There are a ton of great horror games coming out in 2021 or titles that are already available to pick up and play today. However, if you’re after some more survival horror gameplay experiences then we have some games to recommend. In this list, we’re highlighting the best survival horror games that we’re hoping to see come out in 2021. That doesn’t mean every game on this list will be available this year, but here are some anticipated releases along with a couple that you can pick up today.
Disclaimer Update: Ill, Abandoned, Saturnalia, Negative Atmosphere, Quantum Error, State of Decay 3, and The Day Before were removed due to delays.
#19 Seed of the Dead: Sweet Home
Seed of the Dead: Sweet Home is an unusual, wacky game. In this title, players are going through a visual novel dating sim. You’re trying to impress a party of females in your group, but you’re also dealing with a zombie apocalypse. Outside of interacting with the cast of characters, players will be going through this game as FPS, where you’ll gun down a swarm of undead zombies and creatures that pop up within the game. This game might not be for everyone, but it’s a unique take on a dating sim.
Forewarned is an early access game that offers cooperative multiplayer. In this game, players are taking the role of archeologists that discover new ruins suddenly appearing in the wild. Aimed to find what treasures are buried within these ruins, players will venture in alone or with a team as they seek out what’s inside. There you’ll explore, gather treasure, solve puzzles, and uncover a sinister evil that lurks within the ruins. Now it’s a battle to gather treasure and make a dash out of the ruins. However, you can gamble and attempt to stay long for the goods, but at the cost of running into the inside monsters. To make this game even more terrifying, there is VR support to immerse players further.
#17 Poppy Playtime
Poppy Playtime is a new release at the time of writing this game description. However, so far, the fan reception has been incredibly popular. In this game, the narrative is centered around a toy factory. A once lively toy factory full of employees has long since been abandoned when the employees suddenly disappeared. Now our protagonist will venture inside the factory in order to figure out what happened. This is a thrilling game experience where you will find the toys alive and hunt you down. It’s all about exploration, gathering clues, solving puzzles, and fleeing from danger. It’s a shorter video game, but it has plenty of scares throughout the campaign.
If you’re after something to play with some friends, then we suggest checking out Devour. This is a game where up to four players are working to stop an evil cultist group that’s attempting to take you to hell. Fortunately, players can stop the ritual by completing a series of tasks. Scattered throughout the different maps are ritual items you’ll need to uncover. However, because the game is procedurally generated, you’ll come across these items in different locations. Meanwhile, you’ll need to hide away from the cultist members and their demonic spawns that will attempt to find out where you’re hiding.
#15 Lunch Lady
Lunch Lady is another multiplayer cooperative horror game. In this title players are taking the role of kids that are aiming to break into the school and gather up the answers to a test coming up. With ten scattered pages around the school, players will have to split up and attempt to find all the pages. However, with proximity chat, you won’t be in constant contact with your friends as you explore the school. While armed with flashlights to help get a better look at your surroundings, it turns out you’re not alone in this school. A murderous lunch lady is roaming the area meaning you’ll need to run and hide in hopes of evading this character as she roams the school grounds.
#14 Ghost Hunters Corp
Ghost Hunters Corp is an early access game that’s quite a bit like the Phasmophobia title. You’re essentially hunting down ghosts and performing exorcisms to purify a haunted location. If you played Phasmophobia before then, you’d get the hang of what’s going on here. There’s an assortment of tools to help get an understanding of the ghost you’re dealing with and their traits. Meanwhile, players have chimed in on early access so far by saying it feels like a far scarier game than what Phasmophobia has to offer. But, again, it’s an early access title, so you might find some changes being made throughout the development under StudioGoupil. If you enjoyed Phasmophobia and want something new to check into, then take a chance with Ghost Hunters Corp.
