Hip to be Scared – Samuel’s Best Horror Games of 2020
The greatest horror game of 2020 was the year 2020. Okay, now that I got that easy joke out of the way, 2020 was a pretty good year for horror games. From major AAA releases to small indie games, there’s a solid chunk of good games on the market to play. There are some that were even good. I played through quite a few of them, almost like I write for a horror site or something, so I got the chance to pick some of the best ones that you really should be checking out.
Maid of Sker
I promise guys, my music isn’t that bad.
Honestly, I was never that big on stealth horror, but I was still interested in Maid of Sker. The game has you exploring a hotel to help bail your fiancee from overbearing family. Just when you get to said hotel, there’s a small problem. There’s a bunch of blind monsters running around, taking people hostage and performing a strange ritual that turns them into monsters as well. That’s never a good sign, and soon you have to save your fiancee’s life. Also escape.
When everyone is blind, that means noise becomes a super important factor. You’ll have to perform tasks like holding your breath while moving through dusty areas, so you don’t cough and alert enemies to your location. This can make for some surprisingly tense situations. Thankfully you do get some minor self defense, in the form of an orb that you can charge with electricity to shoot out a shockwave of sound, temporally deafening and confusing enemies. Just need to be gone by the time they’re back to normal.
Maid of Sker is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Ay yo shout out to our furry readers here.
Blue Blood may seem like a bit of a strange choice, considering it’s a turn-based RPG and not, you know, a straight-up horror game. But it’s also the only game I’ve played where someone can say “eat the rich” and then the characters proceed to literally eat the rich. This actually ties into the plot of the game, where you play as a member of nobility attending a murder part, with the explicit goal of murdering the owner of the mansion for personal reasons.
While all the characters may be animal people, that doesn’t mean they fight like animals. Instead you’ll partake in turn-based combat, fighting off enemies and either stabbing them with a knife or shooting them with your limited ammo gun. While you explore the mansion you’ll have to contend with plenty of other party goers, all of whom want to murder you. Thankfully, you can put high-society status effects on them, giving you an advantage in combat. Then you eat them, as one does.
You can grab Blue Blood over on Itch.io.
The Last of Us Part II
Look, I get to put one AAA major release here, okay?
The Last of Us Part II is, simply, amazing. I honestly can’t make a best of horror list without at least mentioning it. For starters, it’s a lovely game with some of the best graphical work I’ve seen in, well, ever. However, despite being “lovely”, the world is brutal and harsh. The city of Seattle is completely wrecked, and both the regular people and infected wander the streets. You’ll have to fight plenty of both in some super fast and frantic combat that is easily some of the best Naughty Dog has made in a while.
However, the real star of the show is the story. Abby and Ellie’s intertwining narratives are some of the best written stories in both AAA gaming, and probably one of the best in gaming as a whole. Sure the infected are terrifying, but seeing the lengths people are willing to go through to accomplish a mission of hate is even worse. The big monsters will stick with me for a while, but the characters? That’s going to last a lifetime.
The Last of Us Part II is currently available exclusively on PlayStation 4.
Sometimes I don’t want to just be scared. I want to laugh too.
When it comes to comedy horror, my favorite this year was easily Death Flush. How could I not love it, after all? It’s a video game that combines the two things that are most important to my life: B-movie slasher films and poop jokes. You play as a man named Ronnie who’s terrified of using the bathroom after his grandfather was killed by a toilet-themed serial killer named the Toilet Seat Killer. Unfortunately, he shows up to kill him.
It may be short, and free, but that doesn’t take away from how charmingly dumb Death Flush is. The killer is pretty clearly inspired by Nightmare on Elm Street, and the game is full of an absurd amount of toilet puns. Eventually you have a boss fight against the killer, and it’s an ax vs toilet seat dual. It’s so bizarre, but also fun. Worth experiencing if you need a laugh with your horror.
You can grab Death Flush for free over on Itch.io.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest
All I really wanted was a game that let me pet the werewolf.
I’ve honestly been excited to see more World of Darkness make its way into video games. However, it’s almost always Vampire games. This year finally saw the first Werewolf game come out with Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest. I am very pleased that it gets to be here. At its core, the game is a visual novel about a woman named Maia, a werewolf who’s visiting Poland to reconnect with her roots. Along the way she finds herself drafted into a group of eco terrorists and helps stop logging.
Of course there’s quite a bit more to it than that. The game is all about the choices you make, and there’s a lite RPG system that determines several factors about your adventure. You can become a big ol’ grumpy werewolf, using your mass to rip people’s heads off. Or you can stay human, trying to broker peace. There’s a lot of choices, and the game changes dramatically depending on which choices you make. Perfect if you want to replay it over and over again.
You can grab Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest on Steam, with a Nintendo Switch version coming out early next year.
If I’m going to get scared, I want the things that frighten me to have A E S T H E T I C S.
I can’t quite say I expected an iPhone game to be on this list, but HoloVista really is something special. The game puts you in the role of a woman named Carmen who is about to nab her dream job. Of course, this dream job quickly becomes a nightmare. She’s tasked with spending a few days in the Autohaus, a dream house that she needs to write about. Of course, soon things get weird. Then they get horrifying.
It’s not just that HoloVista is a mobile game, but it takes horror in a totally different direction than most other games I’ve played. It’s colorful, vibrant, and is made to emulate synthwave. That’s not really what I expect, but it’s totally fantastic. While the game may be little more than a very fancy hidden object game, it’s absolutely oozing clever design and beautiful environments. The Autohaus is both a place I want to spend time in, and that I’m totally terrified of. I loved it, and hope more games try this unique idea.
HoloVista is currently available exclusively on iOS.