Anurag loves playing video games. His guides and listicles revolve around popular iOS, Android, PC, and console games.
There are plenty of horror games available for iPhone. The best can make your skin crawl, with solid gameplay, amazing sound effects, and eerie background scores. From audio-centric games to frightening room escapes, here’s a run-down of the scariest iPhone games to play if you love horror.
1. The House of Horror: Can you Escape?
The House of Horror: Can You Escape? is a spooky little game from Tiny Boy. It follows the traditional gameplay elements of a point-and-click, room-escape game. There are inventory-based puzzles—lots of them—and some battle elements. You even can wield a weapon to prevent evil entities from spoiling your mansion-hunting adventure.
Inventory-based puzzles involve using a particular item on an area or an object to unlock its secrets. There are also lots of item combos. Combining item A with item B or even C will give a new item to the player. The new item can then be used to unlock more secrets. A mini-map at the bottom right corner of the screen will show your current location.
I loved the hand-drawn mini-map and was terribly spooked out when I saw footsteps moving frantically from one corner of a room to the other behind a closed door. The room with someone in it probably contained a key item, and the map was quite helpful in giving some hints about particular places.
The House of Horror has terrific graphics. Light and shadow effects add more spookiness to the entire mansion. Some places are too dark, so you may have to adjust your iPhone’s brightness to see things clearly. If you love room-escape, point-and-click adventure games and have a penchant for horror, then you should download this game on your iOS device.
2. Forest 2
The Forest series of creepy games from Lukas Jaeckel are must-have horror favorites if you love Slenderman-type games. Instead of the tall, pale-looking creature from the woods, the super scary onryō will follow you. Once it spots you and is too close to you, it's game over. If you have watched the J-Horror movie, Ringu, especially the final cut-scene, then you will be quite familiar with the white-burial-kimono-wearing vengeful ghost and how frightening she looks when she approaches her prey.
At first, Forest 2’s gameplay may look very similar to a Slenderman game, but there are some elements that do not write it off as an outright clone. The game is divided into several chapters, and there are elements such as freeing souls and collecting keys to open unlocked gates that make the game closer to the standard point-and-click horror games for mobile. There’s more than just jump scares as the game lets you hunt down clues to unearth the mystery of the onryō and escape its wrath. Make sure you adjust your phone’s screen brightness to get a clear view of the dark and desolate forest and crank up the volume so that you can hear her approaching you.
Forest 2’s 3D visuals are pretty awesome for a mobile title. The game is powered by Unity, and the first-person visuals make exploration very exciting and frightening at the same time. The game is totally free and a much better title than most Slenderman-type games available for mobile.
3. Papa Sangre
Sound plays a key part in almost all atmospheric horror games by enhancing your scare experience. Can a game be entirely dependent on sound and still give you the creeps? Papa Sangre does exactly that with the help of realistic 3D audio ("binaural audio" for geeks).
There’s complete darkness. You may not want to venture deep into the abyss, but you will need to in order to escape this labyrinth. You will need to listen carefully and pick the right cues to avoid obstacles and scary entities. While your ears play a key role, you will also need to use your fingers; on the touch screen, you will need to simulate a run, a walk, or a stealthy sneak. A scary growl or an eerie laughter might force you to run so as to avoid any contact with ghosts.
Environmental sounds add more to the scare-fest. The water splashes, surface sounds, and other effects are quite immersive and scary. Papa Sangre works best when you put on your headphones. The 3D surround sound truly gives you a creepy experience.
4. Year Walk
Year Walk is spooky and weird. Inspired by a Swedish myth, the game lets you explore a mysterious forest inhabited by the strangest creatures you have ever seen, all of which are rooted in Swedish mythology.
Roaming around the dark woods is the scariest part, as there isn’t any map to guide you back home. You will need to solve cryptic puzzles to get hints. To learn more about the weird creatures you encounter on your journey, download an encyclopedia app called Year Walk Companion, by the same developers.
Visually, Year Walk is a piece of art. The lighting effects, snowy background, quasi-3D objects, and characters are beautifully done. There are no gory visuals, but the environment and sound effects, and the eerie dark forest, will make your skin crawl. If you are looking for a spooky game with stunning graphics, then you should download this game. Play this game with your headphones on, on a cold winter’s night, for maximum scare-fest.
