Get ready to scream as we check out the 10 best 2D horror games off all time!
We’re covered plenty of horror games in our time at Retro Dodo so far. From Zombie slaying gorefests to titles that play havoc with your mind, there’s no shortage of games that will make you shiver while playing.
And just because the following games are 2D, I don’t want you thinking that they’re any less scary.
If anything, the fact that the graphics are so simple means that the storylines have been ramped up tenfold to really get your blood pumping.
Trust me, you’re in for one heck of a game’s night!
So, without further ado, let’s open the creaky door and walk blindly into the dark cellar as we check out the best 2D horror games of all time.
Read on, if you dare!
Warning: The content covered in the following games should only be viewed by a mature audience Please be aware that the main body of the article covers harrowing topics from the horror genre and is not suitable for younger readers.
10. The Last Door (2014)
Let’s kick off this list of the best 2D horror games Of All Time The Last Door, a game that makes you sit with the concept of what it’s really like to be on your alone… in the dark… in Victorian England.
Something that no one really wants in normal circumstances, let’s face it.
The Last Door collection has won so many Best Games awards that its success speaks for itself. Each of the four episodes that make up the collection are dark, scary, and filled with suspense.
Just what you need from a horror game, right?
Victorian Britain was scary enough as it is. Add in an abandoned manor, occult references, and secrets that no human should ever have to uncover, and you’ve got an exciting game that will leave you perched on the edge of your seat!
I’d like to be armed with more than just a lamp and a magnifying glass if I was walking around a spooky house, but I guess we can’t all have what we want.
Dive into puzzles, solve cryptic clues, and discover horrifying secrets that will make your skin crawl!
9. Carrion (2020)
Carrion isn’t exactly a nice word in any context. It makes a cracking name for a horror game though.
Especially one where gamers play as the villain and not the hero. How cool is that!
Play as a weird, many-tentacled creature as you ransack the facility where you were captured.
The sheer power you have in this game is incredible. You grow as the game progresses, evolving and picking up new skills as you go.
The main premise; kill everyone that isn’t you and destroy everything in your path.
A game where you stalk and hunt humans instead of the other way around feels very refreshing; I was just talking about movies where villains should reign supreme this morning with my mate, and Carrion provides that exact feeling.
The graphics are great too, boasting a kind of horror-themed Terraria vibe. Just try not to have any nightmares after playing.
8. Knock-Knock (2015)
Speaking of nightmares, Knock-Knock is one game in our list of the best 2D horror games that is definitely going to invade your dreams.
A hide-and-seek game where an insomniac has to keep his sanity until morning. It’s not that weird, right?
Add the fact that the insomniac lives in a laboratory in a cabin in a forest, and you’ve got a seriously freaky title on your hands.
There isn’t one specific way to play this game, and the great thing is that your actions affect the game and make it evolve.
While the premise is to hide from the odd inhabitants of the forest and the beings that show up through portals, how you hide from them or interact with your surroundings is up to you.
Strangely, the rules of the game sometimes change too, and the player has to think on their feet and act accordingly before it’s too late.
If you like your games straightforward, then this isn’t for you. Challengers who like a good fright should apply immediately, however.
7. Detention (2017)
Any game case with a bloody handprint on it immediately sends fear into my heart. Oh look, Detention falls right into that category… what a coincidence.
Two students become trapped in the wilderness after leaving their remote mountain school. I’m no horror expert, but even I know that’s not going to end well.
Evil lays in wait around every turn… except there aren’t turns as it’s a 2D side-scroller.
Before I head any further, just take a look at the graphics in the still below. The colours used, the contrast of the light characters against the dark, the effect of the rain.
Everything’s creepy to the nth degree.
We’re heading to Taiwan in the 60s, with a made-up world where Martial Law is under way.
The storyline in Detention takes influence from Taiwanese, Buddhist, and Chinese mythology. There are so many elements in East Asian culture that lend themselves to the horror genre, and so many of them are shown in close up cutscenes that end up burning into your retinas.
Seriously, the developers of this game must have been on a bucket load of acid when they wrote the script. It’s one of those games that gets weirder as you play, and not one to play when it’s dark.
You have been warned!
6. Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut(2012)
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut takes the 6th spot in this list of the best 2D horror games of all time!
If you played the original Lone Survivor game back on Mac, Windows, or Linux in 2012, then you’ll really appreciate the work that they’ve put into the new updated version on home consoles.
With new music, new locations, and a new lighting engine, there’s so much for fans to discover in the director’s cut.
Don’t forget two new endings and a boat load of new items; 21, to be exact!
The main character has decided to make a run for his life after hiding indoors in a city ravaged by disease.
That sounds a little like the Coronavirus pandemic… still a little too close to home to think about!
