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7 Horror Games That Don’t Rely On Jump Scares

In horror games, fans either love or hate the tropes that come with the genre: dark corners, classic monsters like zombies, and of course jump scares. Jump scares can be memorable at times, but it’s enjoyable to also branch out from this trope sometimes.

There are plenty of games in the horror genre that don’t rely on jump scares. The scares can instead come from the atmosphere, the story, or the dialogue. Wherever the chilling moments come from, sometimes the games that try new things stand out in a genre. We have a list of games you should try if you’re tired of jump scares in video games and want something new.

7 SOMA

While there might be a few jump scare moments in SOMA, the game does not heavily rely on that trope. SOMA instead scares you through its atmosphere and its attention to common fears. Many people already have a fear of open water and a fear of artificial intelligence, so SOMA builds a great world of horror around these themes.

In SOMA, players will explore a mysterious futuristic research facility. In this world of the future, humans are nearly extinct and are living in isolation in a research facility. If you combine the themes of survival, isolation, and various phobias, you’ll surely be scared while playing it.

6 The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is a paranormal-themed horror game where you as a detective must investigate the mystery behind the disappearance of a twelve-year-old boy. The setting in this game is already non-traditional: a small town in the woods where you go travel through green fields and lush wilderness.

The horror in this game comes from the fear of the unknown. The small town is so secluded and eerily quiet you wonder what could be hiding behind what appears to be an “average” setting. Every step of this game is uncovering a new clue to a puzzle – the constant mystery will keep you hooked to this game.

5 Bioshock

It is debated whether Bioshock fits into the horror genre, but at the very least, it certainly has sci-fi horror elements. The game takes place in a world that was supposed to be a utopia, but this utopia setting went horribly wrong after people waged war over a gene-altering chemical.

In Bioshock, the horror elements are sourced in human experimentation, serious ethical dilemmas, and uncovering dark secrets about this supposed “utopia.” Players are encouraged to choose their own path. They can either stealthily travel this world, face enemies in intensive direct combat, or choose how merciful they will be to the characters they meet.

4 Little Nightmares

Many horror games play as shooters or survival games, but Little Nightmares is a platforming and puzzle horror game. And unlike many other horror games with action sequences or daring rescues, Little Nightmares has the protagonist simply be a little girl navigating a strange world.

Fans of Little Nightmares particularly praise it for its world-building and the mystery behind this enticing world. Instead of focusing on jump scares, this game gets its horror elements from psychological thrills. The entire game centers around childhood fears and the feeling of fear most people relate to when you swore there was a monster living in your closet as a child.

3 World of Horror

One of the most beloved horror writers in the manga genre is Junji Ito. His manga is loved for its incredibly bizarre yet horrifying stories and very graphic artwork. World of Horror is a horror game that takes inspiration from the horror icons Junji Ito and H.P. Lovecraft.

World of Horror is a role-playing game set in the town of Shiokawa in Japan. Horror fans love this game for its creative interpretations of very unusual monsters and creatures. The fear you’ll fear while playing World of Horror comes from trying to comprehend such shocking visuals.

2 Inside

Indie developers sometimes come up with the most compelling stories because they put so much passion into their game development. Inside is a vague and strange horror game made by the same developers that brought us the amazing game that is Limbo.

Inside is about the horror of living in a frightening dystopian society. There are sci-fi elements that center around the idea of human experimentation. The main reason this game has such a lasting impression amongst gamers is how the fate of your main character is open to interpretation.

1 Darkwood

Setting a horror game deep in the woods is a perfect way to scare your audience. When you’re stuck in the dark and there are plenty of places for monsters to hide all around you, of course, you’re going to be horrified. In the indie game Darkwood, players must escape a creepy forest and avoid the mutants and monsters that reside there.

Darkwood focuses on atmospheric scares as well as scaring gamers with frightening creatures. This is why the setting is essential in a horror game: it can either elevate or destroy the tone you’re trying to set. Darkwood not only engrosses players into the game with its atmospheric scares, but it also makes the decisions you choose affect how the plot unfolds.

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