Staff Picks – Downright Creepy’s Top Indie Horror Games

Credit: DalaKoala Games

This National Video Game Day, we saw an opportunity to share some indie horror games our staff keeps revisiting as time goes by. While there is debate about National Video Game Day and National Video Games Day, there is no debate about our Gaming team’s favorite indie horror games. Seeing games from smaller developers is always a treat because while they don’t have the resources of traditional AAA studios, the creativity is never-ending.

Here are four indie horror games that the Downright Creepy Gaming team can’t get enough of.

Nina Martinez – Partum Artifex (2023)

Credit: DalaKoala Games

Partum Artifex is short but definitely not sweet.

When first launching the game, you just know something isn’t quite right when you start navigating around outside, much less going inside. Each puzzle you face makes you think without pushing you over into a state of utter frustration. The game does a great job at keeping things just creepy enough without using a lot of jump scares or grotesque imagery. Did I have to pause the game a few times when I saw a mannequin scurry across the room? Sure. But it never loses tension and never feels gimmicky when those mannequins start to shift.

With about a 2-3 hour playtime, Partum Artifex packs its world full of disturbing, creepy, and unnerving details that make you want to revisit it over and over to uncover every last detail.

Lily Peterson – Crawl (2017)

Credit: Powerhoof

Crawl is a dungeon crawler where you can play solo or against your friends on a local network. Go through a dungeon while battling against monsters whose only goal is to kill you. The game maintains a balanced sense of cooperative engagement while still prioritizing individual success, so everyone is for themselves but in that same way, everyone is against the same opponents at any given point! Plus there are some really creative creature designs throughout the game.

Nancy Secaida – What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)

Credit: Annapurna Interactive

What Remains of Edith Finch is an emotional and creepy game developed by Annapurna Interactive. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and thrills, where you don’t know what to expect next. Explore your mother’s childhood home while also learning about your eerie family history in an immersive storytelling method. I absolutely love how you have to interact with things a good amount of the time to actually tell the story. Another thing I really enjoyed was the art and characters. All the characters end up having tragic endings which did make me super emotional at times, but it was such a good narrative for each one that I couldn’t help but want to know more about this family. The character that really stuck with me was Edith’s brother, and how he was always in his own world. To this day, I still talk about him because I could not believe his ending! It’s just so sad! The ending was also super touching and overall, I loved the storytelling!

Safir Santiago – Doki Doki Literature Club (2017)

Credit: Team Salvato

Doki Doki Literature Club looks like a cute dating simulator, but it quickly turns into a horror-filled nightmare. You play as a student in your school’s literature club, preparing for the upcoming festival. Choose one out of three girls to date in your club, and romance them using the right word for poems you write for club meetings. However, things quickly take a turn when the game turns dark, and the characters start acting differently. There are three endings that players can achieve, not only by making the right choices but also by messing with the game files. You can delete characters, restart your game, or even find cheat codes to impress the girl you want to romance.

From the art style to the plot itself, this game is so unique in how the thrills sneak up on you. It takes hours to reach the first twist, and then everything goes downhill from there. (This game is not suitable for those easily disturbed.)