Split image of scenes from Phasmophobia, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, & Alien: Isolation.

15 Scariest VR Horror Games To Play Right Now

Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse may be facing some marketing stumbles (via New York Times), but it’s still a better time than ever to be a fan of virtual reality. The Meta Quest Pro is up for preorder (though it boasts an incredibly high price tag of $1500), the PSVR 2 headset is on its way, and the Valve Index still offers a best-in-class experience through desktop PCs.

While virtual reality is still a relatively niche way to play games, systems like the PSVR, Oculus Quest 2, Vive Index, and more are seeing their user bases grow each year. A number of genres have seen new life in virtual reality, but horror has seemed to be one of the most natural fits for the technology.

The increased immersion granted by room-scale VR makes horror games even scarier, and the first-person perspective often used in the genre translates extremely well. Whether players prefer heart-stopping jump scares or terrifying slow-burn horror, there’s something for all tastes to enjoy in virtual reality.


Updated on October 20th, 2022 by Quinn Levandoski:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse may be facing some marketing stumbles (via New York Times), but it’s still a better time than ever to be a fan of virtual reality. The Meta Quest Pro is up for preorder (though it boasts an incredibly high price tag of $1500), the PSVR 2 headset is on its way, and the Valve Index still offers a best-in-class experience through desktop PCs.

While every genre, from action-heavy shooters to relaxing party games, continues to grow in VR, there is still none more compelling than horror. A mix of big-budget ports of previously flat-screen games to shorter indie experiences, gamers have plenty of scary experiences to jump into in the Halloween season and beyond.

Resident Evil 4 VR Reimagines A Classic

Resident Evil 4's Leon in a Church

It’s no over-exaggeration to say that Resident Evil 4 both saved and almost ruined the Resident Evil franchise when it was originally released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2005. Its shift to an over-the-shoulder view modernized its feel without slowing down on the scares, though its success inspired its two immediate successors to lean too heavily into action at the cost of horror.

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Resident Evil 4 VR, currently only available on the Meta Quest 2, shifts the experience into a first-person perspective, and the addition of manual reloads (and the possibility of actually dropping weapons) makes this one of the tensest games currently available in VR. Every enemy is terrifying, but there’s something special about being attacked by the Chainsaw Man in first person.

Organ Quarter Is A Scary Labyrinth

A masked artist in the VR horror game Organ Quarter

With only around 250 reviews on the game’s Steam page, Organ Quarter might be the most underrated horror game on the market. In concept, the game doesn’t seem terribly unique; players navigate a maze-like map as they solve puzzles, combat enemies, and have to manage their scarce resources. However, it’s the spot-on execution of the simple concept that elevates Organ Quarter above many of its peers.

The game uses fantastic visual design and atmospheric tension to instill fear instead of an over-reliance on jump scares, and the experience is all the better for it. Organ Quarter is expertly paced too, slowly removing comforts like resources and objective information to continuously push the player out of their comfort zone.

Pagan Peak Is An Escape Room In The Woods

A masked man by a tree in Pagan Peak.

Pagan Peak’s setting – a remote cabin in the woods – may seem cliché, but its scares are anything but. The game sees the player kidnapped by a figure called the “Krampus Killer,” and the experience plays out like a deadly escape room. Using photogrammetry to deliver a realistic environment, the game makes expert use of room-scale VR to host clues and interactive objects.

Reviewers on Steam specifically praise the game’s puzzles, which walk the line well between challenge and solvability. Escape rooms sometimes fall victim to non-sequitur clues that seem almost impossible even in hindsight, but Pagan Peak sticks to logic for a satisfying experience with multiple possible endings.

DEVOUR Is Scarier With Friends

A monster stalking the player in DEVOUR

With over 38,000 reviews on Steam, DEVOUR is one of the most popular horror games on the platform. Its status is well-earned, too, as scares start early and don’t let up. DEVOUR can be played as a solo experience, but it’s designed to host 1-4 players working cooperatively to stop cultists that are trying to literally drag the players to hell.

Single games last around an hour, but dynamic enemies mean that replayability is high. Furthermore, DEVOUR has released fantastic post-launch support, receiving a bevy of new content via regular updates.

ARAYA Centers On A Terrifying Death

A bloody hallway in ARAYA

Thailand is a beautiful country filled with fantastic cuisine, breathtaking architecture, and hospitable people, but players won’t see any of those things in ARAYA. Instead, this game has players step into the shoes of three different protagonists as they explore a Thai hospital to uncover the truth of the titular Araya’s death.

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The graphics (especially the character models) leave a bit to be desired, but the ARAYA boasts fantastic sound design that builds a horrifying atmosphere even when nothing particularly frightening is on-screen. Neither exploration/survival elements nor bloodied hospitals are particularly rare in horror games, but there’s something satisfying about doing the basics well.

Phasmophobia Lets Players Be Scary

A zombie stares at the camera in the VR game Phasmophobia.

Phasmophobia is one of the scariest games of the last few years. The game is an asymmetrical multiplayer experience in which up to three players team up to identify paranormal entities at haunted sites. One of the game’s gimmicks allows players to use proximity chat to communicate, and voice recognition lets the ghost hear keywords from the investigators.

Phasmophobia can be played on a traditional screen, but the various haunts in the game become significantly more startling in virtual reality. With nine haunted sites and sixteen ghosts currently released, there’s plenty of content for players to experience.

A Chair In A Room: Greenwater Is Confined Horror

A man looks at inkblots on their desk in A Chair in a Room: Greenwater.

A Chair in a Room: Greenwater takes players to the Southern United States where they awaken in the Greenwater Institute without any memory of how they arrived. The narrative is linear, but the story unfolds like a great psychological thriller film.