5. Kowa Oto
J-horror games are known for their heart-pounding moments. From movies like Ringu and The Grudge to games like Fatal Frame and Siren, Japanese horror creations can scare the daylights out of you.
For iPhone, the one scary J-horror game that comes to mind is Kowa Oto. It is an audio-centric game, much like Papa Sangre, with the addition of creepy visuals. Combining realistic 3D sound effects with frightening graphics, the game guarantees those edge-of-the-seat moments.
Plenty of surprises make Kowa Oto scarier than other titles. One of the creepiest characters is a petite wooden doll who follows you randomly, almost anywhere.
6. The Woods
The Woods is a psychological horror game played from a first-person perspective. The haunted forest setting reminds me of movies like The Blair Witch Project. The open-world system makes you feel totally alone, helpless, and lost inside a creepy forest.
A rookie paranormal investigator has the task of stopping demons who inhabit the forest. You need to help him collect the lost pages of a ritual book. But your adventure won’t be easy, as demons lurk around every corner, ready to stop you. A flashlight is the only weapon you can use to shoo them away.
The Woods gameplay is best experienced on new iOS devices, like an iPhone 5 with Retina display, where the graphics look stunning. You can play it on an iPhone 4, though the visual experience will be less awesome.
7. Ellie: Help Me Out Please
Ellie: Help Me Out Please is a free horror-themed room-escape puzzle game. The goal is to help a teenage girl escape from an abandoned house. In this game, you enter a scary-looking house and find a TV monitor. When you switch it on, you see a hapless girl trapped inside a prison-like cell, seeking your help.
You will need to help her escape the cell by finding items and cracking numerical codes. There are some unsettling surprises and plenty of mind-boggling inventory-based puzzles. A must-play, if you ask me, not only for the scares, but also for the challenging puzzles it presents.
8. Forever Lost
Forever Lost brings classic horror-themed point-and-click adventure game to your iPhone. The atmospheric game takes you to some of the spookiest locales, each beautifully drawn to make gameplay more immersive. The game’s unique feature is a virtual camera that lets you take pictures of clues. You can also scribble text on photos using your stylus.
Like any traditional point-and-click adventure game, Forever Lost lets you solve plenty of inventory-based cryptic puzzles. The more rooms you discover, the spookier it gets. The puzzles are clever, but can be solved on a trial-and-error basis. The auto-save feature records your progress.
Forever Lost is one of the best adventure games to date. It shows that point-and-click adventure games have survived and found a new home – the mobile space – to entice hardcore adventure fans.
9. Dead Runner
Dead Runner is inspired by Cannabalt, but it’s scarier than the original. You will need to run as fast as you can through a spooky forest, while avoiding trees, because if you hit a tree, you die. As you run a few kilometers, the game automatically increases the difficulty, and the forest becomes denser, making it difficult for you to avoid branches.
Using iPhone’s accelerometer, you will need to tilt your phone at the right moment to avoid hitting trees. Dead Runner has two game modes – one gives you points for the farthest you run, and another is a free-form mode that rewards you for avoiding trees. The game can really be quite fast-paced, giving you minor heart-attacks as you race past trees in a never-ending journey.
10. Hysteria Project 2
Hysteria Project 2 is an iPhone adventure horror game with photo-realistic visuals. It utilizes the phone’s motion sensor, giving you a full 360 degree view of your surroundings. The horror is more psychological than that of the traditional horror game. You not only have to encounter scary characters, but also have to pass through laser traps and flame snares.
Solving environmental-based puzzles plays a key role in helping you uncover a deep secret hidden within the haunted hospital premises. With plenty of mysteries, puzzles, and strange characters to meet, Hysteria Project offers many nail-biting moments.
11. Prisoner 84
Prisoner 84 is a thrilling prison escape game for iOS devices. The game combines survival horror elements with action and adventure. You step into the shoes of a prison inmate desperate to escape the heavily guarded Tryton prison. You will need to avoid all obstacles, fight insane inmates, solve puzzles, and get through the world's tightest security.
The game gets challenging when you cannot find the right items to unlock prison doors, or get the right code combinations for cracking password-protected doors. While Prisoner 84 isn’t a typical horror game, it can really give you those jump-scare moments you would expect from an action-packed prison escape movie.
