15 New Horror Games That Are Surprisingly Good

Harue Shigima from "Paranormasight" looks on in horror at something. This is the true face of fear.

Horror is a genre in video gaming that is both all-encompassing and complicated, with entries ranging from brilliantly written portrayals of a tortured mind and walking simulators involving ethereal themes to games where the sole purpose is to sit at a computer and be jump scared by robots. We’re seeing an increase in horror titles across all sorts of subgenres, which, while awesome to see, is also creating mountains of content in its wake with no means to maneuver between what is good and what isn’t.

It’s no wonder that more recent horror games are relying on a gimmick or a central character to maintain interest with the public, i.e., mascot horror, or depending on the shock value of their games to bring them to the forefront prevent hours of scanning the Steam page or searching on XBox game pages, here’s a selection of 15 surprisingly good horror games.

15) Choo Choo Charles - 2022 (PC)

Starting off the list is something recent for the indie horror scene. “Choo Choo Charles,” initially announced in October 2021, finally came out in December last year with surprisingly limited fanfare. In the game, you play as an unnamed archivist (and monster hunter) who is informed about a new monster by family friend Eugene. Upon arriving at the island of Aranearum, you’re thrown immediately into a large-scale battle against a giant demon spider train - yes, I said that - named Charles.

Now I know what you’re thinking: mascot horror has been done to death. We’ve had animatronics chasing us in hallways, ink demons at our doors, and Furbies haunting us at Christmas, so what’s one more spider train demon chasing us in the middle of nowhere? “Choo Choo Charles” spices up the original mascot horror formula by making it possible to fight back from the beginning, thanks to a convenient railgun attached to your custom train car by Eugene.

However, the blast power isn’t enough to completely take him down, so the rest of the game is spent gathering materials, interacting with island residents, and riding the same rails as Charles to power up your gun and send the railroad to the scrapyard.


  • It's a short title, but what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in creative innovation, interesting mechanics, and satisfying boss battles.

Charles flashes his light and hunts his prey on the island of Aranearum. You should start your engine now.


14) Bendy and the Dark Revival - 2022 (PC/XBOX/PS)

No one is too keen on a reboot or a remake nowadays, but sometimes you need to breathe life into a work of art for a new audience. Joey Drew Studios did this recently with its franchise involving everyone’s favorite devil darling, Bendy. “Bendy and the Dark Revival'' was teased in 2019 with a playable demo but wasn’t fully released until November 2022.

The game focuses on the new protagonist Audrey, an animator for a current Bendy the Ink Demon revival in-game, as she is forced into the inky world of Joey Drew’s creations by studio janitor Wilson. She’s warped beyond recognition by the ink and gains strange new abilities. The player must now assist Audrey as she navigates this inky world and learns the truth of her connection to Joey Drew Studios and its founder.

I know I said mascot horror had been played out, but this is another exception to the rule. The original game was based more on puzzle solving and running from monsters, with combat only becoming more prevalent with further chapters in-game due to prior protagonist Henry gaining and losing his weapons. Fighting back is an automatic option, along with the possibility of using Audrey’s newfound ink powers.

Ink can be drained from Searchers and Lost Ones, allowing Audrey to heal and stealthily kill enemies before they can react. This, combined with options to hide from enemies and escape in vents, gives the gameplay an added flair that was missing from the original. This also lets you interact with previous characters and find hidden secrets. The devil is in the details, after all.


  • While it is another entry in mascot horror, the new mechanics and redesigns of familiar monsters are a welcome change of pace, and Audrey is an interesting lead character with an exciting story to tell.

  • And Bendy is now tiny and adorable. I want to hug him.

Bendy, the Ink Demon, sits on a sofa and looks at the player. He really is a little Devil Darling, isn't he?


13) Faith: The Unholy Trinity - 2022 (PC)

From ink demons to actual demons, we come to another entry on our list that is worth playing. “Faith: The Unholy Trinity” finally dropped on October 21st, 2022, from New Blood Interactive to much clamor and excitement. The Faith game series has been around since 2017, but with this game came the long-awaited 3rd chapter, concluding the story and creating a complete game experience. The series follows the dark journey of John Ward as he follows up on a failed exorcism from his past and is promptly led down a path of redemption or temptation, depending on the actions of the player. 

