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Not be left out of a scene that’s dominated by console titles, iPhone game developers have come up with a slew of their own horror games, and they’re waiting around a dark corner to scare the pants off you.
Try out these 12 ghastly games for a thrill this Halloween. Don’t forget to play with your headphones on — and in the dark!
1. Year Walk
This is an unsettling experience that’s been making the rounds for a while now, but it’s so good that it deserves a top spot on this list. The game is loosely based on the archaic Swedish tradition of Årsgång, in which diviners would follow instructions and meet challenges to see visions of what would happen in the coming year.
Take a walk through a forest filled with disquieting visions, creatures, and puzzles in search of the answers you seek. With charming animation, an unsettling atmosphere, and plenty of secrets to discover, Year Walk is one of the most fascinating games to hit the App Store in recent memory. So fascinating, in fact, that it has an entire companion app.
Download: Year Walk ($3.99)
2. Lost Within
Abandoned asylum? Check. Killer on the loose? Yep. Horrifying creatures? Accounted for. Dark secrets? All here. Lost Within has all the ingredients of a perfect Halloween scare. Explore the asylum while evading the dangers within to reveal the secret of the institution’s condemnation.
Lost Within provides you with a number of ways to progress through the game. You can fight off the hoard of monsters, run from them, or hide somewhere until they pass — the choice is up to you. Survival horror and adventure meet in an engrossing story that you’ll slowly unravel as you travel deeper into the asylum.
Download: Lost Within ($3.99)
As a small-time burglar, you’ll break into a house that should be empty… but isn’t. And there are eyes painted all over the walls. Why are they there? What do they see? Explore the house, collect valuables, and solve the mystery.
Despite having a reputation for less-than-stellar controls, the time you’ll spend running in terror from the being that stalks the mansion will get your heart racing. By the end, you’ll be awfully nervous about turning the next corner. Don’t be fooled by the lack of a price tag — Eyes still delivers the frights.
Download: Eyes (Free)
4. Five Nights at Freddy’s
This game is actually a series of five games, each priced at $2.99. If you start to play the first one, plan on going all the way through with it — these are popular horror games for a reason. You begin as a security guard at a Chuck-E-Cheese’s-like pizza parlor, where Freddy Fazbear and his animatronic buddies are the main attraction during the day. At night, they’re not so pleasant.
You’ll need to manage the amount of electricity you use as you pan the security cameras around to find the robotic horrors in the building. When you’re out of electricity, you get no more cameras, and no more security doors. Once you’ve survived the first game, the experience gets even weirder.
Download: Five Nights at Freddy’s ($2.99)
Looking for something a little different? Home‘s pixelated world, player-driven story, and unsettling atmosphere combine to make something unique that every player will experience differently. While it’s less of a jump-out-from-under-the-bed-and-scare-the-crap-out-of-you kind of horror game, it will definitely instill a sense of horror.
As you guide your character through the story, you’ll be confronted with a number of decisions that determine the outcome. As the tension builds, you’ll get closer and closer to figuring out exactly what’s going on, which could be quite different from what someone else might find when they play it.
Download: Home ($2.99)
As another free horror game, you might not expect much from Vanished, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its minimalist interface. This audio-only adventure leaves you relying on your ears and your imagination to explore the world around you, and the controls are as basic as they come: point in the direction you want to walk, tap to move forward, and shake to attack. That’s it.
With no visuals in this game, it’s especially important to play with a good set of headphones, and it only gets scarier when you play in the dark. The description of Vanished on the App Store includes a quote from H.P. Lovecraft, so expect everything to get pretty strange by the end.
Download: Vanished (Free)
7. Dark Meadow
Many fairy tales have dark underlying themes or origins, and Dark Meadow plays out in the timelessly classic style of those tales. You wake up in a hospital with no idea how you got there, and receive a warning that a witch and her minions are prowling the halls. Take your sword and crossbow and get rid of them!
A touch of dark humor, some basic combat, and multiple ending possibilities make Dark Meadow tough to put down and definitely replayable. Explore the hospital, get rid of the witch, and figure out what the heck is going on.
Download: Dark Meadow (Free)
8. Murder Room
Room-escape games have risen in popularity over the past years, and Murder Room extends that formula to the horror genre. You wake up trapped in a room, and you need to find your way out — and delve into the mystery of a serial killer on the loose. Find objects, solve puzzles, and stay alive long enough to solve the enigma.
The game is pretty violent and very graphic — both visually and acoustically. Prepare yourself to experience some pretty disturbing scenes. And be aware that there’s a “good” ending and a “bad” one, so make your decisions carefully!
Download: Murder Room (free)
9. Forgotten Memories
A game that has the sole aim to emulate the psychological survival horror of the ’90s, Forgotten Memories combines exploration, puzzles, and action. After waking up in an unknown location, Rose Hawkins must search for Eden, a missing girl, and confront her deepest fears along the way.
If ghosts, asylums, dolls, and mannequins freak you out, this game will be absolutely terrifying. Combine that with the various types of tasks you’ll need to carry out to stay alive, and you have a winner of an iOS horror game.
Download: Forgotten Memories ($5.99)
10. The School: White Day
A mobile port of a popular game from 2001, The School: White Day puts horror fans in a situation they might not be used to. There are no weapons, and no special powers. All you can do is run for your life. This adds a sense of realism that’s missing from some of the popular modern horror games (it draws heavily from Amnesia, a horror classic, for this feeling).
Channeling the feeling of Asian horror movies, this is one that will stick with you. Ghosts, possessed people, and a range of other horrifying discoveries await. And with multiple endings, you’ll want to play again when you’re done!
Download: The School: White Day ($3.99)
The visuals in Distraint certainly aren’t as realistic as other games in this list. And that might make you think it’s not scary. But this game excels at channeling the psychological horror of slow-burn horror stories.
This game doesn’t rely solely on jump scares. In fact, they play a relatively minor role. This game is all about the horror of the main character’s decisions. The pixelated graphics might make it a good choice for gamers who don’t want to be scared to turn the lights off after they play.
Download: Distraint ($0.99)
12. Slender Rising
If you’re a fan of the minimalist style of Slender: The Eight Pages and similar games, this is your best option on the iPhone. It’s a particular type of horror, and Slender Rising nails it.
The creepy atmosphere, multiple game modes, and intense sound effects will keep you on your toes throughout your entire play of this game. This is another one you’ll want headphones for. (And if you really dig it, there’s a sequel you can check out too.)
Download: Slender Rising ($2.99)
Enjoy Scream Season
Halloween is coming up quick, and scream season is in full swing. These games allow you to keep the horror gaming going while you’re on the move, or give you a shorter experience than a more involved horror game. If you’re an Android user, don’t worry — we have a selection of scary Android games too.
What are your favorite scary games on iOS? Share your recommendations in the comments below!