Ever since VR headsets first came into popularity, it seems like horror games have just always been a natural fit. When you play a scary video game on a traditional flat screen, you’re not actually immersed in the world. The room around you is empty, people can interrupt your session, the sounds bounce off of the walls as they emanate from speakers, and you generally have a level of separation between you and the game world.
In VR however, that’s not the case. Instead of simply looking at a screen, you’re placed inside the world. You can move, interact, and embrace the environment. The sounds come from all around you in 360-degrees, forcing you to turn and spin around to find the source of cracks and creaks. Each scream of fear results in a chill of terror in the realm of VR horror games.
We’ve put together this list for you this Halloween with updated recommendations of what we think are some of the most terrifying VR horror games on the market right now. Since not everyone has every headset, we’ve made sure to list two recommendations for each of the major platforms — PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard — as well as a few upcoming games we can’t wait to try. You can also read our list from last year for insight on older games, and our best Rift, best Gear VR, and best Vive game lists for more recommendations.
Happy Halloween! May your nightmares be just as terrifying as you dreamed.
PlayStation VR Horror Games
Here They Lie (PS VR Exclusive)
Not all horror games have to scare you with horrendous creatures, disgusting visuals, and intense action. Sometimes if the game takes a slower, more methodical, and measured pace, it can actually end up being even scarier.
Here They Lie is a PS VR launch title that, while not being the best game on the platform by any means [Review: 6/10] it does deliver on creepy atmosphere and and intriguing setting. Worth a look for fans of the genre, for sure.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (PS VR Exclusive)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is an action packed shooter with a heavy sprinkle of horror elements on top. You’ll progress through a disturbing series of buildings and mines on a roller coaster that barrels towards the depths of hell.
Using the PlayStation Move controllers (or just the DualShock 4) you shoot down enemies accosting you and bask in the glory of disturbing, 3D spatial audio that surrounds you from all sides, chilling you to the bone. It has its issues [Review: 7/10] but it’s one of our favorite PS VR games so far.
HTC Vive Horror Games
A Chair in a Room: Greenwater (HTC Vive Exclusive, demo version on Google Cardboard)
Make no mistake — personally, this is my favorite VR horror game I’ve played so far. It takes the engrossing atmosphere of a psychiatric mental institution and gives you the freedom to explore and interact in full roomscale. The story is a dark and twisted affair and the scares are littered throughout the experience.
Above all else though, a sense of constant dread and uneasiness pervades the entire experience, keeping you on your toes and your palms sweaty. It’s not a great game to demo to people, as it’s better experienced quietly, alone, at home, but if you have the time and patience, we highly recommend it [Review: 8/10.]
The Brookhaven Experiment (Also On PS VR)
This is the VR horror game (or perhaps even VR game, period) you’ve likely seen the most about on social media. The Brookhaven Experiment takes the terrifying prospect of being surrounded by monsters and zombies and puts you in VR with limited supplies and creepy settings.
The guns feel realistic, the visuals are gritty and detailed, and the mixture of a story-based mission structure and survival modes provide plenty of content to chew on. We loved the game when it first came out [Review: 8/10] and it’s still one of our favorites — it’s also great to show people that are new to VR.
Oculus Rift Horror Games
Dreadhalls (Also on Gear VR)
I never understood the alure of playing games like hide and seek. As a kid, the last thing on the planet that I wanted was for someone to be frantically chasing and searching for me while I hid, stifling my breath, trying not to be found. That’s the thing of nightmares.
Now that nightmare can come to life in Dreadhalls, a dungeon full of dark, horrible beasts that want nothing more than to tear you limb from limb. Good luck peeking around that next corner without peeing your pants.
Edge of Nowhere (Oculus Rift Exclusive)
This was the first outing in VR for Insomniac Games, the lauded developers of classic console game franchises such as Ratchet & Clank. In Edge of Nowhere, you’ll take on the role of a man in his search of his loved one in the mountains of Antarctica. But it’s not at all what first meets the eye.
The trip quickly derails into a nightmarish hellscape of Cthulhu-inspired beasts and creatures and it’s truly one of the most unnerving VR games so far. The entire game is played from the third-person perspective, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less immersive or terrifying than its first-person brethren. It all adds up to one of the Rift’s very best [Review: 9/10] to date.
Samsung Gear VR Horror Games
Affected: The Manor (Gear VR Exclusive)
Not all VR horror games have to be long, involved affairs though. Sometimes something smaller, shorter, and more focused can have just as strong — if not more powerful — of an impact. In Affected: The Manor, you’ll creep around scary hallways and dark corners in a fist-clenching fright fest full of stress.
When we covered Affected: The Manor [Review: 7/10,] we loved the clever scripting and visuals, but the lack of interactivity and brevity were a bit disappointing. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to show people on the go, then you could do a lot worse than this one. Give it a shot.
Dark Days (Gear VR Exclusive)
For a different experience, Dark Days [Review: 7/10] employs a much longer-form experience for a mobile headset, tasking you with exploring a richly detailed world full of narration, characters, and dense environments. The nightmare-inducing creatures and spine-tingling scenes help this, as well.
It’s far from the most visually impressive VR game, but it offers a consistent and steady stream of frights to keep you on your toes throughout. However, the main character can get a bit annoying for some people and the jump scares are quite unnerving inside a VR headset.
Google Cardboard Horror Games
Sisters (Also on Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift)
As one of the first successful Google Cardboard games, Sisters still holds up to this day. It’s one of the easiest games to load up and show off to people and will really immerse you in its creepy, haunted house atmosphere. Given the lack of technical prowess afforded with a standard Cardboard viewer, it’s relatively impressive.
If you want to ratchet up the terror even further, you can also access this game on other, powerful headsets as well. There are plenty of jump scares to keep you coming back for more — that is, as long as you don’t rip the headset off in fear first.
House of Terror VR (Google Cardboard Exclusive)
Who said mobile VR can’t be immersive? House of Terror VR does a wonderful job of making you feel like you’re really exploring a dark, decrepit, and terrifying environment as you search for clues and items throughout a terrifying house — just as the game’s title hints.
However, as you continue your search and solve puzzles, the hideous traps and other paranormal events will start to happen. Enter if you dare.
Upcoming VR Horror Games
There are lots of upcoming VR horror games on the horizon, but the two that we are the most excited about are without a doubt Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul (PS VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift) and Resident Evil 7: biohazard (PS VR Exclusive, Also on Non-VR PC.) Paranormal Activity is bringing the classic film franchise into the immersive medium for the first time with a video game adaptation and the iconic Resident Evil series — that helped kickstart the horror genre of video games decades ago — is shifting to first-person for the very first time in the series’ history.
What are some of your favorite VR horror games that you’ve tried so far and will you be playing any this Halloween?