Outlast Review: The Most Terrifying Game of 2013 [Giveaway]

Kannon Yamada 27-09-2013

If there’s one game that you should play five minutes and then never pick it up again, it’s Red Barrels‘ Outlast. I mean that in the best way possible: Seldom does a game damage you psychologically, the way Outlast will. It’s like going on an adrenaline-fueled, sprint-paced tour of a monster-infested mansion. Shambling, rattling things scratch at your back and there’s nothing you can do to defend yourself other than run – run until your lungs and knees bleed.


I would recommend Outlast to those who like:

  • Low-cost games ($20);
  • Short, but intense, survival horror;
  • Graphic, violent content;
  • Paris Hilton style videography.

In Outlast, you play as a journalist investigating a whistleblower’s tip. The place of your investigation: Murkoff’s Mount Massive Asylum – a tongue-in-cheek pseudo-portmanteau of the pharmaceutical company “Merck” and an H.P. Lovecraft reference to the book, “At the Mountains of Madness“.

Equipped with your trusty night vision-equipped video camera, you descend into what may be one of the most terrifying games of 2013.

Best of all, we are giving away three terrifying copies of the game through steam to three lucky winners. Keep reading to bottom to find out how to take home a copy for yourself!

murkoff mansion


What is Outlast Like?

Let’s use a metaphor: Outlast feels like the offspring of Mirror’s Edge and Amnesia went on a date with Paris Hilton – it’s cardio-intensive terror in the dark, combined with night vision effects.

one night in murkoff mountain

It’s so scary, in fact, that Outlast may be a game you’ll buy, play for ten minutes and then never pick up again. In truth, I would not have returned to the game had it not been for getting paid and colossal student debt, which makes even the most cowardly among us, blood-thirsty fighters. But don’t think this game will let you do anything but run. Run for your life.

There’s an absence of a combat system – you don’t engage enemies, survival hinges on stealth and cunning. Although, in truth, the majority of the game involves fleeing in blind terror. Fortunately, the denizens of Murkoff Mountain lose their concentration very quickly, oftentimes chasing you in to a dead end then deciding to focus their naked rage elsewhere. Or throwing ill-timed club attacks that either catch air or do minor damage, which you regenerate from rather quickly. Had I known that journalism would confer Wolverine-like powers, I would have studied harder in school.


What’s So Good About Outlast?

As a classic within the survival horror genre 4 Video Games That Will Actually Terrify You [MUO Gaming] Video games are able to capture much of the emotion and feeling that comes with movies and other forms of entertainment. That being said, video games always seem to struggle with making people laugh and... Read More , I have a lot of good things to say about Outlast. Primarily, its gameplay.

  • Hide and seek in the dark: Outlast feels a lot like hide and seek, in the dark – Paris Hilton style. You’re probably bored with that metaphor, so I’ll elaborate — your camera includes night vision, which gives the active display a green tint. This causes a great deal of battery drain. Fortunately, batteries are casually strewn all about the Murkoff Mountains facility. Much of the game involves dodging enemies, finding batteries and trying to find a way out of Mount Massive.

hide and seek

  • Dark environments: As stated previously, if you don’t like dark environments, or turning your gamma settings up all the way, you won’t like Outlast. The vast majority of the game steeps itself in blackness. And it’s terrifying.
  • Great controls: The controls in feel smooth and intuitive. The tutorial only requires some basic explanation , but after that, you are pretty versed in everything you will ever need to do throughout Outlast.
  • Great music and sound effects: The music feels less like a game and more like a film. A really terrifying film. The sound effects are truly rattling. Heavy breathing will haunt your every step. Is it your own? Or some grinning, naked fiend just behind you?
  • Runner on rails: Outlast will have you run through what feels like endless, bloodied corridors. Run the wrong way and you’ll face death by maniac. Run the right way and you’ll live. Although it feels unscripted and completely spontaneous, Outlast rehashes the same formula throughout its four (or more) hours of gameplay: It’s a highly scripted “runner” on rails. You won’t have much time to think about that, though, as you will be running for your life.


