For many horror fans like myself it is the thrill of the scare that keeps you watching (or playing). VR takes this to the next level. Once that headset is in place, you are no longer watching a movie, or playing a game; you are in the movie, and experiencing the game. I had a lot of fun recently testing out a selection of VR horror games and apps. What should have taken a couple of hours took over a week as I had to work myself up to putting the headset back in place time and time again. Below are the 5 most scream-inducing horror experiences I encountered.
5. Goosebumps: Night of Scares
A popular children's book series, I figured that Goosebumps: Night of Scares would be a nice way to ease myself into the horror VR scene. How could a kids game be scary? Set in R.L Stine's Manor, you need to explore the house looking for clues, while avoiding a series of monsters.
Movement is limited to teleportation through predetermined spots, making it less immersive than other games. It is a bit frustrating to only be able to go where the game wants you to. However, the game is still pretty fun. Trying to solve the mystery is great, and for the easily scared there are a few jump scares thrown in for good measure.
Scare Rating 2/5
Sisters is a "virtual reality ghost story". Upon loading you find yourself sitting on a creepy sofa when a series of paranormal events begin to occur. A "sit and experience" game, the only thing you control is where you look.
The problem with this game is that if you are huge pussy, like I am, then you can escape a lot of the scary parts just but looking straight ahead. Only when you dare to look around the room do you experience the scariest encounters. Sisters is a bit of fun but the shoddy graphics make it a much less scary adventure compared to those using real video.
Scare Rating 2/5
3. Catatonic VRSE
Catatonic is not a game, but a VR film. To access this film you first need to install the VRSE app. VRSE or Storytelling for Virtual Reality, provides a platform for immersive videos to be shared through the headset. Movement within the app is limited, You can only move your head. The film begins with you strapped to a wheelchair as you begin to be wheeled around a scary as fuck psychiatric ward. I was amazed at how scared I could be when all I was doing was looking around.
The Gear VR really shines in this app. The characters feel like they are right in your personal space, making you extremely uncomfortable and susceptible to scares. I really enjoyed this experience. The biggest disappointment is in its replay value. The more you rewatch it, the less scary it gets.
Scare Factor 3/5
Dreadhalls is one of the most immersive horror game available for the Gear VR. It is so scary that I can only bring myself to play it every few days. The premise is simple: escape the scary dungeon. You have no weapons, so you must avoid/outrun the demons that lie within. This is the game I make EVERYONE play. It's just so much fun. You don't need to be an experienced gamer to play, the controls are simple all you need to do is; move, pick up items and access inventory.
Because you have no weapons, you immediately feel vulnerable in the eerie dungeon. Panic ensues as you try to escape monsters, demons and ghosts that become more prevalent as you progress through. Be careful though, the last time I played it I gave myself such a fright I literally peed my pants.
Scare Factor 4.5/5
1. Dead Secret
Dead Secret is a game for all point and click adventure fans. You play the role of a reporter who is investigating the circumstances around a suspicious death. Using only the touch pad on the headset, you explore the crime scene, gather evidence, and solve puzzles.
Movement is by teleportation, but unlike Goosebumps, you have more control over where you would like to explore. With so much to look at, this game can take hours. In fact, I have yet to finish solving the murder as I have to keep taking breaks to calm myself down.
The atmosphere of the game is spooky as shit. The characters are scary. The props are scary. The music is scary. And don't make the mistake of looking in the mirrors! The game is excellent at building suspense, and creating panic in fear in you. I have died 4 times already, screamed endlessly, and even fallen off a chair and strained my wrist playing this game. Yet I keep going back for more. My favourite VR Horror game to date, this is a must play for all gamers.
Scare factor 5/5
While there are not a lot of horror VR experiences to choose from, I can only imagine this genre is going to explode. With VR coming to PlayStation later this year, I can see the full potential of Horror VR gaming, and I cannot wait! Until then, I will continue to play the small apps and games available, and eagerly await new releases. That is, if I don't seriously injure myself first.
Have you played a great scary VR game or app? Let me know as I am itching to play more.