5 Free* Mobile Horror Games Worth Playing

I confess, I'm not much of a mobile gamer. Though I love my PS4, I generally don't play anything on my cellphone. It's not that I'm elitist, I just prefer the feel of a controller in my hand. The other day, I was itching to play a horror game. I'd just finished Until Dawn and didn't have the luxury of enough disposable income to purchase a new game. I turned to my phone and thought, "I wonder what happens when you type 'horror' into the app store?" I was surprised by the amount of horror games that came up! Many were "escape" games, where you wake up in a dark room and have to find your way out. Some were survival games that I was terrible at. Some were jump scare prank apps that I presume you use on your friends. But some little gems were narrative, and I downloaded several to try them out.

*Now, of course, you could argue that most of these apps aren't really free. That's fair - several of them are free introductory episodes with subsequent episodes costing $2-$5. I love finding games like these, because you get a chance to try them out before you decide if you want to pay for any further episodes or in-app purchases. I played a lot of free games and most of them I uninstalled immediately after playing. I sifted through the sands of a barren desert to find the games that are worth your time!

Note: I have an HTC One M8 so these games were played on an Android device. I have noted where each game can be found, and whether you play on an Android or Apple device.

So, without further adieu, here are 5 Free Mobile Horror Games Worth Playing:

1. The Last Door
The Game Kitchen
Available on PC, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and web browsers

This was my absolute favourite of the bunch I tried. I was not aware that this game was a Kickstarter project initially backed by "213 supporters and released March 2013." The Last Door is a Victorian gothic narrative game about a man named Jeremiah who receives a mysterious letter from his childhood friend Anthony. Concerned, he travels to Sussex to search Anthony's eerie manor and determine the fate of his friend.

Immediately the game starts off with a man, a chair, and a rope in an attic. No direction is given - but you'll figure it out pretty quickly. This is a dark Lovecraftian story and I loved it. After the opening credits, you take control of Jeremiah and wander the halls of the home. There is no shortage of puzzles, locked doors, and creepy letters left around for you to discover.

The original music by Carlos Viola is amazing in this game. Beautiful, haunting piano fills the mansion as you explore every room for clues of the truth about your discovery. The use of sound and music was a treat and is best experienced with headphones: the floor creaks when you're upstairs, the basement drips, and tension is heightened at just the right moments.

At first, I was put off by the graphics. They were extremely pixelated and hard to make out at times. As the game went on, I began to appreciate the look - the vagueness of the characters and scenery allowed me to imagine the story as frighteningly as I wanted. This is not a horror game that relies on jump scares: it relies on atmosphere, dread, and your own imagination.

It goes without saying that I purchased full access to this game (The "Collector’s Edition") for $5. I'm glad I did, because Episode 2 is already better than the first. And with unique challenges and trophies, the replayability for The Last Door is pretty impressive. If you play only one game on this list, make it this one.

2. Hide and Seek: The Story of Dorothy
Available on iPhone and Android devices

The look of this game had me at hello. Reminiscent of early Japanese RPG days with cute characters and no end to the nostalgia. Here you play as a young girl who fell asleep... while playing hide and seek. Wake up in a mansion and follow clues, chase scenes, and death traps to regain your memory and make your way out.

This is one of those games where you die - a lot. You might try to examine a painting that shoots knives, or you might accidentally walk through a door to a gaping maw of spikes. Have no fear: you have multiple lives! The only downside is that after you've run through them all, you have to wait real-time to get them back. Of course, you can always purchase more lives if you're impatient but I took those times as a welcome break.

This game employs riddles and creepy imagery in a way I really enjoyed. I wasn't very fond of the chase scenes, but they served to add some urgency that could otherwise be lacking. This is just one episode of many, with the option to buy more. It's unclear whether each episode is a self-contained story...I haven't been able to beat it yet!

3. The Jusou
Edges LLC
Available on both iPhone and Android devices

If you're particularly fond of Japanese horror such as Ringu and Ju-On, you'll be a fan of The Jusou. This is a simple little puzzle game that calls itself "an unspeakable memory from 25 years ago." We begin outside a small home where a mysterious tragedy occurred. Upon entering the home, your character tries to find out exactly what happened.

Explore the dark house as a ghostly woman makes her presence known. Who is she, and what happened to her? You'll need to find some batteries for your flashlight before you can find out!

There are some jump scares in this game, though none of them were particularly frightening. I enjoyed the moody atmosphere and dark graphics, even if I felt the story didn't pay off as much as I would have liked. This felt like a quick play compared to the rest, and I'd like to revisit it to see if there's anything I missed. This is the only game on the list that is 100% free!

4. Fran Bow Alpha Demo
Kill Monday Games
Available on PC, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and web browsers

Fran Bow, like The Last Door, is also at the top of my list. Another crowdfunded game, this one claims to be “an intense story of pain, loss and acceptance.” Your character is Fran, a 9 year old girl in a psychiatric ward which of course, she's trying to escape from. Early on, she discovers pills that make her see hideous images, writing in blood on the wall, spirits, and clues. She knows she must get out, since her cat told her so.

Wander the halls of the ward, meet other troubled children, and fool the adults around you. Follow the clues to uncover something nefarious (probably). I thought the artwork in this game had a certain charm, and I’ll definitely be purchasing the full game to experience the complete story. This one is full of dark whimsy.

5. Into the Dead
Pik Pok
Available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Facebook, and -- get excited -- this one's coming to Oculus Rift!

Are you sick of zombies yet? Good, because this is a zombie game and it is seriously addictive. This is one of those simple “run as far and as fast as you can” games. In this one, you’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and you’re running for your damn life. Get caught by a zombie, and you’re back at the beginning. Unlock perks like weapons and companions to see how far you can make it, and outrun your friends scores for bragging rights!

Perfect for those times you’re waiting in line at the DMV, or you’ve just got a few minutes to spare, it’s worth a shot if you like constantly beating your own high scores (don’t judge my high score okay, I took this screenshot early on!).

There are a ton of mobile horror games in the app store, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the best ones are also available online or on Steam! If you’re new to these games, hopefully this list narrowed them down to help you get started in the right direction. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have The Last Door to continue playing...


*Honourable Mentions include: DearRED, Ellie: Get Me Out of Here, Murder Room, Slendrina: The Cellar, The Exorcist: Story of School, Haunted Circus 3D, Eyes - The Haunt*