulpy sci-fi stories
  • Dark psychological thrillers

Gorrister stumbles into a scene he won’t be forgetting soon. 


11. Returnal - 2021 (PS5/PC) 

After following the mysterious “White Shadow” signal coming from the hostile planet Atropos, Selene Vassos is suddenly attacked and forced to crash land her ship Helios on the planet's surface. Endless questions surround her as she finds the planet littered with corpses of herself, all the while strange relics from her past keep reappearing on the alien world. But the clock’s ticking, and the only way to escape is to look inside and discover what’s lurking beneath the surface. 

One of the more recent entries on this list but still as essential as the rest, Returnal offers a layered and in depth story alongside an addictive if challenging gameplay loop. With an environment that changes and evolves and a story that isn’t truly finished until the game is 100% completed, there’s tons for a new player to bite into. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Psychological horror and reality-bending gameplay
  • Classic rock (trust me on this one)
  • Roguelikes and roguelites 

A familiar house shrouded in shadow - but what is it doing on an alien planet?

10. Parasite Eve - 1998 (PS1)

After an opera ends with mass spontaneous combustion, NYPD rookie Aya Brea finds herself at odds with Mellisa Pearce, the surviving opera singer with a mysterious past. Now calling herself Eve, the singer transforms into a mutant in front of Aya and becomes intent on destroying the human race and giving birth to the ultimate lifeform. Through the streets of New York City, Aya becomes involved in a race against time to save the world before Eve can ascend to a higher state of being. 

Somewhere between Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil, Parasite Eve feels like the less successful brother of the latter game - a PS1 classic that may have been held back by its own innovation and story (the science always annoyed me - but I guess that’s why they call it science FICTION). On its own merit, however, it’s full to the brim with thrills, scares, and explosions! Who could ask for more?

Choose this if you like:

  • Japanese RPGs
  • Complex sci-fi stories
  • Replay value after beating a game (features an extended New Game +)

A confrontation between Aya and Eve 

9. Resident Evil – 2002 (GCN/PC/XBO/PS4/SWITCH)

Following a series of strange murders in the midwestern town of Raccoon City – alongside the disappearance of Bravo team, a group of local STARS officers sent to investigate – disaster strikes Alpha team, who flee to an abandoned mansion in the middle of nowhere. But what secrets await them within Spencer Mansion? Who’s responsible for the illegal experiments conducted beneath the mansion? And which member of Alpha team is a traitor secretly working for the mysterious Umbrella Corporation?

Unlike many modern remakes, remasters and reboots, this remake originally exclusive for the GameCube manages to keep the same essential gameplay and mechanics while improving the graphics, music, voice-acting and more. Zombies that were once just grey guys in suits are now lumbering and bloodied husks of former mansion workers, scientists left for dead, and even your fellow STARS members. Meanwhile the fixed camera angle – a technique used in the original game to save data – adds both to the graphics and to the scares as zombies, hunters, and undead dogs always seem to be just out of sight until the very last moment!

Choose this game if you like: 

  • Slow and methodical survival horrors
  • Somewhat campy but mostly gorey 80s-style horror films 
  • Semi-realistic zombie stories 

Arachnophobes beware! There’s more to this game than just zombies…

8. Half-Life - 1998 (PC/PS2)

Going from MIT graduate to under qualified alien killer within the span of 24 hours might sound like fun, but for Gordon Freeman, it has to be the worst day of work ever. After a scientific experiment goes wrong at the Black Mesa Research Facility, Gordon is flung into action as he’s forced to fight his way out of office complexes, secret government labs and even alien planets, all to stop the Resonance Cascade that he inadvertently caused. 

Another all-time classic, Half-Life revolutionised the modern FPS by creating a fully realised 3D environment and integrating it with the story as opposed to being a glorified shooting range like many of its predecessors. While the original version arguably hasn't aged as poorly as its peers and is still playable today, some may prefer the updated graphics and gameplay of the remake Black Mesa, which keeps the spirit intact while upping the scares. Nonetheless I’d highly recommend trying both and deciding for yourself!

