It’s Halloween! That means it’s time for a special Talk Nerdy 2 Me article all about Spooky VR games.
Producer Jason Blum reanimated the horror movie genre with the Paranormal Activity series. The VR game from the franchise inspires spine shivers, expletives, and jump scares. Of course, is the experience worth the price tag? $40 for 5 – 10 hours of content is a steep buy-in.
Luckily, there are equally terrifying alternatives for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
But terror comes in many forms. Ghosts. The Unknown. Big tree roaches that fly at your face and ONLY your face. What makes these 8 VR games so spooky?
Pro-tip: this list is 85% spoiler free.These 8 VR Horror Games Redefine FearClick To Tweet
The Next Step in the Horror Genre
Horror games have evolved quite a bit over the years. From the early days of murderous crows and zombie viruses in Resident Evil to the recently released Evil Within 2 atmosphere has always played an integral role in the telling of a horror story.
For conventional games, I am personally biased toward games like Mummy Hunter and Corridor of Doom. You can pick those up for less than $3 bucks each! You can even try out games previously released as PC games such as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
VR games have had a hard time delivering quality, lengthy entertainment experiences up to this point. But VR content is starting to catch up. For a different genre, we really enjoyed Farpoint–so much so that we interviewed the composer, which you can read here.
Enought about all of that, it’s Halloween! That means it’s time to get spooky.
After rigorous review, here are the top 10 scariest VR games out there:
Developer: White Door Games
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, & Samsung VR
Price: $9.99 (25% off on Steam right now)
You can’t make a top anything list of scary VR games without including this fan and industry favorite. Dreadhalls plays on classic horror game tenets like limited resources, unfamiliar territory, and dimly lit scenes. You must survive, but it won’t be easy since the maze you must navigate is randomly generated every single time you play.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: This is a far cry from the old days of Doom and other 90s PC games. Even the tiniest ambient shadows and noises make you jump. Corners become extremely strategic and present important decisions to be made. Doors become portals to all kinds of hell. Despite fancying yourself the Lara Croft or Indiana Jones type, you suddenly wish it was just a snake pit and Nazis you had to deal with.
How to Handle the Fear: Don’t blink. Don’t panic. Don’t run. No, forreal–our own Will McKinney braved the halls of dread and discovered a pivotal fact that helped him challenge the fear: it’s just a game.
“When the shadow monster showed up, and I turned and ran down the hallway for a moment before realizing that it was just a game. I turned around, ran back up to the shadow monster, and waited to see how long it would take for it to kill me. Turns out….it’s a long, long time. The game wasn’t so scary after that.”
I’m glad Will could use his disbelief, but that doesn’t protect me from seeing gnarled beasts and empty-eyed girls in my dreams.
2. Killing Floor – Incursion
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift & HTC Vive
Price: $39.99 (15% off on Steam right now)
Okay, my bias is showing. I absolutely love the OG Killing Floor game and Killing Floor 2. This VR only iteration of the classic game features updated graphics and even more intense zombie hordes. It also features an entire single player campaign where you play a soldier in a virtual world protecting a computer from a virus. How meta.
The downside: Killing Floor: Incursion will set you back $40 and it doesn’t release until November 7th. It also has no official launch date for the HTC Vive though Tripwire devs did say that Vive support should come in late 2017.
Please note that it is at this point in writing this article that I have already closed ALL of the doors in my room, opened the blinds, and turned on lights. It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
I’m a pansy.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: The unrelenting zombie masses are out in fuller force than ever before. Your favorites are back, including sirens, crawlers, and fleshpounds, and they are all around you. There isn’t a 20 something inch monitor in front of you from which you can escape. Better make sure you know where the merchant is at all times.
How to Handle the Fear: Host a LAN party! Play in the daytime. Don’t think about how zombies used to be people with hopes and dreams. After all, what’s more frightening than existential angst and turmoil right?
Oh, the rotting body parts and an insatiable taste for flesh? Yeah. That’s probably more accurate.
3. The Visitor
Developer: Stephen Long
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
Price: $.99 cents on Steam
For fans of less shooty, more non-violent experience games like Myst, this is up your alley. For just $.99 cents USD, you get an atmospheric sensory experience that will definitely make your hair stand up. One of the coolest aspects of the game is that it doesn’t use any hand activated controllers.
It utilizes visual cues such as flickering lights to prompt the user to progress through the game. It’s also a great introduction into the world of VR gaming for n00bs and latecomers alike. It’s short (around 10 minutes), simple, and has a sweet ending.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: Jumpscares. Watch out for the Teddy Bear.
How to Handle the Fear: Watch out for the Teddy Bear.
