All things considered, the independent game development community has really come into its own over the last few years. We’ve seen a smattering of titles released which have since gone on to excite and frighten millions of people across the net. In fact, there are quite a few popular Youtube channels (like those of PewDiePie, Tobuscus or Markiplier, for example) which more or less focus solely on indie horror games and have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers to show for their efforts. What does this mean? Well, for starters, it implies that indie game developers have really “turned a corner” and are inciting the interest of a great many people. Similarly, this also shows that the average person appears to be ready to accept titles from less prestigious and massively funded developers.
The secret to their success is uniquely tailored gameplay, more often than not. Darkness is almost another character unto itself, teasing you with shadows, ready to reach out and absorb your life force. Each one of the following selections clearly demonstrates that you don’t have to have a big budget to produce a truly engaging experience that piques the interest of millions. Oh yeah, btw…each one of these splendiferous games are absolutely free as well! Enjoy!
SCP: Containment Breach
Few things in life are as nerve-wracking or terrifying as SCP: Containment Breach. The reason for all of these problems of course is a little spray-paint splattered concrete and rebar “statue” called SCP: 173 (among others). In a nutshell, this game places you in the shoes of a class D operative (former criminal and now test subject) who apparently “works” inside of a giant containment facility that houses some truly terrifying monsters with paranormal abilities. What makes “173” so scary and imposing is the fact you have to keep staring at it in order to hold it at bay, if you blink, fall into darkness or look away, 173 will make a mad dash for you and separate your neck from your skull. “Containment Breach” puts you into a situation where everything has gone horribly wrong and “173” among other monsters (a full list can be found here) are loose and your only goals are to survive and escape. Needless to say, the entire experience is pure survival horror and is in fact, scary enough to make even the most self-assured person jump back in fear. Download it here.
Slender: The 8 Pages
No indie horror list is complete without the granddaddy game that basically helped to jumpstart the movement. In short, “Slender” is a rather simple game that only requires you to collect 8 pages from various locales around a fairly sizable map. The only problem of course is that it’s dark, you’re in the woods and a mythical creature known as “slenderman” is nearly always in constant pursuit. Here, you are supposed to avoid looking at slenderman (or “slendy”, as he’s sometimes called) at all costs. Casting a glance backward to see if he’s behind you is usually greeted by a barrage of loud orchestral sound effects as well, which greatly enhances the “scare factor”. Furthermore, as you collect more pages, the music becomes increasingly more menacing, which not only incites a sense of panic, it makes your mind run wild with possibilities. Don’t turn around, whatever you do; he’s right behind you… Download it here.
Simply put, “Kraven Manor” is a very well-thought out and executed indie horror title that you’d swear was produced by a major developer. Moving more toward puzzle-solving and relying less on hyper-intense jump scares and darkness, “Kraven Manor” is a very attractive-looking title that places you in an old mansion that’s inhabited by…let’s just say, “metallic entities”. What makes this game interesting is that it juxtaposes moments of safety inside of a classic creepy old mansion (somewhat reminiscent of those from the older Resident Evil games) with moments of panic and confusion. Download it here.
What, another slender game? Yes, but before you get all up in arms about it, you should know that this one is definitely a bit scarier for several reasons. First off, if you’re going to play this game, whatever you do, don’t stare at slenderman for very long, even if he’s down a long corridor, trust me. As far as the theme of this title is concerned, it’s sort of a mash-up of the original slender and “dead space”. The result is a somewhat terrifying romp around a spaceship while you are silently pursued by some kind of trans-dimensional monster that wants to eat your face. To survive and escape the madness you only need to activate 6 power nodes. Sounds easy enough, right? The problem is that slenderman is extremely agitated and aggressive, perhaps from being launched into space? Download it here.