#13 Them and Us
Them and Us is a game that takes heavy inspiration from the past classic survival horror games. There are fixed camera angles, tank-style controls, limited inventory, puzzles to solve, and difficult combat. Likewise, you’ll find that the game was developed to provide a ton of atmosphere between the different scenes. Meanwhile, the story itself is set in 1978, where you’re taking the role of a young female named Alicia. After enduring a terrible bus crash, you end up alone and forced to find help. That’s when you come across a mansion filled with the undead. It’s up to Alicia to attempt to survive the nightmare and find out how to escape to safety. If you enjoyed games like the classic Resident Evil franchise then this should be quite a thrill to play today.
#12 Alan Wake Remastered
Alan Wake from Remedy Entertainment was a big hit when it initially launched back in 2010. In this game, players took the role of a famous author who is dealing with writer’s block. The protagonist ventures to a small town to get some inspiration and a break, only to find a terrible slew of nightmarish creatures lurk in the night. The game had players battling these beasts and unraveling a new madness by using light. In this game, players are armed with a firearm and a flashlight to help stun the enemy and fight back. Again this was a highly beloved video game released back in 2010, and now this year, we have a remastered edition. The development team went back and delivered players an overhaul on how the game looks while also being available on modern platforms.
#11 Tormented Souls
Tormented Souls is a title from development team Dual Effect and Abstract Digital which drew inspirations from classic survival horror video games. For instance, the developers have noted their inspirations from such classic hits as the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games. While the controls will be more modern, the title will have a limited inventory, scarce resources, plenty of puzzles, a ton of exploration, and a twisted horror narrative to go through. Players are taking the role of Caroline Walker who is investigating the disappearance of two little girls. It’s taken her to an old mansion where she mysteriously wakes up in a bathtub hooked to some kind of medical device. Now trapped in this massive mansion, Caroline is forced into venturing around in search of clues of what’s going on.
Mundaun is quite a unique survival horror game as the visuals look like they were drawn from a pencil. It’s also a game that’s currently available right now with fans enjoying the experience crafted by developers Hidden Fields. This title is centered around the protagonist learning of his grandfather’s mysterious death. As a result, we are traveling back to Mundaun for the first time since the protagonist was a child to piece together all the clues to what happened that day. It’s a very atmospheric game with plenty of puzzles to solve as you explore the area. Of course, there are hostile creatures that lurk around the town that you’ll need to be careful from stumbling upon.
#9 The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
The developers that brought out the Until Dawn video game, Supermassive Games, have continued to deliver narrative-driven horror games. The Dark Pictures Anthology is a collection of short horror video games played much like Until Dawn. These are narrative-driven games where players are working against a slew of choices. However, depending on your choices, you will determine who makes it out of the game alive. The latest installment coming out for this collection is The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes. This installment puts players back in 2003 where you’re following special forces in Iraq. Stuck under a temple, a new horror awakens deep underground. Now it’s a battle to stay alive from some new threat that has emerged.
#8 World War Z: Aftermath
World War Z is not a new release. Chances are you have either played or heard about this game already. It’s a title that’s quite a bit like Left 4 Dead or Back 4 Blood. In the game, players are working together as a team when battling hordes of undead. However, this year we received the Aftermath release. This added some notable content into the game that’s worth checking into if you haven’t played World War Z already. The game now offers melee mechanic systems, new enemies, and even some new storyline that takes players to Russia and Rome. It’s also enough content that may sway some players in checking out the game again if they have already played through the game originally.
#7 Aliens: Fireteam Elite
Who doesn’t love the Alien franchise? The iconic horror IP has continued to become a significant hit years after its initial release. Now we have a new game for players to dive into with Aliens: Fireteam Elite. It’s a light horror game experience as the developers crafted this game to be more of an action game. In this game, players are taking the role of an elite task force that receives a distress call. Upon arriving, they found the station is full of Xenomorphs, where they’ll need to battle against and unravel a new mystery as to what’s going on in this station. It’s a game that’s often described to the likes of Left 4 Dead as players will work with a group battling the hostile alien creatures. Although, as you can expect, players are working in a group of teammates, there are different classes to pick through including your typical medic, recon, and gunner options.
