10 Must-Play Horror Games for Low-End PCs in 2024

Hand-picked for you by a lifelong gamer!

Best-Horror-Games-for-Low-End-PCs

Every gamer has been there–broke, nothing but a potato to play on, and all you want is a good scare.

Except when playing on a low-end computer, the scariest thing about any game will be the performance. It’s hard to find modern games that will actually play on the most bare-bones operating system.

Thankfully, the indie horror scene (and horror in general) is built on the barest of functioning bones possible.

The true essence of a good horror tale is something put together from scraps like a renegade Frankenstein, running on lightning and a prayer.

Here is my list of the 10 best horror games for low-end PCs–These games will chase you through hell and back, no matter how outdated your gaming rig may be.



10. Silent Hill: Homecoming

Silent Hill Homecoming

Look, there’s contention about Silent Hill games and how good they’ve been for the past twenty years or so. I get that, but Silent Hill: Homecoming is one of the best Silent Hill games, and I’ll die on that hill. It might be the last modern Silent Hill game other than PT to truly capture the essence of the series. 

Take the role of Alex Shepherd, a veteran returning home to Shepherd’s Glen. Except when he gets home, he finds his brother missing, the town wrecked, and a mysterious tie to the Order in Silent Hill. All the signature Silent Hill gloominess is here, with creepy creature designs and an atmosphere that will keep you looking over your shoulder.

All at the most bare minimum requirements that a toaster could run with ease. It’s a great base to see what your rig will run when it comes to low-end horror. It is also a fantastic addition to Silent Hill when looking back in retrospect at the series.

Silent Hill has been in one hell of a drought since… forever now, it seems. Hopefully the remake of Silent Hill 2 changes that, but in the meantime, this is the best way to visit the idyllic, fog-shrouded town.



9. Doki Doki Literature Club!

Doki Doki Literature Club

This game messed me up. Seriously, if you’re looking for a disturbing psychological horror dressed up as a cutesy anime dating sim, this is it. The requirements are barebones because it’s just a visual novel, in essence, but I’m urging you to go in as spoiler-free as possible.

It’s your first day at your new school, and you’ve picked the Literature Club for your extracurricular! Turns out you’re the only boy in the club, though, and the girls are all after your attention. Get to know them all, wooing them through your knowledge of poetry and interest in their niche literature.

Just be aware that things are going to get really, really bad really, really quick. I know I’m being vague here, but it’s for the best that everyone goes into this game as blind as possible for the full experience.

I’ve never had a game mess with me so thoroughly as Doki Doki Literature Club. Playing it back when it first came out was such a wild, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just be warned there are some serious traumatic triggers like suicide and abuse.



8. Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2

The coolest thing about Valve is that they make games even the crappiest laptop could run. This is exactly how I made it through college chemistry: by playing Left 4 Dead 2 online with a classmate on our terrible 2012-era laptops.

Simple formula–four survivors take off across different campaigns, fighting through hordes of zombies. Special infected will hinder you along the way, be they Hunters, Jockeys, Witches, or Tanks, among others. The base game is fun enough with good AI for teammates, but the real fun lies in online versus matches.

Play as either humans or zombies and do your best to survive or decimate the humans. Somehow it’s still easy to find a match to this day, and servers are still smooth as all hell.

When it comes to replayability, this is the one. Not only does Valve keep the game maintained and running smoothly, but the Steam modding community goes harder than necessary. I’ve fought through Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings, surviving the zombie apocalypse on Middle Earth.



7. Murder House

Murder House

This was the first Puppet Combo game I managed to play and holy hell it made an impression. It’s going to need a little more RAM at 4 GB, but a graphics card from the Stone Age can run the PS1-era graphics smoothly. It’s all worth it for the sweet, sweet retro nostalgia Murder House brings.

This developer centers their game aesthetic on VHS horror, so Murder House mimics a lot of 80s and 90s B-movie slashers. You’ll play an intern for a local news crew, breaking into the abandoned childhood home of a mass murderer. Although he supposedly died years ago, they say the killer, wearing a bunny suit, is still haunting the old place.

As the night goes terribly wrong for the news crew, you’ll discover that nothing about the house is as it seems. There are a lot of good scares here but plenty of laughs, too, leaning into the cheesy horror of the era.

The real fun from Puppet Combo is that these play like classic survival horror games. Tank controls, low poly graphics, and odd glitches just make it a ridiculously charming experience. There are even options to mimic CRT television graphics for the nostalgia factor.



6. Dead Space (2008)

Dead Space (2008)

No way in hell the remake that just came out will run on a low-end computer, but the OG is still just as good fifteen years later. Releasing in 2008 means that this could be played on a phone at this point, too, much less a computer.

Take Isaac Clark aboard the USS Ishimura, looking for his ex-fiance, who may or may not be alive. The mysteries of the Ishimura only deepen as Isaac becomes the only one left of his repair crew and has to engineer his way out. Use makeshift engineering tools turned weapons to dismember the Necromorph threat, fighting your way through the ship and to safety.

There’s a reason this game spawned an entire franchise, and it’s a cornerstone of survival horror today. There isn’t enough space for me to say how influential Dead Space was to me as a gamer.

