Scariest VR Games

Top 10 Scariest VR Games

Latest posts by Linden Garcia (see all)


There’s something different about video game horror when compared to other forms of media. As opposed to books or films, games blur the line between protagonist and player; the horrifying experience is happening to both you and the character.

Games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Dead Space did a great deal to popularise the genre, and now, we’re experiencing something of a renaissance. The indie game boom birthed an entirely new subgenre of horror, and bigger titles like The Callisto Protocol and Scorn have taken the style to new heights.

We’ve also experienced some excellent remakes of classic titles, but one of the biggest changes to the formula came through the innovations of Virtual Reality.

VR turns that merging of protagonist and player up to eleven, and anyone who’s tried a VR horror game knows that the scares hit way harder. By now, I’ve played the majority of the VR horror titles on the market, and today, I bring you my definitive top ten scariest VR games of all time!

Selection Criteria

Here are my criteria for curating this list:

  • Entries don’t have to be VR exclusive: I considered making this list VR exclusive, but some of the best VR horror experiences I’ve had in the last few years have been VR versions of flat-screen games. As such, I wanted to include both VR exclusives and ported games on this list.
  • Can be multi-platform: PC has always been considered the defacto platform for VR, but in this list, I’ll also cover some of the great titles you can play on consoles.
  • Will include both indie and AAA games: Some of my favorite horror games come from indie developers, but I also have many AAA favorites to explore in this list.
  • Won’t include horror mods: While I enjoy playing scary mods for VR Minecraft as much as the next person, I’ll be sticking to full retail releases for this list.

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners

the walking dead saints and sinners

  • Developer: Skydance Interactive
  • Platform: PC and PSVR
  • Release date: 2020

To my mind, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is the ultimate VR horror experience. You’d think that by now, the Zombie genre had gotten a little long in the tooth, but TWD completely revitalizes an age-old trope by immersing the player in the most realistic apocalyptic setting yet.

The tattered remains of New Orleans are rendered in spectacular detail, and the city’s now undead inhabitants are similarly realistic.

This claustrophobic world is filled with secrets, and your exploration is a constant tug-of-war between searching the deepest corners of the world for crucial survival items or risking coming face-to-face with a pack of walkers. Every decision is tense, and in true Walking Dead fashion, those choices extend to the narrative as you craft your path in a broken world.

Adding to an overall very tense but thrilling playthrough is the time limit. You’ll be able to scavenge for important items and supplies during the day but come nightfall, the streets are filled with innumerable zombies. The whole thing is risk-reward from the get-go, with its scares extending beyond the brutal, physics-based combat into tense planning and survival endurance.


  • One of VR’s only AAA-feel horror games
  • A perfect blend of survival, exploration, narrative, and visceral combat


  • The narrative falls a bit flat on occasion
  • Movement isn’t the most agile compared to other similar titles

2. Half-Life: Alyx 

Hlaf Life Alyx

  • Developer: Valve
  • Platform: PC
  • Release date: 2020

Half-Life has never been a horror series per se, but it’s always had a deeply unsettling premise.

The Area-51-style alien horrors of Half-Life 1 had players uncovering an unnerving revelation; Half-Life 2’s chilling depiction of a dystopia combine future set a new precedence for immersive storytelling. Half-Life: Alyx harnessed all the positives of the previous games, while also focusing the series down a more classic survival horror route.

The level of detail is incredible. Decaying corpses can be – and must be – maneuvered realistically, their bloodied jaw bones opening and shutting limply as you shift the out of the way of an open window or doorway. Deep tunnels and abandoned underground infrastructure are eerily littered with trinkets of a bygone era, while these same areas are plastered with combined propaganda and alien technology.

Then there are the enemies. Thanks to the innovations of VR, head crabs now couple violently to your head, and new monsters utilize the benefits of the dark to ambush you. You may also have heard about an especially terrifying foe named Jeff, but to say any more would be to spoil it. Half-Life: Alyx is a quintessential VR title, and perhaps surprisingly, one of the best VR horror games.