12. NY Zombies
NY Zombies will remind you of classic arcade shooter games like The House of the Dead and Vampire Night. The game has a fixed-screen view, allowing players to rotate the screen using the device’s accelerometer when zombies rush in to attack you. Taking advantage of the touchscreen, players need to tap on a zombie to eliminate it.
The game has a nice assortment of weapons that will help you get rid of the undead. But things can get creepier when a large wave of zombies charge at you. You will need to be quick in eliminating them. Use the right weapon and manage your bullets. Dark places will require you to light a flare to get a clear view of incoming zombies.
You will also need to save survivors. All these aspects really enhance NY Zombies’s play value. A must-buy, if you are a shooter/survival horror fan.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Anurag Ghosh
Anurag Ghosh (author) on November 28, 2018:
Thank you! Yes they are scary.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 27, 2018:
These DO look scary! I can imagine jumping and trying not to scream while playing these on the train. Prisoner 84 and Ellie: Help Me Out Please in particular look fun. I will check them out.
Afgb on July 23, 2015:
You should add Eyes and Slender Rising and Garden of Fear
Mrs. Slenderman on May 04, 2015:
Anything that doesn't cost money that's not just an escape game?
Brookemikey on April 12, 2015:
Wow these games worked great! I'll be sure to use this website again!
Bob on April 05, 2015:
I thought fnaf was :)(:
Anurag Ghosh (author) on April 02, 2015:
PewDiePie on April 02, 2015:
Nice games! I've downloaded some of the games into my IPad and they are great! Thanks! Please subscribe to my channel too! Kawaii✌️
Anastasia Bronnikova from Russia, Novosibirsk on February 05, 2015:
Wow, Year Walk and Hysteria Project 2 sure do look like they make a good use of the graphics, will try. A very helpful rec list, thank you!
Brandon Hart from The Game on February 02, 2015:
I have played NY Zombies before, but not of the others. I will probably try out Prisoner 84
peachkellipop on December 26, 2014:
Thank you so much for this useful list!
alex on October 13, 2014:
Five Nights at Freddy's needs to be on this list
Anurag Ghosh (author) on September 14, 2014:
List updated: Deleted those that aren't available in iTunes anymore.
Digital Railgun on September 13, 2014:
You'll have to update the list. Most of these games aren't available anymore.
Anurag Ghosh (author) on August 23, 2014:
Samuel Franklin on August 22, 2014:
Quite the terrifying list you've put together. I've only just started to get into this genre after trying The Woods and Forever Lost although those are tame in comparison to some of the options here. Prisoner 84 is next on my list for sure.
anonymous on August 17, 2014:
You forgot Scary Sam.
Sarah Forester from Australia on August 09, 2014:
These look terrifying. Definitely going to try a few.
Beth Perry from Tennesee on June 13, 2014:
I tried Ellie but found it rather boring. But oh yes, you've convinced me - want to try out Year Walk!
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on May 18, 2014:
Great hub, voted up and awesome. I'm loving the look of these games, but don't like gameplay on my phone, so will try them on my iPad instead! Thanks for the suggestions!
Luke Ellis from Nottingham, England on February 19, 2014:
With a few exceptions these are unknown games to me! I'll be sure to check them out.
Anurag Ghosh (author) on February 08, 2014:
Ellie Shay on February 08, 2014:
Cool, thanks for the info! I'm going to have to get the Ellie help me out! Lol
Anurag Ghosh (author) on December 08, 2013:
If you haven't played yet, then head straight to iTunes to download the sequel to Papa Sangre.
hii on May 10, 2013:
Papa Sangre is back up!!! enjoy draco24!!
Anurag Ghosh (author) on March 31, 2013:
Papa Sangre has been removed from the iTunes store because the developers wanted to make some changes and revamp the game. The new version will be out soon. Stay tuned. To get updates, visit the Papa Sangre website - Papasangre.com
Draco26 on December 22, 2012:
I can't find the first game papa sangre...
Anurag Ghosh (author) on August 15, 2012:
@enkindler Glad you liked them!
enkindler on August 11, 2012:
Thanks for taking the time to sort through so many game apps to find these! I'm going to have to go download a few and play them with all the lights off.