Recently, a new indie-developed psychological horror game called Slender was released and it become immensely popular on the Internet. It received many positive reviews on gaming websites around the web, with phrases such as “pure horror” and “absolutely terrifying” being used to describe the game. Kotaku even has an amusing compilation of videos showing people getting scared when playing Slender. If you liked playing this game and want to re-live the experience, but with a different game, here I’ve compiled a list of games that all have the same terrifying and claustrophobic atmosphere similar to the one in Slender. They shouldn’t hurt your wallet either, because they’re all free.
Before we look at the other games, let us take a quick peek at Slender for the benefit of the readers who haven’t heard about this game.
Slender is based on the mythical creature called Slenderman that was originally conceived in a thread devoted to creating fake paranormal photos on the Something Awful Forums. It’s a slim, elongated figure with a featureless white face and root-like protrusions and he appeared in the background of black and white photos.
The game begins with the player in a forest at night. The goal of the game is to collect eight notes scattered throughout the woods with the Slenderman stalking behind. The player is equipped with a only a flashlight with a battery which must be conserved. There are no weapons and the only way to survive the game is to avoid Slenderman.
The game is currently in beta and is available for Windows and Mac.
Now the alternatives.
Hide is a very simple game with very simple low-resolution, retro graphics. The game drops you off in the middle of a snowy forest. Your goal is find five signs scattered across a map while avoiding being found by an unknown monster that is prowling the landscape. Just like Slender, there's no way to physically fight back against your pursuers, so your only form of defense is simply to run and hide. The soundscape consisting of footsteps on the snow, a distant church bell and heavy breathing does a good job in creating a terrifying atmosphere.
Hide is available for both Windows and Mac.
The Penumbra trilogy is another immersive survival horror game very similar to Slender. The game was originally developed as a tech demo to demonstrate the capabilities of the company's HPL Engine. The demo was so well received that the company decided to develop it into a full commercial game. Although Penumbra is not a free game, the original tech demo is still available and is entirely playable for free.
Penumbra follows the story of Philip, a thirty-year-old physicist whose mother recently died. After receiving a mysterious letter from his supposedly dead father, Philip follows a series of clues that lead to him to a mysterious location in uninhabited northern Greenland. The harsh cold forces him to take shelter in an abandoned mine. Unfortunately, the mine's entrance collapses as he enters it, and he is forced to move deeper inside.
The mine is entirely dark. Philip is equipped with a flashlight which he must operate sparingly to conserve battery and a few glow sticks that he picks up on the way. Even with the flashlight, the darkness engulf around you and together with your fears. The game's main focus is on exploration and classic adventure game object interaction: examining and collecting objects and using them to solve puzzles.
You should definitely checkout the other games of the series - Penumbra: Overture, Penumbra: Black Plague, and Penumbra: Requiem, and also Amnesia: The Dark Descent from the same developers.
In SCP – Containment Breach you play a worker who is trapped inside a containment facility during an accident in the building and must find a way to escape while dealing with several scary entities. The creatures only move when not in direct line of sight, but to prevent you from keeping the creature always in view the game incorporates a blink-meter that forces players to blink.
RockPaperShotgun writes: “Repetitive, dark and ominous, it aimed to have players wishing for something to happen in order to break the monotony while also desperately hoping that nothing would happen because the only possibilities were awful.”
Incidentally, you cannot escape or beat the game at the moment. This is because the game is the alpha development stage, and currently has no ending. SCP-Containment Breach features a randomly generated map layout so you can replay the game as many times you want.
This is another indie-developed horror game that uses darkness and spooky sounds to keep you constantly on edge. Your house has been taken over by dangerous imps while you were away and now you need to move around carefully, lighting candles to scare them away. Like Slender and other games mentioned here, Candles has the same tense and creepy feeling. The game is relatively short game, and has a couple of glitches, but it’s still a nice take on the horror genre.
From IndieGames: “In The Corridor, the player wakes up from a sense of unexplained anxiety, leave their room, and find themselves in a dark, long hallway. The hotel slowly turns into an endless maze of walls that forebode something sinister. They then must go deeper into the darkness to escape.”
The developer's website is in Russian, but the game narrates in English and should be played with a headset. The game is unfinished but the current build is playable and should give players a good fright.