The horror video game genre exploded in popularity during the original PlayStation era, around the time the first Resident Evil game debuted in 1996. Since then, we’ve gotten a tremendous amount of support in the horror realm, with memorable experiences that blur the lines between genres but always focus on keeping you on the edge of your seat. There are horror games that are action oriented, some that are more narrative focused, and others that lean into survival.
When you pair the genre with the Nintendo Switch, one of the most popular gaming consoles in recent memory, you get an incredible lineup of horror games, great for playing at home on a big screen or on the go. While the Nintendo Switch isn’t powerful enough to run many modern horror games like Resident Evil Village or The Evil Within 2, playing lower-budget titles or older entries is still possible on the machine, so there are no shortage of options to choose from.
Since there are so many horror games available on Switch — with many that fall into interesting subgenres — we’ve decided to highlight them in this post. These are the best horror games on Nintendo Switch.
- The best single-player Nintendo Switch games
- The best indie games on Nintendo Switch
- The best Nintendo Switch exclusives
Let’s start things off with a fairly newer title, Little Nightmares II. It’s a 2.5D puzzle-platformer with a terrifying sense of atmosphere. Everything in it is downright creepy, giving the player an uneasy feeling throughout the entire game. It features stealth mechanics and puzzles, many of which are immensely satisfying, amplified by the fact that each solved puzzle means you live to see the next section. It has lots of collectibles and things to unlock along with many improvements over the first game. However, we recommend checking out the original Little Nightmares on Nintendo Switch as well.
Next up is a collection of Resident Evil games that brought the series back to its roots. Resident Evil Revelations Collection features both of the Revelations games along with all of their DLC in one convenient collection. These games originally debuted after Resident Evil 5, a game that was criticized for being too focused on action instead of horror.
Capcom took the criticism and used it to develop the Revelations series, which doubles down on the horror aspects much more than recent entries that came before it. The collection features cooperative gameplay, spooky environments, and lots of puzzles, and it leans into survival more than action, which is what fans had been clamoring for at the time. These games aren’t as great as Resident Evil 2 (2019) but will certainly scratch an itch if you’re looking for a true horror experience on Switch.
Multiplayer games might not come to mind when thinking about horror, but they work surprisingly well. Case in point: Dead by Daylight. This asymmetrical multiplayer horror game pits a team of four survivors against a killer. Your goal as a survivor is to escape the clutches of the killer, and if you’re the killer … you guessed it, you’ve got to take down the survivors. What makes this game so scary is that the killer’s moves are almost always unpredictable, keeping you on your toes. Dead by Daylight has also received tons of DLC that pays homage to classic horror films and games such as Left 4 Dead, Halloween, Saw, Scream, and Silent Hill.
Simply put, Outlast and its sequel Outlast 2 aren’t for the faint of heart. While they’re more passive experiences than something like Resident Evil since the main gameplay mechanic involves running and hiding, the imagery and story are absolutely brutal — even offensive at times. These games certainly earn their Mature rating, with more gore and violence than some of the other entries on this list. They also feature an interesting light mechanic, giving you a camcorder that allows you to see in the dark, but only as long as you’ve got enough batteries to keep it charged. This encourages exploration to find more batteries, but you’ve got to play it smart since creepy enemies can be lurking around any corner.
As one of the lesser-known entries on this list, Detention is an absolute must-play for horror fans. This game is presented from a 2.5D perspective, much like Little Nightmares, but has a limited color palette, which ups the ante in the horror department. The fact that there isn’t much music at all makes the game even creepier, allowing the fantastic sound design to shine through. In terms of gameplay, most of what you do in Detention involves exploration while avoiding deadly enemies. It’s simple enough, but the way it’s executed is done so elegantly.
We’ve got another Resident Evil recommendation for you, and this time it’s the Origins Collection, which bundles the remake of the first game as well as Resident Evil 0. These two games take you back to the beginning of the series, and while many of the gameplay mechanics don’t hold up as well as we’d like, the fact remains that the earlier Resident Evil games are hugely important in the horror genre. Sure, they still have the slow tank controls, but thankfully you can play with a modified control scheme, allowing your character to move in the direction of the analog stick. The way these games handle puzzles and atmosphere is still impressive to this day and is important in the history of horror.
