IMSCARED by Ivan Zanotti – https://store.steampowered.com/app/429720/IMSCARED/
In the walking simulator/puzzle/horror/run for your life genre the importance of IMSCARED is obvious. But I took my sweet time getting into this as I despise jump scares. And actually, I really enjoyed them in this case as they are viciously clever. The presentation may seem simplistic but there are brilliant design ideas especially in the various entities haunting this game. Fourth wall/glitch breaking is common now but not always well implemented – here, perfect and nerve-racking.
Metamaze by Papercookies – https://papercookies.itch.io/metamaze
Papercookies further proves their wizardry of twisting mechanics in this short but effective meta-horror game.
M.Stain by Impostersyndrome – https://impostersyndrome.itch.io/mstain
Puerile filth of the highest order. Absolutely delicious. Impostersyndrome is a designer to watch for.
Otherside by Ben Lapid – https://benlap.itch.io/otherside
It promises a trippy and psychedelic experience and it delivers. This is a world I wouldn’t mind spending more hours exploring.
Sagebrush by Redact Games – https://redactgames.itch.io/sagebrush
Narrative walking simulator where you explore the abandoned compound of an apocalyptic cult. The investigative aspect is a little shallow in its analysis of the theme, a subject I’m deeply interested in, but I command this game for the incredible immersiveness and clever design
Fatum Betula by Bryce Bucher – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1281270/Fatum_Betula/
Unique and endearing one second, creepy and sordid the next, Fatum Betula is an absolute masterpiece of game as encrypted space.
My Hole is a Mouth of Dirt by Yai Gameworks – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1251690/My_Hole_is_a_Mouth_of_Dirt
A RPG-maker type horror game that requires patience to get to the really rotten meat at its core. Some musical choices are cringe, but the last act is well worth the effort.
Post Void by YCJY Game – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1285670/Post_Void/
Surrealistic ultra-violent amphetamine-driven fuck ’em up with esoteric/occult presentation. It has void in the name. It must be experienced to be believed.
Maskless by Kultisti – https://kultisti.itch.io/maskless
It’s incredible what some can do with minimal 2D environments and very basic mechanic. This is a charming and gripping example which manages to make you think without falling in disgraceful obviousness.
Kill the K.O.T.H. by Rubeki – https://rubeki.itch.io/kill-the-koth
Rubeki is making a name for itself in the climbing simulator horror genre and each one is more refined than the last. The satisfaction of finding its way to the top mixed with constant vertigo is really thrilling.
H.G. by Glory Meat – https://glory-meat.itch.io/hg
Just like it’s previous title Alleyway, H.G. is short and effective. IMO one of the great P.T. worshiping title right now.
Why Is Office Coffee So Bad? by Pirate Chip Games – https://piratechipgames.itch.io/why-is-office-coffee-so-bad
It’s a great question and the answer is even better.
Sweetbox by Mignonette Silhouette –
This was excellent. It reminded me of Cryptworld with less vulgarity and more Twin Peaks. The music and aesthetic are top notch. You just want to waste time walking around this desolate village.
Council of Gulls by Shallow Lagoon –
Short browser game with excellent writings, which is quite surprising as it’s generally where most indie games falter.
The Light of Dreams by Avery Holmes –
Thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing space/light puzzle exploration.
I Am Not What Remains by ompu co – https://ompuco.itch.io/i-am-not-what-remains
Glitch sci-fi mindfuck browser experience. Absolutely delicious.
Approaches by Shane Yach https://tipsheda.itch.io/approaches
A short experience with an incredible ending. The ambiance of cosmic terror is strong with this one.
Two very different experiences, one following traditional survival horror mechanics and the other close to Observation’s minigames, which cleverly take you by surprise with unnerving endings and space manipulation.
Enter The Skinja by z_bill https://z-bill.itch.io/skinja
Cowboy, ninjas, grotesque flesh landscape. Nonsense at its best.
Labyrinth Derelict Abyss by June Flower https://june-flower.itch.io/labyrinth-derelict-abyss
To affirm I’m in love with June Flower aesthetic would be underselling it. I’m constantly amazed by the visual imagination and the great choice in music. A must-play.
