Living a peaceful and reasonable life is something we often strive for, but even the calmest of us sometimes need an adrenaline shot to feel alive again. There are multiple ways to satisfy this need, with most of them being some kind of extreme sports, such as bungee jumping or skydiving.

Some of us also like to argue – being involved in quarrels also increases adrenaline. However, if all of this is not your cup of tea, then there is an alternative way to experience an adrenaline rush and it’s simply playing a good horror video game. But which one to choose?

Now that you know what survival horror is, let’s take a look at some of the best horror games available.

The Best Survival Horror Games

GameRelease yearGenreDeveloperCheck price below

Alien: Isolation
alien-isolation-box-30-10-2019.jpg2014Survival HorrorCreative AssemblyBuy now!

The Forest
The forest 2018 game cover2018Survival HorrorEndnight GamesBuy now!

F.E.A.R.
fear-game-cover-25-10-2019.jpg2005FPSMonolith ProductionsBuy now!

Dead Space
Dead Space2008Survival HorrorEA Redwood ShoresBuy now!

Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: Collection logo box2010Survival HorrorFrictional GamesBuy now!

Dying Light
Dying Light - cover2015Action-AdventureTechlandBuy now!

Alan Wake
Alan Wake - cover2010Action-AdventureRemedy EntertainmentBuy now!

The Long Dark
The Long Dark2017SurvivalHinterland StudioBuy now!

Lone Survivor
Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut - cover2013Survival HorrorSuperflat GamesBuy now!

Left 4 Dead
Left for Dead2008FPSValve SouthBuy now!

Outlast
Outlast - cover2013Survival HorrorRed BarrelsBuy now!

Silent Hill: Homecoming
Silent Hill: Homecoming2008Survival HorrorDouble Helix GamesBuy now!

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil: Biohazard2017Survival HorrorCapcomBuy now!

Dead by Daylight
Dead by Light 2016Survival HorrorBehaviour InteractiveBuy now!

The Evil Within
The Evil Within2014Survival HorrorTango GameworksBuy now!

Alien: Isolation

Release year:2014
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Creative Assembly

Alien: Isolation is one of the perfect examples you don’t need a stream of jump scares in order to make someone terrified. You are playing Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, on her errand to uncover the fate of her missing mother.

Alien: Isolation - gameplay

The game takes place on a space station, far from civilization and with no way to get help from the outside. The title relies on creating an insecure and claustrophobic atmosphere – it builds tension thanks to the presence of deadly enemies, including the titular alien, who must be avoided at all cost. It’s not the look of the alien that’s scariest – it’s the fact that he is smart and he can be anywhere you don’t suspect him to be.

Key features


  • The advanced artificial intelligence of the alien
  • Difficult and challenging gameplay
  • Highly focused on stealth and sneaking

The Forest

Release year:2018
Genre:Survival
Developer:Endnight Games

The Forest is not exactly a horror game, but it will leave you shaking anyway. It starts on a heavily forested island – you survived the plane crash, and now you need to find rescue.

The Forest - gameplay

Unfortunately, the area seems to be inhabited by a hostile tribe, and as if that wasn’t enough, one of its members kidnapped your child. As a result, before attempting to leave the place, you will need to find and help your son. In terms of scare factor, nights are the scariest, as the enemies become more aggressive and harder to see.

Key features


  • Basic needs management, including hunger, thirst, and sanity
  • Possibility of building constructions and crafting many useful items
  • Open world and full day and night cycle

F.E.A.R.

Release year:2005
Genre:FPS
Developer:Monolith Productions

F.E.A.R. may not be the most up-to-date horror video game out there, but despite being released over a decade ago, it didn’t lose its ability to scare people, especially if you play at night.

F.E.A.R. gameplay

As a member of First Encounter Assault Recon you are tasked with eliminating the threat in the form of Replicas – telepathically controlled clone supersoldiers. The game focuses on combat with use of both traditional and sci-fi firearms, and the fear factor comes from your protagonist’s increasingly strong hallucinations, involving a mysterious girl, Alma.

Key features


  • Protagonist’s superhuman reflexes enable the use of slow motion
  • A wide array of both real-world and fictional firearms
  • Enemies may use advanced tactics, such as shooting suppressing fire, creating covers, or flanking the player

Dead Space

Release year:2008
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:EA Redwood Shores

If you are looking for a great survival horror video game, you can’t simply pass the Dead Space from 2018 indifferently, as it was often cited as one of the greatest video games of all times.

