The horror genre often doesn’t get enough credit, but here at CityRyde, we appreciate it just like we would a unique baby with hooves and horns. We’ve gathered the top 25 free horror games for PC at the moment. Our list is diverse and perfect for giving anyone the creeps or chills, catering to various tastes in horror, from gore and survival to text-based scares, action, and even deck builders.
Whether you’re a fan of intense scares or prefer a more subtle creepy feeling, we’ve got something for everyone, including jump-scare-free options. Our criteria are simple: if a game scares us, it’s considered horror and can make the list. All the games on our list are readily available for purchase and play, eliminating the need to resort to online bidding platforms. We’ll regularly update the list as new great horror games emerge, and if your favorite isn’t here, feel free to suggest it in the comments.
So, without further ado, here are the best 25 free horror games for PC.
1. **S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat**
Let’s be clear: Call Of Pripyat could claim the top spot on many lists, but it’s just as deserving here. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are often praised as immersive simulations, going beyond typical shooters. They’re all about exploration, urging you to delve deeper until, like the dwarves of Moria, you unleash terrifying things—far worse than haunted houses or abandoned spaceships.
Everything in this world flows naturally. If you need something, you find it where it belongs; if there’s a task, you consider, observe, and approach it. It’s a dying world where you can exist for a few hours at a time, forming connections with people and specific places and features. It’s a genuine place turned fiction, shaped by historical events and the games.
At their most harrowing, the creatures of Pripyat serve as the last barrier between you and understanding the world. Some anomalies, such as fusing bone and boiling blood, can be navigated with ingenuity. There are decaying buildings and the remnants of society, accepted into our understanding with a shudder and sidelong glance. Yet, the things lurking in the darkest, most claustrophobic corners of the Zone don’t let the mind linger. They’re true horrors—repugnant entities that shouldn’t and can’t exist. Once encountered, they remain just beneath the surface, just behind the walls.
2. **System Shock 2**
System Shock 2 is an exceptional game in any category you choose. Whether in dungeons or space, it uniquely captures the feeling of confinement in a space teeming with death. Constantly reminded by the thin metal layer shielding you from extinction, the universe’s interior is filled with corrupted organisms. This ominous atmosphere distinguishes Irrational’s masterpiece as one of the best horror games and a unique sci-fi horror RPG.
As a first-person survival horror game, Shock 2 incorporates RPG mechanics like inventory management and character development, maintaining its impact through repeated play. Its tight design, terrifying elements, and openness to experimental play set it apart from other RPGs.
True to their name, the cyborg midwives are the most frightening creatures in any game, and even monkeys evoke fear in Shock 2’s coffin ships. Spiders are also part of the mix. The true horror lies in the freedom granted to approach these enemies. The game’s agency makes you feel like the architect of your demise, while the absence of railroading allows you to believe that lurking entities in the dark share the same freedom as you.
Pathologic stands alone in its uniqueness. To label it simply as a horror game feels limiting, yet what else could it be? The game unfolds in a diseased town with districts and buildings named after human body parts and functions, creating an unconventional setting. Rather than placing the player character at the core, Pathologic allows you to navigate towards the center in a quest for survival or to unveil the city’s mysteries without catering to your expectations.
The narrative of the city’s demise unfolds across twelve days, offering three distinct perspectives. The meticulously crafted setting and story showcase literary and intelligent qualities in gaming, and the ability to experience them piecemeal reflects Ice-Pick Lodge’s mastery of the medium’s unique aspects. It’s not an overstatement to claim that Pathologic pushed the boundaries of interactive storytelling, a feat noticed by few due to a lack of attention or an inability to replicate its finer qualities.
Get this free horror game for PC on: Itch
It’s best to keep things brief regarding Kitty Horrorshow’s exceptional work, utilizing found footage and lo-fi visuals to craft a horror narrative that compelled me to abandon my home and seek refuge in a hotel for the night. Despite its brevity, the experience unfolds further after the initial playthrough, and I dare anyone to engage with it in the dark, with headphones, and in solitude. While devoid of sudden shocks, Anatomy has a unique atmosphere that can genuinely disturb your sleep if you’re open to its particular brand of dread.
