The Best Horror Games You Can Play For Free

The allure of free games is pretty obvious: not everyone can afford to keep up with the latest launches. It can be tough to find great games on a budget, but don’t despair. Platforms like Steam and itch.io are teeming with indie games that are free or cheap to play.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Related: Best RPG Horror Games

Many of these are highly experimental, and the horror genre in particular has plenty of gems for you to plunder. Some of these are from game jams; others are the products of a single developer’s artistic vision. We’ve collected some of the most hair-raising free horror games here for your pleasure.

10 Discover My Body

Low-res pixel art of a medical scanner containing a diseased skeleton on a black background. Dialog box reads

Yames is a much-underappreciated creator. Their games have a Cronenberg-esque touch of body horror mixed with social and psychological commentary. Discover My Body puts you in the role of a medical student performing body scans on a man who has willingly infected himself with a body and mind-altering fungus.

What happens next is a transformation, to say the very least. The art style is minimalistic, leaving much of the man’s grotesque changes up to your imagination. If you’re into body horror, this is the game for you.

9 Baldi’s Basics

A screenshot of Baldi's Basics where Baldi is waving at the player in a hallway

It’s hard to determine whether Baldi’s Basics is more funny than it is scary, but our verdict is that it’s both in equal measure. Some might argue that the market for mascot horror games is oversaturated, and Baldi’s Basics certainly roasts the genre in a hilariously merciless fashion.

The unsettling design of Baldi makes it all the more terrifying whenever he pursues you, which is all the time. At the same time, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and often leans into the sheer absurdity of its premise. You will laugh, and you will cry.

8 Ao Oni

Screenshot of a blue oni chasing the main character from Ao Oni inside of a house.

The premise of Ao Oni is pretty simple: you run through a mansion while being pursued by a horrific blue monster, sometimes with puzzles to slow you down. What makes it good is its execution. The game’s layout keeps its chase sequences fresh, and in the final version of the game, the puzzles are just challenging enough without being too frustrating.

Related: The Best Horror Games To Play With Friends

There are also a few creative twists on familiar jumpscares that will ensure you never stop screaming. Overall, this game is an oldie but a goodie, so give it a try.

7 Water Womb World

Low-res screenshot of a pixelated undersea world from a first-person view, with a simple UI framing the image.

Discover My Body isn’t the only game in Yames’ repertoire. This developer of low-res horror has experimented with a number of different concepts, and Water Womb World packs a lot of lore in what amounts to about half an hour of play.

A Catholic marine biologist has made an expedition to the bottom of the ocean, where he hopes to uncover the remains of the garden of Eden. What he finds instead is a treasure trove of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. The game’s narration is top-notch, and the low-res graphics make the horrors that await in the depths all the more terrifying.

6 Decadence

Low-res scene from the game Decadence depicting a grimy kitchen

Decadence is a short-but-sweet psychological horror game along the lines of Silent Hill 2. Much of the game has you explore your apartment, which becomes increasingly bizarre and non-euclidean. As you prepare to celebrate your anniversary with your wife, things aren’t quite what they seem.

One thing this game excels at is building atmosphere. Decadence takes place in the 1980s, and the apartment looks and sounds just like it was ripped right from childhood memories of that era. It’s impossible to say much more without going into spoiler territory, but you should definitely prepare for a truly mind-boggling twist.

5 Yume Nikki

Screenshot of a girl and a deformed pixelated creature sitting together in a darkened room.

Yume Nikki may not be the first horror game to be created in RPG Maker, but it definitely is the most memorable. You play as a shut-in who does little but sleep and play video games, but don’t despair. The game’s surrealist landscapes are almost endless, and they’re the source of much of its horror.

Related: Best Horror Games To Play In The DarkMost of the horror in Yume Nikki comes from how little is explained. The dreams are weird and disjointed, as dreams often are, but there’s an air of melancholy about everything. Add in some atmospheric music, and you have a recipe for pure dread.

4 Unsorted Horror

An abandoned industrial-style room with an old, 90s-style computer sitting on one table. A red

Five games for the price of one! That’s what Unsorted Horror promises, and you can grab this intriguing bundle over on itch.io. The games presented in Unsorted Horror are an assortment of short atmospheric horror experiences, most of which have PS1-style graphics.

Tartarus Engine and Carbon Steel both have you exploring desolate locations and uncovering the secrets within. The other three games in the collection are more experimental in nature. If you want to play around with C4 in old Soviet-style apartments one minute and then data mine spiders the next, this is for you.

3 The Witch’s House

The Witch's House screenshot showing Viola looking into a mirror.

The Witch’s House is another RPG maker horror game that helped define the genre. It’s definitely more structured and polished than, say, Yume Nikki, with surprisingly good writing for such a short game. There’s a surprising plot twist near the end that’s absolutely unforgettable.

The Witch’s House is full of puzzles that are engaging without being too difficult. There are also very few jumpscares; the game is great at scaring you without resorting to cheap tricks. Overall, this is a great game to introduce someone to the rabbit hole of RPG Maker horror games.

2 Doki Doki Literature ClubMonika from Doki Doki Literature Club in a classroom

The original Doki Doki Literature Club for PC is available for free on both itch.io and Steam, and it’s one of the best free visual novels ever made. Beneath the lighthearted attempt at a high school romance lies a highly experimental postmodern game along the lines of games like Undertale.

But where those games break the fourth wall for the sake of drama or starting a conversation, Doki Doki Literature Club does it for the sake of horror. It’s hard to say more about how this game defies expectations without heading into spoiler territory.

1 Pumpkin Panic

The main character from Pumpkin Panic relaxes alone in a wooden cottage.

Pumpkin Panic is certainly the cutest game on this list. This short farm sim/survival horror hybrid oozes spooky atmosphere, with excellent art and what folks in the industry refer to as “peak character design”.

The farm sim genre definitely doesn’t have many horror versions at all, so it’s also fair to say that this game took some much-appreciated creative risks. The only complaint you might have is that it’s just a little too short, but for the price of free, that’s more than fair.

Next: The Best Analog Horror Series On Youtube

Leave a Comment