Warning: this list of scariest VR games is not to be taken lightly.
[This list was originally published in October, 2019. It’s being re-published.]
For years, horror fans have enjoyed jumping and screaming at movies and games. VR brings all of that to another level, though. Once you’ve got a headset on, there’s no helping you; you really believe that the horrors in front of you are real, even for a split second.
And thus, we present out list of the scariest VR games. No cushions to hide behind, no shoulders to cry on; you have to be really brave to play these games. Entries are listed alphabetically.
Affected: The Manor – Go, Gear VR, Rift, Vive, PSVR, Quest (Read Our Gear VR Review)
Affected: The Manor isn’t designed to be the kind of horror game you can get lost in for days or spend hours upon hours exploring, but is rather a tightly crafted thrill-ride that delivers a series of jump scares within a deeply atmospheric old house. It works well and is very good at what it sets out to do. To this day it’s still one of my go-to games to demo to new VR users.
This is the VR horror game that just keeps on going. It’s been around in some form or another since the Oculus Rift DK1 days and has since made its way to Steam for PC VR, Oculus Home for Rift and Go, as well as PSVR. A Quest version is coming as well.
Alien: Isolation (Unofficial VR Mod) – PC VR
This might seem like an odd entry for this list, but even though it isn’t official it’s just too good not to mention. Alien: Isolation is a horror classic and is easily the best game based on the iconic sci-fi horror film franchise. In this game you must evade xenomorphs by any means necessary and the sheer sense of terror it produces as you’re hiding, looking around corners, and trying not to get mauled is fantastic.
The installation process is pretty easy too, so that’s always nice.
Dreadhalls – PSVR, Quest, PC VR (Read Our Review)
One of VR’s oldest games is also one of its scariest. Dreadhalls has you navigating perplexing mazes in search of escape. The only problem is you’re being stalked by horrifying monsters intent on making you poop yourself.
Dreadhalls has endured all these years thanks to its simple premise which lets anyone jump in but only the bravest survive. Even five years only from its original launch on Gear VR it’s worth seeking out. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find it.
The Exorcist: Legion VR – PSVR, Quest, PC VR (Read Our Review)
The original Exorcist is one of the most influential horror movies of all time. Sadly, many of the sequels and spin-offs its spawned were decidedly less harrowing, failing to understand what made the original so gripping.
That’s not true of The Exorcist: Legion VR. This five-part series, developed by Chair in a Room studio Wolf & Wood, is a deeply disturbing psychological drama.
Face Your Fears I + II – Oculus Quest, Oculus Go, Oculus Rift
The Face Your Fears series works so well because it trims the fat. There are no complex game mechanics to learn here, no instant-death stealth sections. Instead you get a selection of scenarios that cut right to the chase, making it the perfect spooky introduction for VR thrill-seekers.
Many of these scenes play on common fears. There’s bound to be something to shock even the most stone-hearted of horror fans here, including a collaboration with Strange Things and more.
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted – PSVR, PC VR, Quest
No other series is quite so malicious as Five Nights at Freddy’s when it comes to outright jump scares. Frankly, we were dreading the inevitably day on which the series entered VR.
Mixing content both old and new, this is one of the most intense and enjoyable fast-fire VR experiences you can have. And with new DLC now out, there’s plenty of screaming to go around. This is a no brainer if you’re looking for the scariest VR games.
Organ Quarter – PC VR
Organ Quarter is a classically-designed VR horror game about a twisted disease infecting a city with grotesque and horrifying imagery, becoming a wasteland of body-horror. The game is designed in the same vein as classic survival horror games from the 90s (think old-school Resident Evil and Silent Hill) with methodical exploration, challenging puzzles, and careful inventory management.
It was funded on Kickstarter back in 2017 and remains one of the best hand-tracked room-scale horror experiences out there.
Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul – PSVR, PC VR (Read Our Review)
Paranormal Activity is known for cheap popcorn scares that leave your heart racing. The VR experience is no different; it’s an unashamedly jumpy bit of VR fluff and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – PSVR (Read Our Review)
Sometimes we wish Resident Evil 7 wasn’t a horror game. Because, scares and screams aside, it’s genuinely one of the most polished, high-budget experiences you can have in VR.
Nearly three years on from launch, we’ve still got our fingers crossed that Capcom brings the VR support to other headsets.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood – PSVR (Read Our Review)
How do you translate the narrative-driven terror of Until Dawn to VR? Why, you turn it into a scream-happy roller coaster ride, of course. Thus, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was born.
This silly spin-off has remained one of PSVR’s most enduring experiences. It’s full of the usual cliches, but VR gives you a fresh pair of eyes to enjoy them with all over again.
Senior Editor David Jagneaux contributed to this article.