Looming jumpscares, eerie landscapes, unseen enemies stalking you—nothing gets you on the edge of your seat quite like a horror video game. Steam has plenty of horror games, and many of the best are free.
If you want to settle down for a night and play some scary games but don’t have the money to spend on a new game, we’ve compiled a list of the best and scariest free horror games you can get on Steam. See how long you can spend on these games, and then maybe play something more comforting to let you get to sleep that night.
1. SCP: Secret Laboratory
Steam offers many SCP-related (Secure, Contain, Protect) games, but this is the best. If you’re not aware of the SCP universe, it’s a fictional sci-fi universe where beings or objects that violate natural law are kept hidden by the SCP Foundation.
Secret Laboratory takes place during a containment breach by the Chaos Insurgency, a group that seeks to release the potentially dangerous entities captured at one of the SCP Foundation’s sites. In the game, you can play several different characters who have a role in the breach, including Foundation security, scientists, lab-rat prisoners known as D-Class, Chaos Insurgency members, and more. It’s a great first-person horror game and is one of the best out there.
2. Dark Deception
This game is like a horrific version of Pac-man—if you could see from a first-person view and the monsters chasing you were the stuff of nightmares. In Dark Deception, you are trapped in a maze littered with traps and nowhere to hide. Your only hope for survival is to find the way out and avoid the monsters coming for you.
These monsters look quite ridiculous—by design—and make the game more of a dark comedy horror than anything. You’ll have to be quick thinking to survive long in this game, though, and you’re sure to get plenty of jumpscares along the way.
3. No More Room In Hell
Made as a tribute to George Romero’s iconic horror movie Dawn of the Dead, this game features a one-of-a-kind zombie experience. You play as one of the few survivors during a zombie takeover and must team up with others to survive. The game involves, of course, killing zombies but also strategizing with your team to live and solving puzzles.
If you’re looking for a fun take on zombie games, No More Room In Hell is a perfect choice.
4. Doki Doki Literature Club!
This game, by all measures, looks 100% innocent on the surface. When you first start this typical-seeming anime visual novel game, you’ll be wondering why it’s categorized as horror. But the further you get, the more things start to seem off until the true nature of the game slaps you in the face.
Doki Doki Literature Club is not for the faint of heart, as it deals with disturbing content matter and slowly grows more and more chaotic until the entire game falls apart. Literally. The game can end in multiple ways, so pick your paths wisely.
5. Cry of Fear
You play as a young man exploring a Scandinavian city as nightmarish creatures descend upon him. You need to do your best to survive, as well as figure out what’s real and what’s not. This game began simply as a mod for Half-Life but grew into its own game. Cry of Fear can be played both in single-player and co-op modes, so if you are a bit too scared to play it all yourself, you can always round up some friends to beat this eerie, terrifying atmosphere together.
Deceit is a first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer game with an unsettling twist. You wake up in a room with a group of other players and are informed that a third of them are infected with a virus, causing them to kill others. If you play as an innocent, you’re tasked with being on alert to figure out who out of the group is an infected player. If you’re infected, you need to kill others and make sure this activity goes undetected.
As you play, you will gain clues to determine what side other players are on and vote out the suspicious ones. Deceit is an entertaining and suspenseful psychological horror.
7. Dagon: By H.P. Lovecraft
Whether or not you’re a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic horror tales, this game creates an unforgettable horror atmosphere that will keep you sucked in for hours. Based on the story created by Lovecraft as part of his Cthulu mythos, this game is a completely faithful adaptation but is worth playing whether or not you’ve read it.
Dagon is a narrative game and relatively short at about 30 minutes of gameplay. Still, it’s a beautiful experience that perfectly invokes the feeling of cosmic horror for which Lovecraft was famous.
8. Tiny Bunny: Prologue
Tiny Bunny is an episodic game series, and you can play the prologue for free. The game combines supernatural horror and psychological suspense to create a disturbing but engaging experience.
Another great aspect of the game is its art. Though all black-and-white, it’s both beautiful and eerie and helps propel the narrative far. If you enjoy this prologue, the next episodes in the series are relatively cheap. If you tend to enjoy indie games, you’ll want to try Tiny Bunny.
9. Dead Frontier 2
As a massively multiplayer online RPG game, Dead Frontier 2 puts you amid the experience of a zombie outbreak with an open-world experience. You can work with other players to survive the in-game world, trading and scavenging for materials you need. Or, you can play by yourself and confront the zombie invasion on your own terms. Overall, this is an excellent option for an immersive survival horror game.
10. The Backrooms Game Free Edition
The Backrooms started as an online urban legend, stating that there were some parts of the world in which you could clip out of reality and into the world of the Backrooms. This is an alternate dimension comprised of liminal spaces – areas in which you are transitioning between destinations, giving that uncanny feeling that you are nowhere and everywhere at once.
In this game, you explore the world of the Backrooms while evading a creature who is following you and doing your best not to go insane.
11. We Went Back
In this escape room-style horror game, you are caught in a time loop on an abandoned space station and must find your way out. It’s a single-player game, meaning you need to solve the puzzles and find the route to escape by yourself.
We Went Back is only about a 30-50 minute game, but it’s a great game worth playing and completely free.
Stay Awake at Night With These Free Horror Games
For gamers looking for something more spooky to play, these horror titles are some of the best you can find as free-to-play games. Many of them provide a horror experience that rivals the paid games out there. Try them out for yourself and see how long you can last.