You don't have to be a boomer to be lured in by the retro 8-bit graphics or composition. The minimalist nature of the game is its biggest strength, luring the players into a false sense of security in the main gameplay before blindsiding them with rotoscoped cutscenes and EVP-inspired sound cues.

Every scene is dripping with a sense of uncanny valley, despite the graphics being so divorced from modern AAA titles. You can only fight back by giving God’s grace to the evil creatures through John’s cross, so take each step tentatively and pray He walks with thee even in the darkest hours.


  • The game plays quickly and is a genuinely scary ride from start to finish. 

  • There are optional boss fights and actions the player can take. Each one is more unique than the last, leading to different conclusions in the story.

Father Garcia brandishes a shotgun as he speaks to protagonist John Ward. Gotta admit, not afraid right now. But, not of the demons.


12) The Mortuary Assistant - 2023 (PC/Switch)

Moving right along is a title that is surprisingly educational and entertaining. So long as the dead stay dead. “The Mortuary Assistant” demo was released by Darkstone Digital in 2022, but the whole game finally came out in April 2023. You control a recent college graduate, Rebecca, on her first night alone as a mortician. The night is stormy, the atmosphere is oppressive, and something lurks in the corners and the corpses. You can’t fight the demon head-on, so your only option is to decipher physical clues and haunts to find the right demon and exorcize them before you’re possessed or worse.

While the game appears to be jumpscare fodder, the added identification mechanics and the chance to fight back keep the player going. Between sudden scares of a pale-skinned mimic and hyper-realistic hallucinations, you must keep your eyes peeled for sudden engravings in the walls or brands and moles that teleport on the cadavers.

This is all done as you carefully embalm and treat each body for burial, so once a body is finished, you will need to move on to the next and repeat the process. Only when you match everything can you find the proper runes and teach the demon to respect the dead.


  • The game has replayability but may become tedious if you’re not interested in physically documenting every freckle and mole that may or may not be on the corpses.  
  • However, dedicated playthroughs will reward the player with in-game lore, cutscenes, and extras that fill in many story gaps.

Richard's operation room/office space in "The Mortuary Assistant." Do you see anything weird here, or am I going blind?


11) The Quarry - 2022 (PC/PS4/XBOX One | Series X)

This one is a real treat for horror fans. “The Quarry” is another horror narrative-driven title from Supermassive Games, and the influences of their other games shine brightly within it. You control seven teenagers closing up a summer camp in Hackett’s Quarry, unaware of what’s happened to two of their companions and more concerned about enjoying their last few days of freedom before they return home. Trouble soon rears its ugly head in the form of trappers, sabotage, and trespassers of an unknown kind. The teens are left alone to fight or flee, and even the smallest decision carries massive consequences.

Coming from the same developers as “Until Dawn,” “The Quarry” is a horror fan’s buffet of delights. The cast contains several notable voices and faces: Brenda Song from Dollface”, “Scream” star David Arquette and horror regular Ted Raimi, and each chapter is rounded off with a conversation between the player and fortune teller Eliza, portrayed by horror royalty Helen Mirren.

Tarot cards replace totem poles, and the monsters behind the carnage are entirely unexpected, but the game plays itself straight and boasts over 128 different conclusions to reach. If I were you, I’d get a nice bucket of popcorn for this one.  


  • The inspirations from “Until Dawn” are present, i.e., choices that branch to different character actions and development, different ways to escape monsters, relationship revelations, etc.

  • The characters are walking tropes. Some are more detestable than others, but their collective chemistry plays a massive role in how you enjoy the story.

The fortune teller Eliza talks to the player after completing a chapter in “The Quarry”. Can’t escape that look, folks.


