Puzzles have nothing to do with horror, yet horror puzzle games have been created. They are the ones that combine a unique blend of intellectual challenge and atmospheric terror.

In the 1980s the 3D Monster Maze was recognized as a real scary game, although to my eye there is nothing scary about it (2D graphics and pixels at most). The breakthrough was in the 90s when the first puzzle elements appeared in the game Alone in the Dark.

"The Room" Series

Release date:2016-07-15
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Fireproof Games

The series includes The Room, The Room Two, The Room Three, and The Room 4: Old Sins. These are games with a theme of scary puzzles but do not worry, no typical jumpscars and monsters are chasing you.

Something knocks on a window, footsteps can be heard and you stand alone in the middle of a dark room and feel observed all the time.

Figure out the devices and solve the mysteries of the Null. You’ll find strange keys without padlocks, scattered numbers, complex mechanisms with missing elements, and some things that you can only notice with a special lens left by A.S.

Key features
  • no monsters chasing you
  • many complex puzzles
  • sinister atmosphere
  • many objects to interact with

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Release date:2010-09-08
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Frictional Games

This is something for fans of ghost puzzle games and science fiction. You’ve lost your memory and find yourself in an old castle. At first glance, it seems normal, but after a while, you start to notice creepy elements not from this world.

The first pieces of the puzzle are put together thanks to letters from.. yourself. You need to find Alexander and get rid of him, but who is he anyway?  And what are the screams coming from the depths of the corridors?

Tasks to complete, dark rooms, and an even darker story. The feeling of unease grows with every step and remember, don’t get caught.

Key features
  • extensive storyline
  • combination of the normal world with supernatural elements
  • a lot of elements to interact with
  • 4 possible endings

Layers of Fear

Release date:2016-02-15
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Bloober Team

The latest edition of this game brings together the layers of fear from previous versions. It’s not so much a game as an experience of remarkable storytelling.

You will step into the shoes of a painter with a tragic story, an actor with serious mental problems, and a writer, with whom the game just begins.

She’s the one who ties all these seemingly unconnected stories together. The game gives you nuances that are easy to miss, so pay attention to details, fragments of letters, objects, and even paintings.

Key features
  • 3 different stories
  • psychological fun in exploring rooms
  • surprising horror elements
  • addition of a new perspective – the painter’s wife

SOMA

Release date:2015-09-21
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Frictional Games

Everything changed so suddenly that you didn’t even notice a change in the body, in fact, the change of your whole body.

You’re in the shoes of Simon, who woke up almost 100 years later. The strangest thing about it is that you have Simon’s consciousness, but you’re in the body of a dead woman.

At the PATHOS-II underwater facility located at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, you meet no humans, but robots. Eventually, you meet Catherine, a consciousness in a machine, and you help her with completing the mission.

Key features
  • sci-fi underwater setting
  • escape from monsters and fight against AI
  • new physics elements
  • storyline set in an apocalyptic future

Observer

Release date:2020
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Bloober Team

A post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world. The lurking digital plague of Nanophagium and implants in the brain. This is the world of this horror puzzle game.

You are Daniel Lazarski, an observer who can hack into minds. At one point you get a call from your son, who you haven’t been in touch with for a very long time, but he seems to be in trouble. Your job is to find him.

You encounter a headless body in his flat. So now it’s time to interrogate the residents of the building.

Key features
  • additional tasks
  • everything as if copied from the real world
  • lots of detective plots
  • logic rules no longer apply

Each step draws you deeper into a dark world of mysteries and puzzles. It’s not only entertaining but it’s also a test of courage.

Therefore, if you fancy a thrill and want to test your puzzle-solving skills in an atmosphere of horror, games of this kind are the perfect choice for you.