Maybe you're already aware of this, but the Google Play Store does not have any category or search options that are specific to the horror genre. This is a tragic shame because there are loads of games that could easily fall into this category, but often get shunted into the adventure or puzzle categories because there seems to be nowhere better for them to go.
Thankfully, through the magic of algorithms, once you find at least one good horror game you can jump down the rabbit hole of "recommended for you" to find other seasonally appropriate experiences. That's how we come across most quality mobile horror games and it's how we found a good number of the games on this list. Read on for our top picks for best spooky games to play in October!
Some of these are already on our list of best Android games, or have been previously featured as Android Games of the Week, but we're willing to bet that at least a couple will be brand new to quite a few players.
We're kicking things off with what is perhaps the most intense game on the list: Fran Bow. Don't let the unassuming title fool you — this is easily the goriest, darkest game represented here, and is definitely not suitable for younger players or sensitive audiences. Follow Fran, a young girl being treated at a mental health facility after witnessing a terrible crime. Separated from her beloved cat, Mr. Monday, Fran tries to escape the facility and reunite with her precious kitty.
This point-and-click adventure stands out thanks to its beautiful and very creepy storybook graphics, unsettling content, and gripping story. Fran Bow plays out over five chapters, which can all be purchased separately from the Play Store at $1.99 each.
Give the first chapter a try with the knowledge that things only get darker and more wild from there on out. It is highly recommended that you play through to the very end, as the ending completely seals the deal. If any game on this list has the potential to give you nightmares, it's Fran Bow.
Fran Bow: Chapter One
There's much more beneath the surface of this haunting tale of a girl searching for her beloved black cat, Mr. Monday.
- $1.99 at Google Play Store, 4 additional chapters sold separately (opens in new tab)
It's not hard to find platformers that gel well within the horror genre, but it's a bit more difficult to track down ones that manage to instill a genuine sense of dread. Limbo, however, manages to do this, all while becoming a cult classic along the way thanks to its timeless graphics and chilling content. Honestly the less we say about this game, the better, as it's best-played with as few spoilers as possible. What we can say is that not unlike Unmaze (more on this below), Limbo uses a monochromatic palette to bring its puzzle-platforming gameplay to life and the effect lands with stunning efficiency.
Playing as a young boy on a quest to find his lost sister, you'll have to navigate your way through challenging puzzles and, presumably, quite a few deaths to make it to the end. It's not required, but playing Limbo with headphones is recommended to get the most out of the stellar audio design and atmospheric vibe. Limbo is $4.99 for the full ad and IAP-free game, or free for Play Pass subscribers. Sever arachnophobes, consider yourselves warned: This one might be too much for you.
One of the best indie puzzle-platformers out there, Limbo is a creepy deep dive into a black and white hellscape. Play this one in a dark room with few distractions and no spoilers.
- $5 at Google Play Store (opens in new tab)
Oxenfree employs a classic horror setup that never gets old: A group of teens head out to a creepy location to have some fun and things take a turn for the weird. You play as Alex, a plucky teen who brings her new stepbrother and friends to an abandoned island for an overnight party. What could possibly go wrong, right?
A lot, actually. By way of a mysterious radio that does much more than channel surf, our unwitting heroes open a ghostly portal, letting in all manner of ghoulish spectres that slowly reveal the island's dark past. Tough decisions need to be made if you and your friends are going to survive, so choose wisely in this wonderfully crafted and superbly spooky narrative.
Oxenfree is $5 of top quality gaming with no ads or in-app purchases. Featuring great writing and voice acting, you may feel like you're playing through an 80s horror flick as you uncover the game's multiple endings. Oxenfree is an awesome choice for ghost chasers and adventure lovers alike.
Oxenfree is a fantastic horror adventure for Android, kind of like Stranger Things in the palm of your hand.
- $5 at Google Play Store (opens in new tab)
Rusty Lake Games
When we say Rusty Lakes Games, what we really mean is almost any of the many games from indie developer Rusty Lake. There's a mountain of options to choose from, but we recommend starting with the Cube Escape series, which is comprised of a whopping nine main escape room games. Sure, we could've talked about The Room series here instead, but there's something uniquely disqueiting about Rusty Lake's distinctive art style and surreal storytelling that make it stand out.
