"Wouldn't you like to see something strange?"

If you’re like me, you enjoy a good scare from time to time. And if you’re really like me (sorry), you prefer for those scares to come from video games rather than from movies. With movies, you’re just a passive observer watching people make bad decisions. In video games, you’re forced to make those decisions yourself. Even if the game requires you to do so, you’re still the one walking into the dark cellar.

Now that we’re into the spookiest time of the year, we thought we’d feed this fervor for fear with a roundup of the best horror games we’ve reviewed in 2023. Whether you prefer to be creeped out or completely terrified, there’s something for everyone. Take a look at these titles (and our review ratings) to try out this Halloween.

Chasing Static – 7/10
Chasing Static is a psychological horror game in which you play a character who stumbles upon a failed research facility. These always mean trouble, this time caused by a surrounding energy field that can make people slowly lose their mind. Recovering the equipment to fix the field and discovering what happened won’t take the player more than a few hours, but it’s a mostly fun, constantly creepy time while it lasts.

Darq Ultimate Edition – 7/10
Set in the twisted hellscape of a lucid nightmare, DARQ Ultimate Edition blends physics-warping puzzles with a rich, haunting atmosphere reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie. Can you help Lloyd escape the nightmare realm?

Decarnation – 7/10
Decarnation is a unique, pixel art horror puzzler that tries to make sense of the main character’s emotional breakdown in ways that don’t make sense. The game never stops going to places you won’t anticipate, in ways you won’t expect. It continuously surprises and challenges, and offers numerous moments of psychological terror.

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow – 7/10
The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow plunges you into a mystery in the rolling countryside of Victorian England. This short, point-and-click puzzler takes place over the course of three days, but feels like it’s reaching for much bigger things. The game effectively uses the setting, style and folklore of Victorian Britain to immerse you in a distinctly creepy plot.

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse – 7/10
Ten years ago, five young girls disappeared after participating in a traditional Japanese festival. Although they were eventually found, they had no memory of what happened, save for a lingering melody. The island’s residents themselves would soon thereafter meet a more grisly fate. Now, two of the girls have been found dead. Two others then turn up missing after returning to the island, so you head off in pursuit. Your only weapon? A camera used to release the souls of the dead. It’s a perfect setup for scary, ghost-hunting (and avoiding) fun.

Ib – 7/10
Ib is a surprising experience people should check out if they want a pixel-art title with an extremely creepy atmosphere. The game makes you feel uncomfortable around every corner, and builds tension whenever you go near any painting. The puzzles—the main “meat and potatoes” of Ib—are also quite clever, even if a few of them lose the cleverness for a trial-and-error approach.

Homebody – 7.5/10
Homebody is a horror puzzle/adventure in which you must escape a house filled not only with old friends and awkward conversations, but also a murderer. The combination of puzzle solving and detection avoidance combine for a tense but accessible—and surprisingly emotional—experience.

Subnet: Escape Room Adventure – 7.5/10
In SUBNET – Escape Room Adventure, you have to solve puzzles in an escape room approach in order to progress and save the subway from a vicious terrorist attack. It’s not the most original puzzle game out there, but the eerie environment and diverse puzzles make for a fun time that’s perfectly suited for Halloween weekend gaming sessions.

Bramble: The Mountain King – 8/10
The horror adventure game, Bramble: The Mountain King, effectively contrasts terrifying imagery with the pastoral scenery of its Nordic setting. The horror elements do not rely on loud noises and jump-scare tactics, but are maintained by the whole situation; you will encounter situations related to murder, suicide, infanticide, human sacrifice, demonology, and other forms of malevolence (not to mention gore) in this captivating dark fairy tale.

Whether you choose to try one of these, a horror game we didn’t review, or a new release we haven’t gotten to yet, always remember—if the book is written in a language you don’t understand, best not to read it out loud.