The creepiest games don’t always have photorealistic graphics. Sometimes, the most terrifying titles are the ones that require you to use your imagination. The best pixel horror games often use simplistic graphics to lure you into a sense of false security.

The ten games listed below might not look frightening at first glance, but they prove that pixel art can be genuinely horrifying. (But if pixel art isn’t really your thing, you should check out our list of the ten scariest games on PS4 instead.)

Sweet Home

Released on the Famicom in 1989, Sweet Home is the oldest game on this list by far. This creepy RPG is set inside a massive mansion with a deadly past. While the graphics may be simplistic, the story is extremely dark, and there’s plenty of implied and pixelated gore. Sweet Home has also had a lasting influence on gaming; it was one of the primary inspirations for Resident Evil.

Sweet Home was never released in western markets, but there are fan-translated roms lurking around the web.

The Last Door

If you’re a fan of Lovecraftian horror, The Last Door is a must-play. This episodic point-and-click adventure game asks you to investigate an ancient evil in Victorian England. With each secret you uncover, you’re plunged deeper into a world of horror and madness. Not only does this game have a terrific plot, but it plays with interactive storytelling in very interesting ways.

The Last Door is available on PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Yume Nikki

Sometimes, the scariest things are the ones you don’t understand. In cult classic Yume Nikki, players can explore 12 strange and surreal dream worlds. The game has no dialogue or jump scares, but its bizarre environments are incredibly unnerving. A 3D remake of Yume Nikki was released in 2018, but it can’t match the original when it comes to atmosphere or scares.

The original Yumi Nikki is available on PC.

The Witch’s House MV

At first, The Witch’s House feels like a fairy tale. You play as a young girl named Viola that discovers a manor in the middle of the woods. Once you step inside, you’ll find that the house is far more it seems. There are deadly traps throughout the manor, and grisly deaths are never too far away. Although this game was originally released as freeware, the remake, The Witch’s House MV, is the superior experience.

The Witch’s House MV is available for iOS, Android, and PC.

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor was originally released in 2012, but it feels more relevant today than ever. You play as a masked man trapped in a town ravaged by disease. The game doesn’t contain jump scares, but the oppressive environment and moody score are seriously unsettling. If you’re a fan of Silent Hill or other atmospheric horror titles, this game is worth checking out.

Lone Survivor is available on PC, PlayStation Vita, PS3, and PS4.

Corpse Party

Corpse Party might be my all-time favorite pixel horror game. It follows a group of students who find themselves trapped in an otherworldly school that reeks of death. Corpse Party takes full advantage of its pixelated graphics, telling a violent story that would be hard to bear if the game looked a little more realistic. While the sequels are hit or miss, the original game is a horror classic.

Corpse Party is available on PC, Sony PSP, and Nintendo 3DS. If you have the option to play the PSP or 3DS versions of this title, take advantage of it. These are the better versions of the game.

Ib

If you’re a fan of Yume Nikki, and you’ve been searching a game that offers a similar experience, Ib might just scratch that itch. During a visit to an art gallery, a young girl name Ib finds herself completely alone. The more she explores, the more demented and horrifying the gallery becomes.

Ib is a freeware game. You can download a translated version here.

Mad Father

In Mad Father, you play as an adorable little girl investigating the deadly research laboratory of her own father. Mad Father is fairly short — you can beat the whole game in around three hours — but the story is packed with surprises. With multiple endings, you’ll also have a reason to explore this creepy lab more than once.

Mad Father is available on PC. There is an upcoming remake scheduled to be released on PC and Nintendo Switch.

Distraint

The visuals in Distraint can be a little off-putting at first. Every character has a tiny body and an oversized head, making them look more like Fisher-Price toys than actual people. Once you start playing the game, however, you’ll find that it’s surprisingly chilling. While Distraint can be darkly humorous, it can also be genuinely scary.

Distraint is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Viviette

Viviette was released in 2018, but it feels a little like a lost Super Nintendo game. In this Clock Tower-esque horror game, you must explore a large, dilapidated mansion that’s packed with challenging puzzles. The monsters in Viviette can appear at any time, which means you’re always a little on edge. Viviette has multiple endings, as well as plenty of hidden secrets.

Viviette is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.

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Phạm Sỹ Thành
3 months ago

Hey, what about imscared?

Leafy
Leafy
2 months ago

I started playing ‘DISTRAINT’ its horrifying, 10/10 recommend

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