It is officially the case that everyone loves gaming now. Everyone loves horror too – well everyone around here anyway. Even allowing for the fact that fright-filled fun is a bit more of a ‘marmite’ experience than gaming, there is still considerable public appetite for games that tap into the horror genre.
That applies in reverse as well. Some really top notch horror films have used gaming as a subject matter. Overall, the dark spooky atmospherics and sharp shocks of horror are very well suited to the immersive nature of games. It renders them even more potent in their impact upon the unsuspecting player.
So what are the games that have made the best use of them to scare the living daylights out of gamers during 2023? That is what we will discover in this article.
This is a casino slot game that takes vampirism as its theme and brings it to life with lashings of gloomy gothic atmosphere. It was produced by NetEnt, which is one of the top online slot developers, and the result is a shockingly good game.
There are vampires, hammers, stakes and other suitable images on the reels, as well as blood curdling audio screams. There are also no less than four bonus games that push the theme – and the chills – even further.
If it all sounds a bit too scary for your tastes, you can always try a less morbid game like bingo. There are even sites with instructions on how to play bingo for getting you started.
Resident Evil 4
This has to be the top 2023 horror game for the PlayStation 5 and is a partial reboot of the successful franchise. The basic idea of a man trying to save the daughter of the president in an eerie, isolated setting is still the same, but the monsters are different.
This time around they are members of a creepy cult whose leader is a terrifying parasitical creature. The zombies that dominated previous instalments are still there too though, so this fourth game really ramps up the threats.
Alan Wake 2
Here is another sequel and another one that is much more genuinely scary than what came before. The original Alan Wake game had a low-level sense of horror, but it was in the background, whereas in this game it is right up front and centre.
You switch between playing as author Wake, who is trapped within a nightmarish dimension, and Saga Anderson, an agent for the FBI tracking ritual killers. That makes for a disorientating experience and adds to the surreal feel of the game.
You are never quite sure what is really happening and what is just a dark dreamscape. Alan Wake 2 plunges the gamer into a weird world of unpredictable terrors.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo
This game for Nintendo Switch inhabits the subtle ghostly side of horror rather than the gorier side with the zombies and aliens. It is set in Japan during the 1980s and the storyline seems to owe something to that country’s mythology – though it has probably just been made up for the game.
The seven characters are locked in a battle with curses and are trying to get wishes realised through the Rite of Resurrection ritual. That intriguing story is one of the reasons it is a top horror title, but not the only one.
Another reason why we rate this game so highly is the anime-inspired graphics that it uses throughout. They help to tie it closely to that aspect of Japanese pop culture and with anime having lots of fans in the west; they have helped to make it a hit here.
Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 is the polar opposite of Paranormasight; trading the complex mysterious qualities of that game for a straightforward battle of survival against a zombie army.
Whereas a rival such as Left 4 Dead features multiple game levels to progress through, Killing Floor 2 takes a more simple approach. It is just a tense fight to survive and wipe out the enemy, but that makes it a fantastic choice for some Friday night gaming with a friend.
Sometimes all you want to do at the end of the week is enter a dark, futuristic world and shoot it out with the undead. There is something viscerally satisfying about a game like this when it is done well and Killing Floor 2 gets it right.
That has made it another popular gaming choice among horror fans this year.
These are the games that people who love horror movies and television shows have been turning to for their fix of gaming scares. There is still time to try them if you have missed out so far.