Ok, so Halloween isn’t for a while yet, but that’s no reason to miss out on the best horror games out there.

There’s a glut of scary movies to make you jump out of your seats – just check the list in our best horror movies guide – but games can go that extra distance by making those scares truly interactive and immersive.

When you’re the one holding the controller and making the choices that could mean life or death, every moment is tense and significant. It’s a lot harder to laugh at on-screen characters making stupid and clichéd decisions when you’re the one making them.

Horror games have matured, going beyond simple gore and jump scares. Though these elements still play an important role in the genre, game developers’ approach to horror has more nuance than ever. 

What follows is our choice of the best horror games that you can play on PC and consoles today, from recent AAA games to older PC classics. So go ahead and scare yourselves silly.

Until Dawn

(Image credit: Supermassive Games)

We’ve all watched a teen slasher movie at some point (it’s hard to escape them) but it’s a genre that’s surprisingly uncommon in the gaming world. Probably because it’d be so hard to get it right.

Fortunately, Until Dawn is a game that succeeds in combining slasher movie tropes with the video game format.

This PS4 exclusive game follows a group of teenagers going on a trip to a remote cabin in the mountains where, shockingly, there’s a frightening presence interested in picking them off one by one. 

It’s up to you to make decisions for the characters in the game which means whether or not they live or die is entirely down to you. Make the wrong decision and your favorite could meet a very grizzly end. Until Dawn is a great horror game because, although it’ll genuinely scare you, you get a sense it’s having a lot of fun doing it. 

Platforms: PS4

Outlast series

Outlast

(Image credit: Red Barrels)

Outlast and Outlast 2, developed by Red Barrels Studio, are now must-plays in the horror genre. Both games put players in control of investigative journalists but while the first is set in an asylum for the insane, the sequel takes place in the much more open location of a dilapidated rural part of Northern Arizona. 

What helps make the Outlast games, well, last is that they follow a cardinal rule of horror games: don’t empower your players too much, otherwise it’s no longer a horror game.

Offering a refreshing break from zombies and aliens, Outlast and its sequel are fine games to play if you want a longer – and arguably scarier – break from your average gun-toting jump scare-fest.

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 and PC

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