10 Very Scary Indie Games to Play in the Dark

the void ice pick lodge

Games don’t necessarily need a big budget to deliver huge scares. Some of the most frightening games ever made were crafted by tiny teams with minimal resources. If you’re looking for some very scary indie games to play in the dark, this list is packed with spooky suggestions.

If you’ve already played through smash hits like Amnesia, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Inside, and you’re looking for games you might have missed, you’ll find plenty of options below. These 10 terrifying titles can deliver the thrills and chills you’re looking for.

Monstrum

Monstrum offers a traditional survival horror experience with a compelling twist: The levels you’ll be exploring are procedurally generated, and death is permanent. You’ll never know quite what to expect from Monstrum, which means the game will always keep you on edge. It’s a tense and addictive experience that you’ll struggle to pull yourself away from.

Monstrum is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Detention

Detention PS4

Detention is full of supernatural horrors, but some of its hardest-hitting scares are based in reality. It’s set in 1960s Taiwain, when the country was under martial law. Not only will this game get your heart pounding, but it might bring you to tears. If you’re a fan of horror games with strong stories, Detention is a must-play title.

Detention is available on PC, Mac, Android, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

Anatomy

Like many great horror stories, Anatomy begins in an abandoned home. However, you shouldn’t expect a traditional haunted house story from this weird little horror gem. What starts out as a fairly mundane exploration game slowly becomes a story about how any space can feel terrifying, even a place that should feel familiar. It’s the kind of game that will haunt your thoughts long after you’ve stopped playing.

Anatomy is available for PC and Mac. It’s available to download on itch.io.

Paratopic

Paratopic is a game that won’t take up much of your time. It has no save features and is designed to be played in a single sitting. But while Paratopic may be lacking in length, it has no shortage of scares or memorability. If you’re the sort of person that gets freaked out by David Lynch movies, Paratopic is the perfect horror game for you.

Paratopic is available on PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.

Darkwood

Darkwood PS4

If you’re a fan of the “survival” part of “survival horror,” you’ll fall in love with Darkwood, a top-down game that’s both punishing and terrifying. This is a game that eschews hand-holding and forces you to face off against nightmare after nightmare if you want to stay alive. At times, Darkwood can seem unfair, especially when you first start playing. However, if you stick with it, you’ll find an experience that’s as rewarding as it is blood-curdling.

Darkwood is available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Doki Doki Literature Club!

Doki Doki Literature Club! may not look like a horror title, but it has plenty of scares lurking beneath its saccharine surface. DDLC might start out as a fairly generic visual novel, but it isn’t too long before it turns into something else entirely. If you’ve already played through DDLC, and you’re looking for an indie game that offers similar scares, make sure you check out Irisu Syndrome as well.

Doki Doki Literature Club! is available for free on PC and Mac.

Visage

Visage is a survival horror game set in a home with a horrible history. The house, which seems to be constantly changing, has been the site of grisly murders, suicides, and many other terrible incidents. Although this game doesn’t go for cheap jump scares, it can be pretty intense, and you might have to step away a few times before you get to the bottom of the game’s many mysteries.

Visage is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Cry of Fear

Cry of Fear began as a Half-Life mod, but it’s gone on to become something bigger and scarier. In this psychological horror title, you play as a young man exploring a seemingly deserted Scandinavian town. While you’ll have weapons to fight off the creatures that attack you, you’ll never feel like you’re in control of the situation. It delivers a nightmarish, cinematic experience that’s absolutely dripping with atmosphere.

Cry of Fear is available on PC. It offers single-player and co-op play.

The Void

Developed by Ice-Pick Lodge, the creators of the cult classic Pathologic, The Void is unlike anything else you’ve played before. Take a fever dream, add in a pinch of cosmic horror and some resource management, and you’ll be left with a title that defies explanation. The Void has plenty of scares, but more than anything else, it’s a game for people that cherish unique experiences. It’s not for everyone, but it’s impossible to forget.

The Void is available on PC. If you haven’t played Ice-Pick Lodge’s other games, like Pathologic and Knock-Knock, make sure you check out those titles as well.

Penumbra

If you’re a fan of the Amnesia series and SOMA, you’ll want to make sure you check out Frictional Game’s first series, Penumbra. This episodic horror series is a little less polished than later titles from Frictional, but it’s still got plenty of creepy charm. While Penumbra does allow you to fight back against the monsters you encounter, this isn’t a game you should play for its combat. If you want to make it out of Penumbra alive, you’ll have to rely on your wits and know when to run away.

The Penumbra games are available on both PC and Mac.

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