(The trailer above is from an updated version of Half-Life with ray-tracing as the original trailers for the game are known for being misleading and showcasing an early and unreleased version of the game)

Choose this if you like: 

  • Expansive environments and varied gameplay
  • An FPS which isn’t afraid to challenge the rules of the genre
  • Retro polygonal graphics 

One of the first zombies you find - at a safe distance thankfully. 

7. Subnautica - 2018 (PC/XBO/PS4/PS5/SWITCH)

A sandbox game for the ages, you open as the sole survivor of the Andromeda, a spacecraft now shipwrecked in the middle of an ocean planet. You start slowly, collecting resources, exploring your temporary home and building a makeshift base from any scrap you can find in an attempt to escape your watery prison. But beware, there are monsters in the dark, and stray too far from camp and you may never make it back…

While not described as a horror game by the creators, if anything this makes it all the more terrifying and authentic as a horror experience. You’ll start the game as if it's Minecraft, a stranger in a strange land simply trying to survive, until one day you swim too deep into the dark and you come face to face with a living, breathing nightmare. Maybe a controversial pick but I dare anyone who disagrees to try escaping from a Reaper Leviathan at the bottom of the ocean and then tell me they didn’t wet themselves even a little bit. 

Choose this if you like: 

  • Open world sandbox games
  • Less story and more freedom 
  • Swimming for your dear life 

Friend or foe? You be the judge of that (but I wouldn’t risk it with a Crabsquid…)

6. Alien: Isolation - 2014 (PS3/PS4/X360/XBO/SWITCH/PC)

A direct sequel to the original Alien film - set between Alien and Aliens (only mildly confusing I know) - you follow Amanda Ripley as she joins a retrieval team on a mission to the space station Sevastapol. The corporate station is reported to have found information regarding the whereabouts of Amanda’s mother - however it soon becomes apparent that they took more than the flight-log as Amanda becomes involved in a game of cat and mouse against the hostile Xenomorph aboard the ship.

As a fan of the Alien franchise, it’s incredible that a movie tie-in game could ever be good - nevermind great! Rather than a direct remake of the film, the developers opted to follow a similar route to the earlier Thing game on PS2, instead building on what made the first film so great. The Alien itself can’t be killed, so your only options come down to running or hiding. The developers manage to tread that fine line between making you feel powerless and making the game seem impossible, so there’s always a strand of hope to defeating the Alien, or at least escaping. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Games where you fight against the odds
  • Classic sci-fi horror movies
  • Stealth games

Way too close for comfort! I’d run while you still can!

5. The Last Of Us - 2013 (PS3/PS4)

Twenty years after a fungal infection grew rampant across the United States - transforming the population into Clickers, blind cannibalistic husks of their former selves - Joel learns to regain his humanity (in a time where there’s not much to go around no less) through his relationship with Ellie, a young girl who is immune to the infection and has to be smuggled across country in an attempt to develop a cure. 

Its reputation as one of the greatest games of all time (and Pedro Pascal’s chunk o’ hunk performance) has led many to forget its standing as a great sci-fi horror game in its own right. Everything about it hits just right: the characters, the story, the gameplay - walking around an overgrown and abandoned Boston is an emotion that they still haven't found a name for yet. In another world, it could’ve been number one on this list, but while The Last Of Us is emotionally rich and satisfying, it’s definitely lacking in the horror department compared to these next few entries!

Choose this if you like: 

  • Emotional and powerful stories
  • Intense zombie scares and combat
  • Anything (if you like anything you will like this game)

Blind but deadly - these folks will turn you into dinner if you’re not careful

4. System Shock 2 - 1999 (PC)

After awakening from cryo-sleep aboard the Von Braun starship, you - an unnamed marine unwittingly become part of a century old battle against the rogue AI SHODAN, having to face off against its creations, the parasitic hivemind known only as the Many. With the help of other survivors, you must traverse the infested starships to stop the infection and eventually SHODAN itself. 