  • One of the most innovative, visually impressive VR titles on the market
  • Incredibly realistic horror with an unmatched atmosphere


  • Some control compromises in favor of a more streamlined experience
  • Some of the more common puzzles may get a bit stale after a while

3. Resident Evil 7 VR

Resident Evil 7

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Platform: PSVR
  • Release date: 2017

Resident Evil 7 marked a fresh take on a classic series — the series that started the survival horror genre alongside other generation five titles like Silent Hill. Exploring a dilapidated Louisiana household belonging to the suitably insane Baker family is made all the more impactful thanks to a first-person camera. It’s a change that stands strong amongst a plethora of other alterations that have come with the shift to the new RE Engine.

While PC and Xbox fans only had the option of playing the game on the flat screen, PlayStation VR owners got the exclusive benefit of playing the game in VR. The first-person camera worked perfectly to engross the player in their first VR Resident Evil experience.

Whether it was the frantic footsteps of Jack Baker or the grizzly details of the family’s sadistic crimes up close, the VR version of RE 7 is a sight to behold.

The original did a fantastic job of making you feel like Ethan Winters, creating that all-important player-protagonist harmony. To have your in-game limbs brutally severed and then sewn back on before you is a whole new ballgame when viewed through your headset, however.


  • A full AAA experience without compromise
  • Well written, well-acted story


  • No full locomotion due to the limitations of PSVR
  • Some weaker boss battles

4. Duck Season

Duck Season

  • Developer: Stress Level Zero
  • Platform: PC
  • Release date: 2017

When people think of Stress Level Zero, their minds likely immediately go to BONEWORKS and now BONELAB, but these were not the first games in the studio’s lineup. Before that, Duck Season made waves for its mind-bending story and titular villain — a demonic dog that stalks you between a virtual and real-world setting.

The game strongly resembles Duck Hunt on NES, and a 1980s aesthetic has been carefully crafted around you to create a stylish Stranger Things-Esq horror aesthetic. It starts slowly but quickly ramps up on the scares as you progress through. Intensity increases linearly, leaving the player wondering what devilish event will befall them next.

Duck Hunt juxtaposes a rather relaxing, simple shooter, with an experience that taunts you with bizarre, unnerving occurrences you spot out of the corner of your eye. It keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and is one of the few indie horror games that use its jump scares tastefully and effectively.


  • Novel 1980s aesthetic
  • A special brand of unnerving indie horror


  • Gameplay may feel repetitive to some
  • Graphics look a little rough sometimes

5. Phasmaphobia


  • Developer: Kinetic Games
  • Platform: PC
  • Release date: 2020

Phasmaphobia is one of the most interesting indie horror titles to release in a long time. It’s also an excellent choice for beginners to the horror genre thanks to the lack of jump scares.

That doesn’t mean its scares are any less than horrifying, though. The game has you meticulously planning all aspects of a ghost hunt, from using movement sensors to EMF detectors. Your job is to search a property to find out what type of ghost is haunting it, and naturally, the whole thing feels so much more immersive in virtual reality.

Phasmaphobia is a game best experienced as a team of friends, and thankfully, VR players can play with flatscreen players which completely opens up the player pool. Everything is integrated seamlessly, so as well as being VRs most uniquely scary game, it’s also one of the most exciting multiplayer titles on the platform.


  • One of the few jump-scare-free horror experiences
  • Deeply varied gameplay reliant upon teamwork


  • Some minor bugs and glitches with the transition to VR
  • Requires friends to enjoy fully

6. Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted

Five Nights at Freddy's VR Help Wanted

  • Developer: Steel Wool Studios
  • Platform: PSVR
  • Release date: 2019

The Five Nights at Freddy’s series was always the sort of franchise perfect for a VR. These games are scary enough as it is, but to feel like you’re sitting in that room, glued to your seat, carefully managing your resources as you await the inevitable, feels so much more horrifying with a 360 view.

