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Scary Games to Play on Xbox One This Halloween

So, you drew the short straw and got placed on candy duty, leaving you at home waiting for trick-or-treaters to arrive looking for a sweet treat — what a perfect time for you to visit some of our favorite and scariest games to play on Xbox One! From survival horror to post-apocalyptic wastelands, there’s a little something for every horror fan to be found below, many of which are available on Xbox Game Pass and support Backward Compatibility. Now shut off the lights, turn up the volume, and set out on a spooky adventure… if you dare! Quickly, before the next round of tricksters arrive on your doorstep.

Resident Evil 7: biohazard

Resident Evil 7: biohazard (Xbox One X Enhanced)

The newest entry in the Resident Evil franchise delivers not only one of the most realistic-looking chapters, but levels up from its jump scares and campiness to downright horrific and terrifying encounters with the residents of the Baker mansion. As Ethan Winters, you’ll enter the creepy estate seeking answers to the disappearance of your wife, only to come face-to-face with the most vile and ruthless family molded after those found in horror film classics like “The Hills Have Eyes” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Their antics and behavior will all make sense in the end, as well as the overarching connections to the RE franchise itself once the credits start to roll after this hellish ride. – Mike Nelson

Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares

If you scare yourself with how much you love Limbo-likes, Little Nightmares is the stuff of screams. As a child captured on a massive ship and doomed to become cuisine for its grotesque clientele, you run – usually from left to right, but more often from upsetting monsters that leapt out of Tim Burton’s nightmares after he fell asleep watching Swedish marionette theater (again). This creepy venture through creaky crawl spaces proves once more that the best horror comes from a simple premise, like: “What if cruises were even worse and there were cannibals?” – Ludwig Kietzmann

Slender: The Arrival

Slender: The Arrival

If being stalked by a creepy monster in the middle of the woods with nothing but a flashlight and camcorder wasn’t terrifying enough in Slender: The Eight Pages, just wait until you try Slender: The Arrival. With a new storyline and improved visuals, the official video game adaptation of Slender Man takes survival horror to a new level. Like the original game, Slender: The Arrival starts with one simple mission: Collect all the missing pages without getting caught. But each page collected only ratchets up the difficulty, eventually making Slender Man nearly impossible to escape. – Lisa Eadicicco

Dead Space

Dead Space (Backward Compatible)

It all starts with a distress call. While Dead Space takes its sci-fi cred seriously – the hero is named Isaac Clark – tension and jump scares rule the day as you slowly explore the abandoned mining spacecraft USG Ishimura. Thought that hallway was clear? Not anymore! But Dead Space’s intriguing, slowly unfurling a backstory keeps driving you forward through a series of unfortunate and horrifying, even grotesque events. Whether you prefer the tense and atmospheric original, the more bombastic Dead Space 2, or the expansive Dead Space 3, all are available on Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility and included in the EA Access vault. – Jeff Rubenstein

Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep

When you’re a child, the world feels like it’s constantly in one of two states: either everything is amazing or everything is terrifying. In Krillbite Studio’s Among the Sleep, the focus is firmly on the latter, presenting a world that’s at once familiar and hauntingly nightmarish. Accompanied only by a stuffed bear named Teddy (which emits light into the murky environment when you hug it), you play a toddler that is navigating his house in search of his mother. Things aren’t always as they seem though, with each environment feeling more and more detached from reality. In the end, Among the Sleep is less a horror game and more a rumination on the challenges of life, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. – Will Tuttle

The Evil Within 2

The Evil Within 2 (Xbox One X Enhanced)

Things are going really badly for Sebastian Castellanos, and not just because his parents named him after a designer champagne label. In The Evil Within 2, he willingly re-enters STEM, a virtual world that’s just like “The Matrix,” except it’s a simulation derived from “Twin Peaks” and one has to choose between the blue pill and a cup of screaming milk. With reality out for the count and freaky multi-mouthed monsters everywhere, The Evil Within 2 is a stunning, atmospheric seesaw with hold-your-breath stealth on one end and bullet-counting battles on the other. How do we not have you with atmospheric seesaw??? – LK

Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation

Not only is the entire game dripping with authenticity, treating its source material with the utmost care thanks to incredible world detail and sound design, but it also continues the legacy of having a Ripley back at the center of the Alien mythos. You play as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, desperately seeking answers to her mother’s disappearance from the first “Alien” film (somewhat required viewing). The mystery slowly reveals itself over time on board Sevastopol station, once a highly populated hub in deep space which has given way to lawlessness. Best of all is the title character who exists as an always learning, listening boogeyman that’s waiting in the shadows for you to give yourself away. This is a horror gaming experience you do not want to miss. – MN


Oxenfree (Xbox Game Pass)

