The 10 best horror games you can play right now

With Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time to scare yourself senseless

It's almost Halloween, which means it's about that time we embrace that masochistic streak and inflict a bit of interactive pain upon ourselves.

Luckily, it's all digital: we're talking about video games, but they can be horrifyingly effective at scaring the bejesus out of us. We're all well familiar with classics like the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill entries, but what about freaky games you can play right now on today's games machines?

We've got you covered. Here are 10 of the most frightening and hauntingly atmospheric games you can play today across consoles, computers, and even VR headsets.

Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour

Platform: PlayStation 4

Price: free

Resident Evil is about to see a big shake-up next year with Resident Evil 7 (coming to PC and Xbox One too), a first-person and PlayStation VR-compatible reboot of sorts – but you can try it now (if you're on PS4) with the Beginning Hour demo.

As our hands-on review explains, RE7 's shift is a frightening one that brings the series closer to startling horror films, and the immersion of VR will surely be a big part of that effect, even though you can play it without a headset. There's also a "Kitchen" demo available for PlayStation VR, as well.

Download Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour for PlayStation

Alien: Isolation

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac

Price: from £10

After a slew of bad Alien games, this one finally got it so, so right: it's a terrifyingly intense survival experience, as you command Amanda Ripley (Ellen's kid) and try to evade the alien.

Just one alien? Surely you can kick its ass, no? Nope. Your best bet is to silently and stealthily evade the super-powered creeper, using various tools and your wits alike, but you'll probably still get pounced on and ripped to shreds plenty of times.

Buy Alien Isolation from Amazon

Download Alien: Isolation for PS4

Download Alien: Isolation for Xbox One

Download Alien: Isolation for PC or Mac

Outlast

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac

Price: from £4

Being a journalist can be tough work sometimes, but we have cushy gigs compared to Miles Upshur. Outlast's lead is investigating an asylum where deranged experiments are reportedly taking place, and sure enough, they are: and now you're being chased by them.

Your camcorder's night vision mode might help you see in the darkened tunnels, but once you run into one of the hulking monstrosities, all you can do is run. Seriously, run.

Download Outlast for PS4

Download Outlast for Xbox One

Download Outlast for PC or Mac

Until Dawn

Platform: PlayStation 4

Price: from £17

Horny teens stuck in a mountain cabin being picked off one by one by some unknown force? Yawn. Until Dawn trades in horror film clichés, but despite the tired premise, it's startlingly effective.

You'll decide the fate of these sexy guys and gals as they try to survive, and the game makes clever use of the PS4's DualShock 4 controller, even challenging you to stay still at times to avoid being axed. Good time for a well-placed jump-scare!

Buy Until Dawn from Amazon

Download Until Dawn for PS4

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Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

Platform: PS4 (VR)

Price: from £15

Double Until Dawn? We wouldn't list both if they didn't feel like completely different games. Just released this month, Rush of Blood is a PlayStation VR exclusive, and it swaps the survival horror premise of the original for an on-rails, Time Crisis-esque arcade shooter.

While giving you guns might empower you, the scares keep coming as you blast scads of creepy clowns and other aggressors in darkened rooms.

Buy Until Dawn: Rush of Blood from Amazon

Download Until Dawn: Rush of Blood for PS4

Amnesia: The Dark Descent & A Machine for Pigs

Platform: PC (PS4 coming soon)

Price: from £15

We're giving this one a combined series recommendation, because collectively, these are two of the most twisted horror games there have ever been.

Both are big on psychological scares amidst the first-person puzzling, as you dip in and out of sanity, but also have their share of gruesome sights and really unsettling plot points. Both entries are also coming to PS4 in November as a bundle; a little late for Halloween haunts, but still well worth your time.

Download Amnesia: The Dark Descent and/or A Machine for Pigs for PC or Mac

ZombiU / Zombi

Platform: Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Price: 

Originally a Wii U exclusive (hence the ZombiU title for that platform), Zombi looks like any other generic walking dead game but actually has a couple of very neat features that raise it above the shambling horde.

Foremost is the permadeath system: if you die, that survivor is dead for good and you respawn back at HQ (Shadwell tube station as it happens) as a fresh human character. Your job now is to find your previous host, who is now a zombie, kill him/her and retrive your bag of weapons and items. Die in your attempt and your precious belongings are lost forever. It's a perfect recipe for added intensity and makes you approach the game far more cautiously.

There are still benefits to playing on Wii U if you've got one - there are some excellent GamePad features, including a great multiplayer mode - but all versions are fun (and very affordable).

Buy Zombi from Amazon

Download ZombiU for Wii UPS4Xbox One or PC

The Brookhaven Experiment

Platform: PC (HTC Vive)

Price: £15

One of the most popular HTC Vive games released to date, The Brookhaven Experiment is a first-person blaster in which you're quickly surrounded by threats – be they human-like beasts who look like horrible burn victims, or giant spiders.

It's a pistol-packing shooter that you'll primarily experience in the dark, whether you're in a field with a flashlight or being attacked from all angles inside sewer pipes. Maybe don't go down there next time.

Download The Brookhaven Experiment for HTC Vive

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Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water

Platform: Wii U

Price: £50

Yes, even the Wii U has its own horror game. As in previous entries, Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water is all about capturing the creepy ghosts on film: you'll use the Wii U GamePad as a camera, shooting the ghosts' snapshots to damage them.

Maiden of Black Water draws heavily from Japanese horror and delivers a compelling experience with the GamePad, and even an exclusive game on a Nintendo system can freak you out to serious effect.

Download Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water for Wii U

Slender: The Arrival

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Wii U

Price: from £4

Slender Man is the super creepy result of a message board (seriously) that somehow spiraled into a bit of modern folklore: the lanky, blank-faced, suit-wearing pursuer appears and attacks as your delusions begin.

Unsurprisingly, it's a perfect fit for a video game, as you explore an abandoned house and the surrounding woods… and ohhhhh god there's Slender Man, run! It can be slow in between, but the startling moments are a fabulous payoff.

Download Slender: The Arrival for PS4

Download Slender: The Arrival for Xbox One

Download Slender: The Arrival for PC or Mac

Download Slender: The Arrival for Wii U