It doesn’t matter how simple the experience is: Everyone’s first time in a VR horror game is something to behold. Having an unknowable monster in the room with you, or hearing it down the hall in perfect all-encompassing audio, can make even the toughest challenger quake. No medium makes horror more horrifying than VR.
That said, not all horror games are equal, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite VR horror games for the PC—games we think any horror enthusiast would enjoy playing today. Happy hauntings.
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Developer: White Door Games | Platforms: Rift, Vive, Gear | Link: Official Site
Even from its earliest, grittiest iterations, this monster-infested corridor crawler has stood tall as the quintessential VR horror experience, producing countless YouTube highlight reels. Tight, twisting corridors, petrifying audio, and some pretty fun monster mechanics (watch out for the beholder that operates on T-rex rules) made for a game that will stand the test of time. Make sure to drag it out for any VR party.
Developer: Twisted Pixels | Platforms: Rift | Link: Official Site
The scares aren’t completely heart-stopping, and some more game-y portions drag, but that doesn’t stop Wilson’s Heart from being an incredible homage to the Universal Classic Monsters world. A brilliantly-realized Gothic hospital twists into comically darker environments that are both creepy and (most importantly) easy to navigate. Wilson’s Heart, unlike so many other horror games inside and outside VR, realizes that you’re here for a moody, tight story, not to wander aimlessly, wondering what drawer you didn’t look in yet. That frees you up to focus on the scares, the humor, and the fun performances from Rosario Dawson, Michael B. Jordan, Alfred Molina, and Robocop’s Peter Weller.
Developer: Vertigo Games | Platforms: Rift, Vive, PSVR | Link: Official Site
One of the first VR action adventure games to really nail an entire story mode, rather than just individual challenges, Arizona Sunshine is among the best games in the medium. Its pace is a bit slow, but that’s what you want in a zombie thriller, right? And while most fights devolve into pretty stationary disagreements with waves of undead, there’s little as unsettling as having a herd of them slowly barrel down on you with four bullets left in your clip.
Alien: Isolation (with MotherVR mod)
Developer: Creative Assembly | Platforms: Rift, Vive (via mod) | Link: Official Site
PC Gamer’s 2014 Game of the Year, but in VR. You might have seen some VR footage of Alien: Isolation way back in the Oculus DK2 days, and while those worked for a little bit, the MotherVR mod (created by Nibre) is a much cleaner, smoother experience, and works throughout the entire story. The movement feels more natural, there’s no DK2 fuzz in your eyes, and even the head tracking is smooth enough to let you quickly crawl inside a vent and weep. For a game that’s four years old now, it says something that the even the mod’s creator flinches at his own work.
Developer: Another World | Platforms: Rift, Vive | Link: Official Site
A lot of VR horror experiences get bogged down in lengthy puzzle solving, but Kobold’s first episode (no word on any more at the moment) is largely a very tight, well-orchestrated bit of storytelling. Exploring a convincingly abandoned home (built sing photogrammetry scans of a real German home) and the surrounding woods in search of a missing boy is just the start. As the title suggests, there’s far more to Kobold’s halls and haunts than missing children.
Developer: Stress Level Zero | Platforms: Rift, Vive | Link: Steam, Oculus
Duck Season confirms what we’ve all known for more than three decades: The Duck Hunt dog is an asshole. This time, though, he’s packing more than taunts.
Duck Hunt is more than a Five Nights at Freddy's-like, forcing you to shoot your way through a well-done VR-within-VR version of the classic NES game. Shooting the dog results in some pretty messed up circumstances for you in real life, and a hell of a trippy narrative overall. There’s a fair bit of game in here, with multiple endings and some achievements to unlock, but it does become a bit repetitive and long in the tooth the further you go, so it’s not the greatest party game.
Edge of Nowhere
Developer: Insomniac Games| Platforms: Rift | Link: Official Site
Effectively the closest thing we’ve got to Uncharted in VR, the Edge of Nowhere tells a surprisingly rich (if padded) tale of Cthulhu mythos run amok in Antarctica. What makes it work as an action game is the constantly forward-facing momentum. What makes it work as horror is all the inventive ways it’ll remind you that your mind is slowly slipping into the Great Old One’s grasp, and make you question every action you take.
Developer: Honor Code| Platforms: Rift, Vive | Link: Official Site
Why did it have to be giant deep sea spiders, man? If you’ve ever shuddered thinking about how little we know of the ocean depths, then Narcosis might do it for you. After a massive earthquake destroys an underwater facility, killing all but the player character, you’ll be forced to walk the deep sea, weaving between imposing rock formations and the tattered ruins of your station to escape. What sets Narcosis apart is its slow, tortuous pace, the impeccable dread of being buried under miles of water, and knowing that there’s no shadowy corporation or evil voodoo out to get you. Just some hallucinations, the crushing weight of water, and whatever lives in it.