4. Don’t Let Go!
Developer: SkyDome Studios
Price: $3.99 (40% off on Steam right now)
Everyone defines fear differently. For some people, it’s a ghoulish girl crawling out of a well to eat your face. For others, it’s reptiles or arachnids. This game tests your power of will when faced with potentially frightening situations and all you can do is sit still or you lose.
Developed by a single person, this game is geared for casual gamers, families, or even people who just wish to test themselves. It could be a useful tool for immersion therapy and confronting fears–right?
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: You’ll be surrounded by roaches. The desert edition sees various animals crawling over you like scorpions and snakes. At one point, you even get eaten by something.
How to Handle the Fear: It’s just a game.
It’s just a game. It’s just a game.
5. Affected: The Manor
Developer: Fallen Planet Studios
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
This series of games occur at various locations, and this one is the first of the trilogy. In a genre-defying move, you won’t find any puzzle mechanics or thinly veiled fetch quests. You also can’t die in this game which makes it great for those new to VR gaming.
The game features two separate paths with a total of four possible endings. Due to expert audio and visual effects, the atmosphere enables a truly immersive experience for the player–along with some choice jump scares.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: Creepy dolls that move without warning. Whispering sounds from things you can’t see. A haunted mansion with no one but you inside–Affected: The Manor preys upon classic, long-standing fears we all have.
Expect creepy standards like ghostly girls, darkened rooms, and sudden confrontations.
How to Handle the Fear: Play with friends! Everything is better with company especially peeing your pants.
Developer: Honor Code, Inc.
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and OSVR
Price: $19.99 (50% off on Steam right now)
In the same way that Dead Space uses the power of unknown space to mess with your mind, Narcosis uses the depths of the ocean and mystery to entrap the player. You have to use a controller or keyboard and mouse for this game, but it is very much what the developers call it: “a walking coffin”.
It’s a fairly linear story, so it plays a great deal like Dear Esther or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture by The Chinese Room.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: While you won’t find Cthulhu in Narcosis, you will find other denizens of the deep (like a particularly ornery squid) shock you for jump scares. But it is the crushing psychological weight of the unknown that gets to you over time. Wandering around in this hulking suit in an alien world, you see remnants of your former colleagues. You have flashbacks. What really happened down there?
How to Handle the Fear: As a result of natural instincts, the game preys on those primal human fears of isolation and the unknown. Resist your primal urges to succumb to the icy waters and sloshing memories or just ride the wave and allow your mind to go where the game takes you.
Oh, did we mention the fact that you constantly run the risk of running out of oxygen and dying?
7. Wilson’s Heart
Developer: Twisted Pixel Games
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift
Price: $29.99 (on Oculus)
Some say that this horror game, while stylish, is all talk and no freak-me-the-hell-out. I, respectfully, disagree. The pulp plays off well with shout-outs to classic horror films and other video games like Silent Hill or Bioshock. The graphics and style of animation are just stellar–especially in the context of VR gaming.
As a 63-year-old man named Robert Wilson, you make your way through a mysterious hospital. The game features some notable voices such as Rosario Dawson, Peter Weller, and Alfred Molina. Ultimately, you unravel the mystery of this bizarre place and who, exactly, stole your heart.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: Eldritch horror tag.
Oh, and watch out for the Teddy Bear.
How to Handle the Fear: Pull a Conan and just find ways to casually break the game, defile corpses, and mess with Jacob’s Ladders.
8. A Chair in a Room: Greenwater
Developer: Wolf & Wood Interactive
VR Platforms: Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
Price: $24.99 (50% off on Steam right now)
Psychological horror games can often be scarier than even the most slender of Slendermans. A Chair in a Room: Greenwater capitalizes on this. You start out, seemingly as a patient in some kind of hospital performing tests. Soon after, things quickly escalate. You must rely on the “doctor’s medicine” to quell visions of terror that plague your progress.
What’ll Make You Shake in Your Boots: The story is nuanced and dynamic with references to trauma such as familial abuse and mental instability. It draws upon rational fear and learned fear to tackle somber and demented subjects without jump scares. Due to this speculative nature, you might discover something about yourself you didn’t want to find.
How to Handle the Fear: Therapy? Dissociation? Rampant and flagrant coping mechanisms like playing more video games? Probably just a good movie.
The Final Say
While there are increasingly more options in the world of virtual reality games, these 8 serve as solid choices from beginner to expert, from shooter to walking simulator, and more. As a last tip, if you haven’t blown your money on a Nintendo Switch and accessories or a Google Pixel 2 yet, you can totally get a discount on an Oculus Rift.