Walking simulators are games that require the player to take a slightly more passive role than conventional games of other genres, often lacking elements of combat in favour of focusing more on style than substance. The stories are often rich, deep, and brilliant but drip-fed to you through environmental exploration and exposition while having to juggle your interests and keep you playing.
Although walking simulators are becoming more mainstream and successful (partially due to the success of Death Stranding), the genre of game excels at horror. These creepy, scary, and atmospheric games will give horror junkies an experience that few genres can provide.
10 Blair Witch: A Terror In The Woods
Blair Witch tasks you with controlling a former Police Officer, Ellis, accompanied by his canine companion in the investigation of a boy's disappearance. Blair Witch drip feeds the story through the use of puzzles that you have to solve, all while paying homage to horror tropes and the original subject matter.
As you attempt to traverse the endless and winding forest, you are left to face the supernatural horrors that are waiting for them. Blair Witch is a great example of how a slow-paced horror game can be truly scary.
9 IMSCARED: A Pixelated Nightmare
Criminally underrated, and with no right to be as scary as it is, IMSCARED defies the constraints of Indie Development and makes something truly terrifying. The PS2-style pixelated meta horror game breaks the fourth wall with its unique story.
If the terrifying antagonist fails to give you a scare, the interaction between the game and the player surely will. To navigate through the game and make it to the end, you must manually go into your game files and follow the puzzles or commands given. IMSCARED is the definition of a horrifying hidden gem.
8 Death Stranding: Deliver Packages Or Hide In Fear
Although scary, Death Stranding is still genre-defying. By controlling Sam Porter Bridges in a beautiful, vast, and sometimes frightening United Cities of America, players are tasked to deliver packages all across the landscape.
Although sounding simple enough, the presence of the B.Ts and mindbending nightmare sequences can turn a lovely stroll into hiding behind a rock in a suspended breath while avoiding detection.
7 Layers Of Fear: Art Has Never Been Scarier
Layers Of Fear creates two very distinct feelings: the feeling of not being alone and that, at all times, something is waiting around the corner. Left in a shroud of mystery, you are tasked with uncovering what is happening as you explore the mansion, with elements of story discoverable throughout.
With a supernatural presence creating a sense of paranoia, Layers Of Fear’s twisted story becomes clearer and clearer. Taking its time with the gameplay, the game is able to gradually make every subtle change or happening feel electrifying scary.
6 Amnesia: The Dark Descent: Mind-Bending And Nail-Biting
As many players’ first introduction to horror games, Amnesia is the epitome of 'story over gameplay.' You'll traverse Castle Brennenburg as Daniel, learning why Amnesia is the embodiment of why people are afraid of the dark.
You're tasked with physics-based puzzles and the management of health, inventory, and sanity. With Daniel’s fear of the dark, players often have to find light sources while avoiding the sight of monsters. Stuck between the darkness (and sanity loss) or certain death, Amnesia encourages those who brave it to sleep with the lights on.
5 Observor_: A Cyberpunk Nightmare
Set in a bleak, dystopian Poland, players control Detective Daniel Lazarski. While investigating the disappearance of his son, you must manually delve into the memories of all suspects residing in the brutal tenement building.
Stuck in a cybernetic skid row, Observer forces you to continue your investigation and confront the horrors of everyday life. It makes those who play it suffer through the oppressive and frightening atmosphere against the backdrop of a horrific future.
4 SOMA: Under The Sea And Under Your Skin
SOMA's strength is the sheer feeling of loss. Leaving the player to piece together how they’ve jumped from a man going into surgery to a man in an underwater mechanical base, the feeling that someone is always watching can never be shaken.
The distinct sense of confusion and helplessness that SOMA evokes in those playing it is truly terrifying. While tasked to hide from deadly monsters and delve into an existential crisis about identity, SOMA takes psychological horror to another level and will stay with you long after completion.
3 Visage: A Paranormal Taste Of Fear
Often referred to as the game that P.T could have been, Visage combines the passivity of the walking simulator with the heavy, imposing atmosphere of a supernatural force intent on breaking down of sanity.
Asking you to fully explore the house while balancing your sanity, Visage keeps you fully engaged as more and more of the twisted story is revealed. By having to avoid death while trying to find a way around the house, Visage is a game that will have players checking every closet around their own home.
2 Outlast: The Game That Left So Many Shaken
There aren’t many games that can leave you exhausted, however, Outlast is certainly one of the few. Set in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, you're tasked with investigating the strange happenings before soon realizing what a huge mistake this was.
With a terrifying cast of unique characters and antagonists, all you can do is run or hide, solely relying on the light from your camera in the dark, which is constantly losing battery. Outlast will leave you sweating with fear after each encounter.
1 P.T: An Untimely End But A Timeless Mark On Horror History
Often referred to as one of the best horror games of all time, P.T's short, sweet and scary story leaves players shaking many years after its release. You finds yourself in an endless corridor and, as the story slowly pieces itself together, your bravery will probably soon fall apart.
Kojima was able to create a horror masterpiece through the foreboding atmosphere and impeccable sound design. Though cancelled, P.T’s ability to make such a name and legacy for itself with only a short demo is truly the sign of a horror masterpiece.
The student who acquired the drive has been given a life sentence and others who watched it will do five years hard labor.