Dead Space - gameplay

In Dead Space, it is 2508 and you are playing as engineer Isaac Clarke who is sent to investigate the distress signal received from the nearby mining starship. Soon enough you will discover the ship is infested with an alien scourge, and the investigation mission changes into a fight for your own life.

Key features


  • Claustrophobic setting leaving you all alone in the space
  • Great visuals, including the detailed environment and the hostile creatures
  • Gore gameplay involving cutting of aliens’ limbs

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Release year:2010
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Frictional Games

Amnesia: The Dark Descent will try to make you terrified by throwing you right into the dark castle filled with gatherers. These gruesome humanoids have only one purpose – to hunt you down.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent - gameplay

In Amnesia you have no access to weapons, which leaves you helpless and defenseless. You need to rely on your sneaking and running skills, but you can also utilize physics to gain an advantage. Use chairs to make a barricade, or throw them to stun your enemies.

Key features


  • Focused purely on sneaking – no weapons are available
  • Physics-based puzzles and possibility to manipulate certain environmental objects
  • Sanity mechanics requires finding a balance between staying in and outside of the shadows

Dying Light

Release year:2015
Genre:Action-Adventure
Developer:Techland

If you ever wanted to play the game that combines Assassin’s Creed with Dead Island, then you should check this one.

Dying Light - zombies

Dying Light is unique because it brings parkour to the zombie-apocalypse environment, which in combination with the open-world nature of the title. It gives players much more freedom in tackling the awaiting challenges. The game also features an addictive multiplayer mode, which gives you the possibility to play either as a survivor or as a powerful zombie invading other people’s servers.

Key features


  • A huge open world filled with hostile zombies
  • Fluid parkour movement which allows climbing the roofs
  • Dynamic weather as well as day and night cycle

Alan Wake

Release year:2010
Genre:Action-Adventure
Developer:Remedy Entertainment

Alan Wake is a novelist and author of best-selling thrillers. The game tells his story as he tries to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of his wife.

Alan Wake - protagonist

During his journey, he will experience events from his own books, though he won’t even remember writing them. The core of gameplay focuses on fighting the darkness which takes over people and turns them against Alan. Defeating them requires use of flashlight, as well as other environmental light sources, such as streetlights or car’s headlights.

Key features


  • The game inspired by works of kings of horrors – S. King and A. Hitchcock
  • Unique combat mechanic involves using light to purify the enemies possessed by darkness
  • The episodic format creates excellent pace

The Long Dark

Release year:2017
Genre:Survival
Developer:Hinterland Studio

In The Long Dark, it’s not the gruesome creatures that you will be scared of. In fact, there are none, not counting the wolves.

The Long Dark - wolves

Instead, the game puts a strong emphasis on classic survival aspects, forcing you to take care of your basic needs, such as hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The game is set in the cold and snowy world, so finding the warm clothing will also be required to survive. Soon enough you will realize, that long dark nights may be as scary as bloodthirsty aliens.

Key features


  • Basic needs management, including hunger, thirst, fatigue, temperature, and calories
  • Scavenging and simple crafting
  • Two playable modes: story and sandbox

Lone Survivor

Release year:2012
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Superflat Games

Lone Survivor made its entry to the list because of its pixelated graphics, making it a quite different title in comparison to the rest, but the game has more to offer than retro visuals.

Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut

The city you’ll be playing in was infected, turning all of its residents into mindless zombies. You are presumably the last living man and you are out of supplies, which forces you to leave your apartment to scavenge. As if that wasn’t enough, you will also experience hallucinations and paranormal events.

Key features


  • Retro-styled 2D graphics
  • A post-apocalyptic world filled with hostile zombies and simple puzzles
  • Multiple alternative endings

Left 4 Dead

Release year:2008
Genre:FPS
Developer:Valve South

If you are looking for a horror game that could be played together with friends, then Left 4 Dead is the obvious choice – it allows to experience the entire story for a group of up to 4 people simultaneously.

Left 4 Dead - gameplay

If human players are unavailable, you can get a helping hand from the computer, who will control the other characters, though then the game may be slightly harder – Left 4 Dead puts a strong emphasis on cooperation, and CPU players are not the best at sticking to your plan.