This is ultimately a game of micromanagement: you need to be focused every second, as wasting any moment of your time could cost you your life. As you can imagine, observing the dark hallways ahead of you as you wait is about as tense a VR horror experience as you can get, and it’s not one for the newbie.

The game’s frightful moments are entirely reliant on jump scares, but the suspense never gets old. It might be a more basic form of horror when compared to some of the other entries on this list, but that also makes it one of the most consistent scares on the VR platform.


  • Simple, heart-pounding horror
  • Engrossing, fast-paced micromanagement gameplay 


  • The relentless jump-scare horror may be too much for some
  • If you’ve already played flat-screen games, the appeal may be limited

7. Resident Evil 4: VR

Resident Evil 4 VR

  • Developer: American Armature Studio
  • Platform: Oculus Quest 2
  • Release date: 2021

There’s arguably no other horror game to do more for gaming as a whole than Resident Evil 4. Similarly to RE 7, it took the series in a completely different direction. It swaps the tried-and-true tank controls of the 1990s for the newly implemented over-the-shoulder third-person camera the industry then adopted with open arms.

Alongside its influential status, it is also considered one of the best video games of all time. Despite that consensus, I was still dubious about porting such an old third-person game with unique mechanics to the first-person playstyle of VR. Thankfully, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I was thoroughly impressed with how the game scaled to such a different platform. The controls have been completely reworked to fit the medium, and the mechanics in general have been altered subtly but intelligently.

While RE 4 isn’t the scariest in the series, the VR version brings areas like the village and the castle to life like never before, which makes the scale feel much more daunting. There are several other small but worthwhile tweaks to puzzles and area design, and the developers did a great job of making me feel like I was playing this classic for the first time.


  • A modern revamp of one of the best games of all time
  • Carefully restructured shooting built to work well on an older engine


  • Some minor glitches with opening doors and picking up items
  • Not much by way of graphical changes

8. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

Until Dawn Rush of Blood

  • Developer: Supermassive Games
  • Platform: PSVR
  • Release date: 2016

The Rail-shooter has had one of the most tumultuous histories of any genre. It began as a staple of the arcade in the 1990s, and then found an unlikely home on the Nintendo Wii. The style then reached its apex through VR. 

Of course, horror has always been a staple theme of frantic light-gun action, and Until Dawn‘s scares lean into that trope to provide one of the most enjoyable shooters on the platform. The game takes the player through a series of surreal, dimly lit, monster-infested arenas, with the most impressive aspect being how it creates such a foreboding atmosphere. 

The 360-degree freedom that comes with a VR headset allows for the utilization of eerily realistic 3D soundscapes, and the whole thing feels like an inescapable ride on a trippy ghost train at the fairground. Shooting feels satisfying and impactful as any good rail shooter should, and the addition of extra collectibles and rewards makes for a fleshed-out horror experience at a low price. 


  • One of the only horror rail shooters to succeed in achieving a frightening experience
  • Impressive use of 3D sound significantly enhances the ambiance


  • Quite a short total playtime
  • Some moments can feel too slow

9. Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath

  • Developer: Drifter Entertainment
  • Platform: Oculus Quest 2
  • Release date: 2020

If you’d had told me that cel-shaded graphics would make for a scary horror aesthetic, I don’t think I’d have believed you. Yet, Lies Beneath‘s graphics exemplify why this is one of the most subversive and unique titles on the platform. 

The whole thing is rendered like a comic book, and the game uses a survival horror framework to tell a gripping, evocative, and chilling story.

This title balances its scares perfectly between heart-pounding jumpy moments and foggy, atmospheric suspension; and the intensity of the survival elements adds an extra layer seldom seen in other horror VR titles other than The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners.

It may only be 5-6 hours long, but Lies Beneath’s cerebral journey will have you hooked from start to finish. Its stylish UI and satisfying melee combat are the icing on the cake, finishing this title off as one of VR’s hidden horror gems.


