10 Best Psychological Horror Games To Play In 2019

Blood and gore aren't the only ways to scare the crap out of someone

It’s that time of year…the air is cool, the days are getting shorter, and Halloween is just around the corner. The spooky season is the perfect time to put down your favorite battle royale or MOBA and pick up that horror game you have been wanting to play for a while. Next week will be all about zombies but, in case your Steam backlog isn’t full of horror games, this week we are bringing you suspense and jump scares aplenty with the 10 Best Psychological Horror Games To Play In 2019.

10 – Emily Wants To Play 1 And 2

  • Developer: Shawn Hitchcock
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
  • Original Release Date: December 2015
  • Scare Meter: 7.5 – These dolls come with jump scares Chucky could only dream of.

 You’re just delivering a pizza but Emily and her dolls want to play. Now you’re stuck in the house and have to survive the night. As you search for clues, Emily and her dolls will start wandering the house in search of you. Your only chance to survive is to learn each doll’s secrets. Maybe you should have gone to college after all.

9 – Dead By Daylight

  • Developer: Behaviour Interactive
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Original Release Date: June 2016
  • Scare Meter: 5 – You think you can handle it until you’re hanging from a hook.

Just like a horror movie, Dead By Daylight pits one killer against a group of four survivors. The survivors, who play in third person,  must repair five generators to open up two exit gates, all while avoiding the killer who plays in first person. Once captured, the killer will hang their victim on a hook, leaving other survivors two options: make a daring rescue attempt or leave their ally hanging (literally) in the hopes of using the time to make their escape.

8 – Pacify

  • Developer: Shawn Hitchcock
  • Platform(s): PC
  • Original Release Date: December 2015
  • Scare Meter: 8 – Keep her happy or die.

It’s your first day on the job at PAH (Paranormal Helpers Incorporate) and you just happen to get the one assignment that isn’t a fake. There is an evil little girl that will kill you if you don’t keep her pacified. And the dolls, they are eerie as all get out. Go it alone or bring some friends for co-op or pvp play.

7 – A Plague Tale: Innocence

  • Developer: Asobo Studio
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Original Release Date: May 2019
  • Scare Meter: 5 – Not so scary, but the rats are creepy as !$&#.

In A Plague Tale, you take control of Amicia as she and her younger brother Hugo evade capture by the Inquisition. One mouse running through your kitchen is enough to cause a jump scare, so imagine the gut wrenching feeling you will have as you wade through swarms of rats with nothing but a flickering torch to push them back. As you progress through the story you will even use the rats as a weapon. Gross. Just. Gross.

6 – Visage

  • Developer: SadSquare Studio
  • Platform(s): PC
  • Original Release Date: October 2018 ( Steam Early Access)
  • Scare Meter: 6 – As your mind starts to slip away this will only go higher.

In Visage, you aren’t battling just paranormal entities but also your own sanity. The house you are exploring has a terrifying past and you’re about to relive it all, each vision clouding your mind with terror. Scavenge for clues and items that could help you escape but be quick about it, the longer you stay the harder it is to stay rooted in reality. 

5 – The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

  • Developer: Supermassive Games
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Original Release Date: August 2019
  • Scare Meter: 8 – In the middle of the ocean, there’s nowhere to run.

Although you are able to play Man of Medan alone, be sure to bring friends. Just make sure they can’t run faster than you. Built as in interactive drama, players make decisions based on their head or heart with your choices affecting future options and cut scenes, similar to a choose your own adventure book. Will you all make it out alive or will sacrifices have to be made? The choice is yours.

4 – Little Nightmares 

  • Developer: Tarsier Studios
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Original Release Date: April 2017
  • Scare Meter: 7.5 – Nightmares of your youth back to haunt you.

With Little Nightmares 2 set to release in 2020, now is a great time to check out the original. There are plenty of platformers that try to be scary, but Little Nightmares really pulls it off. The creepy environments are taken to a whole new level (see what I did there?) through the spectacular use of lighting and sound. Six seems innocent enough with her bright yellow raincoat and the little pitter-patter of her feet as she scurries around the Maw, but the need to satiate her ever-growing hunger may be the true horror of the game.

3 – Outlast

  • Developer: Red Barrels
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Original Release Date: September, 2013
  • Scare Meter: 10 – Nightmares for a week.

The more recent Outlast 2 is twisted on so many levels but, for sheer horror, the original Outlast is a better choice. As journalist Miles Upshur, you are investigating the abandoned Mount Massive Asylum when you find out the asylum isn’t exactly empty. With the front doors locked the only way to escape is to plunge deeper into the madness. Without any weapons or kung fu skills, all you have to help you avoid the patients of Mount Massive as you traverse its creepy, unlit corridors is the night vision afforded you by your camcorder. The batteries will only last so long…

2 – Layers Of Fear

  • Developer: Bloober Team
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Original Release Date: February 2016
  • Scare Meter: 7 – Scarier than the monster living in your closet.

Layers of Fear 2 launched back in May of this year and is another example where a sequel couldn’t improve upon a masterpiece (ironic considering the story in Layers of Fear). Layers of Fear is a harrowing tale of an artist’s descent into madness. You, as the unnamed artist, must explore the house in search of inspiration to complete his magnum opus. The house begins to distort around you as the artist’s mind succumbs to insanity . With three possible endings, will you be able to guide the artist on his search for a masterpiece?

Honorable Mention: P.T.

  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Scare Meter: 10 – All lights in the house turned on, hiding under a blanket like a 5 year old.

Many people aren’t familiar with P.T. Not even a whole game, P.T. was the ‘playable teaser’ that announced the coming of a new Hideo Kojima (creator of the upcoming Death Stranding) horror game, the now canceled Silent Hills. It was only available for a short time and the only way to play it now is to find someone who already has it installed on their PS4. I never played P.T. and I am sort of glad I didn’t. There are several play-through videos floating around, but this version does a great job of capturing how a single hallway can be transformed into the most intense horror game ever made. 

1 – Resident Evil 7

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Original Release Date: January 2017
  • Scare Meter: 9 – I’d rather fight a horde of zombies than deal with the Bakers.

Resident Evil goes first person in the newest installment (remakes not included) of the long running series . Although RE7 has the Molded and a few monstrous bosses that could put it on next week’s list, a large portion of the game is spent fighting the Baker family in and around their derelict plantation. The exploration, stealth, and puzzle elements of the game are paired perfectly with the horrific setting, making Resident Evil 7 the best horror game this side of the zombie apocalypse.

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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