Free Spooky Indie Video Games Guaranteed to Send Chills Down Your Spine
COGconnected has 10 more free spooky indie video games ready for Halloween 2023. The spooky season is once more upon us and it’s time to settle down with a grab-bag of short, free indie horror games and give yourself a nice fright. It’s time for an early, digital Trick-or-Treat session, and the candy we’re giving out is a list of great titles sure to get under your skin.
These ten games feature uncanny imagery, unsettling premises, and some of the most lovingly-crafted spooks we’ve encountered on the internet, all for the low, low price of free. Gamer beware, you’re in for a scare.
10. Entity Room
There is an entity being kept in an underground lab. Your job is to make sure it eats and that the lab is cleaned afterward. On the way, you’ll read a lot of alarming emails, wander through an atmospheric environment, and remotely feed prisoners to a horrible monster. Then you need to clean the now-empty room by hand.
This game has a very clinical horror atmosphere reminiscent of the SCP Foundation. It’s a very short experience, lasting about 15-30 minutes, but it packs a lot into that time. And the retro VHS aesthetic only adds to the unsettling feel of it all. If you want something short and spooky, you’ll have a good time with Entity Room.
Content warnings: winding hallways, jump scares, blood, gore, and people feeding other people to a horrible monster.
Lakeview Cabin is an oldie but a goodie. First published on Newgrounds back in 2013, this decade-old sprite game can still scare the pants off an unwary gamer. It tells the story of a man who heads out to a cabin for a cozy weekend in the woods. All alone. On an island in the middle of the lake. With no way to escape if something goes wrong.
Needless to say, something does indeed go wrong eventually. And the game’s outcome is determined by the way you spend your time before disaster hits. This title is quite short and combines no dialog with very simple graphics, but the story it tells is chilling nonetheless.
Content warnings: violence to animals, domestic abuse, pixelated nudity, vengeful ghosts.
Don’t Let It Out is one of those metaphorical games that’s about a very real kind of horror. The protagonist, feeling a terrible threat drawing near, locks themself in the bathroom. There, they must stop a horrible tentacle monster from breaking loose. Problem is, the monster is already inside them. No matter what, they need to keep control until the timer runs out, or they’ll face a terrible ending.
I won’t beat around the bush: this game is a metaphor for self-harm. Its simple pixel graphics contain some truly visceral imagery around the idea of fear and compulsion. If you aren’t in the right place for that, don’t play this game. But if you want an intense, timed short horror experience, Don’t Let It Out is a great find.
Content warnings: tentacles, blood, self-harm, suicide.
Grave of Traumerei is a subtler, softer kind of horror, but it is chilling nonetheless. Two young men, the mysterious Tsutsuji and the aloof Sumire, meet on a train that doesn’t seem to stop. Their quest to escape the train soon begins to spiral into madness as it becomes clear they knew each other before this. Together, they must recover their lost memories, unravel a dark secret, and find the truth.
One thing is clear: no matter what happens, they will not find a happy ending waiting when they finally leave the train. Gorgeous pixel graphics do a great job of anchoring you in a toxic relationship and a tainted wish to save someone you care about, no matter how much you hurt them in the process.
Content warnings: blood, depictions of internalized ableism, incest, sexual abuse, disturbing birth imagery.
First created for a game jam, The Coffin of Andy and Leyley tells a topical tale of siblings going a little insane under lockdown. Beaten-down Andy and manipulative Leyley have been stuck in their apartment for weeks due to an enforced quarantine. They’re running out of food, spying on the neighbors, and generally losing their minds. But after they catch the neighbor trying to summon a demon, things start sliding out of control. What will they do to survive? And how much will Andy take from Leyley before their codependent relationship becomes too much to bear?
The game jam version of this title has about 1 hour of gameplay and a single ending. But if you have a good time with Andy and Leyley, a paid Steam version with more content is now in Early Access.
Content warnings: psychological horror, quarantines, demon summoning, cannibalism, extremely codependent siblings.
The Lancaster Leak series is dedicated to a clever, dark premise: a playable found-footage horror game. It leans hard into the analog horror genre and the result has to be seen to be believed. Each of these short titles opens with cryptic messages concerning a missing FBI intern and the people who supposedly leaked the tapes. They depict horrifying events covered up years ago–events which led to people losing their lives to a variety of chilling monsters. The found footage tape effects are brilliant and the atmosphere is as grimy and uncomfortable as you could hope for. And if you like this game, there’s a sequel already out, and more to come.
Content warnings: general epilepsy warning, low-quality video tape horror, blood, animal death, a man-eating monster.
Head over to page 2 for more free spooky indie video games.