  • A unique use of cel-shading creates an unusually foreboding atmosphere
  • An interesting story leads through a carefully planned breadcrumb trail


  • Combat and survival mechanics don’t quite reach their potential
  • Some oddly placed difficulty spikes

10. Face Your Fears 2

Face Your Fears 2

  • Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
  • Platform: Oculus Quest 2
  • Release date: 2019

The original Face Your Fears was little more than a small tech demo, but the second game in the series expands on the initial idea in every way. 

The gameplay is a full bag of tricks: you’ll have four different gameplay modalities which tap into a wide variety of different fears, and I was impressed with the degree to which the game manages to surprise you at every turn. You’ll find that you’re just getting used to a mechanic or scene for it to change and completely disorientate you into a frenzy, and you never know what to expect.

As a Resident Evil fan, I also loved the way this game pushed you to solve clever puzzles to progress; Face Your Fears 2 managed to steer clear of video game horror’s cardinal sin of predictability, and for quick bursts of scary fun, it still hasn’t been beaten. 

I also absolutely love the ghost designs in the game. The best way I can describe them is deeply distorted versions of the Ghost Buster ghosts: hopefully, that gives you an idea of what to expect!


  • Some of the most varied horror gameplay on the platform
  • Impressively diverse scares that don’t outstay their welcome


  • Some cartoonish elements fall a bit flat
  • Quite a bland visual style 

My personal Top Three

While I loved all of the games on this list, here are my three personal favorites:

  1. The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners: Many have called TWD the ultimate survival horror game, and in many ways, it’s difficult to deny. Certainly, where VR is concerned, there’s no other game on the platform that instills the haste of scrambling to survive a zombie apocalypse. This is the best horror choice on this list.
  2. Resident Evil 4: VR: If Resident Evil 4 was one of the best horror games ever made, then a perfect port of the game to VR has to be in the top three experiences on the platform. Its rich atmosphere felt as spine-chilling as ever, and your first time up-close-and-personal with a Regenerator is a moment you won’t forget!
  3. Half-Life: Alyx: I wasn’t expecting the next Half-Life game to be in VR, and I also wasn’t expecting to be genuinely fearful exploring the depths of city 17 that I thought I knew so well. This detailed world isn’t one you’d want to be alone in, and the photorealistic graphics do a superb job of making you feel like you’re really there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Will games that are currently exclusive to PC be coming to PSVR 2?

Answer: PSVR missed out on a lot of great titles from the PC space, but with PSVR 2 set to launch in late February 2023, many PC games are expected to make the jump.

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Chapter 2: Retribution and Pistol Whip are both highly anticipated ports, for example. Of course, there are also a ton of new ports coming to the system besides Sony’s exclusive line-up: Resident Evil: Villiage will be coming to the platform, and surprisingly, so will Grand Turismo. You can view a full list of all the announced games here.

Question: Are VR horror games a bad idea if you’re new to the platform?

Answer: Personally, I’d advise you to steer clear of most horror games if you’re completely new to VR. Play something more lighthearted as your first introduction: that way, you can acclimatize to the mechanics without having to worry about jumping out of your skin! If you do really want to play a horror title as one of your first, however, I’d recommend Phasmaphobia due to its lack of jump scares.

Question: Are some headsets considered better than others for VR horror?

Answer: There are, of course, some headsets that have better or worse specs than others, but there isn’t too large a factor in whether the headset is a good bet for horror games. More important is how the developers utilize a platform. The Five Nights at Freddy’s title I listed above is perfect for PSVR.
That headset is used in a permanently seated position, which is exactly how the character in the game would be positioned. Moreover, if the headset is a supported platform for the game you want to play, you can usually always trust that it’s a good choice.


I hope you enjoyed this article exploring the darkest titles VR has to offer. If you’re looking to broaden your horizons and check out more great VR titles, check out our articles VR Games on our Radar in 2023 and Top 10 Best Stand Alone VR Experiences. Have fun!

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