10 Great Horror Games on Xbox Game Pass Right NowGames Lists Xbox Game Pass
Sometimes you’re just in the mood to get scared. Fortunately Xbox Game Pass has a number of frightfully fun horror games you can play right now if you’re a subscriber. Here’s a quick rundown of 10 of ‘em, featuring some of the best scary games made in the last 15 years. And if you’re looking for something a little less horrific on Xbox Game Pass, here’s our list of the best games, period, currently playable through Microsoft’s subscription service.
This title didn’t completely enchant our writer Javy Gwaltney back in 2014, but nonetheless, its commitment to the series’ signature sense of disempowerment won him over. “In spite of that slog, I’ll probably remember the good times I had with Isolation more than the bad. I’ll remember crawling through the vent with a lit flare, praying the monster wasn’t behind me. I’ll remember stepping over a corpse, my eyes glued to the dots on my motion tracker, ears listening to the walls. I’ll remember hiding in a locker, peering out at the monster as drool falls from its mouths and I wait for my chance to run. It’s also really hard for me to be too disappointed with a AAA game that’s actively opposed to being just another power fantasy game starring a man who shoots people for his country or himself. Isolation tries to do a lot of interesting things and is for the most part successful.”—Javy Gwaltney
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is an appeasing mix of the old and new. As with Left 4 Dead, players are put on a team of four that must endure waves of incoming zombie hordes by moving between safehouses, which serve as a rest stop of sorts, allowing the player to stock up on health and ammo before setting out again. Each level is loosely tied together by this premise, pushing the characters from place to place as they seek out other survivors and search for safety. Environmental hazards, from tattletale door alarms to flocks of birds, threaten to tip-off the hordes. Supplies are minimal, disappearing from the inventory between playthroughs; there is no stockpiling or hoarding for those rough combat moments. The player must keep moving forward and take their chances if they’re going to survive. Back 4 Blood proves that what made Left 4 Dead good is still a lot of fun, even if this new iteration doesn’t make use of every innovative convention to spring up since the series’ original release.—Holly Green
Day Z started out as a mod, a user-made add-on for the PC military shooter ArmA II by Bohemia Interactive. It has become one of the most successful mods ever, growing in scope and popularity until it was announced that Day Z would become a standalone game. In gamer jargon, Day Z is a FPS MMO with permadeath; which simply means it has guns, everybody plays together, and losing hurts a hell of a lot more than usual. You can think of it as The Walking Dead meets Call of Duty meets Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò. Personally, I’d described it as a demented psychological experiment to find out how a group of people would react if a zombie apocalypse broke out in the harsh Russian countryside. The answer has been with looting, killing, backstabbing and cruelty of all kinds.—Jason Johnson
Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer game, pitting a murderer against a group of survivors.
The goal of the survivors is to escape the play area before they’re killed. This can be done by repairing four generators around the map or locating a trapdoor. There are nine survivors to choose from in total, each with their own unique perks unlocked by earning and spending bloodpoints. These abilities give players a burst of speed, the ability to sabotage meat hooks without tool kits, and make less noise.
On the other side of things, there are seven playable killers, one of which is Halloween’s Michael Myers. These characters also have special abilities bought through earning blood points, containing perks like invisibility, faster action speed and greater hearing.
Dead by Daylight understands what makes the slasher genre so great—namely violence and dread—and leans into these aspects to provide a faithful recreation for players.—Holly Green
Despite the cosmic vastness of space, it’s actually a pretty claustrophobic place for a human to hang out in—which makes it a perfect spot for horror. Dead Space taps into the sense of “no way out” outer space terror seen in Alien more adeptly than perhaps any other videogame, as you explore a derelict space craft overtaken by hungry aliens. Every encounter with a necromorph is a frantic burst of tension and fear, followed by a grislier burst of blood and viscera from all the strategic dismemberment the game has you doing. Yes, it’s a gross one, but Dead Space remains one of the most effective distillations of horror you’ll ever play through.—Garrett Martin
If you’ve played and enjoyed 2016’s DOOM or its sequel, DOOM Eternal, you owe it to yourself to play the original. In many ways, it’s the things that make DOOM and DOOM Eternal great distilled down into a more bite-sized package. Naturally, its age makes it a bit less approachable than its contemporary counterparts, but if a game’s beloved enough to get working on every device imaginable, chances are it’s worth at least checking out.—Charlie Wacholz
The Evil Within
“The Evil Within may be rough around the edges in presentation and execution, yet it is rich in not just recreations of great horror moments from years past, but also in the introduction of new, memorable ones of its own. Traditional survival horror games aren’t likely to spring back into relevance on the back of what The Evil Within accomplishes. But its ultimate impression—that of a savvy Greatest Hits-styled overview of the genre—may inspire new ways of thinking about what it is exactly we loved about horror games in the past.”—Reid McCarter
Sam Barlow has created his own micro-genre of games built around mundane video sources. First it was the police interrogation videos of Her Story, and then the video calls of Telling Lies. With Immortality, Barlow and his team go fully cinematic, presenting a mystery about a forgotten actress from the late ‘60s who disappeared after her three starring roles went unreleased. The footage from those lost films resemble different styles of film from two different eras, and the interface is set up like an old Moviola editing desk. You’ll sort through her short film career looking for insight into why she vanished, clicking from one clip to another, including outtakes and talk show appearances. Over time the mystery takes an unsettling turn into horror, but Immortality doesn’t lose site of its themes—voyeurism, the power of sex, the inherent exploitation of movies, the specific exploitation and power dynamics of the director/actor relationship, etc.—in chase of scares.—Garrett Martin
Inside, the sophomore release from Danish studio Playdead, presents a world of class division, capitalism and body horror. This abstract, wordless experience critiques the ways bodies are used and abused in societies today, particularly as a result of those same class divisions and capitalist structures. Inside’s society has not only stripped people of their identities, but of their very personhood. What is left are mere bodies, which are then further violated. The bodies of working class people are used as simple, mindless tools. The horrors of capitalism and class divisions are echoed throughout this bleak world.—Kyle Mckenney
The Walking Dead
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one of the best licensed games of all time because of the way it re-creates the pacing and feel of the comic series. It’s heavy on character interaction and suspense, like the comic and show, and light on puzzles and item hunting. Action sequences are spread out; this is not Left 4 Dead or Dead Island but a character-driven game with action elements only added in when completely necessary. Think of The Walking Dead as Maniac Mansion and a poor man’s version of Heavy Rain put into a blender containing 10 or 15 issues of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s comic—a nice mix, especially for the episode price of $4.99.—Keith Veronese