Do you sit on the edge of your seat when playing a finely-deved atmospheric indie horror game, biting your nails to the quick?

We do, each and every time, and we certainly did when we played Little Nightmares. A brave thin-legged girl named Six, donning yellow raincoat, caused us a series of heart attacks while finding her way out of the maze called Maw.

Having overused our defibrillator and OD’ed on adrenaline, we decided to come up with a list of similar titles. Without further ado, here it is.

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Inside 2016-07-07 Adventure Playdead
Detention 2017-01-12 Adventure RedCandleGames
Limbo 2011-08-02 Adventure Playdead
Among The Sleep Enhanced Edition 2014-05-29 Adventure Krillbite Studio
Machinarium 2009-10-16 Adventure Amanita Design
Bendy and the Ink Machine 2017-04-27 Indie Kindly Beast
Sally Face EPISODES 2, 3, 4 + Pre-Order 5 2016-12-14 Adventure Portable Moose
Omori 2020-12-25 Indie OMOCAT, LLC
Little Misfortune 2019-09-18 Adventure Killmonday Games AB
The Medium 2021-01-28 Horror Bloober Team SA
Fran Bow 2015-08-27 Adventure Killmonday Games AB
Celeste 2018-01-25 Adventure Matt Makes Games Inc.
Outlast 2013-09-04 Adventure Red Barrels
Outlast 2 2017-04-25 Adventure Red Barrels
Neverending Nightmares 2014-09-26 Adventure Infinitap Games
Bendy And The Ink Machine 2017-04-27 Indie Kindly Beast
Among The Sleep Enhanced Edition 2014-05-29 Adventure Krillbite Studio
The Dark Pictures Anthology House Of Ashes 2021-10-22 Horror Supermassive Games

Omori

Release date:2020-12-25
Genre:Indie
Developer:OMOCAT, LLC

We kick off our list with the freshest title, although the game itself looks like it’s been pulled out of a basket called “forgotten late 80’s Mega Drive games”.

Omori tells the story of a teenage boy named Sunny who has an alter ego – Omori – in a dream realm called Headspace.

With its sources rooted deep in a Japanese role-playing game, Omori is a mishmash of concepts and ideas. There is a twisted plot – Japanese style – to unravel, a vibrant pixelized vaporwave-like aesthetics combined with glitchy intrusions of darker styles, as well as original battle mode. The graphics resembles that of a 16-bit era, and the overall quality gives you an impression of something post-post-modern going on in front of your screen. Very original, very riveting, although not for everyone.

Key features
  • A fascinating blend of concepts
  • Role-playing is always cool
  • Really wild aesthetics
  • A twisted Japanese plot devices

Machinarium

Release date:2009-10-16
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Amanita Design

Welcome to the world where everything is made of metal and everyone is a robot.

In Machinarium we take on a role of a friendly little robot, who has been thrown out of the city and dumped on a scrapheap, only to discover a dastardly plot connived by Black Cap Brotherhood to blow up the city tower.

Traveling through a series of locations, we interact with the environment via simple point-and-click mechanics and solve really demanding puzzles. The latter vary greatly, though most of them require finding logical correlations between objects i.e. finding the right combination on a switch which in turn starts up some other mechanism or makes another object move, etc.

The game is renowned for its total lack of dialog, and its only communication goes on via pictorial thought bubbles.What stands out most though is the overall vibe, which evokes classic point-and-click titles like The Neverhood and/or Ace Ventura. All in all, a terrific title for everyone who puts logic above horror.

Key features
  • Brain-racking puzzles
  • General vibe
  • Extremely likable protagonist to root for

Among The Sleep

Release date:2014-05-29
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Krillbite Studio

After some clinking clanking session of brain racking, a question: how to be a two-year-old kiddo?

Do you remember the monsters from the closet? If you don’t, Among the Sleep will definitely refresh your memory.

With locations resembling those from the Rayman franchise but spiked with the memorable Valkyr-fuelled level from Max Payne 1, the game gives off a truly bloodcurdling atmosphere. There must be something primordial about losing your mom as a vulnerable yet agile two-year-old kid clad in star-print pajamas, hugging your Toy-Story-ish mentor – a teddy bear. This sense of ultimate resolution, of no-going-back/no-nonsense decisiveness, is what boosts the fear. But enough philosophizing. There is a mom to be found and we don’t have much time.