SOMA, Frictional’s second album after the success of Amnesia, proved to be another fantastic horror game. Despite its sci-fi theme and use of futuristic technology, the exploration of self and the unsettling conclusions it draws are chilling. The game’s enduring scariness will linger with you long after playing.
Trapped in an undersea science facility decades after the demise of your loved ones, you encounter haunting amalgamations of man and machine. These sorrowful and frightening entities mutter fragments of half-remembered thoughts or remain oblivious to their human minds encased in automaton bodies. The surroundings feel alive, with walls oozing water and ominous substances. Metal doors and hallways give the unsettling impression of being watched, as if metal could scream. The most horrifying revelation unfolds gradually – the fate of humanity as a species and your own personal transformation.
6. **Alien: Isolation**
Alien: Isolation stands out for faithfully capturing the essence of a film in a gaming experience. I haven’t come across any other game that does it so well. Creative Assembly’s FPS horror masterpiece isn’t just a mix of stealth and scares; it’s a meticulously detailed journey into Ridley Scott’s world from thirty-five years ago. Every detail, from the creature itself to posters and machinery in the Sevastopol, aligns with the Nostromo’s design, creating a captivating and lasting atmosphere.
The game unfolds in a future inhabited by ordinary people, like the working Joes, who earn a living as part of massive space vessels and stations’ crews. Isolation weaves a tale of a terrifying alien made of knives, acid, and a menacing presence wreaking havoc in a sci-fi facility. It’s also a story of a woman seeking answers after losing her mother, and it delves into a declining corporation, power struggles, and the victims of financial competition. The game skillfully intertwines these narratives while delivering one of the year’s most tense and frightening system-driven experiences.
Isolation doesn’t hold back; it’s an unforgiving and even unfair game. The alien will repeatedly bring about your demise. Yet, that’s the true Alien experience – the constant threat of swift death in every encounter.
7. **Stories Untold**
No Code is on this list, partly thanks to The House Abandon. Originally free, it’s a fantastic take on parser-based interactive fiction. The game places you in the shoes of someone playing a game, possibly about someone else playing the same game. It cleverly plays with perception, expectation, and interaction, both chilling and delightfully clever.
But there’s more to No Code than just The House Abandon. Jon McKellan, one of the founders, previously contributed to Alien: Isolation and some of that game’s essence carries into Stories Untold. The love for old-fashioned interfaces seen in Alien’s retro-future is evident in the different tales within Stories Untold. Each tale has its unique mode of interaction, fitting loosely into its own horror sub-genre. No Code consistently surprises genuinely unnerve and stands out as one of the most exciting young studios globally.
Featuring some of the most impressive lighting in a 2D game, Darkwood creates a chilling atmosphere in the shadows of rooms and between trees. Creatures appear suddenly, making eerie noises in the dark, attacking and gnawing on your face or leg until reaching the bone.
Despite appearances in screenshots and videos, Darkwood is not just a crafting/survival game with horror elements. It stands out as a narrative game, a surreal nightmare borrowing elements from RPGs, roguelikes, and survival games yet remaining distinct from any specific genre. At its core, Darkwood is a pure horror game designed to unsettle and surprise players.
This game falls into a rare category, capable of making you cringe from the screen and leaving a lingering sense of dread that returns late at night, creeping into your mind more insidiously.
9. **Condemned: Criminal Origins**
Condemned presents a story about tracking a serial killer, but it quickly transforms into a game centered on violently beating people with a plank. The shift from investigator to murderer is abrupt, and it’s unclear whether the intent is for players to find it amusing as the bodies pile up. The game maintains a serious tone, overlooking the potential for campiness in its absurd plot where everyone turns into angry murderers. Although there are elements involving dead birds and metal shards, Condemned is best appreciated as the ultimate horror-melee experience.
