Video games have the unique ability to be actively frightening because you aren't just watching or reading the events as they unfold—you control the character whose decisions put them in harm's way.
There have been so many great horror games over the past decade, and gamers love them because they're viscerally thrilling like no other.
And while the Nintendo Switch isn't exactly known as a horrer fan's gaming console, you can play some of the best horror games on it—and take these spooky experiences anywhere if you go portable.
Here are our picks for the best horror games on the Nintendo Switch that are worth playing if you're itching for a good scare.
Visual novels aren't to everyone's taste, but fans of visual novels should play Chaos;Child because this one is particularly spooky.
Set in 2015, in a version of Shibuya that's still recovering from a set of grisly murders and a deadly earthquake six years prior, Chaos;Child's use of music and sound for terror is among the best in the genre.
The simple click of a lock or the tune of a music box adds layers of atmosphere to the game. The game's imagery and story are creepy from start to finish, making this one of the best horror visual novels ever.
Adapting what makes a classic horror film work into a video game is a tough task, and few have done it better than Friday the 13th: The Game.
This game serves up all the over-the-top violence that the film series has been known for, while adding in some solid multiplayer mechanics.
It isn't quite as polished a gameplay experience as you might find in, say, Dead by Daylight, but classic horror fans will love the nods to the series.
Darkwood mixes the horror and survival genres to great effect, producing a creepy atmosphere that delivers a truly disturbing experience.
Depending on how deep into your character's madness you're willing to go, the story will branch off in unexpected ways, making each playthrough a little bit different.
Darkwood starts slow and builds tension along the way, but the payoff by the end of the story is well worth the wait.
Fans of survival horror probably already know about the Outlast series, but this version for the Nintendo Switch is the best one so far.
You play as a journalist who's tipped off about the strange happenings at an abandoned asylum and the strange experiments that have been carried out on the inmates that were kept there.
As often happens in these games, the asylum isn't nearly as abandoned as the player thinks—and you're forced to flee from all manner of deranged inmates. The most frightening thing here is that the game never offers you a good way to defend yourself from their attacks.
Running and hiding isn't just the best way to stay alive—it's the only option players have! That amps things up to another level.
Inside is a dark and beautifully designed puzzle-platformer that sticks around exactly as long as it needs to. The game is shorter than most, but that means there isn't a single wasted moment here.
Every puzzle adds to the tension and every frame is perfectly composed for maximum effect. If you loved Limbo, then you'll find yourself right at home here in this atmospheric experience. The narrative is the real star, with a story you'll be thinking about for days after.
Amnesia: Collection is a collection of three classic horror games:
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent
- Amnesia: Justine
- Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Each one is starkly different, and each one is an equally worthwhile experience for players looking for a scare. No matter how jaded you are about the horror genre, this one will spook you real good.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is one of the many Nintendo Wii U ports to make their way onto the Nintendo Switch, and of those, it's easily one of the best ones to check out.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water doesn't rely on jump scares. Instead, it focuses on being explicitly creepy the whole way through. The story is unsettling and presented in a way that's difficult to put down.
It might not make you jump while you're playing, but it will haunt you and stay with you long after you put it down.
The Alien series has always been at its best when it remembers its roots—that it's ultimately a horror series.
There have been plenty of attempts over the years to recreate the Alien film experience as a video game, but Alien: Isolation is truly the best and most frightening one of all the attempts.
It captures the helplessness of finding yourself alone with a hive of Xenomorphs. It's tense from start to finish, with a climactic ending that fits perfectly with the series' themes.
Alien: Isolation isn't just one of the best horror games for the Nintendo Switch but one of the best horror games of all time.