Loveland by DevHour Games, LLC https://devhourgames.itch.io/loveland
A great teaser for what’s coming next. A little like Sagebrush but with more amphibious critters.
Online Simulator by Rosalie Vile https://rosalievile.itch.io/onlinesimulator
Wow, just wow. I didn’t expect anything that happened and was constantly flabbergasted by the directions this game took. To say more would be spoiling it.
Pigsaw by achebit https://achebit.itch.io/pigsaw
Great FPS with an incredible morbid and festering atmosphere. A little too strong on the platforming (which is my problem) but an absolute rush.
Structural by canovi https://canovi.itch.io/structural
I had an itch for games using the Covid-19 crisis and this one rightfully scratched it. Terrifying but also melancholic, below the horror hides interesting thoughts about our current predicament.
The Way Down by Samuel Leigh https://samgames.itch.io/the-way-down
This one was crazy, hilarious, horrifying and mesmerizing. The interface/artwork will make you lose your grip on sanity.
Hamilton by November – https://november115.itch.io/hamilton
Pleasantly surprised by this game. It checks every clichés but has great tricks up its sleeves. There’s a promise of a very exciting and rich lore that I hope future titles will unfold.
One Among Many by Dissociative – https://dissociative.itch.io/one-among-many
I went on a bender playing all Dissociative’s games and I do not recommend it (actually I do). The interactive media interpretation of Brighter Death Now and Karjalan Sissit.
Routine by Corpsepile – https://corpsepile.itch.io/routine
I’m always excited by a new Corpsepile game and this one delivers. As creepy as it’s hilariously funny.
Spookware by Papercookies – https://papercookies.itch.io/spookware
Horror-themed Warioware. Nothing more to say, you have to play it.
Subterror by Escher Vision –
As short as it’s efficient. Amazing ambiance and direction. Reminded me of First Winter by Dan Sanderson.
Tender by Shatter Glass Game –
This one crawls under the skin. It’s not doing anything new but the art direction really adds a layer of colorful morbidity.
Umbra by Mark Steene –
Reminded me of the best sections of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The level design is nothing short of amazing. Could have taken hours more of this.
The Night Journey by Game Innovation Lab https://gameinnovationlab.itch.io/nightjourney
Being a fan of Bill Viola I was quite stoked to finally play this interactive experience. Meditative and soothing while maintaining an eerie aura through its infrared aesthetic and obscure game mechanics. It is a very slow and sometime laborious, but definitely elevating, experience.
Assessment by Brandon Braun https://brodnork.itch.io/assessment
Somewhere between a Voigt-Kampff simulator, an English literature pop quiz and a haunted game. Go with the flow, you’ll be surprised.
Death Flush by ImposterSyndrome https://impostersyndrome.itch.io/death-flush
I wrote it with my quick review of M.Stain: ImposterSyndrome is a name to look for. His new title Death Flush further confirms this. As puerile as it’s masterfully crafted.
Eat & Run by Bodro https://bodro.itch.io/eat-and-run
Gotta go fast. Gotta eat pills. Good for your health, bad for your education. Great gloomy FPS Pac-Man.
Hyper P.T. by Ryan Trawick https://ryantrawick.itch.io/hyper-pt
It’s P.T. demade in Hypercard. It nevertheless managed to spook me.
Invasive by Stumpheadgames https://stumpheadgames.itch.io/invasive
It unfortunately feels a little rushed due to it being part of the Haunted PS1 Summer of Screams, but the atmosphere and sound design are totally aced. Well worth the 20 minutes trip.
Perfect Vermin by ItsTheMaceo https://itsthemaceo.itch.io/perfect-vermin
Incredible art direction mixed with the pure satisfaction of smashing stuff with a sledgehammer. Another great title by ItsTheMaceo.
Pillar of Rust by Valerie Dusk https://valerie-dusk.itch.io/pillar-of-rust
Valerie Dusk further sharpened her unique brand of atmospheric gloom and uncanny sense of architecture in this melancholic piece. I could get lost for days in there.
Psychoflesh by Montyrell https://montyrell.itch.io/psychoflesh
The eyeballs-punctured fleshwall aesthetic has of course been mastered by Screaming Mad George Paranoiascape on PS1, but this delivered on all accounts and is a very promising of this too often forgotten genre.