Is there a grittier game setting? Condemned’s city symbolizes the societal pressures that crush the underclass into the dirt and gutters. However, it’s not just a metaphor—it’s an entire game where people are physically ground into the dirt and gutters. Despite most characters not enjoying violence, nearly everyone you encounter is driven to grab a nearby blunt object and bludgeon you until your brains spill out. The atmosphere is oppressively grim, causing some to disengage, numbed by the unchanging filth long before the end. However, for those who can endure the monotonous tone, Condemned is a unique horror game where combat amplifies the terror rather than diminishing it.
10. **The Excavation Of Hob’s Barrow**
The Excavation Of Hob’s Barrow is filled with a strong sense of impending doom. The main character, Thomasina Bateman, a Victorian barrow-digger, tells the story from the future, assuring you she survives. However, it’s clear something terrible happened during her quest to excavate the barrow. Past Thomasina is warned by locals in Bewlay, an isolated town near Bakewell. The player gets cautioned through Thomasina’s narration, but pushing forward is the only way out of this eerie folk horror adventure.
The characters come to life with a full voice cast, and the puzzles range from the strange and mythological to the practical, aligning well with the game’s progression. What stands out in The Excavation Of Hob’s Barrow is the pixel art, pushing the traditional medium for point-and-click games to its limits. Small details in the town contrast with wide shots of the moor, and every scene is teeming with movement. The extreme close-ups leave a lasting impression – the face of a man about to be sick, a cat glaring from the foot of your bed, or a peculiar creature with dark eyes and peg-like teeth. It lingers in your memory, much like Thomasina’s eventual fate. Here’s hoping folk horror continues its resurgence.
11. **Resident Evil Village**
Yet another year brings a fresh addition to the Resident Evil series on this roster. Resident Evil Village, often called Resi 8, follows the adventures of protagonist Ethan, who previously faced the horrific Baker family in Resi 7. Now, a year later, Ethan confronts the inhabitants of a village infested with werewolves and imposing villains residing in their own ominous houses.
The type of horror you prefer matters, but even though the well-regarded Resi 4 has its share of eerie moments, including the unsettling Regenerators, the latest installment introduces one of the most terrifying creatures in the series. This monstrous entity stands apart from the sensation that is Lady Dimitrescu, who achieved pop-culture fame for being exceptionally tall, among other qualities, a rarity in any form of media. Additionally, Village maintains the tradition of subjecting Ethan’s hands to truly dreadful experiences. While the shift from tense survival horror to action-shooter in the final quarter, seen in Resi 7, persists, Village excels in offering some of the finest level and enemy designs in the Resident Evil franchise.
Inscryption is a game centered around building decks and challenging a mysterious figure with glowing eyes. The cards feature animals with various attack styles and ranges. Some cards require sacrificing others before use, and obstacles may emerge on the battlefield, complicating attacks. Winning involves an unusual method—pulling out your teeth. Ignore the knife on the table, and the talking stoat card raises questions: is it trustworthy or trying to deceive you?
This puzzle game lets you leave the card table and explore a peculiar cabin with lockboxes, strange books, and a locked door. The challenge lies in figuring out how to exit. Is it even possible?
Inscryption unfolds as a meta-story, framing the deck-building card-battle game within the narrative of a YouTuber discovering the game in the woods. Playing it leads to strange occurrences.
With various unexpected elements, Inscription keeps you on your toes. The real fun begins when you finally escape the cabin.
13. **Amnesia: Rebirth**
The water monster from Amnesia: The Dark Descent left a lasting impression on horror fans. In 2020, Frictional Games expanded its horror universe with Amnesia: Rebirth. This installment goes beyond the haunted house setup seen in The Dark Descent, featuring tight tunnels, vast alien landscapes, and even surprising moments of bright sunshine.
