Some of the best horror games out there are games which really get deep inside your mind and mess with you in some truly terrifying ways: the extremely psychological horror games. These games often prey on what we as humans fear the most, and they have a knack for making it very difficult to fall asleep for several hours after playing. Let’s get into it and melt our minds as we take a look at the top five best (scariest) psychological horror games.
In fifth place is Boogeyman from Clockwork Wolf. At first glance, Boogeyman and Boogeyman 2 seem like a fairly straightforward concept, very similar to the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, but the real terror of the Boogeyman game comes into play when you begin to think about what the boogeyman is and what he wants. He is a monster that feeds on the fear of children and haunts them when they are at their most vulnerable (at night, when they are all alone.) Not to mention, the design of the boogeyman in these games is enough to give anyone, even full-grown adults, terrifying nightmares. Boogeyman might be a relatively simple concept, but it knows how to get right under your skin and keep you up all night long.
In fourth place is Until Dawn from Supermassive Games. Until Dawn starts off as a deliciously gory horror game which has you (the player) taking responsibility for the outcome through the use of the butterfly effect, but as you advance through the game, it becomes much more psychological in nature. You’re faced with some tough questions about saving people and making ethical decisions under pressure, and when the end comes around, you’re left wondering the root of friendship, madness, and ethical behavior. Until Dawn may seem like just your typical bloody horror game, but it has a psychological depth which will leave you questioning everything, making you feel compelled to play it again and see if you can change the outcome.
Coming in third place is the Silent Hill collection of games from Keiichiro Toyama. The Silent Hill games have a twisted knack for playing into your fears and creepiest nightmares and delivering you into a world designed to mess with your head. The fog of Silent Hill plays a big role in this psychological twist of a game: the fog is always a bit of a mystery, but it has been described as a visual way of showing the blurring between dreams and reality. The various monsters in Silent Hill feed into this dream state in the way they embody many terrifying situations and fears and force you to confront those fears within yourself. Overall, the Silent Hill series is one big psychologically-fueled nightmare that will leave you both terrified and wanting more.
In second place is Soma from Frictional Games. Soma is a horror game in plot, with terrifying monsters and a harrowing mission to complete, but its psychological nature comes in with questions about humanity, consciousness, and what life really is. This game is trippy and guaranteed to bring you through a range of emotions all the way through to the end (make sure you stick around after the credits roll.) If you haven’t played it, this is a game I really don’t want to give anything away for, and if you have played it, then you know what I mean when I say that this game will have you questioning everything about your own existence. Soma is mind-boggling on a whole new level.
And in first place is Little Nightmaresfrom Tarsier Studios. The dollhouse style of this Tim Burton-esque horror game of perceptually epic proportions has reimagined what a horror game can be. The exploration of deep childhood fears alongside chilling visuals and delightfully creepy sound effects makes this game a true titan of the genre. And now, with Little Nightmares IIjoining the scene, these terrifyingly amazing games from Tarsier Studios are in a class of their own.
Any horror game can be a great experience, but the really excellent horror games are the psychological thrillers which leave you asking the questions you don’t really want to know the answers to. While I wouldn’t recommend playing any of these games too close to bedtime, since they will almost certainly give you nightmares, I would absolutely recommend any and all of these games for anyone looking to delve into the depths of their psyche and see what it feels like to come out on the other side of their mind.