Oh, what's that? Why are we covered in blankets even though the heating's on? No reason. No reason at all.
Now if you'll excuse us, we've got some
cowering very brave, extremely courageous things to do. Goodbye.
Wait, don't turn the lights off!
A combination of the biggest cliches in horror films with the biggest cliches in gaming, Until Dawn is somehow far better (and scarier) than it perhaps should be.
This is basically an interactive horror movie featuring split-second decisions, quick-time events and a cast of the most obnoxious teens you’re ever likely to encounter, and during the first hour the desire to not bother is strong. Keep playing, though, and you warm enough to the characters to work extremely hard to save them as their potentially horrible end approaches.
And my word, some of the decisions you have to make are really appalling.
Available on PS4
Frictional Games adapts its bed-wetting horror formula, mastered in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, to a science-fiction tale beneath the ocean that makes BioShock’s Rapture look like a family picnic.
Its world is refreshingly tactile, and regularly requires players to physically interact with objects such as doors and levers whilst under the pressure of impending mutilation. The gurgling mutants of PATHOS II will have you hiding behind your teddy bears, but the even bigger frights come from the existential terror underpinning its story. Life is cruel, and so is SOMA.
This indie game was among the first of a recent wave of first-person survival horror titles, and casts you as an investigate journalist prodding into dodgy goings-on at a remote psychiatric lab. At night, for some reason. What could possibly go wrong?
Armed with nothing but a notebook and a camcorder, Outlast is, like Alien: Isolation, a game in which you’ll be running away and hiding from things rather than fighting them. The camera’s night vision option is the closest you have to a weapon, and more often than not it’ll reveal something that’s probably better off left unseen.
Outlast is available for just a few quid on all three of its platforms, so it’s one of the cheapest ways to have a proper scare this Halloween.
From the sweet, tranquil music and snowy imagery in its trailer, you’d be forgiven for questioning Year Walk’s inclusion in this list. But on playing, you’ll immediately notice a kind of creeping unease as you trudge about a cold, bleak Swedish forest in the winter snow.
As the story unfolds, it’s clear you’re somehow seeing through the protagonist’s eyes, as they embark on a dangerous year walk that could afford them a glimpse of the future and whether they lose their true love. But the journey is full of terror, akin to being immersed inside a fairy-tale picture-book stuffed with cryptic puzzles. And we’re not talking sanitised modern fare, unless you’ve been reading fairy tales where someone takes the souls of dead babies to a ghostly horse’s head lurking in a fetid brook.
Almost unbelievably, DayZ is still in the alpha test phase it's been in for two whole years, but don't let that put you off downloading it, because it's one of the most uniquely terrifying games there's ever been.
Dropped at a random point on the island of Chernausus with only the clothes on your back, a single flare and a rag, your only goal is to survive. Zombies are the most obvious immediate threat, but you've also got hunger and thirst to keep at bay, which means carefully scavenging the abandoned villages and towns without attracting gnashing undead attention.
Most dangerous of all, though, are the other human players. They're not all necessarily enemies, but with supplies being so scarce the temptation to murder another survivor for the contents of their backpack is too strong for many to resist. And when you're dead, you're dead. No extra lives, no retained loot or experience; just the cold, harsh reality of having to start from scratch all over again. Now that's scary.
Available on Steam