While Rebirth faces some challenges in wrapping up the intricate, history-spanning narrative of the Amnesia games, it serves as a showcase for Frictional’s decade-long evolution. The locations in Rebirth are multi-layered, demonstrating Frictional’s ability to induce fear in various ways. Although there’s no water monster this time, the game maintains an ever-present threat with monsters tunneling through walls. The storyline delves into body horror and internal threats, ensuring you can never fully relax, even in supposedly safe moments.
14. **Lone Survivor**
Lone Survivor initially appeared as a 2D version of Resident Evil, but as more details emerged, it transformed into a 2D Silent Hill. The fact that the lone developer, Jasper Byrne, was able to break free from these influences and create something unique is impressive. What makes Lone Survivor even more remarkable is its ability to be funny, heartbreaking, and frightening all at once. Similar to Hotline Miami, the game’s soundtrack plays a crucial role in setting the mood and enhancing the overall experience.
The plot of Lone Survivor invites exploration, and despite a somewhat rigid structure, repeated playthroughs unveil new ideas, allowing players to control the pacing. While some scenes are gruesome, the game has a certain warmth. Not everything is lost in Lone Survivor, even in a seemingly lifeless world. Despite monsters, gore, and corpses, the horror ultimately carries a touch of sorrow rather than mere disgust. The game’s atmosphere is enriched by haunting synths, whether the improbable jazz echoing through a decaying and seemingly deserted apartment building or the snap of fingers in a Lynchian dream lodge.
15. **The Evil Within**
The Evil Within is more than just a third-person survival horror game; it embodies the essence of every third-person survival horror experience. From a chaotic beginning, it swiftly transitions to gothic melodrama and Hammer horror, blending apparent science fiction concepts with over-the-top mad doctor tropes that could make even Kenneth Branagh’s shirtless Frankenstein blush. One level introduces invisible foes tracked through curtain movements, puddle ripples, and waves of dynamite-wielding enemies in a blood-soaked showdown against the player and companions.
Despite these diversions and experiments, the game maintains near-perfect pacing, finely-tuned stealth and combat mechanics, and a level of gore that might even make Tom Savini uncomfortable. What’s truly remarkable and easy to overlook is the game’s anthology-like format, allowing it to push the boundaries of survival horror. As the end nears, fresh ideas continue to surface, a trend continued in the DLC, where the player experiences vulnerability before unexpectedly inhabiting the perspective of the box-headed antagonist. Given the extensive exploration within the limited survival horror template by Tango Gameworks, the journey could easily become uneven, but everything seamlessly comes together.
Get this free horror game for PC on: Steam
I’ve discussed Saturnalia so many times that finding new ways to describe it is becoming a challenge. This 80s folk horror unfolds in a make-believe Sardinian mining town named Gravoi. The game places you in control of four outsiders with distinct backgrounds: one new to the town, one attempting to escape, and two returning after lengthy absences. Your objective is to navigate their diverse abilities to survive a single night in Gravoi during the town’s annual folk festival. This year, a menacing masked creature roams the streets, threatening anyone it encounters. You can divert its attention with firecrackers or a flash camera, and your only recourse is to move cautiously, hoping to avoid its appearance.
Gradually, it becomes evident that Gravoi is the true monster, literally and metaphorically. Navigation is a challenge without a map, forcing you to rely on memory to avoid becoming hopelessly lost. If all four characters perish, the streets rearrange, adding to the peril. Figuratively, the locals exhibit secrecy or hostility, driven by a resistance to change that leads to deadly consequences. For those with the grit, the game unveils a web of secrets connecting the town’s past and present: mysterious deaths, clandestine groups, and union conflicts all play a role. The extent of your discoveries before escaping, if you manage to do so, influences the game’s outcome. Adding to its allure, Saturnalia possesses a unique beauty, with bursts of neon lighting providing the only colors in the otherwise monochromatic setting — bright blue lights in the pharmacy, pink mist, and the orange glow of street corner fires. It’s truly captivating.