There’s a fascination over the Chernobyl Power Plant disaster. This tragedy has been reported heavily over the years, and it is constantly thought about anytime nuclear power comes up as a topic. With Chernobylite, you’re tossed into a supernatural science fiction horror game. The narrative puts players into a former Chernobyl Power Plant employee that decides to figure out what happened to his missing wife years prior. Forced to go back into the nuclear zone again, players are working to stay alive while exploring for clues. Unfortunately, being in this nuclear zone, you’ll find a military presence, stalkers, and mutated creatures. It’s a tough battle to keep alive and gather all the missing pieces to his wife’s disappearance. Currently, Chernobylite is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms. However, we know that ports are coming for the PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S is coming later this year.
#5 Subnautica Below Zero
Subnautica was a big indie hit when it was first released. The video game put players into the future where our protagonist crashes into an alien planet made of water. Now there is a smaller sequel installment available for players to pick up called Subnautica Below Zero. This game would be very much like the first installment if you played through Subnautica. In this title, we’re going to a mostly freezing aquatic planet to search for clues of an abandoned research station to figure out what happened to your sibling. A lot of the gameplay is centered around vitals and exploring the ocean depths. But, again, that is a terrifying experience for players to endure as more than a few hostile creatures lurk below. You’ll have to pay attention to your surroundings the entire time, so you know just how close you are to any real dangerous threat.
#4 Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood comes from the developers responsible for the Left 4 Dead IP, Turtle Rock Studios. It took a few years, but eventually, the developers opted to come back and deliver a spiritual successor. In this game, players can expect the same overall gameplay style. You’re working with a group of either players or AI-controlled teammates. From there, it’s a battle to fight against a swarm of undead zombies. With different variant types, some of these beasts are going to be quite tough to face. However, the studio wanted to bring out a more significant experience than what they offered in Left 4 Dead. As a result, there’s a new mechanic in general that might find surprising. A new card system has been implemented in which players can unlock cards that will offer new buffs when equipped. Although, there is a similar card mechanic system that the enemy AI will have, which should also buff the zombies.
#3 Days Gone
Sony’s PlayStation 4 had several iconic exclusive titles for players to pick up. However, Sony slowly started to add these exclusives onto the PC platform. Now not many video games are available on the PC platform that was originally PlayStation 4 exclusive. Among the limited list is Days Gone. This brand new IP followed a former gang biker named Deacon, who manages to survive the pandemic, which turned so much of humanity into mindless zombies. Now what’s left of humanity has resorted to more small factional towns. Deacon is working with these various factions as he attempts to survive with his best friend. Although, something has been lingering on Deacon’s mind, which happened to his wife that went missing during the pandemic. However, finding information about his wife is like finding a needle in a haystack.
#2 Little Nightmares II
Little Nightmares video game was a massive hit. It put players into the role of a little girl trapped in a mysterious but hostile world. With giant humanoid figures seeking to end the child’s life, players are working to escape this larger-than-life world and find freedom. Without spoiling the narrative, there is a sequel that sees the arrival of a new character. We have another hostile world to deal with, and it’s just as creepy. These games are mostly platformers with plenty of puzzle-solving. However, you’re constantly working against the clock as enemies are wandering around, leaving you to stay out of sight but dashing to make a daring escape from one hostile area to the next. If you want another unsettling game for the Halloween season, this one is easy to get control of, even if you’re playing with someone that’s not the most significant gamer.
#1 Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village is the latest mainline installment to the Resident Evil franchise. This game takes place after the events of Resident Evil 7 where players are taking the role of Ethan Winters once again. Ethan has his world turned upside down after Chris Redfield pops up and it’s left him in a world of hurt. Now Ethan is trapped in a remote village as he begins to search for Chris Redfield and hopefully get some answers as to what’s going on. Just like the past Resident Evil games, Resident Evil Village has plenty of exploration, puzzle-solving, and of course bosses to take out. However, there is less play on zombies with this village more centered around other hostile creatures like vampires. Currently, Resident Evil Village is available for players to pick up right now.