Greenwater is notable for only minimally relying on jump-scares. The horror comes from a dense atmosphere and psychologically intense situations. The game is split into three chapters of roughly 30 minutes, so it’s possible to either experience the entire narrative in one sitting or spread it out over a few sessions.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Is Scarier Than The Show

A player shoots an arrow at zombies in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.

Saints & Sinners isn’t just scary; it’s also one of the most fully fleshed-out virtual reality games on the market. Like the TV show and original comic, Saints & Sinners leans into The Walking Dead’s character drama. Gamers need to survive the zombie apocalypse by taking out dangerous humans, surviving the undead, and scavenging for materials.

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Players’ choice plays a big role in combat and out. It’s possible to enter a battle with heavy offense or stealth, and gamers can choose which characters and factions in New Orleans they want to work for. This VR game effectively blends action with strategy, creating a faithful experience that lets players experience The Walking Dead’s world in all of its apocalyptic glory.

Alien: Isolation Makes Aliens Scary Again

An Alien casts its shadow in the game Alien: Isolation.

Most recent movies in the Alien franchise may have largely eschewed horror in favor of action, but Alien: Isolation is a slow-burn horror experience that builds a similar atmosphere to the original film. The game asks players to navigate their spaceship while also avoiding the titular Xenomorph.

RELATED: 10 Things From Alien That Still Hold Up Today

Players are almost always on the defensive and need to use various tools to either run away or hide when danger is close. Hiding in a locker as an alien lurks right outside is scary on a flat screen, but it’s absolutely horrifying when played in virtual reality. An added bonus to the game is the game’s main character. As Amanda Ripley, gamers get a chance to be fully immersed in the Alien experience and play as Ellen Ripley’s charismatic daughter.

The Exorcist: Legion Lives Up To The Movie

The Exorcist Legion VR Confession Booth

The Exorcist: Legion is a five-episode series that puts players in the shoes of an exorcist as they confront a variety of demonic entities. Each episode lasts about half an hour and features a different paranormal entity that players need to investigate and overcome.

What makes this game great is that it doesn’t rush the scares; it lets the tension build through its runtime and knows when to push its horror elements. Scares aside, the game looks beautiful, and each environment is a pleasure to explore. A particular standout is chapter 5’s “The Tomb,” which takes players underground in a beautifully rendered cavern to face a variety of demons.

Face Your Fears II Hits Every Phobia

A pair of floating hands battles a monster in Face Your Fears II.

From zombies to serial killers, there are plenty of games that focus on exploiting one or two common phobias. Face Your Fears II takes them all and throws them into one horrifying virtual reality experience.

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In this game, players explore the Harvest family estate through generations of horrible scenarios. Do note that Face Your Fears II relies heavily on jump scares. While they’re incredibly effective, they aren’t what every player is looking for. Face Your Fears II is available for the Oculus Quest and Rift, and one purchase unlocks the game on both systems. It’s worth it for the first chapter alone as the game tasks players to survive a haunted mansion filled with zombies and giant spiders.

Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul Is Replayable Horror

A yoing girl sits and cradles herself in Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul.

While Paranormal Activity is considered one of the best haunted house movies, the franchise has fallen off in popularity after its first few films. The Lost Soul captures much of what made the first movie great, with an emphasis on a creepy setting and disturbing visuals that will haunt players.

The narrative setup will be familiar to fans of the films. The player finds themselves in a house in the woods, and they need to investigate the area to figure out what’s happening. The game has no HUD or instructions, and players are left with their flashlights to figure out what they need to survive. The game also features a “scare randomizer” that presents a level of replayability. While story elements remain the same, additional events will also trigger to keep players on their toes.

The Inpatient Builds A Fantastic Atmosphere

An image of a hospital hallway with patients and nurses in The Inpatient.

The Inpatient leans more into its unsettling atmosphere than shocking horror, but it’s incredibly effective at making the player feel uneasy. The game puts the player in an institution in which everything is not as it seems and asks them to overcome terrifying dreams and hallucinations to figure out what is really going on.

RELATED: 10 Best Oculus Quest Games New Players Should Try First

Fans of Until Dawn will recognize the Blackwood Sanitorium, as this game takes place sixty years later in the same universe. The Inpatient is relatively short at only two hours, but alternate endings add replay value for gamers looking to give the story another go.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Is The Scariest RE Game Yet

A player fights a monster in the dark in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

The Resident Evil franchise sports several scary moments, but the series moved away from horror after Resident Evil 4. The seventh entry in the franchise, Biohazard, saw the series return to a smaller scale and embrace its horror history. Instead of a town littered with zombies, the game was set in a seemingly benign dilapidated house in Louisiana.

The game received plenty of critical acclaim when it was originally released in early 2017, and the official VR mode makes encounters with the Baker family even more terrifying. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard isn’t just one of the scariest games available in VR; it’s also one of the most polished. The game’s revised combat system and detailed visuals create a unique experience within the Resident Evil franchise that allows players to get as close as possible to fighting off the undead, sometimes with their bare hands.

Half-Life: Alyx

Alyx holds a handgun in Half-Life: Alyx

Fans have been waiting for more Half-Life content for years, and Valve finally whetted their palates with the VR-only release of Half-Life: Alyx. It may not be the continuation of the mainline narrative that players wanted, but this story, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, sees players step into the shoes of Alyx Vance as she attempts to steal a superweapon from the Combine.

The game isn’t a pure horror game, but it does a great job mixing a few jump scares with stretches of slow, atmospheric horror. As with most survival horror games, health and ammo are scarce so players have to strategize how to use the resources they have to survive.

Next: 10 Best Video Games To Play This Month

Author: Philip Evans