17. **Dead Space 2**
High-budget horror often falls short. The desire to flaunt financial resources on the screen undermines the mystery and obscurity essential for inducing fear. The original Dead Space threw a barrage of elements at the audience – guts, additional limbs, hallucinations, cult religions, and erratic sci-fi – and was content as long as some of it stuck. Positioned more toward the gun-heavy side of survival horror, it established a compelling setting and a gruesome array of creatures to carve into with lasers. While the ‘tactical’ limb dismemberment might have been overstated, the combat was gratifying, and genuine scares were present.
Dead Space 2 took things to a grander scale. Protagonist Isaac Clarke found his voice (literally – he was silent in the original, aside from distressed grunts and sighs) as the action shifted to The Sprawl, an enormous space station living up to its name. This new setting allowed Visceral to blend the familiar with the strange, guiding Isaac through residential quarters, shopping districts, and more, creating a city-like environment on the outskirts of Titan. This grounding helped balance the game’s extravagant setpieces, but Dead Space 2 thrives because of its excess – it’s boisterous, violent, and paced like a theme park ride. Subtlety might be lacking, but around 80% of what Visceral throws at the screen works effectively.
Crafting weapons won’t save you, and learning patterns won’t help either. In Teleglitch, difficulty itself becomes a terrifying weapon. The visuals, though lo-fi, convey the dreadful situation vividly. Every room and corridor teem with unimaginably horrible things. If your reactions falter, you’ll suffer. Even learning from mistakes doesn’t guarantee safety, as Teleglitch constantly introduces new challenges.
Despite the difficulty, progress is possible, making the situation even more unbearable. As you adapt to treating life as expendable, a moment of confidence arises when you have the right equipment. However, valuing your character and thinking ahead becomes your biggest mistake. The belief in a chance in hell shatters when the game reminds you that hell doesn’t offer opportunities. Teleglitch is like a top-down Doom, portraying a terrified survivor of the Phobos incident rather than a tough space marine.
The concept of electric voice phenomena, capturing spirits’ voices in recordings, is potent. It’s both comforting and frightening, suggesting fragmented communication from beyond. The reassurance lies in the idea that a part of oneself might persist, leaving messages for those left behind. Yet, the terror comes from the possibility that these messages could be warnings or threats, ever-present in the background noise of our lives.
In Sylvio, players collect recordings in an eerie, mist-covered park resembling Silent Hill. The game features a clever interface for manipulating recordings on a reel-to-reel player, altering playback direction and speed. Puzzles vary from clunky and oddly placed to sinister and satisfying. Sylvio’s effectiveness stems from avoiding sudden shocks, opting for a gradually escalating sense of dread. The game creates a quiet cocoon, resisting the temptation to startle players with screams. Instead, it relies on the power of words, forming an almost comforting atmosphere until realization sets in.
20. **My Father’s Long Long Legs**
Get this free horror game for PC on: Itch
Michael Lutz’s brief Twine game unfolds with a nightmare’s eerie pacing and logic. Each choice made unveils the story gradually, contributing to a growing sense of unease. The narrative reaches a climax in a sequence that stretches the limits of the Twine medium. Through the interplay of text, layout tricks, and a simple sound effect (no scream or jumpscare), the game manages to disturb sleep and plant impossible horrors in mind.
Unlike many games on this list that discard psychological elements, My Father’s Long Long Legs avoids revealing a literal monster. Instead, the most unsettling revelation is that the man behind the curtain was, in fact, a man all along. No witchcraft, no magic, no cult, no escapist fantasy. While interpretations may vary, most would agree that My Father’s Long Long Legs taps into an absurd and enduring terror that is oddly familiar—a fear of the known.
The first time I heard about Observer, it seemed really bad – bad in all the wrong ways. I didn’t like the developer’s previous game, Layers Of Fear, which was an art-horror walking sim. The initial press releases talked about exploring unstable minds, and I thought it would rely on cliches about the criminally insane and stereotypical ideas about mental illness.
Surprisingly, I was wrong. Observer is primarily a clever science fiction game, and the horror comes from the setting and characters. It tackles class, poverty, technology, and bureaucracy while featuring what could be real monsters. Most importantly, it’s visually impressive, using mind-hacking to create scenes and distortions that are truly astonishing. Although it does lose its way a bit later on, it doesn’t resort to the cliches and stereotypes I initially worried about.
