Feeling brave? Then try our list of the best VR horror games on for size.
Warning: this list of the scariest VR games is not to be taken lightly.
[This list was originally published in October, 2019. It’s being re-published with updates.]
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. That’s why the best VR horror games are even scarier than flat screen games.
And thus, we present out list of the scariest VR games you can play today. No cushions to hide behind, no shoulders to cry on; you have to be really brave to play these games. Entries are listed alphabetically and you can grab these games over on the Oculus Store, Steam or PlayStation Store. If you want to see more of our top Oculus Quest-specific picks, head here.
Best VR Horror Games
20. Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul – PSVR, PC VR
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. If you like you VR horror to be a slow burn then this isn’t for you. But if you want your heart racing around every corner? This is an easy pick for the best VR horror games.
19. Edge of Nowhere – Rift
What happens if you combine Uncharted, Dead Space and Marvel’s Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games together? Magic, that’s what. Edge of Nowhere might be showing its ages as a third-person gamepad VR game, but it’s still a brilliant bit of production and a really creepy VR horror. If only we could play it on more platforms – as it stands this chilly VR horror risks being lost to time.
18. Transference – PSVR, PC VR
One of Ubisoft’s many intriguing early stabs at VR, Transference was envisioned by none other than Elijah Wood. It’s a different beast to many other of the scariest VR games, with a unique focus on psychological scares and use of live-action acting. Don’t let the non-VR support fool you; Trasnference is a really unsettling experience for headsets and one of the best VR horror games.
17. Lies Beneath – Quest, Rift
This is one of the most robust games on the list in terms of single-player story-driven content. The narrative is both rich with details and well-acted complete with a strong campaign full of twists and turns. Visually it features striking cel-shaded art style with comic book panels for narrative moments that really make you feel like you’re living out the pages of a graphic novel. Gameplay is split between using guns like shotguns and revolves and relying on melee weapons to fend off the hordes of monsters.
16. A Chair In A Room: Greenwater – PSVR, PC VR
From the same developers as The Exorcist: Legion VR (which we’ll get to in a bit), comes this absolutely terrifying early VR experience that really explored the different ways in which headsets could deliver some seriously shocking scares. It plays like a love letter to a number of different genres in ways we haven’t really seen since. It might be showing its age, but A Chair In A Room is still one of the best VR horror games.
15. Wilson’s Heart – Rift
Wilson’s Heart isn’t directly trying to be a VR horror game, which is sort of why it’s so unsettling. This stylish period piece has truly shocking moments of terror, including VR’s most memorable jump scares, but it’s all mixed into an intriguing mystery with some incredible interactions. Like Edge of Nowhere, we really hope we’ll get new places to play Wilson’s Heart at some point in the future.
14. Alien: Isolation MothrVR Mod – PC VR
It might not be an official VR game, but Alien: Isolation’s VR mod is too good not to mention. Isolation is a horror classic and is easily the best game based on the iconic sci-fi horror film franchise to date. 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 a fantastic thrill.
The installation process is pretty easy too, so that’s always nice.
13. The Persistence – PSVR, PC VR
Firesprite’s VR debut is a tantalizing horror treat. It uses procedural generation to create a spaceship riddled with horrific enemies then asks you not sneak past them or, failing that, bring them down. Think Dead Space in VR. If the very thought of that doesn’t send you running for the hills then this could be for you.
The game’s randomized element helps provide a fresh experience time and time again. Plus, compatibility with traditional game controllers over VR motion controllers does give The Persistence a mechanical, refined edge compared to a lot of its contemporaries. If you’re looking for a genuinely deep, calculated VR game, this is worth enduring the scares for.
12. Affected: The Manor – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
While Affected: The Manor has been around for years and years, first releasing way back on the Gear VR, it still earns a spot on this list due in no small part to its sheer adaptability. Despite showing its age a bit now visually, it still manages to kick up a solid scare and is an excellent introductory VR experience for fans of horror. You can complete the whole thing in well under an hour and it nails that sense of atmospheric exploration that so few VR horror games really do.
Additionally, it just got a new update recently that adds a “Gauntlet” mode as a sort of horror-themed speedrun through a series of haunted hallways. It’s fun to try and get through as quickly as possible and rank on the leaderboard as a fun diversion. If you’re the type of person that shows off VR to friends and family often, Affected should be a staple of your Quest library.
11. Half-Life: Alyx – PC VR
What? Half-Life: Alyx on a best of VR list and it’s not at the top? Blasphemy! Well, it’s mainly because Alyx isn’t really a horror game, but it certainly has some of the most powerfully atmospheric and at times downright terrifying moments in this list. We all feared headcrabs to the face when Alyx was first announced and this didn’t disappoint. It’s a certain late-game boss, though, that really earns it a place on the list of the best VR horror games.
10. Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife – Quest, PC VR
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is a new VR entry in the World of Darkness series (that otherwise consists of horror-themed tabletop RPGs) that takes a psychological approach to horror instead of relying on just jump scares. It builds tension through atmosphere and tells a compelling story about a photographer, Ed, who is called to Barclay Mansion where things quickly take a turn for the worse.
