These underrated psychological horror video games do not rely on jump scares. They do all they can to mess with your head. You are constantly on the edge of your seat and wondering what awaits you around the corner. Sound effects are implemented effectively to bring the environment and its inhabitants to life and instill fear. Your dread meter remains maxed out when all these elements come together with perfection.
Psychological horror video games are horrifying. If done effectively, they will put desensitized horror fanatics in their place. I am one of those desensitized horror fanatics constantly searching for a psychological horror game that scares me. This is a hard itch for me to scratch, and it takes quite a few video games until I find one that leaves a lasting impression.
The following is a spoiler-free list of underrated psychological horror video games. You may or may not know all of them. Some of them are more known than others. These titles are all from the year 2020 and above.
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WHAT IS AN UNDERRATED PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR VIDEO GAME?
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror. The horror does not tend to come from jump scares. Instead, the mind is the target. You can expect to be subjected to disturbing and unsettling scenarios that keep you guessing what lurks nearby. When done right, you will be filled with dread during your journey.
An underrated psychological horror video game does not get enough credit for it’s worth. They either slip under the radar, or they are plagued by hyper-critical gamers.
5. BRAMBLE: THE MOUNTAIN KING
Bramble: The Mountain King is not your typical underrated psychological horror video game. Most people probably wouldn’t consider Bramble to fit in the category. However, I believe there are elements to find space in the psychological horror genre.
The game is based on Nordic fables. When the game begins, you feel like you are thrown right into a fable. I think the artwork and music do a fantastic job putting you there. This particular fable starts with Olle, whose sister ventured into the woods in the middle of the night. Olle sets out to find her.
The game starts very welcoming. The sun shines bright, the woods are full of life, and gnomes play games with Olle. This is highly deceiving. Once you get about 30-60 minutes in, everything changes. This place is horrible and full of foul creatures that want to destroy Olle.
The psychological horror aspect falls on Olle. He is put through many tests and always seems just short of saving his sister. He starts the adventure off scared for his sister but jolly nonetheless. By the end of the game, he looks completely broken. His mind is gone. It’s hard to watch his transition and the things he has to confront.
Visage is a terrifying underrated psychological horror video game. The game is played in chapters, and only between chapters do you get some time to breathe. The rest of the time, you are deep in dread. Visage does a masterful job of keeping you in apprehension.
You explore a house where terrible events have happened. These events are so horrible that entities remain trapped in the house. These entities are going to haunt you and hunt you down. You will spend a lot of time wondering about noises you don’t know where they came from. You’ll also keep wondering what could be around the next corner.
The game does have an issue with its controls. They will take some time to get used to. The problem is not ideal, but you can overcome it. Once you do, you’ll be fine. Don’t let the controls get in the way of missing out on a dreadfully fun experience in horror.
3. THE MORTUARY ASSISTANT
The Mortuary Assistant is a unique underrated psychological horror video game that can be played several times for different outcomes. You get a new job as a mortuary assistant, and the mortuary’s owner throws you right into the meat grinder. Your objective consists of embalming the dead while banishing a ghost.
On the surface, The Mortuary Assistant sounds a bit ridiculous. However, the game is quite scary, and the replayability is high. You will need to embalm some bodies during each playthrough, but what you encounter during each playthrough is random. These random encounters are terrifying. Some will jump out at you, while others will mess with your head.
There are secrets to uncover, tasks to complete, and rituals to perform. You’ll stay busy as you go through a playthrough. As you perform all of these duties, you’ll constantly wonder what is waiting for you around the corner.
Luto is an underrated psychological horror video game currently only available as a demo. No release date has been set, but the demo has left enough of an impression that I must include the game in this list. After all, demos have been known to leave an impression on many of us. I’m thinking of P.T. (Playable Teaser).
The demo sets up the story as someone who cannot leave their home. Something blocks the way out. You need to figure out how to get out. To do so, you must explore your home and complete some puzzles. However, you are not alone, and something wants to harm you.
There are elements of dread, but mental health plays a significant role in the direction of horror. This person is looking for someone they love. However, you’ll uncover some of the hardships in their relationship as you explore the home. You may feel a bit depressed when you finish Luto so be sure to have something to cheer you up afterwards.
1. ADAM: LOST MEMORIES
Adam: Lost Memories is a hidden gem and my favorite on this list. I don’t know why this game does not get more attention. This game contains many elements that make up an underrated psychological horror video game.
There is dread, disturbing sequences, unsettling environments, haunting sound effects, and the exploration of mental health challenges. What’s unique about Adam: Lost Memories is that the game translates Adam’s experiences with child abuse into a psychological horror video game.
The game does well with dread, and you’ll feel dreadful often. However, it is worth noting that there were quite a few terrifying sequences that kept me scared and apprehensive on a high level during my playthrough of these sequences. They remain memorable, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forget them.
The puzzles can be daunting sometimes, and the levels can be a bit like a maze. However frustrating they can be at times, they are worth pushing through. I have played games where these frustrations weren’t worth the trouble, but Adam: Lost Memories is worth the trouble. As a last resort, you can always watch my gameplay of Adam: Lost Memories, but I recommend you try and go through the experience yourself and support the developer.