Starting with Cube Escape: Lake, the series is heavily inspired by cult-classic television show Twin Peaks. You play as Dale Vandermeer, a detective investigating the death of Laura Vanderboom. Each game uses simple point-and-click controls and plays out in a cubicle room full of puzzles you'll have to crack to get out. The gameplay itself isn't revolutionary, but the lasting impression that Rusty Lake games leave is absolutely worth a look.
If the older games are looking a little too rough to modern eyes, you could also take a stab at Samsara Room, another entry in the series that takes place outside the main events of Cube Escape. On the other hand, if you're ready to just dive into the world of Rusty Lake, you can pick up the entire Cube Escape collection for free in the Play Store. The game is monetized through ads, but they're impressively non-intrusive and only appear when you want or need to request a hint.
Cube Escape Collection
The series that kicked off a surreal escape room empire, the Cube Escape Collection is a perfect match for lovers of puzzles and atmospheric horror.
- Free w/ ads, IAPs at Google Play Store (opens in new tab)
One of the most powerful draws of many horror games is their potential to tell great stories, so it makes sense that there would be some excellent text-adventure games that fit into the spirit of season. Unmaze may not look that scary on the surface, but there are elements of this hidden gem that make it a memorable, haunting experience.
Loosely based on the mythological Greek tale of the Minotaur, Unmaze puts you in the driver's seat as Ariadne, an unseen protagonist whose boyfriend and younger brother have both recently gone missing. While search parties try fruitlessly to find the boys out in the real world, Ariadne discovers a crystal in her brother's room that allows her to see and communicate with both of them. Each of them is lost in a separate part of a massive labyrinth and can't find their way out without Ariadne's help. But guiding each boy isn't as easy as it seems, as they will become progressively more lost if Ariadne neglects one to assist the other. You choose which of the two lost boys to help using light and shadow via your phone's camera, which is a novel, if occassionally frustrating, feature.
The real pull here though is the somber, increasingly oppresive atmosphere as your lost charges try to make their way out of the maze. The stark black and white art design adds a fantastic layer of mystique and despair over a narrative that takes some truly monstrous turns, raising questions on the nature of morality and the human soul itself. For those of us looking for a more introspective slow burn, this game is your new best friend.
Manipulate light and shadow to communicate with two lost loved-ones as you try to guide them out of a monstrous maze.
- $5.50 at Google Play Store (opens in new tab)
Very Little Nightmares
We're closing things out with Very Little Nightmares, potentially the cutest game on this list. Thist pocket-sized companion to the Little Nightmares series, and prequel to the first two Little Nightmares games, puts you in charge of a tiny figure in a yellow raincoat navigating a sprawling, ominous mansion known as The Nest.
Playing out in beautifully designed levels, you'll need to solve puzzles to proceed and dodge ghastly creatures roaming the halls if you want to get to the end. The miniaturized graphics are a gorgeous blend of cute and creepy, but the game does lack the visceral oomph of its older cousins. The puzzles can be challenging at first, but once you start to get a feel for the game's logic you'll likely be able to get through this little gem pretty quickly. There are also a few hidden collectibles for you to find, which add a bit more content for achievement hunters to revel in.
Very Little Nightmares is a relatively short experience, taking up only 2-3 hours on average. The full game costs $6.99, but Play Pass subscribers can pick it up for free. If spooky vibes and puzzles are your jam, this is the game for you.
Very Little Nightmares
Escape a terrifying realm of grotesque giants once again in this pocket-puzzler embedded within the Little Nightmares universe.
- $7 at Google Play Store (opens in new tab)
Thrills and chills is the name of the game
There you have it, folks, these are some of the best spooky mobile games you can play on Android right now. There are far more than what's presented here, but the horror genre is notoriously full of absolute garbage in virtually all mediums — film, literature, and yes, even games. (Or perhaps especially games is the more accurate way to phrase it.) You can rest assured though that the experience on this list are among the better quality ones out there, so pick up a creepy, scary game today and get your spook on before All Hallows' Eve is upon us!
A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.
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