10) My Lovely Wife - 2022 (PC/Switch)

Have you ever wanted a chance to say the things unsaid, to bring someone back from the other side? “My Lovely Wife” from GameChanger Studio and Toge Productions asks this but twists the story into something far more entertaining than a parable of life and regret. The sequel to “My Lovely Daughter,” “My Lovely Wife” came out on the PC and Switch in June 2022 to limited fanfare. The player assumes control of Jacob, a man whose love, Luna, was ripped from him too soon. He receives a letter from his dead wife giving specific instructions on resurrecting her and, blinded by grief, sets out to do just that. Joined by the mysterious but knowledgeable Philip, the player must summon sexy succubi and surreptitiously sacrifice them to ensure Jacob is reunited with his lost Luna.

The game is a complex demon summoning/alchemist/dating management simulator, as every succubus you summon will need to perform a job, gain a relationship status with Jacob, and develop a substance called Carnal Essence. This essence is necessary to reach new tiers in gameplay, unlock new succubi summoning ingredients, and ultimately revive Jacob’s wife.

Unless you decide Jacob should consider the other demons in his bed, you can romance any monstresses you summon. With 40 endings to reach and a plethora of buxom babes to meet, you know it will be a while before you can complete this title. 


  • While the game is interesting and the story has potential, some may be turned away from the management mechanics the game is built on. There are, however, anti-frustration features, such as a skip button and an auto-placer.
  • The love story between Jacob and Luna is rewarding, and each succubus has a unique personality and character arc. Delving into each of them is well worth the time and effort.

Jacob dances with his wife Luna at night surrounded by lanterns. It's the simple moments before disaster that get me.


9) Silt - 2022 (PC/XBOX/PS5/PS4/Switch)

This is a necessary title, not just because of its atmosphere, but because this is a genuinely unsettling indie title. “Silt” is the sole title from European indie developers Spiral Circus Games. The game dropped on multiple platforms in June of 2022 and has generated only a mild buzz in terms of positive response and theorizing.

A lone scuba diver awakens under the depths of a monotone sea, and we take immediate control of their body and movements. There are a variety of puzzles that require the use of a possession mechanic, where the actual soul of the scuba diver is dispersed to control nearby fish with special adaptations. Armed with this, your job is to guide the diver to his goal, no matter how bizarre or ethereal things become.

“Silt” is in the same vein of pantomime games as “Limbo” and “Inside”. No dialogue is said during the short runtime, but the actions and surroundings practically scream everything at you. Every scene's elegant and intricate background details demand your attention as you try your best to navigate ocean currents and predatory fish.

You can tell something happened here, something used to reside here, but all that’s left are the buildings and whispers of something that was once great. This is a silent, sad look into a world that feels so familiar but is so far different from our own. And sometimes, the thought of “What happens after us?” is all it takes to make your blood run cold. 


  • Some puzzles require some out-of-the-box thinking, especially when you aren’t sure which fish has which ability and you only have a limited time to pick one.
  • The game has a satisfying soundtrack and an ethereal ambiance to it, leaving you almost relaxed as you wander through a world that has long since passed.

The diver looks up at the massive statue of a fox blowing a trumpet that is now home to thousands of fish. It’s hauntingly beautiful. 


8) Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim - 2022 (PC)

And now for something completely different. Well, as different as you can expect. The problem is no one expected something like this. “Hooked On You: A Dead By Daylight Dating Sim” was released at the tail end of 2022 from Psyop and Behavior Interactive, and promptly gave horror fans something unique for their franchise.

The player takes the role of a random person who books a vacation with - and I cannot express the right amount of laughter at this - four killers from “Dead by Daylight”. The twist: underneath the blood and steel are hearts that beat for romance, and they’ve singled you out as their target.

You get the chance to date the Huntress, the Wraith, the Spirit, or the Trapper from “Dead by Daylight”, and each route is packed with fanservice, banter, and yes, blood. Each killer is given an interesting and quirky personality, and they’re drawn with emphasis on their, ah, “assets”. Whichever way you choose to court them or whomever you choose first, I am not here to direct you.

Remember you’re on vacation, and that it’s your duty to be hot and bothered, and to have fun, even if you get stabbed doing it. Oh, and don’t ask the Huntress why she’s still in the mask. Better for you that way.