Sunken Heads by HorseheadInteractive https://horseheadinteractive.itch.io/sunken-heads
This was quite the trip. A pure product of love and borderless insanity mixing nineties’ point and click with Quake spatial exploration, Monty Python’s jokes with Lovecraftian macabre and always finding new ways to mess up your landmarks. Absolutely bonker and brilliant.
The Enigma of Salazar House by Maldo19/Torture Star Video – https://torturestar.itch.io/salazar-house
An excellent throwback to point and click horror with great monochromatic aesthetic. Maldo19 really pushes the envelope of minimal sound design and the visual of horrific elements is exquisite. A solid experience.
Forgotten Tunnels 1 & 2 by Lost Bullet – https://lostbullet.itch.io/forgottentunnels
I got in these tunnels without any expectations and left in awe. Part 2, building on the foundation of Part 1, is brilliant with not only a promising lore, but incredible hellish setpieces. 100% must play.
Stories Untold by No Code – https://store.steampowered.com/app/558420/Stories_Untold/
Ingenious point and click interface horror which manages to do a lot with each of its claustrophobic setups.
Video Exorcist by Crowno – https://crowno.itch.io/video-exorcist
Great arcade game with amazing presentation. The curse mechanic is as brilliant as it is infuriating.
Transcender by Aldo Jeffrey – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1398440/Transcender/
Transcender is the experience closest to the ending of 2001: Space Odyssey I have ever experienced. The switch in gameplay mechanic and environments is mindbending with several avenues to experiment. Strongly recommended.
Traditional Scarecrow by The Minusel – https://theminusel.itch.io/traditional-scarecrow
A short experience that may be clumsy at time but is oozing with charm and creepiness.
Terminus by adc – https://pattaconna.itch.io/terminus
An amazing Silent Hill (PS1 homage). There’s ton of love behind this game and it shows.
Solace Dreams by Eminio Lucente – https://www.alphabetagamer.com/solace-dreams-remake…/
I usually avoid Doom conversion (my favourite was Mayhem Mansion for the reference) but this one is an absolute masterpiece. The level design, visuals, the concept… Everything is brilliant. It’s Soul-game hard though (I admit I cheated to finish it), but well worth the blood and sweat, especially considering the bucketloads the people behind this project must have spent.
Radio Signal by Via – https://via01.itch.io/radiosignal
Interactive novels ain’t my thing but the concept of this one intrigued me, and it delivered. Amazing story and theme. The narrator voice is spot-on.
Night Dreams by Toni Hughes – https://toni-hughes.itch.io/night-dreams
The work of Toni Hughes, this and Valley of Ruin, is what I believe the closest to the art of film editing welded in game design. The interactivity is a small part, but evokes a ton, and the way the elements are triggered and sequenced is hypnotizing.
Estigma by vikintor – https://vikintor.itch.io/estigmaextended
Vikintor unique blasphemous style drives this exhilarating Q*bert meet Pac-Man monstrosity. Absolute fun.
Hamelin by Bastinus Rex – https://bastinus-rex.itch.io/hamelin
A short game oozing with medieval grimness. The rats as asymmetric occult insurgency. I forgot how much I missed click and drag character control…
Statues by SpaceBackyard – https://spacebackyard.itch.io/statues
This game will remain in your head for hours, which is quite a feat considering it’s a minute long.
Inward Umbra by Phosphene Factory – https://phosphene-factory.itch.io/inward-umbra
The glistening, Vaselinesque, textures of Unreal games is often frown-inducing but not here. This dreamlike experience offers ethereal architecture and awe inducing set pieces.
The Last Utopi by Ghoulishkid – https://ghoulishkid.itch.io/the-last-utopi
Finally, a game that simulates exactly how I feel when I’m stuck to buy candles at Ikea.
TRIHAYWBFRFYH by Connor Sherlock – https://connor-sherlock.itch.io/trihaywbfrfyh
I fell in love with this game way more than I expected. A walking simulator in an evolving landscape where you activate threads of various Lovecraft stories. The hostile indifference of the universe synthesized.