Get this free horror game for PC on: Steam
A great spooky tale can offer valuable lessons. Detention goes beyond being just a fantastic horror game; it immerses players in a time and location I was unfamiliar with before playing. The protagonists are students stuck in a school after hours, and the threats extend beyond ghosts and ghouls haunting the hallways. Set in 1960s Taiwan during the White Terror martial law period, Detention joins the rich tradition of horror stories that tap into anxieties and atrocities rooted in specific historical, political, and social contexts.
Primarily a point-and-click game, Detention’s side-on perspective and control scheme hint at potential combat or stealth elements. While some sneaking is involved as apparitions roam the corridors and rooms, most of your time is devoted to exploration and puzzle-solving, figuring out the right items to progress through the plot. Although it begins in a school, Detention transports players to other locations—darker, stranger, and, at times, disturbingly plausible.
23. **The Quarry**
Regarding group games, perfect for a popcorn and red laces gathering, The Quarry stands out as a top contender. It’s a specific genre but surprisingly broad, and The Quarry is the latest addition. The gameplay shifts between a group of teenagers, each dealing with their own issues and relationship challenges, who’ve spent the summer working as camp counselors at Hackett’s Quarry. After surviving that experience, they now face the daunting task of spending an entire night in the eerie woods, pursued by monsters.
The gameplay involves a mix of stealthy exploration and timed decision-making in conversations or quick-time events (QTEs). These choices accumulate and can alter the destiny of your group. The characters are fully motion-captured by a captivating cast of actors, including the presence of Ted Raimi. Hello, Ted! The convincing performances add emotional weight, making it genuinely heartbreaking if a character dies. However, some deaths are so absurdly over-the-top and gory that they elicit laughter and respect for the design. Despite leaning into familiar tropes, The Quarry is unafraid to subvert expectations, offering a few surprises.
24. **Old Gods Rising**
Get this free horror game for PC on: Steam
I can’t believe I overlooked Old Gods Rising on this list for so long. It’s a remarkably unsettling game that lingers in both the mind and the gut, standing out as one of the few Lovecraftian games that doesn’t become painfully obvious. You assume the role of a historical consultant for a bold director’s latest film, being shot at Ashgate University. Upon your arrival, Ashgate appears deserted, with filming equipment scattered around but no sign of anyone. Or is there? Did you catch a glimpse of someone in a high-vis vest darting around the corner?
Old Gods Rising consistently keeps you on edge. You’re never certain if you’re the target of an elaborate prank or if something genuinely dreadful is unfolding. After all, it seems quite ambitious for relatively indie film production to construct massive, bizarre temples hidden throughout the university, doesn’t it? Or maybe not. Perhaps you weren’t supposed to stumble upon that bank of monitors linked to cameras still rolling. Or maybe you were. Old Gods Rising is a stellar example of what some might call environmental storytelling, and it deserves much more recognition than it received upon release.
25. **Little Nightmares 2**
Little Nightmares 2 is an excellent sequel to the initial installment and functions as a prequel (no spoilers!). It took some time and a bit of replay to realize that it’s likely superior to the original – more refined, with a more assured atmosphere and more intricately designed adversaries. In this sequel, you step into the shoes of Mono, a boy sporting a paper bag on his head, haunted by nightmares of a tall man and television screens inside his head. You’re accompanied by Six, the protagonist from the first game, though she’s a bit less self-assured at this stage, and both of you must collaborate to navigate this dreary, rain-soaked world.
While the initial game featured eerie adults as hazards, Little Nightmares 2 introduces enemies that represent more direct authority figures (such as a Teacher with a long, snaking neck), school bullies, or unsettling metaphors—groups of faceless, TV-addicted adults forming mobs. The game also includes numerous references to the self, maintaining the theme from Little Nightmares, where monsters hit close to home.
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