Key features
  • Splendid idea – a toddler’s take on fear
  • Great visuals
  • Fully 3D environment

Limbo

Release date:2011-08-02
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Playdead

A game which could just as well hit another “games like…” list, and land somewhere in the top 3 with intimidating ease. An opus magnum from Playdead, the number of accolades it received is surpassed only by its world-wide recognizability.

A staple of art-house games – if the term might be used here without any objections from cinephiles – Limbo tells the story of a boy who wakes up at the edge of Hell – the titular Limbo – to find his sister. On his journey he crosses paths with gargantuan spider, malevolent boys as well as omnipresent environmental puzzles. Explore the epitome of monochromaticity and delve into this truly unique experience. Find your way through the Limbo, but don’t lose any limbs along the way!

Key features
  • Epic monochromaticity
  • Overall AMBIENCE!
  • Simple controls, yet not-so-simple gameplay
  • Sound effects

Inside

Release date:2016-07-07
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Playdead

Another brainchild from the Playdead studio – authors of a highly-acclaimed Limbo – Inside begins right in the middle of action.

We control a boy, running from somewhere or someone, who stumbles upon armed guards and dogs, only to approach a factory where the mind control experiments are the bread and butter and a grist to the mill of further horror.

Just as dark and monochromatic as its predecessor, Inside delivers. Although we have no idea what the hell is going on at first, we quickly realize, we have stepped into some serious business. A humanoid albinos, hefty hot-headed hogs, whose minds are controlled by a parasitic worm as, well as long-haired siren-like water creatures, all of them helps us kick the bucket. Prove them wrong by surviving and unearth the mystery of a so-called Huddle.

Key features
  • Monochromatic ash-grey and white world
  • No dillydallying
  • 2.5 D graphics

Sally Face

Release date:2016-12-14
Genre:Indie
Developer:Portable Moose

What do you get when you mix 90’s cartoons vibe, an unsolved murder, horrifying nightmares, flashback narration, and a blue-haired teenage protagonist wearing Michael Myers’ mask?

Sally Face is a one man project with plenty of psychological horror and mystery fiction motifs, which satisfy even the most demanding dark games aficionados. It has an incredible feel of teenage adventure stories like Goonies but gloomier, and more next-door, with a gist of kitchen-sink realism.

What really makes the game though are little details, e.g. headbanging animated exactly like the one done by Beavis and Butthead, finding evidence against scruffy fatso who collects Glitter Ponies, modifying a portable console called Gear Boy (sic!) into a ghost-summoning device, etc. Walk through 5 atmospheric episodes, discover the gloomy past of Sal, and find out what turned him into what he is now.

Key features
  • Full-blown 90’s cartoons aesthetics
  • Cultural references
  • Smells like gripping teenage adventure

Bendy and the Ink Machine

Release date:2017-04-27
Genre:Indie
Developer:Kindly Beast

Who doesn’t like cartoons? Especially those innocent ones, from the beginning of the Golden Age of Animation, that is the 20’s and 30’s. I bet you sat back and had a few laughs countless times with Merry Melodies, Looney Tunes, Max Fleischer’s and Disney’s old-school stuff.

Oftentimes you wondered, how would it feel to actually be in a cartoon as a main hero? Would I have any laughs? Well, you wouldn’t. Not with Bendy and the Ink Machine.

Instead of laughs, the game provides you with frights galore. An eerie atmosphere, with jaundice-like yellows and ink blacks all around, puzzles to solve, and ink monsters to hack, turns this first-person indie game into a must for every horror game/movie fan. Flabbergasted? After all, there were some creepy and disturbing flicks back in the day, like “Bimbo’s Initiation”, “Feline Follies” as well as “Swing, You Sinners”.

Key features
  • Claustrophobic atmosphere
  • Golden Age of Animation aesthetics
  • Lots of ink, with lots of spooks

This is it, the seven spine-tingling indie titles, which give lots of creeps, not necessarily obvious, but most definitely tangible ones, like a well-executed hair-raising jump scare. Give them a shot, you won’t regret it. But we strongly recommend playing them with the lights on.