It’s a slower-paced horror game that might not be for everyone, but it uses horror in the way that plays to VR’s strengths very well, making it an essential part of VR’s horror collection.
9. Face Your Fears II – Quest, Rift
Unlike its predecessor, which was a collection of bite-sized vignettes rather than full VR horror games, Face Your Fears II is a proper single-player narratively-driven campaign that’s laced with frights from top to bottom. You’ll explore a dark, haunting world full of classic horror tropes such as giant spiders, creepy old houses, and spooky graveyards.
If you’re the type of gamer that wants something meatier that will take at least a few hours to get through and can’t be beaten in a single go, then this is right up your alley — especially if you’re down for some jump scares. This is one of the scariest VR games out there and one of the best VR horror games for sure.
8. Cosmodread – Quest, PC VR
From the developer that made Dreadhalls, the cult-classic grandfather of horror VR games, Cosmodread is a worthy successor and another one of the best VR horror games.
Visually, it leaves a bit to be desired and it employs a roguelike design that can sometimes feel a bit repetitive. However, it makes up for those faults completely with its use of VR horror. It may not push the genre much further forward than Dreadhalls, but it does double down on all the elements that worked for the original game, making it a spooky treat and one of the best VR horror games.
7. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood – PSVR
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.
6. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Like Half-Life: Alyx, Saints & Sinners isn’t actually a very scary game. But it’s so darn good we still couldn’t keep it off of a list of the best VR horror games. Plus, without it, this list would be almost zombie-free and we can’t have that. Saints & Sinners’ deliciously gory combat system and moments of shock give it a comfortable place on the list all the same. Once you’ve stabbed your first walker in the head you know it’s really earned this spot.
5. Phasmophobia – PC VR
Did you know one of the scariest games around at the moment is also one of the scariest VR games? Yes, Phasmophobia has a full VR option for those brave enough to tackle its four player online terror. Randomized scares make no two playthroughs the same and, although the game’s still in Early Access, it’s had an extensive support roadmap that gives us no doubt it’ll flourish into an even better experience. Spoiler: we’re not brave enough so don’t ask us.
4. The Exorcist: Legion VR- Quest, PSVR, PC VR
This is without a doubt one of the scariest VR games to date and the Quest port does a fine job of translating over the experience. Visually it’s a bit paired down, as expected, but you can hardly tell since the PC VR version wasn’t much of a looker anyway. In it you take on the role of an investigator that’s looking for answers following a series of strange happenings that first kickoff in a large chapel. The game spans multiple episodes and culminates in a final set piece moment worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster horror film.
You can finish the whole thing in a few hours, but it’s full of tense moments and chilling scenes. There’s one particular level that utilizes a possessed baby and mannequin dolls to great effect. Highly recommended, despite the relative brevity, and easily one of the best VR horror games.
3. Five Nights At Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Did you even have a doubt in your mind? Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is an excellent example of how to focus in on a core, specific idea and knock it out of the park. The premise here is that you are a caretaker for a chain of pizzerias similar to Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, however, after hours the animatronic characters come to life and hunt you. Staying alive is your goal and it’s much easier said than done.
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR is mostly a series of mini-games, but they’re each paced so well that it’s nearly impossible not to jump, scream, and/or rip the headset off over bouts of unbridled anxiety. If you think you’ve got nerves of steel, I dare you to take more than a few minutes of this one without suffering from the chills.
2. Resident Evil 4 VR – Quest
Now, depending on how you like your horror served, and how you like to experience VR, these top two might be interchangeable for you. For our part, we’re putting Resident Evil 4 VR in the #2 spot and that other Resident Evil game takes the crown. Ultimately it comes down to the fear factor and, while Resident Evil 4 is arguably still the best entry in the series to date, it’s also possibly the least terrifying. It still has its moments of spooky scares but, for a list about celebrating the pure horror VR provides, RE7 takes the cake.
Still, RE4 VR is a much more thoughtful port, with full motion control support, drastically reworked systems and even upgraded visuals over the original. Somehow developer Armature was able to take the near-faultless combat of the Capcom classic and translate it to VR without losing all of the nerve-shredding intensity the original delivered. There are some rough edges like bad QTEs and constant cutscenes, but RE4 VR is an amazing way to re-experience the classic.
1. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – PSVR
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. And, no, it might take full advantage of VR controllers as a gamepad-based game, but bringing this iconic world of horror to life really makes for an unbeatable experience all the same. For that reason, it still tops our list of the best VR horror games.
Over five years on from launch, we’ve still got our fingers crossed that Capcom brings the VR support to other headsets. Or, you know, gives us full VR support for Resident Evil 8. Until then, we’ll wait patiently for Resident Evil 4 VR.
Update 10/29/21: Resident Evil 4 VR was added to the list. Dreadhalls was removed.
And that’s our list of the best VR horror games. Which are your favorites? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.
David Jagneaux contributed to this article.