Sad to say, nothing is perfect. While a great game, Outlast uses a great deal of cheap jump scares, it lacks replayability, and sometimes feels repetitive. These issues don’t ruin the game, since you won’t have time to mull over its short comings because of the maniac at your heels.

  • Too intense: It’s hard admitting this, but some games might be better off shorter, rather than longer. Outlast is just too intense for long play periods. I found myself getting motion sick, and my jaw ached from all the gritting. There are literally bodies strewn all over the place in grotesque tableau.

too much gore


cheap jump scares

  • Water level: Like most torture porn games, Outlast features a water level. We know very well that water levels can ruin some games. GamesRadar wrote an article on the subject, which discussed the top seven worst water levels of all time. I would rank Outlast’s water level much lower, fortunately. For me the worst experience involved a four-foot, flooded ledge that I couldn’t climb, which was frustrating.

sewer ledge

  • Low replayability: Outlast, ironically, doesn’t last for very long. The game provides anywhere between 4 and 10 hours of game time – although you will be thoroughly entertained throughout.
  • Repetitive gameplay: You will repeat the same action, over and over again – running and hiding from mentally disturbed humanoid-mutates while breathing extremely, extremely hard. If you’ve ever played Siren (or Forbidden Siren in United Kingdom), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Enemies will doggedly chase you, until getting monstrously bored. You will hide under beds, and in lockers – and that’s about it.


I played Outlast using both keyboard/mouse and gamepad (Rumbleshock 2). Both provided an entirely seamless gameplay experience. Growing up with consoles, though, I just had to play Outlast through with a pad.

  • Gamepad: Playing with the gamepad is much harder than using the keyboard and mouse. You will run from baddies having only the poorest understanding of where they are behind you. Turning around is just too slow and oftentimes evil is just on your heels. It’s also worth noting that my gamepad detected without any issue at all.
  • Keyboard and mouse: Keep in mind that this game feels designed to be played with the keyboard and mouse. Using the mouse you can rapidly scan rooms, searching for visual cues or precious batteries. Unlike the gamepad, which forces you to slowly look around, the keyboard and mouse grants lightning-fast view changes. For example, while on the run, you can scan ahead and simultaneously shoot back glances at whatever pursues you. You can even check down corridors for dead-ends. You won’t get this luxury with a gamepad.


So should you buy Outlast? For $20 there’s very little risk involved, and quite a bit of reward, if you end up liking the game. However, compared to some of the budget alternatives Looking for Great Games at Pauper Prices? Score Some Game Bundles Read More out there, combined with Outlast’s low replayability, you may want to spend your money elsewhere, particularly if you like independent games.


However, Outlast remains one of the most intense games I’ve ever played. That includes titles such as Deadspace, Siren (Forbidden Siren in the UK), Silent Hill and Resident Evil. If you’re a survival horror fan, then you may want to snap this title up at full price.

Anyone else loving Outlast? Let us know in the comments.

How do I win a copy of Outlast?

You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.

After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, October 11. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.

Related topics: MakeUseOf Giveaway, Steam.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Johnna R
    October 11, 2013 at 9:51 am

    It's not really my type of game,but I know someone who would like it.

  2. Meredith Jones
    October 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I would like to play it.

  3. Kat M
    October 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    It's not really my bag, but I know some people that would love this game.

  4. Cassie S
    October 10, 2013 at 3:15 am

    I don't think I could do it but there are a few in the family that would like it!

