Best space horror games
Get ready to shake in your seat and squeal in terror with this collection of the best space horror games.
They say that in space no one can hear you scream, but you're not in space, so scream as loud as you like! We think all of the titles mentioned here are worth checking out and have something interesting and unique to offer as part of the ever changing landscape of interactive horror stories.
Prey’s history is a doozy: the (fantastic) original game flew under the radar for years before creating a cult following, then an ambitious sequel that promised bounty-hunting in a Star Wars-like setting was canned by Bethesda due to ongoing development issues. The IP was later rebooted with Prey (2017), an Arkane Studios-developed first-person shooter and immersive sim which took quite a bit from BioShock and other classics such as Deus Ex.
Much like the original title, Prey 2017 remains an exquisite yet underrated game. It never became as famous as the studio's Dishonored games, but it shares many strengths with those flexible first-person, immersive romps. The story takes place in an alternate timeline in which humankind took to the stars far earlier and encountered a hostile alien race with strange physical and psychic powers.
Ever been attacked by a cup? No? Well then you need to play Prey.
3. System Shock 2
Many of the best space horror games in this list wouldn’t have happened if System Shock 1 and 2 hadn’t paved the way. Both games remain immersive sims worth exploring, but the second one gained a larger following thanks to its refined mechanics and systems.
System Shock 2 was originally intended to be a standalone game, but plans changed in the middle of production, after Electronic Arts signed on as publisher. The story takes place in 2114, on the starship Von Braun, where a genetic infection has taken over. There’s plenty of action and thrills in this one, but what makes everything click together are the plot and SHODAN, one of the best video game villains ever. Trust us, things get really crazy.
Development on System Shock 3 and a remaster/reboot of the first instalment are happening as we speak, so this is a saga that will be reactivated in the mainstream soon.
2. Alien: Isolation
We couldn’t close out this list without Alien: Isolation, Creative Assembly’s first foray into first-person horror. There have been plenty of Alien games that recreated the second film’s thrills and action, but this one took a page out of Amnesia’s book and instead focused on delivering the perfect sequel to Ridley Scott’s original 1979 horror classic.
The story follows Amanda Ripley, Ellen’s daughter, 15 years after the events that ended with the destruction of the ship Nostromo. Its flight recorder is recovered, and Amanda joins a retrieval mission so she can have closure. Instead, she’s fated to face the horror her mother tried to destroy. This one’s a nerve-wracking experience and a must-play for anyone into the durable sci-fi franchise.
1. Dead Space
Often described as “The Thing in space,” Dead Space quickly became a sleeper hit when it was launched back in 2008. Yes, it’s set in yet another abandoned ship that discovered something no one should have touched, but its deep worldbuilding and exquisite enemy and level design made it one for the ages.
A full-blown remake, handled by EA’s Motive Studios, was recently announced, but the original game holds up and is still worth playing through. Dead Space 2 is a worthy follow-up which doubles down on the action, too. It was Dead Space 3 that maybe strayed too far from the saga’s roots and became a horror-themed third-person shooter, but some fans defend it to this day.