  • This is a dating sim, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, it’s well-written and witty, so it is time well spent. Fans of “Doki Doki Literature Club” will feel right at home playing this.
  • The artwork is phenomenal, and the score for each route is amazingly crafted. 

The Huntress compliments the player on the beach. Even with the dress, she’s drop-dead gorgeous.


7) The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow - 2022 (PC/Switch)

Bet you wouldn’t have even heard of this game if I didn’t talk about it here. “The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow” dropped in September of 2022  from Cloak and Dagger Games, the studio behind the short Lovecraftian-themed game “The Terrible Old Man.” In the game, you play as Thomasina Bateman, a barrow digger - archaeologist for people across the pond - during her stay in Bewlay, a town in the countryside. Her dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps and excavate Hob’s Barrow, but every time she gets to it, something inexplicable or horrifying happens around her. You and Thomasina have no choice but to keep digging into the barrow and your surroundings, even when things grow darker and more terrifying.

Point-and-click games are prevalent in horror, with titles such as “The Cat Lady” and “Sally Face” demonstrating a limited scope of movement and vision that doesn't restrict storytelling and ambiance. Adding pixelated graphics and minimal artistic elements, as seen with “Faith,” creates a terrifying experience that lulls players into false senses of security before pulling the rug out from under them.

Bringing the two together and adding a dash of Lovecraftian elements and folk horror creates a game that will leave your mind racing and eager to solve the mystery presented before you. Although what you find may not be what you were expecting. 


  • The story is a slow burn, and the puzzle-solving elements that come with the point-and-click mechanics of the game are not for everyone, but the story, like a good Lovecraftian think-piece, will sink its teeth in you and never let go.
  • The game is pixelated, but it looks far from terrible. Every scene is rendered in detail, and moments that intend to hit hard do so, thanks to an intense color scheme and well-timed realistic screenshots.

Thomasina speaks with the pastor on the edge of Bewlay. I’d say we don’t use this technique anymore, but some doctors do suggest this for severe injuries and pressure.


6) Endoparasitic - 2022 (PC)

From point-and-click folk horror to click-and-drag survival horror, we reach an entry on this list I am very excited to talk about. “Endoparasitic” dropped from Narayan Walters resulting from the Ludum Dare 48, a challenge where game developers are given 72 hours to create a video game. The original game was finished in 15 hours but was fleshed out and fully released as a complete game in October of 2022.

The player controls a scientist, Cynte, on a remote asteroid workstation when a sudden outbreak of an alien parasite has left him quartered, leaving only his right arm and head attached to his body. By some awful miracle, he’s still alive. It’s now a race against the biological clock to save Cynte and his coworkers from complete alien control, if Cynte will allow you to touch what he’s worked so hard to study.

“Endoparasitic” is an exciting  take on the survival horror genre; a genre already cemented in rising from dire circumstances is taken to a new level here with its establishment of a level lower than “solo survival gameplay with a gun.” The player must physically drag the mouse for Cynte to properly drag and control his body, meaning nothing can be done with arrow keys, weapon wheels, or sudden changes in direction.

Cynte, and the player, are forced to crawl out of hell, taking out anything in their way and fighting off the chance that Cynte could be overtaken by the same infection that nearly killed them. Being in such dire straits creates a feeling of intense anxiety and frustration, but man, does it make the game all the more thrilling every time you make it to a new room and staunchly declare, “I’M ALIVE!”   


  • While the mechanics and concept are fresh, this game pulls no punches in execution, making the player’s journey to save Cynte all the more difficult. With rigorous resource management and, at times, almost unfair gameplay, the game is not for the faint of heart or the less experienced gamer.
  • However, the length of the game and the admittedly silly look makes it a fun entry in survival horror. One I hope inspires others to create games in the same vein. 

Cynte lies on the floor after cauterizing his wounds with an iron. Guess he doesn't need his wrinkles pressed.


5) Ghost Song - 2022 (XBOX One | Series X/PS5/PC)

From the desperation of the human body to the longevity of the human spirit, we come to a game that surpasses survival horror and goes straight for Metroidvania combat. "Ghost Song" dropped for many platforms in November of 2022 from Old Moon and Humble Games and still lingers like its name in the back of many game libraries.

