The 10 Best Psychological Thriller Games

At times, nothing can get your heart pumping faster than a good psychological thriller game. If you like the rush of how it feels to play something that you know will eventually scare you or subtly haunt you, then you’ve come to the right place.

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There are a lot of good titles, but there are some that are just so unique, absorbing, compelling, or just downright terrifying, that they deserve their lane. If you’re not easy to scare, and if you like the thrill, then check out our favorites.

10 Omori

Black and white pixel character walks down a red hallway

Looks like a retro game, right? Well, it isn’t. Developed and published by Omocat in 2020, and accessible on PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, Omori is a single-player RPG game that looks deceptively innocent at first (until it’s not). It’s quite the psychological horror/thriller game once you dig deeper into the gameplay.

In Omori, you play as a shut-in teenager called Sunny. He has an alter-ego, named Omori. It makes our list for its peculiarity in art style which somehow still manages to elevate the gameplay instead of dragging it down because of the stark contrast. However, the cutesy art style only adds an extra layer to the dark themes that the game approaches.

9 Get Even

The player walks down a hall, with a map on their phone.

If you like shooters and psychological thrillers all at once, then Get Even should get you pretty excited. Created by The Farm 51 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, you can play this eerie piece on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s a few years old, but it remains a great game in this genre.

You wake up as Cole Black, who has a strong need to save a girl. You try, but you don’t succeed in saving her, then you wake up, and you’re in an asylum. The game offers layers and layers of mind-bending plot twists, which is what we were looking for. When you’re playing the game you can use a smartphone that helps you navigate and move forward with the story.

8 Signalis

A close up view of a woman's face.

From developers rose-engine and published by Humble Game, Signalis is a psychological horror/thriller game available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and On Nintendo Switch. You play it in the third-person, and it’s set in the future. A future where humans have settled throughout the universe. In the future, they receive help from their androids called Replikas.

Signalis makes for a great horror/thriller survival game. Besides the fact that you’re given quite an intriguing sci-fi plot, the mystery is thick from the start of this game. You play as Elster and you crash on a seemingly empty planet. You venture to find your missing partner, but you’re in for much more than meets the eye.

7 Outlast

A blood splattered bathroom with bloody writing on the wall.

An indie survival horror game for single players, Outlast became popular thanks to Youtube pop culture. The likes of Youtubers like Pewdiepie exposed this game to an even larger audience. It’s accessible on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Linus, and Nintendo Switch. Outlast has an interesting plot. You’re a sly journalist who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You can’t use weapons in this game, all you have is your journalist camcorder, and all you can do is run and hide from the numerous psychopathic and monstrous villains and heathens in the remote psychiatric hospital you wound up in.

6 Observer

a man sitting at a table, viewed from behind.

Bloober Team doesn’t disappoint. Observer is a great psychological thriller available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and on Nintendo Switch. It’s set in a dystopia and also checks out as a detective story as well. If you’re into dark cyberpunk elements elevated by psychological thriller elements, then you’ll appreciate the gameplay in The Observer.

In-game, you will be taking on the role of Detective Lazarski. He has the neat ability to hack into people’s brains, which he uses to hack into crime victims and criminals’ minds (hence the title “Observer”). Lazarski gets deep into a case that’s not entirely professional, in fact, a case that’s quite personal to him. Reality begins to break down as he progresses.

5 Sanitarium

A Cthulhu like monster walks along a pathway

Old games hold their candle in the psychological thriller genre. That is a sure fact. If you want to try something different and take a trip to the past, Sanitarium might fully entertain you and frighten you all the same. Released in the 90s, you play as a patient, a man called Max who wakes up in an asylum with no memory.

You can travel between worlds and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur as you progress throughout the game. Nothing like Alice in Wonderland-esque central themes to make a good psychological thriller. Join Max as he encounters asylum patients, monsters, and even mythological characters.

4 Martha Is Dead

A woman sits in a chair in a mostly empty room

Here’s another brilliant survival horror pick for our best psychological thrillers list. An indie game from Italian developers LKA and published by Wired Productions, Martha is Dead is playable on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and even on Amazon Luna.

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You will play Giulia in a made-up town called Romalia during World War II. As you play the game, you find a floating corpse in the water, which you’ll find out is your deaf twin sister. This traumatizes you and blurs reality from delusions.

Martha is Dead is completely story-based gameplay, with no enemies to defeat. It touches on dark concepts such as trauma, violence, and even on dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder).

3 Fran Bow

A wooden character in a pond of pink water is observed by a giant flying salamander

Developed and published by Killmonday Games for Android, iOS, and PC, Fran Bow is one of those creepy but cutesy psychological horror/thriller games you wouldn’t want to miss. Unique and artsy, it also boasts an intriguing story that builds up momentum masterfully. Aesthetically, it might not look as macabre as the other games, but it’s that contrast that makes this game even more unsettling.

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As the game begins you’ll see the story unravel quite quickly. You’ll be playing Fran as she immerses in a fantasy world to escape the horrific reality she has been put through. Trauma is a central theme as well as fantasy, depicting what happens to a person when they experience something they can’t handle.

2 I have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

four stylized cages on top of pillars, human prisoners inside.

We had to include this title in this list, even though it’s decades older than the other titles. This 1995 adventure/horror game had initially failed to achieve commercial success, but its brilliance was recognized over time, earning it multiple rewards.

It’s been awarded as “Adventure Game of The Year”, and even listed as “150 Games of All Time”. It’s clear to see that this game isn’t for everyone. However, for those who appreciate the nuances and details of the art, storytelling, and game mechanics in a game, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” can easily become a favorite.

It’s based on a short story under the same name, written by Harlan Ellison. The plot is set in a dystopia. In this world, a mastermind AI called “AM” has terminated the whole of humanity except five people. It’s easy to figure out where this is going.

AM tortures the remaining by forcing them to go on adventures that confront their fatal flaws and weaknesses. This game goes into dark rabbit holes touching on themes like genocide, paranoia, and insanity.

1 Layers of Fear 2023

A fire bursts out in a hallway between wooden wall supports.

Who would make a psychological thriller list without including this recently released masterpiece? Just like the Magnus Opus that the painter was trying to achieve in the first Layers of Fear (2016), Bloober has made their own with this version of Layers of Fear. Available on PS5, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and MAC, Layers of Fear lives up to its game title.

You’ll be playing as The Writer in this game, who wrote the fictional tales of all the rest of the characters: The Painter, The Musician, The Actor, and The Painter’s daughter. All the characters are tied to each other, in one way or the other.

If you like a layered plot, featuring multiple stories interwoven to make a climax, and if you like getting scared and boggled, then Layers of Fear will do that for you.

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