Not wishing to die alone, you must help our masked character out into the world, shooting enemies with limited ammo and monitoring his hunger and sleep.
Like Windbound, players have to make sure the character doesn’t get too hungry, otherwise it’s game over. Sleep also reveals more about the game and what’s happened through nightmares, a nice little touch and one that shows jus how well this storyline has been thought out.
If horror survival games are your bag, then sink your teeth into Lone Survivor. I can’t promise it won’t bite back though!
5. Reveal The Deep (2015)
Reveal The Deep has a a bit of a retro BioShock feel to it.
Ok, so it’s mainly the diving suit feel and the fact that it’s a little spooky, but I like to think they’re spiritually related to each other.
This is the shortest game in our list of the best 2D horror games by far, taking around 2 hours to complete the main story.
Still, it’s cheap game to buy and has some nice little puzzles in it that will keep you entertained for an afternoon.
The main premise is to discover what has happened to the wrecked 19th century steamship you’re exploring. The blue hue of the game makes it feel real eerie right from the off, and some of the mysteries you uncover will leave you with chills.
And not’s because it looks so cold and underwater either!
4. Fran Bow (2015)
Fran Bow is a perfect example of a scary game cover. I don’t know what it is about those eyes, but they give me the willies every time I see them!
If you’re a fan of psychological horrors, aka games that seriously mess with your head, then you need this title in your life.
Fran hasn’t had an easy life. She’s found her parents dead, or at least their dismembered body parts, and now she’s recovering at a mental institution while dealing with mental illnesses.
Gamers take Fran on a mission to find her only friend, the black cat Mr Midnight.
Sounds nice and cutesy, right?
Well, when I tell you that you have to self-medicate with drugs in order to enter a hidden world filled with horror and the kinds of mysteries we don’t speak of, then it suddenly becomes a lot darker.
Don’t worry, you can still play as Mr Midnight sometimes, but the majority of the game is interacting with Salad Fingers-esque characters that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Let’s just tat that this is not one for the faint of heart.
3. Limbo (2011)
Limbo takes the bronze medal in our list of the best 2D horror games of all time.
If you haven’t heard of or played Limbo, then you’re seriously missing out. This black and white world is treacherous from the very beginning. Players just have to figure things out as they go, which ultimately results in death pretty quickly!
Physics play a big part of this game too, with realistic jumping and action styles. Everything feels quite human, apart from the overly large spider, that is.
The jump is proportionate to what a boy would be able to carry off, and the only other button available allows you to carry out an action. In essence, you have to work with the environment and use your noggin to succeed.
The game has 24 chapters the flow like a perfectly formed audiobook. And the depth to he levels feels like you’re playing a haunted version of a Rayman game.
Not only are there hazards and dangers to contend with, but the monsters in this game are ruthless and do whatever they can to eat the character, named ‘The Boy’.
It’s the human element of the game that really makes you feel uncomfortable. A bridge made from the corpses of children isn’t exactly something easy to stomach, not to mention the other gangs of kids that try to murder you.
Not an easy play then, eh?
2. Little Nightmares 2 (2017)
Little Nightmares 2 doesn’t need an introduction. This game has become a global phenomenon and serves a re a return to the world we first encountered in the original game.
Take Mono back out into the world, a world twisted and warped by the effects of a mysterious tower. And the residents of the world you live in are about as friendly as the Las Plagas villagers from Resident Evil 4.
For those of you that don’t know your best PS3 horror games, this isn’t a good thing.
Story telling wise, this is a quirky, dark, and scary little game that makes you come face to face with all of the things that scared you as a little kid.
Ok, so they might not be as scary now, but they’ll still give frights if you never got over the torments of the playground or that dollhouse your sister told you was haunted.
The graphics style of this game are so recognisable that you could spot it a mile away, and the puzzles built into the stunning 2.5 world are simply perfect.
No wonder gamers all over the globe can’t get enough of it. Still, if we’re talking about a bonafide scarefest, there’s only one title that wins outright.
1. Inside (2017)
The results are in, and Inside, the critically acclaimed sequel to Limbo, is the best 2D horror game of all time.
If you thought the world in Limbo felt lonely, then you’ve experience nothing yet. The game feels inherently uncomfortable from the very beginning, and the puzzles do nothing to put your mind at ease either.
Like Limbo, there’s no context to the game when you first turn it on. You’re really thrown in at the deep end, coming face to face with the human-like entities that have been experimented on in very harrowing circumstances.
Solve puzzles, escape danger, and try not to flinch when you die in horrendous circumstances.
Inside is like Limbo in so many ways, the main difference being a splash of colour here and there as opposed to the total monochrome world from the previous title.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Inside, and I hope you’ll have a gruesome time playing it too!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.