The player controls a newly awoken Dead Suit on the graveyard planet of Lorian V. They come across a damaged ship, The Gambler, and several crew members who are now warped by the planet, showing signs that their humanity has left them. The Dead Suit soon sets out to repair their ship and escape this dying world, hopefully with the crew in tow.

As a fan of Hollow Knight, I found it interesting how many other games will often use Metroidvania to tell a complex story with intermediate boss fights, interesting characters, and a melancholic soundtrack. So what does this entry bring to the table that “Axiom Verge” or “Dead Cells'' doesn't already cover?

This game allows using long-range attacks with your gun, ensuring safety from a distance while creating stronger melee attacks with said gun as it overheats. This will enable you to change up your gameplay style on the fly. With the addition of interchangeable weapons and status attributes, you can chart your course for the stars and fight back the humanoid creatures while confronting the ghost in the machine. 


  • The gameplay can sometimes feel too similar to Hollow Knight, especially when platforming takes place or when melee is the only form of combat you can muster. However, the game makes its combat its own, allowing the player to use short or long-ranged attacks at the push of a button.
  • The overworld is haunting, and every monster and character has a unique form that is uniquely rendered and animated. They remain grotesque with a familiar sense of humanity, making it harder to rationalize killing them.

The Dead Suit rears up to hit a rogue enemy in an area of Lorian V. If you think about it, this feels a bit like Evangelion.


4) Birth - 2023 (PC)

I won't lie; this may be the shortest title on this list. However, that doesn’t take away from the enormous scope of the story it presents. "Birth" is a point-and-click puzzle game announced in the Day of the Devs conference in 2022 and finally launched on PC from Madison Karrh in February 2023.

City life has made you feel lonely, so you set about making a companion out of various organs and bones you find in different locations in the city. Every place you visit has something going on, and you’ll need to solve multiple complex puzzles to find what you need. Only when you see everything can you begin to make your friend.

The entire game is a surreal experience, as no backstory is given aside from the initial premise. There’s no explanation for why people sport animal appendages or skulls. You just need to accept that and move along with the game. Many puzzles boil down to simple memorization or assembly of objects to create an item needed to solve another puzzle. Completing an area and retrieving an organ or a bone feels so satisfying, and soon you enjoy the creation process.

Every puzzle, every item, is a step towards your masterpiece, and only when you solve every problem around you can you truly reach the stage where birth is possible. 


  • What this game lacks in time it makes up for in creative experience and puzzle variety. Some puzzles are as simple as filling a bottle with rocks, or as complex as rote memorization of a pattern for an interactive art exhibit.
  • There is an interesting duality with how the theme of creativity and creation is tied with physical representations of death, i.e., animal skulls, bones, rocks, muted tones, etc., showing the two go hand in hand. 
  • The overall tone of the game is calm, with gentle music and earthy tones to further relax your mind as you work through the game.

A man stands at the counter in "Birth" holding a dead flower bouquet. Guess he was waiting for someone for a while. Hope he finds them.


3) Sorry, We’re Open - 2023 (PC)

And now for the scariest entry on this list: a game about retail workers. “Sorry, We’re Open'' came out on PC in February 2023 from Oates - yes, that is their real studio name. As the store manager on the verge of going out of business, it’s your job to stock shelves, hire employees, enforce the rules, and fight what seem to be eldritch terrors that bombard your store day in and day out. Whether you stay in your current position or fight your way up the corporate ladder all depends on how far you’re willing to explore and how far your resources last you.  

The game has RPG elements from combat to item acquisition and is reminiscent of games like “Earthbound” or “Undertale.” Your hired employees fight alongside you with independent buffs and stats but can be fired or quit due to behavior on and off the clock. You can expand your store by sending out invoices to corporate and communicating with a store liaison for advice and possible hints on which direction to take your leadership.

Visits to sister locations and intense exploration and sanitation are encouraged. What isn’t encouraged is asking questions about who controls your store and whether you can escape your retail hell. 