Key features


  • Game for up to 4 people playing together
  • Zombie apocalypse setting
  • Strongly focuses on teamwork

Outlast

Release year:2013
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Red Barrels

Outlast is definitely not a game for a faint of heart, as it involves a lot of blood and gore. As an investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, you will be tasked to check on the psychiatric hospital, where reportedly inhuman experiments are being conducted.

Outlast - zombie

The hospital with its residents creates a very unsettling atmosphere, which adds a great value to the scary part of the game. You are a simple journalist, so you can’t fight the enemies – you will need to resort to hiding, instead.

Key features


  • An immersive story in a claustrophobic setting
  • Gameplay full of blood and viscera
  • Focused on stealth tactics and hiding

Silent Hill: Homecoming

Release year:2008
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Double Helix Games

Silent Hill: Homecoming, the sixth installment in the Silent Hill series also made its way to our list. As a Special Forces soldier, Alex Shepherd, you will investigate the fate of your missing brother, leading you to discover the source of evil haunting the town of Silent Hill.

Silent Hill Homecoming - gameplay

On your journey, you will meet grotesque freaky creatures trying to take you down, and you will have only a limited amount of supplies to fight them back.

Key features


  • Gruesome monsters, for which the series is known for
  • Eerie setting and numerous puzzles
  • 5 alternative endings, based on your choices

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Release year:2017
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Capcom

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard tells the story of Ethan Winters, who goes to investigate the seemingly abandoned house mentioned in the message he’s got from his missing wife, Mia.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - the main characters

Luckily she finds her, but soon enough he will realize that they are not alone there. For the first time in the series, developers decided to go for a first-person camera, which positively affects the immersion. The title involves a lot of supernatural events and creatures, as well as simple puzzles to solve and numerous collectibles waiting to be found.

Key features


  • First-person perspective
  • Numerous puzzles to solve
  • Tense exploration-based gameplay

Dead by Daylight

Release year:2016
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Behaviour Interactive

This is another viable option if you want to have some fun with friends. Dead by Daylight is played exclusively online – one of the players will play the role of a killer, while the rest will become survivors.

Dead by Daylight - the protagonist

Killer’s role is to kidnap and sacrifice the others to the Entity while they are trying to power the exit gates and escape. What makes the game interesting is the fact, that there are multiple different perks available, as well as different killer characters available to play, each with its own unique ability.

Key features


  • Gameplay consisting of 1 vs. 4 online matches
  • Loadout customization, including perks and add-ons
  • Multiple distinctive killers to choose from

The Evil Within

Release year:2014
Genre:Survival Horror
Developer:Tango Gameworks

The last position on our list takes The Evil Within. The scary factor comes mainly from the unreal locations inhabited by horrifying creatures and perfectly executed jump scares.

The Evil Within - the protagonist

Though you can use various firearms to get past most of the enemies, the ammunition is very limited and hard to find, forcing you to find a balance between fighting, sneaking, and using environmental objects to your advantage.

Key features


  • Access to firearms, though ammunition is scarce
  • Upgradeable abilities
  • Dynamically transforming game world filled with lots of collectibles

Summary

Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure video games, where you are often left unarmed or with very limited ammunition to increase the feeling of overwhelming helplessness. Usually, you need to resort to running and hiding, sneaking past your enemies, and running for your life. You may be sometimes able to utilize environmental objects to gain an advantage, but fighting is not an option in most cases. This is further emphasized by purposedly making the main character weaker than he could be in typical action games, here being able to withstand only a few hits before being knocked out.

Survival horrors can take place in both open and closed areas, with the first being generally favored by games set in the zombie apocalypse world. Some titles may incorporate traditional survival elements, like forcing you to take care of your basic needs, such as hunger and thirst. This is often combined with the ability to craft items and scavenge for supplies. Settings may vary, and here only developers’ imagination is the limit. These may be, for example, paranormal activities, supernatural events, gruesome monsters, and the introduction of gore elements.

Dying Light - the protagonist

Games representing the survival horror genre are the way to go if you are in need of adrenaline shot. They will try to surprise you in many different ways in order to achieve their goal, which is leaving you shivering. They will either force you to run for your life or give you a weapon to make you feel safer at first, only to reveal a few moments later, that your gun is practically useless, leaving you helpless and defenseless anyway.

Horror games come in various shapes and sizes, and as technology develops, we can only expect them to be even better in the future – it’s safe to assume the genre won’t go away anytime soon, as it perfectly fills its niche and developers keep finding new creative ways to entertain us.