A group of garrulous teens sneak out a wooded island after dark and discover mysterious phenomena in a cave. What’s the worst that can happen? Well… Oxenfree’s brand of slow-building dread and X-Files-eque creepiness are the ideal “scary game” for those who aren’t into more hardcore horror. Best played in a single (lengthy) setting, Oxenfree is worth a second playthrough (or at least a trip to YouTube) to see alternate endings, as things can end quite differently, for better and for worse. Bonus: no game before (or since) has nailed the flow of natural conversation better than Oxenfree, all the more reason I’m looking forward to Night School Studio’s next title, Afterparty. – JR

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4

What hasn’t already been said about this Shinji Mikami classic? Untrue things, probably: Like how it lures you in with a family barbeque, nestled in a humble Spanish villa. There’s an intimate meet-and-greet with everyone at the local church. The townsfolk don’t even like chainsaws and their pitchforks are purely meant for stabbing … wily produce! You catch a whopper of a fish, dispense some headache relief and help a man perfect his intense Wolverine cosplay. There are no decapitations whatsoever and whenever someone screams about the “Los Plagas,” they’re making a spirited recommendation about that new dental clinic. – LK

Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th: The Game

Ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah, ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah. If you recognize that music, there’s a good chance you spent some time in the 80s and 90s peeking through your fingers as serial killer and hockey mask enthusiast Jason Vorhees hunted down nubile camp counselors in the woods around Camp Crystal Lake (and, in one case, outer space?!?). In 2017, developer IllFonic gave players the chance to step into Jason’s boots, as well as those of his prey, with the release of Friday the 13th: The Game. This asymmetrical multiplayer title found one player (as Jason) hunting down up to seven others in a gory version of hide-and-seek, with the counselors able to work together in an effort to overcome Jason’s otherworldly hunting powers. Featuring dozens of memorably over-the-top kill animations by master special effects artist Tom Savini, Friday the 13th: The Game might actually be better than some of the movies (we’re looking at you, “Jason Goes to Hell”). – WT

Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear (Xbox Game Pass)

As the video game equivalent of a portrait with eyes that follow you around the room, Layers of Fear has, well, exactly that. It makes you witness to the total meltdown of a brilliant painter, crushed by a stroke of tragic luck, left unable to discern between events on the canvas and those in his head. If you hate doors disappearing and rooms breathing and rearranging themselves in upsetting ways, you should play this – and maybe consider moving out of your obviously haunted house. Plus: As a scary game sans combat, Layers of Fear makes for a good palette cleanser. – LK

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead (Xbox One X Enhanced / Backward Compatible)

This nearly decade-old co-op zombie shooter is all about working with your team to overcome swarms of the Infected – because surviving the zombie apocalypse is no fun alone. Grab your shotgun and get ready to mow down the next mob of frenzied mutants before it’s too late. Just be sure to watch out for those Boomers and their zombie-luring bile. And even better, this Halloween you’ll be able to fend off the hordes with an unprecedented level of detail now that Left 4 Dead is Xbox One X enhanced. – LE



It doesn’t take long for your time in Soma for you to realize that navigating your way through an abandoned and slowly crumbling underwater research station is the least of your concerns. It’s the mysterious and creepy machine inhabitants who stalk you through the hallways while you seek to understand how you got here and what you are. And why do all the machines think they’re people? With a wonderful sci-fi bend on the fears of merging humanity with technology, Soma is not only one of the creepier games you can play, but also one of the smartest with some great philosophical points to ponder with an ending that will leave you speechless. – MN

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Condemned: Criminal Origins (Backward Compatible)

There was a time in my life when I trusted mannequins. That all changed with the 2005 release of Monolith’s Condemned: Criminal Origins for Xbox 360. In a game filled with memorable setpieces, none was more terrifying than the abandoned department store filled with mannequins in various states of undress (and dismemberment). As you progress through the level, beating the game’s deranged derelicts in a visceral first-person perspective with whatever melee weapons you can find, you’ll find rooms full of abandoned mannequins. All’s well and good (well, as good as it can be when you’re fighting to stay alive and solve the mystery of who’s pinning murders on you) until you notice something out of the corner of your eye: did that mannequin just move? I honestly don’t think I’ve ever screamed as loud as I did the first time one finally lunged at me. – WT

Metro: 2033

Metro 2033 Redux (Xbox Game Pass)

Not only a tremendous technical achievement at the time of its original release, giving gamers one of the most unique and atmospheric settings in gaming, Metro 2033 introduced us to an epic post-apocalyptic adventure that combines equal parts of stealth, survival horror, and first-person shooter combat. Oh, and a cast of dark characters and a well-paced story that keeps you moving through the cold metro tunnels of Moscow in a bleak, depressing future. The Redux version cleans up the original release and enhances the graphics for the current gen, making it the quintessential version to play. – MN