  • There are several employees in the game to hire, from simple part-timers to even a company dog, and each has its specific battle stats that bring something unique to the table.
  • The horror is latent, and what you don’t see will often leave you more terrified than what you see. So, look into the abyss at your discretion.

The manager discovers the body of his boss in his office in "Sorry, We're Open." Okay, pixel or no, that does not look right. I mean, look at those wires! That's a fire hazard!


2) Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo - 2023 (PC/Switch/Android/iOS)

We move from pixel RPG to visual novel PTSD with a sudden drop from Square Enix that rocks the boat of horror. “Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo” dropped out of the blue in March 2023, and while reviews have been positive it seems almost no one is playing it online. Which is a terrible shame.

The player is introduced to a Masked Man at the very beginning, who sets the stage for a massive story that spans over 24 hours. Multiple people in the town of Honjo, Japan have been given an odd ivory stone, representing a tale in their city’s history. With it comes a haunting curse, and a ritual: collect Soul Dregs within the curse stone, and someone you love will be resurrected. The race is on to protect, curse, or kill in the name of Honjo, with motives and hauntings gaining new meaning every minute.

I have been playing this title with my friends, and I cannot sing this game's praises enough. Four characters are the central focus: Shogo Okiie, a businessman for a soap company; Harue Shigima, a grieving mother; Tetsuo Tsutsumi, a seasoned detective; and Yakko Sakazaki, a high school student. Each of their stories intersect at different points, creating a massive web of a tale that needs to be played to be fully explained.

Each curse has a genuinely terrifying element, as each does something completely different. One curse kills in the darkness after you run toward a light, and another kills you when you mislead or lie to the curse bearer. Every twist and turn in the story is brilliantly enhanced with these characters and curse rules, and the stakes that rise from every physical interaction bring new meaning to the term “paranormal tourism”.


  • The characters are written well and the dialogue options are incredible to read through. Believe me when I say you will not want to skip a WORD of information that comes from anyone, especially if you want to solve the deeper mysteries of Honjo.
  • The scares are real, and not only occur in real-time but in latent musical cues. Everything in the story, from the characters to the actual controls, plays an effective role in the story. 

Yakko waits for Mio's response as they sit in the dark hallways of their high school. Wait, what is - OH SWEET LORD WHAT IS THAT?!


1) Rewind or Die - 2023 (PC)

Saving the best for last, we have another title from Torture Star Video that brings back not only a sense of nostalgia for PS1 games, but for video rental stores and slasher horror. “Rewind or Die” is the most recent title on this list, coming out for PC on April 14th, 2023.

You play as a video rental store clerk covering a shift for your employee on what is nothing more than a typical night. You go about your usual duties: collecting trash, sweeping, locking the doors, waking up Dave on the toilet, and renting videotapes. At least before you’re ambushed, abducted, and forced into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with a pig-headed serial killer named Slaw.  

I won’t lie; I grew up in a time when video rental places like Blockbuster were common, so seeing this as the base of a Puppet Combo horror game tickles my funny bone. It may not stay as the setting, but I consider it a bonus to a great game with a thrilling serial killer chase.

Slaw is another fun slasher to the Torture Star Video roster, the voice acting is now present in the game, and the game is a fun romp through familiar horror tropes from start to finish. Although there is the question of whether or not there was some Saw inspiration, and I’m not just talking about the pig mask.


  • If you know horror films and tropes, playing through the game as if you’re in a slasher flick will be a wild ride. 
  • The plot is light and predictable, and the length is short, clocking in at less than two hours, but the time spent is filled with gore and terror-inducing shlock that feels right from a 1980s slasher flick.

The main character goes about their duties in the video store of "Rewind or Die". One duty is reading obvious parody titles and expressing how even then they sounded pointless.

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A bard down to the last letter, Kay is consistently writing and drawing new worlds of fantasy, magic, and intrigue. Her only known weaknesses are a can of Dr. Pepper and a new manga.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: 13 Sentinels
Top 3 Favorite Games:Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance , South Park: The Stick of Truth, Undertale

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