A cyberpunk classic and one of the first ‘immersive sims’, System Shock 2 throws the player into an abandoned spacecraft filled with cyborg zombies and says “go for your life”. Again, newer players may be turned off by the graphics but I’d argue it adds to its charm. Its use of RPG elements inspired many games later down the line such as Bioshock (which is considered a spiritual successor), Prey, and Cyberpunk 2077. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Modern immersive sims 
  • Biological body horror a la Alien and The Thing
  • Classic FPS games

A massacre - and are those eggs? Maybe don’t touch them. 

3. Soma - 2015 (PC/PS4/XBO)

Imagine undergoing a medical procedure and waking up a century in the future at the bottom of the ocean. Simon Jarret doesn’t have to. After attempting an experimental brain-scan following a car accident, Simon wakes up in a marine base a year after the complete wipeout of human life surrounded by maddened robots. With nothing else to lose, Simon becomes responsible for the ARK, the only chance at anything human escaping the empty planet. But first he has to get through an army of hostile cyborgs and the controlling AI in charge of the base. 

It’s very hard to explain Soma without giving too much away, but it’s equally a game that’s begging to be played without any prior knowledge. It throws more twists at you than a Shyamalan movie and sticks with you for weeks after. The gameplay is a great mix of puzzle-solving and stealth segments where you hide from the crazed former members of the sea base, but the game really excels in its story and world-building and for that I can’t help but recommend it.

Choose this if you like:

  • Phillip K Dick books
  • Frictional Games’ previous titles (Amnesia, Penumbra)
  • Thought-provoking moments

It’s old, it’s derelict, but it’s definitely not abandoned.

2. Dead Space - 2008 (PC/PS3/X360)

After the discovery of the Red Marker (a copy of a powerful alien artefact) on a small space colony causes hallucinations and bouts of psychosis in the locals, Isaac Clarke joins a space-faring crew to find his partner Nicole. Upon arrival, the situation turns from bad to worse as the majority of colonists have become transformed by the artefact into Necromorphs - maddened and undead creatures with their anatomy gruesomely distorted. Now, Isaac must find Nicole and destroy the Red Marker while battling his own paranoia from the Marker. 

Considered one of the greatest horror games of all time, Dead Space feels like it’s designed to be a great game and film in its cinematic presentation. The Necromorphs are definitely the highlight, running at you at full speed through the tight corridors of Aegis VII with their mangled limbs. It’s like if The Thing and Resident Evil had a gross baby in space, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. 

Choose this if you like:

  • Event Horizon
  • Games that are equal parts jumpscares and atmosphere
  • REALLY terrifying visuals, especially on a first playthrough

You can’t go over it! You can’t go under it! You’ve got to go through him! Sorry!

1 . RE2 Remake - 2019 (PC/PS4/XBO/SWITCH)

Set two months after the incident at Spencer Mansion, Raccoon City is now a ghost town, infested with zombies, scientific experiments gone wrong and the few left trying to get out alive. As either Leon Kennedy - a rookie police officer on his first day at the Raccoon City Police Department - or Claire Redfield - younger sister of Chris Redfield, one of the original Alpha team - you must fight your way through the city, solving puzzles and killing zombies along the way, to find a sample of the virus to use against the shadowy Umbrella Corporation or to save an infected girl with ties to the organisation respectively. 

The second Resident Evil game on this list, while some may not agree that I’ve placed it higher than the original, it’s easily more fun and accessible to a newcomer than the PS1 games. Gone are the fixed camera angles and tank controls, replaced instead with a third person, over-the-shoulder perspective that’s more familiar to a modern gamer and a regular control scheme. From the hours I’ve spent replaying it in different modes or gunning down plant-zombies in the Umbrella labs, this game is easily the most fun sci-fi horror I’ve played yet. 

Choose this if you like: 

  • Games inspired by classic zombie movies 
  • Games with tons of replay value
  • The traditional survival horror experience

Leon gets up close and personal with a guy who could use a little mouthwash. 

Here, have another article. Don’t say we never do anything for you!

Writer, Musician, Vault Dweller, Zombie Hunter, the list is honestly endless. If you defeat me in battle, I drop my Switch, half a sandwich and about £8 in pennies.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Tears Of The Kingdom
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Portal 2, DOOM

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