Haunted Cities Vol. 4 by Kitty Horrorshow – https://kittyhorrorshow.itch.io/haunted-cities-v4
Kitty Horroshow mastered so many dimensions of game design throughout the years, but her approach to literature in game has always been what stuck with me the most. Haunted Cities really pushes this quality further with 4 incredible experiences. Somebody should publish here prose asap.
No Words To Speak With by YesVeryMuch – https://yesverymuch.itch.io/no-words
This sequel to Brain You Later offers uninhibited creativity closing on an absolute earworm of a song. Well worth the time investment
T.W. Burgess Presents: Pylons by Teebowah Games – https://teebowah-games.itch.io/pylons
Scarfolk-like hauntology (@Somewhat was right on the money) through the only educational software you will ever need. A must-play.
Bloop by Daniel Mullins- https://dmullinsgames.itch.io/bloop
Bloop condenses the 300 films fight scenes with adequately hilarious spear through the eyes animation. Beautiful and funny.
Swarm of the Plague Babies by The Stairfall Institute – https://stairfallinstitute.itch.io/swarm-of-the-plague…
This could be considered the perfect parody of Gary J. Shipley brilliant novel Terminal Park. Also, a brilliant point and click adventure in the vein of Monkey Island (with more squishy half-humans).
Interview with the Whisperer by Deconstructeam – https://deconstructeam.itch.io/interview-with-the-whisperer
Deconstructeam had already perfected the formula for dialogues-based adventure, but this is a crowning achievement. Cosmogonic mindtwister.
Cabaret by Fire9788 – https://fire9788.itch.io/cabaret
Ambiance so thick it oozes out of the computer. Brilliant use of level design.
Dread X Collection Vol.3 by Dread X – https://store.steampowered.com/…/Dread_X_Collection_3/
This is the first Dread X Collection where I did not skip one game. They are all amazing. The cute-to-horror theme is perfectly mastered in all twelve titles.
Liquidators by 1986 CL3 – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1382200/Liquidators/
You enjoyed the Chernobyl mini-series? Now experience the horror.
Maximum Action by George Mandell – https://store.steampowered.com/app/853770/Maximum_Action/
More of a carnage sandbox than anything else, much like first TimeSplitters, but even in early access this is very promising.
Hylics 2 by Mason Lindroth – https://mason-lindroth.itch.io/hylics-2
To be perfectly honest I had to abandon the game near the end. The aesthetic and craft are prodigious (remarkably great in degree AND unnatural), pushing the envelope of the first Hylics to another dimension. But the insanity crept into the level design and it became, for me, extremely hard to navigate the space. Nevertheless, this is one of the great achievements of 2020.
C.H.A.I.N. by papercookies – https://papercookies.itch.io/chain
Extremely ambitious project – A cadavre exquis of games by 20 creators, each narratively linked. The whole package is wonderfully presented and there are some absolute brilliant gems in there. Must be played at all cost.
Lycanthorn by scumhead – https://scumhead.itch.io/lycanthorn
Castlevania-worship old-school FPS. What’s not to love? Slightly repetitive but you stick with it since you want to take a peek at the next boss – all fabulously designed.
Mental by Electric Glitch Studio – https://electric-glitch-studios.itch.io/mental
A short horror experience starting with all the tropes of the genre but switching some great hellish architectures. Also one of my favourite jumpscares of 2020.
Plead With the Mountain God by Potentially Odd – https://potentially-odd.itch.io/plead-with-the-mountain-god
This is some grade A stuff. A challenging plateformer with Souls-like mechanic and style. As challenging as it’s ghoulishly charming.
Would not recommend if you’re in a self-deprecating phase, for different reasons. Otherwise two brilliant games. Vestigial proposes a vicious take on body horror reminding me of Ligotti. Eulogy is a very touching homage to a deceased friend (please take a minute to read the description).
Daemonologie by katanalevy – https://katanalevy.itch.io/daemonologie
Even if you are not game inclined, you must experience the horrifyingly majestic artwork, delicious dialogues and god tier music. I could have taken hours more of this.
Terminal by Minigoliath – https://minigoliath.itch.io/terminal
You miss online dating and Tindr hookups? This is nightmare difficulty.
