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Monday, December 26, 2022

Six of the Best Indie Horror Video Games You May Have Missed in 2022

I love a big budget adventure just as much as the next gamer, but you’ve got to admit that the familiar mechanics and focus-group-tested level designs start to get stale after a while. That’s why I’m grateful for indie developers for providing us with unconventional experiences that you just don’t see in the AAA scene these days.

However, with so many quality titles unveiled this year, you’d be forgiven for losing track of all the great stuff released by smaller studios. That’s why we’ve come up with this list celebrating six of the best indie horror games that you may have missed in 2022. After all, whether you’re looking for a palate cleanser in-between big studio projects or an inexpensive gift for a gaming-inclined loved one, the indie scene has something for everyone.

As usual, this list will abide by a couple of rules. For obvious reasons, we’ll only be including independent titles, but we also won’t be repeating games from our other list ranking 2022’s major horror gaming releases. Lastly, no remakes, remasters or rereleases of games that were previously in early access.

With that out of the way, don’t forget to comment below with your own favorite indie darlings if you think we missed a good one.

Now, onto the list….

6. Escape the Backrooms

Having grown up on the spooky side of the internet, I’m happy to report that creepypastas are alive and well in the year of our lord 2022. Of course, part of that continued success is due to recent tales like The Backrooms, which rose to notoriety after the release of several viral games and Kane Pixels’ mind-boggling YouTube videos.

However, the best of these adaptations just so happens to be Fancy Games’ co-op multiplayer title Escape the Backrooms, which places a group of players in the titular space between spaces and tasks them with working together to escape eight increasingly bizarre levels.

Not only is it a faithful adaptation of the Backroom’s expanded lore, but the VHS filter also makes it feel like you’re playing through a Found Footage movie.

5. Ravenous Devils

What do you get when you combine a business simulator with homicidal protagonists in a city overrun by crime? Why, you get Bad Vices Games’ Ravenous Devils, a Sweeney-Todd-inspired throwback to sim games like Two Point Hospital and Diner Dash. Boasting a clever script and genuinely engaging business mechanics, I’d recommend this one for gamers that prefer it when their murderous antics make a profit.

However, if the addicting micromanagement isn’t enough to get you hooked, the vintage art-style most certainly is, with the game’s charming visuals and darkly comedic atmosphere coming together to form a memorably grim experience.

4. Mothmen 1966

The older I get, the more I appreciate short but sweet gaming experiences that leave you satisfied but still wanting more. LCB Game Studio’s Mothmen 1966 is the perfect example of such an experience, luring players into a bonkers sci-fi horror story with gorgeous lo-fi visuals and retro gameplay.

It’s not exactly the most interactive game on this list, playing out like a retro visual novel with occasional moments of strategic gameplay, but the “Pixel Pulp” aesthetic is undeniably charming and writing is spectacular. Sure, it won’t take you more than a couple of hours to beat, but the events of this odd little game will likely stay with you long after the credits roll – and that’s why I just can’t wait to see what LCB comes up with next.

Just be careful not to get addicted to the game’s take on Impossible Solitaire…

3. Signalis

While returning franchises like Resident Evil and Dead Space have made it clear that Survival Horror is alive and well, it’s a shame that these big-budget titles are often forced to conform to the familiar ideals of modern game design in order to appeal to wider audiences. That’s why it’s always nice to see smaller developers attempt to emulate the janky thrills of early survival horror games while also improving upon the original formula.

A recent and incredibly entertaining example of this is Rose Engine’s sci-fi/horror opus Signalis, which puts players in the shoes of an amnesiac technician stranded on an off-world outpost infested by monsters. A horrific mix of Orwellian dystopia and Lovecraftian cosmic horror, Signalis would have been right at home in the late 90s were it not for some heavily polished gameplay.

2. Iron Lung

iron lung review header

Inherently claustrophobic and with only a few inches of metal separating you from a watery grave, submarines are undoubtedly horrifying. Of course, leave it to Dave Szymanski (of Dusk and Chop Goblins fame) to make the diving experience that much more terrifying by forcing players to rely on obsolete technology to navigate the briny depths.

The charming retro graphics and Doom 64 inspired soundtrack are also a huge bonus, but the best part this spooky experience is that it ends with a bang just before the navigational gimmicks have a chance to wear out their welcome. Now that’s craftsmanship.

1. FAITH: The Unholy Trinity

Airdorf’s original FAITH was one of my favorite horror experiences of 2017, serving as a poignant reminder that, when it comes to scares, less is often more. While the game would see a follow-up in 2019 with FAITH: Chapter II, it was only in 2022 that the trilogy would come to a close with the long-awaited release of FAITH: The Unholy Trinity. And boy, was it worth the wait.

While the final chapter is still a lovingly retro homage to religious horror told through minimalist graphics, the added interactivity and additional polish make this one of the most memorable gaming experiences of 2022. Plus, the rotoscoped cut-scenes are even freakier this time around.

As if that wasn’t enough, you also get chapters I and II as a bonus, making this one of the best deals on this list.

The post Six of the Best Indie Horror Video Games You May Have Missed in 2022 appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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