  5. jt
    October 10, 2013 at 2:49 am

    i think this will a fun game on a game night! :)

  6. Hicham O.
    October 10, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Yeaaa Hell yeaaahh!!!!

  7. Jonathan H
    October 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    It looks horrifying ^_^ Don't think I'd have the GUTS to do it myself, a playthrough yes, getting it myself. no xD

  8. Kathy S
    October 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    My boys would love it.

  9. Misty Marie B
    October 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Yes. I am a huge horror fan.

  10. Chay P
    October 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Even before I read this review I wanted to get the game, this has made me want even more, although now I have seen how graphic is I am a little scared :S

  11. Dimitris S.
    October 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I like to play it, looks scary!

  12. HELEN
    October 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Looks fun to play!

  13. Giwta G
    October 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm


  14. jordan p
    October 7, 2013 at 4:04 am

    it looks like fun. and yes

  15. Jo-anne P
    October 7, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I like to replay games over and over I would like to win it instead of buy it.

  16. Joe P
    October 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    It is something different from what I'm used to playing so yes.

  17. Leon
    October 6, 2013 at 5:48 am

    It is definitely worth playing. It has some problems like you said in your review but for just $20 it is a really good deal.

  18. Yash Sodha
    October 6, 2013 at 3:36 am

    I would like to try it once ! Scary Horror game have never played one !

  19. arif togoo
    October 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    sounds interesting,worth a try.

  20. Rohan
    October 4, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I'm not too sure, but Amnesia was pretty scary...

  21. John Knight
    October 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

    looks great

  22. Dana
    October 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Love creepy/scary games. I'm sure I'd play it more than once through.

  23. Wu Kyin Woo
    October 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Interesting to play.

  24. liz
    October 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    good price, sounds worth a try, but I'll update when I play it

  25. Nero T
    October 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I've played some horror games like Silent Hill, Amnesia and Fatal Frame series, and I think this games is worth to try, to play especially at Halloween.

  26. Jason
    October 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

    It certainly sounds interesting.

  27. Nikos Tamias
    October 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

    It definitely looks really scary

  28. Anonymous
    October 3, 2013 at 8:35 am

    The whole new survival horror that certain games lack

  29. Beh H
    October 3, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I think it will be scary and amazing!

  30. Chris Trak
    October 3, 2013 at 1:28 am

    This looks Outstanding.........lots of Horror and great looking graphics.......

  31. Jessica Keeton
    October 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Outlast is def. worth playing. Any game I have never tried before is worth playing. Hope i win.

  32. Yassine Amor
    October 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Outlast is definitly a worth playing game.

  33. Guy
    October 2, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I think it's a very interesting take on survival horror. More games should be this innovative.

  34. R.A.Y
    October 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I always love to try horror games.
    The graphic isn't so appealing, though. But I think it's worth to buy with that price. Must have Game to play at Halloween

  35. Bradley Wignall
    October 1, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Definitely looks and sounds like a amazing game well worth the money!

  36. Jitendra A
    October 1, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Awesome! Thrilling! Must play!!!

  37. John Malsky
    October 1, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Outlast is an amazing game!

  38. Ariane D
    October 1, 2013 at 4:58 am

    SO scary!!!! :DDD

  39. Doug AllenIII
    October 1, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Scary is always worth playing

  40. John Kim
    October 1, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I'd give this game a try for only $20

  41. John
    October 1, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Looks good. Need a replacement for Silent Hill

  42. Roger Senra
    September 30, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    This is one of the most shocking game... A revival of the Survival Horror genre!! Its really a gem!

  43. Andrés T
    September 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I need a new videogame for Halloween. Let's try this one out :D

  44. Mike Lacy
    September 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Sounds like scary fun, just in time for Halloween!

  45. Amy Flores
    September 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I will probably have a heart attack. BRING IT ON!

  46. James B
    September 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Apparently this game works well with Oculus Rift. Suffice to say, I'm not bloody trying that!

  47. Asim
    September 30, 2013 at 6:15 am

    not a fan of this genre, but reading your review i feel like giving it a shot.

