There are many different kinds of scary things in horror games as a whole. Creatures, being alone, body horror, and a lot of other things can all be scary. When you’re in a small area, everything is so much worse.
The feeling of being trapped is a common type of horror. Many games use tight areas to scare you and make you want to run away or fight back against whatever the game throws at you. It can be hard to tell if a game is using it until a long time after the fact. Let’s look at some of the best games that use the fear of being squished to their benefit.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
Everyone loves a good place with a theme. Until you have to spend the night there because of a security job that went wrong. Five Nights at Freddy’s has a small security office that looks like a bunch of cubicles. It’s scary enough without the animatronics coming to get you.
As you move from one camera feed to the next, you realize that you won’t have much room to hide if one of them gets the jump on you. Even though it’s not a cave or a submarine, the game’s setting makes that small room seem even smaller.
The people of Rapture lived a life that sounds like it could be perfect. At least for a while.
BioShock takes you to Rapture after it has lost its glory. Your biggest worries are the splicers and Big Daddy’s, but the game isn’t afraid to tell you that you’re in a city under the sea. Water leaks through the narrow and often winding corridors, and it’s not unusual for a whole part of the city to be crushed when the sea pressure gets too much for the steel walls.
The whole point of SOMA is that a bio-lab on the ocean floor can’t make anything good happen.
Throughout the game, you are constantly reminded of how small the rooms are. Even more so when you have to duck around a corner to get away from the machine-human hybrid that is after you. After just a few minutes stuck under the sea, you’ll want to be somewhere with lots of room.
There are many different kinds of horror in the Alien movies. Body horror and even monster horror are at the top of the list, but claustrophobia isn’t too far behind. Nothing gets your heart racing like hiding under a desk in the middle of a space station while a xenomorph hunts the halls right outside your office.
That’s a big part of what you’ll have to deal with in the game. There are a lot of places to hide because the room is small and full of furniture and other things, but there’s also nowhere to really run if the alien finds you.
The USS Ishimura is a big spaceship that can break through planets. It has many floors where people can live, work, and relax. Why does Dead Space make it feel so small, then?
The Ishimura is a great place for the necromorphs to find food. There aren’t many places to hide or run away. There will be many times when you’ll wish a room was just a little bit bigger as you stand with your back to a wall to keep monsters from getting close.
No one wants to be stuck in a hospital at night, especially one where the patients have been used in experiments. In Outlast, though, that’s exactly what happens.
Mount Massive’s narrow hallways and hospital bays are full of supplies, furniture, and sometimes dead bodies. You can only run and hide, so you become very aware of the space around you and how quickly one of the scary things that are following you can catch up to you.
Layers Of Fear
A mansion is usually a big, wide house with a lot of architecture and big rooms full of fancy furniture. But the house in Layers of Fear flips all of that on its head.
Whether they are ghosts or mental episodes, the scenes that happen in front of the main character make the house a scary and small place. You’ll often be looking for a place to run and hide in the tight halls and locked doors when something scary is staring at you just a few feet away.
Amnesia: The Bunker
There are many terrible things about the First World War. In Amnesia: The Bunker, though, things only get worse for the main character.
You are stuck in a military trench-bunker, and a cruel thing is after you. You only have your trusty handgun and your mind to protect you. It’s not easy to get lost in the dark bunker, which has lots of low-ceilinged rooms and sharp turns. Even though you’re safe from gunfire, that’s not your biggest problem in Breakout Game.
A planet in the far distance, an ocean made of blood, and a terrible secret. Your incredibly small submarine is the only thing that can keep you safe.
Iron Lung is almost the perfect example of cramped horror. There is nowhere to go, and the only way to get to safety is to explore the bloody sea from inside the small sub. Through the screens in front of you, you can see the world beyond, but the game is always reminding you how little room you have to work with.
The Mortuary Assistant
The Mortuary Assistant is not for you if you want to have a long, successful career in funeral science.
It starts out well, with a large building to walk through as you do your nighttime tasks. But when things start to go wrong, you’ll definitely want to throw open the doors of the cemetery and run into the night. This game does a great job of making you feel trapped in a simple building as you try to make it through the night.