Unlike role-playing games that mostly consist of fifty hour campaigns and lengthy DLCs, horror games can often be beaten in a matter of hours. For this reason and this reason alone, the genre is one of the most visited in the world, and it’s also one of the most accessible for up-and-coming developers who only wish to hone their skills without sacrificing years for the sake of favoring quantity over quality.
Of course, there are tons of indie horror games to indulge in, most of which can be accessed via Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus. And then, of course, there’s your Amazon Luna, Steam Deck, and Apple Gaming platforms, all of which host an equal amount of bite-sized horror gems that aren’t overly taxing on the soul. If, for whatever reason, you’re looking to spend a little quality time dipping toes into such waters, then be sure to check out these five overshadowed indies.
5. The Park
The Park is a relatively short but thought-provoking story-driven horror that will take you anywhere from forty-five minutes to two hours to experience in its entirety. It’s effortlessly ambient, and a sure-fire way to bag a platinum trophy for anyone looking to boost their cabinets and get a few cheap thrills along the way.
In The Park, you will explore an abandoned theme park after twilight, mainly in the hopes of finding your lost son who, up until his disappearance, spent his best years engulfed by the cheap thrills and twinkling lights of the park. By interacting with the derelict slideshow attractions and rides, you will come to assemble a picture of what happened to your boy, as well as the tainted park and how it met its gloomy downfall. Spoiler alert — there’s a lot more to Atlantic Island Park than what meets the eye, and you’re in for one roller coaster of an emotional journey.
4. Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear is a fast-paced survival horror tale that rarely ever lets up on the jump scares or psychological torment. Although compressed into a two hour campaign, its every moment tells a riveting story that’s unbelievably chock-full of intrigue and wonder. Therefore, if you’re seriously looking to indulge in a story-driven experience that’ll keep you second guessing from beginning to end, then you needn’t look any further.
In Layers of Fear, you fill the shoes of an established painter, one whose sole purpose is to create the so-called magnum opus of the arts. However, with the home in tatters and your family no longer in the picture, you must learn to unravel your dark past in order to locate your muse. The problem is, your methods of chalking up said masterpiece are somewhat sadistic, and it’ll take every fiber of your morality to construct a product worth sharing with the world.
3. Infliction: Extended Cut
For those who enjoy soaking up haunted suburban homes riddled with paranormal activity and sinister spirits, Infliction: Extended Cut is a perfect addition to the portfolio. Again, it’s no blockbuster journey with hundreds of hours worth of content — but it’s big enough to keep you tiptoeing your way through for several hours before eventually succumbing to the paranoia that builds over your psyche.
Infliction throws you into the tainted world of a suburban dweller, one who has lost not only his wife to murder, but his daughter, too. With his world split into two and on the precipice of collapse, the grieving survivor must learn to overcome and avenge the spirits that still roam the hallways. The problem is, you’re mostly to blame for the ill fates of your fractured family. And guess what? They’re not too pleased about your sudden change of heart, either.
2. Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home combines a riveting Thai folklore-inspired tale full of twists and turns with a treasure trove of puzzle-heavy pathways. Revolving mostly around trial and error gameplay, players are made to learn the game’s every nook and cranny in order to solve its looming riddles and survive the horrors that plague the twilight.
In the dark and dreary world of Home Sweet Home, players take on the role of Tim, a waylaid soul who must explore an unknown apartment complex in search of his wife, Jane. Unfortunately, with an entity on the loose and a number of bloodstained portals sewn between each and every corner of the building, the weary traveler must use a combination of stealth and initiative to overcome the sadistic spirit that stalks the very halls.
1. One Late Night
Working late at night in a dimly lit office complex is the perfect setup for an exciting, albeit incredibly nail-biting video game experience. For that reason, we can’t help but nudge One Late Night into the spotlight, a rich and immersive horror flick that capitalizes on the aforementioned concept. Although whittled down into an hour long story, it is still perhaps one of the most memorable indie horrors of all time — and that’s saying something.
One Late Night puts you in the shoes of an on-the-clock in-house graphic designer. After losing track of time to the office grind, the tired soul sets out to tie up loose ends and head home. However, just as the lights start to flicker and the office gets engulfed in icy winds, the worker is given the additional task of surviving the twisted glare of an endearing spirit who has decided to plant roots through twilight. The question is, can you outlast the unknown and clock out come dawn?
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.