ByMarcus O'Shea, writer at
Resident RPG nerd and SoulsBorne fanatic. Can be spotted by their floofy hair.
Marcus O'Shea

Horror's back baby! With the release of tons of new gameplay footage for Resident Evil 7 and the intriguing new footage of Death Stranding at The 2016 Game Awards, fans are champing at the bit to get their hands on some horror. Since it's going to be a while until they're out, I've put together a list of some of the most original and odd titles to help pass those cold, dark, spooky winter months.

My 7 Best Original Horror Game Picks

We're all familiar with the AAA horrors of old and new, but in an effort to promote smaller , this list will highlight horror titles that don't get a lot of attention. If you'd like to do the same for some original horror games you like, we'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Sara Is Missing

I've written previously about Sara Is Missing and how creepy it is, but it bears repeating. This game is wonderfully unsettling and has one of the most original gameplay set ups of the year.

In Sara Is Missing you play as a stranger who has found the phone of the titular Sara. You can nose through her messages, pictures and texts, uncovering more and more about her life as you work with her intelligent smartphone OS to uncover the horrifying mystery of what exactly happened to Sara. The game is short, only about an hour or two, but with such an original experience that it's well worth checking out.

Try this if... You're the kind of person who reads people's texts over their shoulder.

Rides With Strangers

Rides With Strangers is still in development, but judging by the demo it's shaping up to be one of the most frightening and tense games in 2017. Players will take the role of Elora, a clean-cut college graduate who needs to get across country to reach an interview for her dream job in the morning. The only catch? Her car has broken down on the highway and she'll need to rely on the kindness of some not-so-kind strangers for aid.

There's something deeply unsettling about being trapped in a car with someone who can do you harm. Rides With Strangers plays on those very real fears, forcing you to walk a razor's edge between keeping an eye on your potential psychopath driver and keeping them from getting too suspicious.

Try this if... You want to suddenly become a big fan of public transport and cycling.

Through The Woods

Through The Woods is probably the most conventional game on this list in terms of gameplay. Where the originality of the game shines however, is in its setting. There's no asylums full of longhaired ghost girls or mutant zombies, instead you'll be exploring ancient viking villages—digging through the dark ages while hiding and fleeing from the darkest parts of Norse mythology, including man eating trolls and child thieving forest spirits.

The other reason it made the list is that in a game industry that seems full of sad dad stories, it is nice to see the occasional sad mom to balance things out. Between this and The Park, maybe the horror genre will be starting a trend.

Try this if... You're sick of all these grime covered sanitariums and want a change of scenery in the fresh air of the terrifying North.


[credit: Kitty Horrorshow]
[credit: Kitty Horrorshow]

While you could write off Anatomy as just another first-person walking simulator, you'd be missing out on one of the most spine chilling and fascinating games released in the last year.

Anatomy is one of the latest releases by the prolific indie auteur, Kitty Horrorshow. In Anatomy, you're tasked with exploring a seemingly normal suburban house, searching the rooms while you listen to a series of mysterious tapes about the homes we make for ourselves and what becomes of them when they're left alone. I can't say much more without spoiling things for you, but I will give you a tip. Whenever you think the game has ended, try playing it again, you might load it back up to find something new and even more skin-crawling.

Try this if... You spend a lot of long nights home alone.

Dead End Road

Dead End Road is definitely the most unusual horror game that's come out this year, especially in terms of gameplay. You don't hide from monsters, explore spooky spots or fight off demons with a shotgun. What you do instead is drive, and fast. After a satanic ritual gone wrong, your only goal is to flee the terrifying force that's right on your tail. To do so, you'll have to weave your way through procedurally generated highways, dodging phantasms and freight trucks in the hope that maybe, just maybe, you'll survive the night.

Try this if... You own Drive Angry 3D on Blu-ray and DVD.


Stifled is an upcoming psychological horror game that looks like it's going to be one of the coolest uses of VR so far. In Stifled, players must use sound to "see" the world around them, Daredevil style. Not only that, but the game is microphone enabled and interprets every noise as in-game sound. Sometimes it's helpful—if you don't have an object to throw to make some noise, you can always just shout out. On the other hand, if you find yourself hiding from the freakish baby-like antagonist of the game, you might end up having to hold your breath just to avoid alerting them to your presence.

Try this if... You hate when people talk over the scary parts.


[credit: Witnesstheabsurd]
[credit: Witnesstheabsurd]

Sabbat is a wonderfully weird little text game by indie creator ohnoproblems, where you get to live out your satanic fantasies of becoming a giant hell-demon and possibly instituting full hell communism over the planet. There's a text based version available for free, but the Sabbat: DIRECTORS KVT option includes awesome pixel art and a full soundtrack, which is well worth it. Plus, the game's responsible for one of the most hilarious feedback comments I've ever seen.

A disappointment on par with No Man's Sky
A disappointment on par with No Man's Sky

Try this if... You want to rule the world with a witch at your side.

Have you played any original and unsettling horror titles this year you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments.


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