The Summoning by Black Eyed Priest Game – https://www.patreon.com/puppetcombo
Support Puppet Combo on Patreon. Everything they vouch for is dope.
Angela’s Knife by Angela Knife – https://angelaknife.itch.io/angela-knife
It’s not only a promising demo. This is pure love. Excellence in PS1 horror aesthetic. They quote Maya Deren. Play it.
Delirium by Delirium Games – https://delirium-games.itch.io/delirium
Old school point and click escape room type. Excellent art style. Lots of potential.
Glitchhikers by Silverstring Media – https://silverstring.itch.io/glitchhikers
Wholesome in the best way. It helped me sleep.
That Night, Steeped By Blood River by Taylor Swietanski – https://justadog.itch.io/that-night-steeped-by-blood-river
Metroidvania ethereal hotel exploration. Getting lost is rarely that enjoyable. Also play the previous game “caged bird don’t fly…”
Polydeuces by iwilliams – https://iwilliams.itch.io/polydeuces
Experience the frustration of handling the Alien roboforklift. And then the horror. 10/10 would try again.
PS5 Simulator by alxgrade – https://alxgrade.itch.io/ps5-simulator
It’s like surgeon simulator but with overpriced planned obsolescence bs. What I think of the game industry synthesized
The Banshee by Venous – https://venous.itch.io/the-banshee
I would be hard-pressed to find a folk horror ambiance this thick.
The New Residents/The Lost Residents by rabbytt – https://rabbytt.itch.io/
Play both back to back. Short, efficient, intriguing lore.
Awake by Kronde – https://kronde.itch.io/awake
A master class in sound design.
Boiling Static by Johnny – https://feverdreamjohnny.itch.io/boiling-static
I blame this game for my urge to eat fried shrimps.
An Empty Castle: Laputa by Modus Interactive – https://modus-interactive.itch.io/laputa
Follow the sequence and experience the closest you’ll get to quality pharmaceutical psilocybin effect in short duration. It’s Modus anyway so just play it.
Neyasnoe by sad3d – https://sad3d.itch.io/neyasnoe
Sad the creator got drafted because in the Oleander-like niche this was extremely promising. If you want to forget yourself this is a right place to get lost.
Heresy (or: The Impossible Task of Herman the Recluse) by Silas Grarup – https://kafkalovesyou.itch.io/heresy
Typing game. It’s an impossible task. I finished it and it SUCKED for my wrist in the best possible way.
Dispatch by Justin Kirkwood – https://necropolygon.itch.io/dispatch
Masterfully crafted. As short as it aims for the throat. A gem.
Wrong Floor by N4ba – https://n4ba.itch.io/wrong-floor
There’s an art to jumpscares and this game nails it.
#21: The World by Isddev – https://lsddev.itch.io/21-the-world
Many tries to be LSD on PSX. Few succeed. This one succeeded
10-103 by Nerdspartan- https://nerdspartan.itch.io/10-103
Nifty SCP-esque sidescroller shooter reminding me a little of the 2D Duke Nukem. Excellent use of lightning and loved the CB mechanic.
Conarium by Zoetrope Interactive – https://store.steampowered.com/app/313780/Conarium/
Some of the reviewers mentioned Conarium was “the most authentic Lovecraftian game” they played, and I wholeheartedly agree. It also channels HR Giger in the best possible way, with tons of secret lore to discover.
Coward Town by Swofl – https://swofl.itch.io/coward-town
The art style is unique but the soundscape really steals the how. I could vibe to this eerie noisesynth wailing for hours.
Dreamdisc by Papercookies – https://papercookies.itch.io/dreamdisc
Looping dreamscape. Strong André Pieyre de Mandiargues ambiance.
Ghost Study by Warkus – https://warrrkus.itch.io/ghoststudy
Creepy game extended with some ARG. I don’t enjoy jumpscares but these ones were perfectly setup and executed.
Heads by DDD Wares – https://dddwares.itch.io/heads
If Caligula was alive it would be its favorite game.
Immanence by Cat In a Jar Games – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1177430/Immanence/
2D sci-fi horror playing like a mix of fever dream and ketamine-induced dissociative state. Highly recommended.