There are plenty of collections on this list, and we’ve got another one for you. Amnesia: Collection compiles The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, and Justine for Nintendo Switch, giving you a collection of horror games that are ripe with atmospheric storytelling. The Amnesia games aren’t for everyone as they’re very slow and don’t feature combat. But what they lack in action, they make up for in their creepy tone, narrative, and overall unsettling style. These games are more exploration-based and are similar to Outlast, only far less violent and gruesome.
Friday the 13th: The Game is yet another asymmetrical multiplayer game, but it of course focuses on Jason versus a team of survivors. Much like Dead by Daylight, you can play as either the villain — in this case, Jason — or the survivors, who must escape from Jason by utilizing traps and other weapons scattered around the map. On Switch, you get the Ultimate Slasher Edition, which is tailored specifically to Nintendo’s handheld hybrid. What’s cool about this game is that there are lots of different maps to choose from, each featuring a random layout every time you play. It’s a fun game to goof off in, and is even fun to watch on Twitch.
Darkwood is a top-down survival horror game with a creepy sense of atmosphere. It prides itself on not holding your hand while also not featuring jump scares — instead focusing on survival against the horrifying enemies of the night. Much like other survival games, Darkwood features crafting, resource management, and a day/night system. It’s not the easiest game to figure out, with tons of little systems and intricacies in place, but if you’re into discovering things for yourself, you’ll probably like this game. At the very least, there isn’t much like it on Switch, so it gets points for standing out.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season still has one of the greatest video game stories of all time. This originally came out episodically, functioning like a TV show that usually ended each part on a cliffhanger. The gameplay is similar to what you’d find in an adventure game, wherein you walk around, interact with the world around you, talk to other characters, and survive the occasional action sequence. The first season is a coming-of-age story for Clementine, who later becomes the series’ protagonist, and it will likely hit you in the feels.
We fully realize that most people won’t find Luigi’s Mansion 3 to be scary, at least not compared to most games on this list. However, it’s a great introductory game full of spooky themes that’s perfect for kids and still fun for adults. In it, you’ll find creepy enemies like ghosts and mummies along with a spooky atmosphere that might scare your socks off.
But even if it isn’t scary, there’s no denying that Luigi’s Mansion 3 is absolutely fantastic, thanks to its satisfying gameplay loop, intelligent level design, and funny animations. There’s something so gratifying about exploring the hotel while gathering up as much treasure as you can, which leads to various upgrades. And seeing each new enemy make an appearance is enough to keep you wanting more. So, is this game scary? Probably not. But it’s an excellent action-adventure game.
The Alien games are hit or miss, but thankfully Alien Isolation is not only a fantastic entry, but it’s also easily the best in the series. In it, you play as Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, who is tasked with uncovering the secrets of her mother’s disappearance. It follows in the footsteps of the story told in the first movie, which is really neat, especially if you’re already a fan of the films. The gameplay is similar to Outlast, wherein you don’t have a lot of weapons at your disposal, and your main form of defense is to simply run and hide. Yet, there are a few nifty weapons you can utilize, like a flamethrower. In short, this game is of equal quality to the original movies and does a great job of depicting an unsettling atmosphere, all while the Alien is breathing down your neck.
Read our full Alien Isolation review
On the surface, Blair Witch seems no different than the slew of other narrative adventure games that force you to walk around and interact with things. However, this game does a few things to stand out, making it worth your time. For starters, it has an intriguing time-manipulation mechanic, wherein you can change things in your world by looking at the past through camcorders you find scattered about. This not only drives the story forward but also encourages you to explore. It also features a dog companion named Bullet, who responds to your commands and is a useful friend to have at your side. The story probably won’t blow you away, but if you’re looking for a horror game to dive into with a couple fun ideas, Blair Witch is worth checking out.
It’s true that Resident Evil 4 is regarded as one of the best games in the series, if not the best. It has a healthy blend of campiness, action, survival, and exploration that make it a well-rounded Resident Evil game. It’s not quite as action-packed as RE6, and it never feels as scary as the original game, but it still manages to carve out its own identity with lots of smart ideas. We particularly love the inclusion of the Attache Case, which allows you to arrange your items in a specific way to get more mileage out of your inventory.
We also love the wacky villains, the variety of weapons, and the silly dialogue — all of which give this game a sense of personality. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it still gets dark and gritty when it needs to. The controls are vastly improved from its predecessors, giving you enough control to navigate the world with ease while still keeping you on your toes. There’s a reason this is a fan-favorite Resident Evil game, and we’re glad it made an appearance on Nintendo Switch.
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