Halloween is my second favorite holiday, so I like celebrating by playing dark games during each stream for October. The last several years I’ve found myself playing darker and darker games, and there are several that have really left an impression on me. There’s just something about the gravity of the story or the intensity of the environments that appeals to me. Below I’m going to share my favorite dark games on Steam, and try to explain a little about why they appeal to me so much.
The last battle royale standing for me, Hunt Showdown takes a different enough approach to the oversaturated genre. Pitting teams of 2, 3, or even solo, not just against each other, but also against horrific monsters that will test your ability to multitask. Smaller monsters will distract you at all the worst moments, alerting the other teams to your location. The larger monsters will challenge you with different mechanics as you try to exploit their particular weakness, all while dealing with other players possibly lurking outside. Those players can venture in to take advantage of the distraction, or set up to ambush you when you head for the extract. It’s dark late 1800s setting gives it a different flavor as well, with multiple maps that have been ravaged by the monsters you are hunting down, giving it an absolutely grisly environment. Gunplay is slower and more deliberate, making it more interesting than your regular spray and pray shooter. It retails for $39.99 and has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
One of the more intense games on my list, GTFO is a very dark tactical shooter. The game atmosphere is something like Alien with dim lighting and horrors around every corner. You and your team must complete missions for the mysterious “warden”. The only problem is that you can’t make any noise, because once you do, every single strange mutated creature within earshot will descend on you. GTFO is a very hardcore experience with some survival elements. There are no saves, and ammo and gear is limited. I did receive keys from the developer for this game. GTFO retails for $34.99 and has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
Devour is a co-op horror survival game that will send your blood pressure through the roof. You and your team of fellow cultists must deal with the results of your cult’s success. After unwittingly summoning demons, you must find a way to unsummon them. It is very similar to Phasmophobia, but instead of steadily rising action, Devour cranks up the pressure fast, and rapidly intensifies as the game goes on. It is an amazing value at just $4.99, and is a great dark game to play for Halloween. It has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
If you want more of a chill experience, State of Decay 2 is for you. Another co op survival horror, you must lead your band of human survivors in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. It is very much a Walking Dead TV show type experience. You spend a lot of time scavenging and traveling around your local area helping, ignoring, or evading your neighbors. It does have some survival elements with limited supplies and limited building options. Certain buildings are available to use as your base, and there are a few areas inside them you can customize to supply your group with whatever it needs. I was given a key from the developer to check out the game. It retails at $29.99 and has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
Aliens Fireteam Elite is also a pretty casual experience, but you can really crank up the difficulty to give it that overwhelming swarm experience. You play as a fireteam of up to three Colonial Marines investigating a planet and attached space station. A game atmosphere so dark, you literally cannot even see the xenomorphs until they are on top of you. The amount of weapons, classes, and combat builds really make this game for everyone. Aside from the co-op mode, there is also a horde mode if you want to stand your ground and see how long you can hold out. The whole game offers a really nice Alien experience. Aliens Fireteam Elite retails for $39.99 and has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
Space Hulk Deathwing is both a grim and dark game that takes play in the Warhammer 40k universe. Playing as a Space Marine terminator from the Deathwing, you must fight against swarms of Tyranids inside the enormous maze of a space hulk. Although it had a rough launch, Deathwing is my favorite Warhammer 40k shooter. It has both melee and ranged options, and plays very much like left 4 dead. You can even ‘turn out the lights’ with a low gamma mode that only lets you see what is right in front of you if you want that extra level of darkness. You can play co op with up to 4 and purge your way into the depths of the Olethros and back. There is also a story campaign available. Space Hulk Deathwing actually goes on sale for $7.50 quite often, and is an absolute steal at that price. It has an overall Mostly Positive rating on Steam.
Again, I’m a big softie when it comes to Warhammer. Vermintide 2 is another grim and dark 4 person co-op game, this time set in the “old world” setting of Warhammer. It is a horde mode hack-and-slash game like Left 4 Dead where you play as a band of survivors from the skaven attack. It follows the story and general gameplay of the first title, but with much improved graphics and better streamlined controls. The visuals are the biggest upgrade, from the gore and viscera to the environment, it is just an amazingly beautiful game. There are several DLCs for it as well that add extra character classes or cosmetics. The game itself retails for $29.99 but often you can find it for $7.50 during a sale. Vermintide 2 has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
Zero Hour may seem like an odd choice at first glance, but it actually has a touch of darkness to it. In Zero Hour you play as a SWAT team in Bangladesh, taking on the cities most violent criminals. While a lot of the maps in game just have that dark and grimy vibe to them, there are two that rise above the rest. One mission pits you against a serial killer in an absolutely filthy building, and another mission has you dealing with a real cult, and the cult is actually the real deal. Zero Hour is just $11.99 standard price, and you won’t find a better value on any tactical shooter. It has an overall Very Positive rating on Steam.
I’m a huge fan of the 2016 release of DOOM, and this is probably my second favorite dark Halloween game. It has a very intense atmosphere from all of the nightmarish monsters to the dark and twisted environments. The story itself is amazing, and adds on to the lore from the original games. For those that haven’t played DOOM before, you wake up on Mars, alone. The only thing left on the entire planet are you and a legion of demons that have somehow been released from hell. You must fight your way to the facility and close off the demon’s access to your universe before they make it to earth. While it’s more of a shooter, I cannot emphasize how good the story actually is. I was really taken in by it and could not get enough. DOOM retails for $19.99 and has a well deserved Overhwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam.
Now for my favorite dark Halloween game, Dead Space. The Dead Space franchise is a legendary experience. It is a horror survival shooter where you play as Isaac, an engineer on a simple rescue mission. When you reach your destination though, you are in for a brutal and horrific surprise. Your rescue mission quickly goes from one ship to the entire human race. I played Dead Space on Stream one Halloween out of boredom and it changed my world. I bought both Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, along with all the DLC that same year. Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are singleplayer, but Dead Space 3 is Co-Op. You can grab all 3 titles plus DLC for $69.96, or about $20 during a sale. They have an overall Very Positive (Mostly Positive for 3) rating on Steam.
As you can tell, I much prefer the co-op experience in these games, but there are great singleplayer titles with unbeatable experiences. These are my favorites, but if you’re looking for more dark games on Steam, there are actually Dark and Dark Fantasy tags. You can also use Horror, Horror Survival, and Zombies tags to help keep your nightmares coming this Halloween. Happy hunting, and good luck getting to sleep!