  48. Zevah S
    September 30, 2013 at 1:04 am

    i haven't played it but it looks really interesting

  49. Tom W
    September 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    I haven't played it, but it definitely looks like it's worth playing through once.

    p.s. the entry tweet is the wrong one.

  50. Laysson
    September 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Nice, count me in :D

  51. Sriharsh
    September 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Like your review .. Give me this game ! Thanks

  52. Alan Tong
    September 29, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Great review!!! Definitely worth playing! I love games like these. Thanks!

  53. John L
    September 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

    reading your review... yes it is, i guess.

  54. Chris Trak
    September 29, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Yeah Man...Looks awesome to me, let me play!

  55. Mike D
    September 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    ... Not much on games in general these days, but I'll leave a comment for a chance to win!

  56. Mihir C
    September 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Hell yes!

  57. Scott H
    September 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    need a new game to play

  58. michael#numbers
    September 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Looks like a classic

  59. Julian
    September 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Yes. Give me!

  60. Adly A
    September 28, 2013 at 6:31 am

    If you give me a try, I can know for sure.

  61. Va D
    September 28, 2013 at 5:10 am

    It sounds like it's worth playing but for $20 bucks I think I wait till a half off deal or better since I have a huge gaming back log in place .

  62. David Hughes
    September 28, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I watched Markiplier play through this game. It definitely seems worth playing. Normally I'm not one for spoilers but the jump scares in this game almost gave me heart attacks when I wasn't even playing... At least now I'd have a chance to turn down the volume and avoid Cardiac Arrest!

  63. Jack q
    September 28, 2013 at 1:06 am

    I think it is worth playing, as I haven't played a whole lot of horror games. why not go all out with this one? :)

  64. Peter J.
    September 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I saw an LP and it looks awesome & scary!

  65. Gord
    September 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Yes of course it's worth playing.

  66. Latz
    September 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I'm even scared if I have to go to the toilet in the night and in the dark. This game will scare me to death. This will be fun!

  67. Denis K
    September 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Damn sure!

  68. Klaus Kortig
    September 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I been playing it. I hate there is no way to protect yourself. No weapons.

  69. Jurmy C
    September 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Looks to good not to try it out. Let me win it !!!!! ;) Good Luck everyone!

  70. Tiago R
    September 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    i can only find out if i win!!!

  71. Stephan H
    September 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I like games like these, so yeah, I'll certainly give it a try.

  72. Nanang
    September 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    yeah, its pretty scary game

  73. Cryptic
    September 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I won't be entering to win a copy of this. I can't play games like this anymore. I have mild PTSD from being a paramedic, and I don't need this type of stress while trying to relax with video games.

    • Kannon Y
      September 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      I'm sorry about the PTSD. This is definitely not the sort of game I would recommend for anyone with an aversion for violence.

  74. Eric K
    September 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Looks worth a shot

  75. Dany B
    September 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    It looks like its will be worth my time to play it, with headphone and in the dark for maximum fun. I like Horror games.

  76. Mandi
    September 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    This game looks amazingly scary!

  77. Gravity D
    September 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    "the most terrifying game of the 2013"

    well you lost me there, NOW if only someone makes a mod changing the horror part with mickey mouse :p

    But I appreciate that developers are going into this genre, may one day I'll have enough guts to play these games O:)

  78. wes
    September 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    looks like the best survival horro game released for a good while

  79. Sergei
    September 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Like!! Thanks.

  80. Rick
    September 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    because its cheap and looks like it might actually give me a fright for once.

  81. Michael B
    September 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    It sure looks like a game worth playing.. Ever since it was announced I thought the premise was great. I will have to wait and see if I win to know if it is actually worth playing though.

  82. Terry B
    September 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for the chance to win really want to play this I love scary games!

    PS. Think the tweet/retweet is messed up, this is what its tweeting "RT and WIN a free Sphero 2.0 smartphone-controlled toy! It's so awesome, you have to check it out!" but the link to review/contest here was correct.