It Moves by Kodama Games – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1028930/It_Moves/
Another RPG-maker horror gem. An interactive take on a Bedtime creepypasta by Michael Whitehouse.
Meat Shift by Rat King Collective – https://rattusrattus.itch.io/meatshift
Slave to the grind simulator. Strong vegan-inducing capacity. There is an incident with worms I really enjoyed.
Medulla by RETRO SESSION – https://retro-session.itch.io/medulla
This does more in 2 minutes than most games I played this year. Heavy atmosphere.
My Friend Is a Raven by Two Star Games – https://store.steampowered.com/…/My_Friend_is_a_Raven/
Released in November 2019 and highly relatable in the current context.
Pit of Babel by ItsTheMaceo – https://itsthemaceo.itch.io/pit-of-babel
Another opportunity to toy with ItsTheMaceo exquisite art style. Also, to try building a personal Tower of Babel through Tetris blocks generated by grinding tar-borned critters.
s:ne by tm – https://tobyme.itch.io/rip
Not quite sure what it is, most probable guess: negative ectoplasm inducer. In any case, s:ne is hypnotizing
We Went Back by Dead Thread Games – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1218250/We_Went_Back/
P.T., now in SPACE. Reminded me of the best parts of Event Horizon. Short and efficient.
Hexcraft: Eventide Sigil by Oleander Garden – https://oleandergarden.itch.io/sigil
The unshakeable feeling this piece of software is a digital curse and not a game. The cryptic, hilarious, and putrid subtext doesn’t help. The NRx reference was really the cherry on top. Also can somebody help me find the secret ending?
I Opened the Walls and Found Something Beautiful by TheMercifulZeus – https://themercifulzeus.itch.io/i-opened-the-walls-and…
Complete chemically induced dissociative state simulator. Astral projection in noumenal limbo. I replayed it 3 times just to be sure it was not a dream.
Stars Die by Eric Juvi – https://yorkeegj.itch.io/stars-die
Exploring this eerie island was pure joy. Like an interactive Jeff VanderMeer novel, and as exquisitely written.
Crawlerphobia by Azaxor – https://azaxor.itch.io/crawlerphobia
An ambiance made of pure rotting viscosity. Would crawl again.
Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk… by Nikita Kryukov – https://nikita-kryukov.itch.io/pmkm
A game where you go through a psychological condition you would not wish upon your enemies. A punch in the gut.
Murderhouse by Puppet Combo – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1064460/Murder_House/
Puppet Combo really upped their scriptwriting skills with this one and honed their formula. Had an absolute blast and the jump scares were brilliantly constructed. Support!
The Drowning Machine Wanderlust by Rabbit Run Games- https://rabbitrungames.itch.io/thedrowningmachine
Another piece of The Drowning Machine project, another extremely touching piece about sorrow and grief.
Horror Game Collection by Triality Games – https://triality-games.itch.io/triality-horror-games
Very promising first titles from this new crew. Maybe Another Life is really a must play. A new way to experience cosmic indifference.
Vuskhell Station by Cube Legal – https://cubelegal.itch.io/vuskhell-station
This “sequel” to Gornom pushes the lore further through perfectly paced slow-burn horror. Also kudos for the beautiful drawn scenery when looking out the windows.
Bad Trip by billy – https://dairydog.itch.io/bad-trip
Shoot blast kill tear your eyes out. Repeat. Loved it.
Father’s Love by Johnny – https://feverdreamjohnny.itch.io/fathers-love Short blast of absurd interactivity. Will polygonally reduce your eyeballs.
Hypnagogia by @sodaraptordev – https://sodaraptor.itch.io/hypnagogia I was totally blown away by this experience. Masterfully executed and joining pure cutesy wholesomeness with, surprisingly, the horrifying polar opposite.
Soldier Man: Space Hero by bearhunter – https://bearhunter.itch.io/soldier-man-space-hero… This demo is as promising as the title is misleading. Sharing this to do my part in encouraging the creator to finish it.
Personal Effects by Permafried Games – https://permafriedgames.itch.io/personal-effects… Deathpile – G.R. the game with a little Maniac twist. Mean, filthy, cheap. Personally, I like it.