Slender was a positive force in gaming, and specifically horror games. It helped prove that horror was a profitable genre that could capture the gaming zeitgeist in the indie circles. Unfortunately, it also spawned a plethora of rip offs that, to this day, sully the practice of indie horror game development. Still, we're getting games where the player must traverse a scary environment and collect pages while a figure reminiscent of The Slender Man stalks you. It's happened so much that the well-dressed lanky specter himself isn't the scare he used to be!
What we need are some new takes on horror; ones that don't adhere to the played out and predictable forms that made Slender Man so popular in his gaming debut. Here are a few indie horror gems from recent years that give hope to the genre!
Let's start off with the obvious choice, Outlast. This game boasts much higher production values than something like Slender, which allows it to indulge all its grotesque disturbing subject matter in high definition! Despite being a comprehensive complete product, it's not immune to being Youtube bait, with many a video still having a hapless face screaming in the dark. If you can stomach it, and don't work in a mental institution, check it out!
A bizarre choice here, as it really isn't a horror game with a capital H. Master Reboot forgoes the tired trappings of spooky demons and dark forests, and situates the player within perhaps the most ominous and threatening setting of all; the human mind. There's a sickly undercurrent of something being horribly wrong, as you traverse the memories of another person, pursued by an entity that is not above the occasional jump scare!
Like Slender, Kholat draws its scariness from potentially being true in real life. The only difference with this game is that it's based off an actual mystery of Russian hikers going missing in the 50s. It's nice to see a game realize that horror doesn't have to be pitch black to be scary, and better yet, it makes snow levels compelling. Also, Sean bean is a voice in it! Guess what happens...
Horror games that put you in a first person perspective are scary because they give you as much control as possible, and make you completely responsible for your staying alive. Point and click games are on the opposite end of the spectrum, where your input is limited, and you're in a constant state of frustration and lack of control. Fran Bow is one of those games, examining alternate views upon grizzly scenes brought on by medicine for the mentally disturbed.
Many games have light and dark mechanics, but few hinge on them so fully as Grave, a game where the only thing you have to defend yourself against the monsters is light, from a humble match to the sun itself. You're tasked with keeping generators alive, venturing into caves, and fending off the ghoulish figures who plague the game world at night. This game does a great job of even giving the safety of daylight a tinge of ominous worry.
So there you have just a few of the new indie horror games that are pushing the bar, and living up to the legacy of Slender! Are there any others you would like to add to the list? Write a post about it here on MoviePilot, vote in our poll, or leave a comment below!