If you haven’t played before, there’s only one piece of advice I can give–curb stomp everything. Anybody could be a Necromorph in wait, so curb stomp for safety. Also, the Plasma Cutter is one of the best horror (and overall) game weapons of all time.



5. I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

This is an interesting old gem from back in the 90s, and if it could run on DOS, it can run on whatever you have. It’s based on the Harlan Ellison short story of the same name. Then it manages to be even more haunting somehow while also having Ellison’s direct involvement. 

The supercomputer AM has taken over, exterminating all of humanity but five as it becomes a maniacal overlord of the world. Everything is connected under AM’s control, with the five that you’ll assume the role of the evil computer’s playthings.

Try to survive the sadistic, psychological games of AM while finding out about the survivors’ pasts and what lead them to being the last alive. I can’t stress enough how influential the initial short story was, and the game revolutionized the point-and-click PC genre at an early, pivotal point.

The story itself is a heavy one, though, and incredibly depressing if you’ve never read it. That said, the game is still a fantastic experience and delves even deeper, almost like a director’s cut of the short story.



4. Fear and Hunger

Fear and Hunger

Taking things in a slightly different direction, Fear and Hunger is a turn-based dungeon crawler that looks more simple than it is. Although the idea may seem like a simple horror setup, it goes much more in-depth with a system of rogue-like perma-death and dismemberment.

As the developers say, the purpose of Fear and Hunger is to see how far you’re willing to go to survive. Combat has a special mechanic that allows targeting of different limbs and areas of the enemy. Systemic dismemberment is the name of the game when it comes to winning battles, but you’re under the same danger.

Sometimes, you’ll have to literally decide between life and limb, giving up an arm to run from a battle. Every death in Fear and Hunger feels like defeat, but each one is still a lesson in how to go further next time.

When you start getting deeper into the game, you’ll find a wealth of creative ways to play, too. Just be warned that it’s an incredibly dark game, with ultra-violence and gore that doesn’t shy away. Even the pixelated graphics get a little rough to handle at times, but it will run smoothly on any system.



3. Faith

Faith

I don’t know where to start when it comes to describing Faith. The version on Steam is actually the Unholy Trinity, which gathers all three games into one. It looks like just some old, dark, eight-bit horror that would be forgotten in a thrift store box, but it feels like something truly haunted.

You’ll play as a priest investing in some Satanic Panic era madness back in the 80s. The only thing you can do is perform exorcisms, though, and that’s the only method of fighting back against cultists and spirits. The eight-bit graphics end up rotoscoping over some pretty intense cutscenes, too, belying the game’s seemingly simplistic look.

The story of Faith is the shining beacon, though, with multiple endings and secrets scattered throughout for repeat plays.

Gameplay-wise, Faith isn’t something that’s going to win any kind of technical awards. The real winner here is the atmosphere and lore behind the story, creating a legitimate sense of paranoia with the most basic of tools.



2. Night At The Gates of Hell

Night At The Gates of Hell

Take some old Giallo films, give them a Resident Evil-style PS1 makeover, and you have Night At the Gates of Hell. It’s a hilariously gory send-up to old movies like Zombi and probably one of the best indie horrors I’ve played in the past couple of years.

David is a lonely widower, wasting away seaside in his little tourist town when the zombie apocalypse breaks out. Fight your way through the seaside town as the fog rolls in, desperately trying to find the source of the dead rising from their graves.

The atmosphere is insanely good in this game for being such a low poly creation, and it perfectly encapsulates that same feeling I got from Resident Evil 2 as a kid. Plus it’s fully voice-acted with an original soundtrack, just completing the B-movie VHS aesthetic perfectly.

Playing Night at the Gates of Hell feels like picking up some cursed video at a movie rental shop. Something that just feels low-budget, made with excessive, cartoonish gore for the shock value. It excels in being a great homage to that era of horror, too.



1. Stay Out of the House

Stay Out of the House

Whereas Night at the Gates of Hell was a tribute to Giallo Italian horror, Stay Out of the House is a little different. This is Puppet Combo’s homage to grindhouse flicks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, plopping you right on the hook of a cannibalistic killer.

The Butcher has you in his clutches, and you have three days to try and escape before you’re on the menu. Try to survive the house full of traps and horrors while striving for your freedom. Just be careful because he’s constantly lurking, hunting you for fun as you desperately just try to keep living.

The low-poly PS1 graphics give the grungy, dilapidated home of the killer an even grainier look. Hell, half of the house looks like it would kill you of an infection before the killer will ever reach you. This is saying something because the Butcher is seriously relentless here.

Puppet Combo calls this a serial killer escape simulator, and that’s the most accurate way to say it. The graphics and engine require the bare minimum by today’s standards, and you’ll be running for your life without skipping a beat, even on the worst rig.



About Ross Tyson 22 Articles
Ross is a writer, gamer, parent, and tired adult. They’re from the Southeast US, and have been gaming since their first Sega Genesis as a kid. A parent, they often find themselves playing kids games these days, but makes time for plenty of RPGs, Roguelikes, and anything with the Kingdom Hearts name on it. They’re experts in Final Fantasy lore, and will try any anime game no matter how bad it may be.

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