The best VR horror games to give you the spooks 2023

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What are the best VR horror games? Videogames have always been the ideal medium for horror, and this is especially true in the confines of VR goggles. The eeriness of horror works so much better when you’re more deeply immersed in the world, and there’s nothing more immersive than virtual reality.

Some of the best VR horror games are conversions of more conventional horror games and enhance them with a new perspective. But what should you play to capture that feeling of existential dread? Which game will give you more chills than an icy bath on top of a train through the Alps? We have a few suggestions for you, and we hope they’ll help satisfy your hunger for all things terrifying.

The best VR horror games are:

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Killing Floor Incursion

Fighting through waves of disturbing, zombie-like creatures is a staple of the horror genre, and Killing Floor Incursion gives you that in spades. However, it’s not just a simple case of gunning down monsters.

The game not only gives you a creepy world to explore but it’s also filled with cleverly designed puzzles. The VR is used well for both the ‘brain’ and ‘brawn’ aspects of the game, with several different items for you to hold, use, and interact with, all of which feel unique to the touch.

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The Forest

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise. As a species, we have an almost innate fear of the wilderness, and The Forest plays into that perfectly. In this game, you play as somebody who has become stranded on a heavily forested peninsula, and as you slowly get to grips with your surroundings, you realize you’re not alone.

It starts like most survival games, but you soon encounter the strange cannibals who live on the island, and what makes them so frighteningly eerie is their high level of AI. They don’t just mindlessly and relentlessly attack. They’re cunning and calculating and have a rare sense of self-preservation in this genre. When played in VR, this becomes even more unnerving. You’ll genuinely feel like you’re not alone.

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Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul

Based on the popular Paranormal Activity film series, The Lost Soul tells a unique story within an everyday house. Part of what makes this series so effective is that it places paranormal encounters within a home that could be your own, meaning your hallway will never look the same again.

It works just as well in the game. You walk around a darkened house with only your torch to guide you – and you have to be careful because its battery power will dwindle. As you realize you’re not alone in the house (which, frankly, won’t be a surprise considering the context), the ethereal frights build to frankly quite hair-raising levels. You need to hurry to solve the mystery of what happened in that house before something horrible happens to you.

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Resident Evil VII Biohazard

Over the years, the Resident Evil series has been many things, but it’s always maintained its gruesome core. In some ways, Resident Evil VII is a return to the series’ origins in that you’re exploring a creepy old building, but while the first game gave you a fancy mansion full of zombies, this one puts you in a derelict plantation owned by the deranged Baker family (as well as mutant creatures called the Molded).

What makes this one particularly disturbing is that the villains retain a lot of their humanity while doing sadistic things and even have a tragic backstory that your typical ‘hoards of the undead’ just don’t deliver. While not exclusively a VR game, it works fantastically in this format.

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Dreadhalls

Dreadhalls was specifically designed as a VR experience. At its heart, it’s based on a very simple premise: you find yourself in a large labyrinthine castle and must get out, so you look for the exit. While it sounds basic, what it really delivers is on creating an exceptionally eerie atmosphere.

Every corner you turn will have your heart racing, even though there’s often nothing there. It’s a game that gets in your head and makes you imagine all kinds of terrifying things which turn out to be much more scary than in-your-face gore. What helps to make this game feel unique is that you won’t ever become more familiar with the map layout because it is procedurally generated. If you die and start again, the layout will be completely different.

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Blair Witch

1999’s The Blair Witch Project completely reshaped horror by introducing the found footage sub-genre. To this day, you can find movies and even video games whose creative roots stretch back to that film, so it’s only fitting that there should also be a video game set within the Blair Witch universe.

Found footage games seem perfectly made for VR, and this is particularly true for Blair Witch. This game tells a unique story about a man named Ellis Lynch who becomes lost in the woods while searching for a lost child – if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what kind of thing to expect here. It’s not so much about what you see (not that you don’t see anything), but the atmosphere of these dark, terrifying woods that will have you constantly on edge.

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Torn

This game is slightly more whimsical than others on this list, but if you enjoy exploring eerie buildings, this will be right up your street. In Torn, you play as a woman who comes across a strange old mansion and decides to explore out of curiosity.

As you explore the house, you uncover more of the story, which delves into the unknown recesses of the human mind and even parallel universes. It’s an experience that was designed specifically for VR and definitely one that’s worth checking out.

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Narcosis

Are you afraid of the ocean? If so, give Narcosis a go (or maybe don’t). In this game, you play as someone who has survived an earthquake in a methane farming station at the bottom of the ocean. You’re in your diving suit the whole time, with your air supply dwindling by the second, giving the whole thing a claustrophobic feel.

At times, you’re outside the station and exploring the ocean bed, with the horror drawn from the strange and almost otherworldly creatures you encounter down there. At other times, you’re within the flooded station, and the horror comes from the strange supernatural occurrences that seem to be happening and that sense of isolation you get only from being alone in a place where you’d expect others. It’s a really cool game and one to try in VR.

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Arizona Sunshine

Zombie games are a dime a dozen, so it can be hard to tell the decent games from the shovelware. Rest assured, Arizona Sunshine is a good game and another that’s a ground-up VR experience, so we recommend it for anyone looking to get their VR horror game fix (and also anyone who likes FPS games, frankly).

Part of the game’s appeal comes from the fact that, despite having an unnamed protagonist, the person you play has a huge personality. He makes comments and remarks throughout the game, which are actually kind of funny often. However, that doesn’t undercut the fact that the game can be genuinely chilling, too, particularly during a section where you’re in the dark and can’t hold a weapon because you need to hold a torch.

Freddy, Chica, and Bonnie on stage in Five Nights At Freddy's Help Wanted, one of the best VR horror games.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned jump scare, and which series does the best jump scare? Five Nights at Freddy’s. For those who don’t know, this is a series about animatronic animals coming to life at night in a pizzeria. People have been terrified by these hideous monstrosities even when just playing off a regular monitor, so you can only imagine what it’s like in VR.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted was made to take many of the concepts seen in the earlier games in the series and translate them into a VR experience. This means that you’ll be walking around the darkened halls of this old pizza restaurant, filled with anxiety that one of the animatronics will jump out and kill you at any moment. It’s a relatively simple game but ideal for someone looking for some classic thrills, and when it comes to that raw feeling of uneasiness, there isn’t much to compete with FNAF.

A ghost hunter wandering down a corridor in Phasmophobia, one of the best VR horror games.

Phasmophobia

Since its release in 2020, Phasmophobia has been making waves in the horror community. What sets this game apart is that it’s a horror experience specifically designed as a co-op game.

In many ways, it’s like a much more terrifying version of Ghostbusters, as you and a team of three others enter a house with a ghost infestation. You then need to track down and neutralize the specter – but it’s no easy feat with the resident spook trying to kill you and your sanity slipping all the time. What it is, however, is fun, and if you and your friends love being scared together, you should definitely try Phasmophobia (also check out our guide on games like Phasmophobia).

So those are our picks. Have you played them before? If not, and you have a VR headset, why not give them a whirl today? With any luck, next time you find yourself screaming with blood-curdling terror, it will be all thanks to us. If you want more gaming recommendations, check out our guide on the best PC games ever.

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