The horror gaming genre offers a lot of diversity in terms of gameplay, atmosphere, setting, and story – from thought-provoking atmospheric and slow-burn titles to tense and nail-biting ones, to games where horror is mixed with frantic action, there’s something for everyone, including Mac users.
Below, we will explore the best Mac-compatible horror games that can be plaid natively on any Mac that meets their system requirements and after that, we will also mention a couple of titles that, while not supported for Mac, can still be played on Mac computers via services such as Boosteroid and GeForce Now.
Table of Contents
Best Horror Games for Mac in 2022
Price: $19.99 (Steam)
A classic horror trope – an abandoned asylum in the middle of nowhere, haunted by the darkness of its past and a journalist eager to document the strange occurrences that take place there. This is the overall premise of the first-person survival horror game that is Outlast. In it, you have no way of fighting off your enemies or even protecting yourself against them. Armed with nothing more than a camcorder with night vision that quickly drains the device’s batteries, the player’s only option to survive in the darkness is to use stealth to evade enemies and scavenge the asylum for extra batteries in order to be able to see in the dark.
Outlast is a highly-atmospheric game, yet one that makes heavy use of jumpscares and unnerving and unsettling audio queues that signal to the player the presence of an enemy. It is definitely one of the scarier games on this list, which is only amplified by the ever-present sense of powerlessness and lack of agency to oppose the enemies that hunt you in any meaningful way. In Outlast, the player literally cannot fight back in any way, so running and hiding are their sole tools to stay alive.
Even though this is a game that doesn’t try to challenge the horror stereotype and do anything innovative with it, it does a very good job at being what it is supposed to be – a scary, thrilling horror experience that will keep you on edge throughout the entire duration of its gameplay.
Price: $14.99 (Steam)
Darkwood is an indie survivor horror title that is an example of how a great game can be created by a very small group of people on a limited budget. This is an atmospheric horror game played from a top-down, non-isometric perspective that, at first may seem like an odd choice for a horror title, as it distances the player from the action and thus lessens the tension. However, in practice, you will find that Darkwood’s atmosphere, unique use of lighting and line-of-sight, and masterful sound design will truly make you feel as if you are truly walking through a gloomy and mysterious forest without knowing what may be hidden behind the next tree or even what may currently be walking towards you behind your back.
Regarding Darkwood’s gameplay, it shares a lot of elements with more conventional horror survival titles. During the day, you need to gather resources and materials, craft tools and weapons, manage your inventory, and fortify your shelter in order to prepare for the night, which is when strange things start happening and even stranger creatures and entities start roaming the forest. This is also the time when the game’s unique and masterful use of lighting and line-of-sight play a huge role. If you are truly in the dark and there are no light sources around you, all you could see is your character in a tiny circle of what they can see around him, while the rest of your screen is darkened, and murky, and all that can be seen there are the vague outlines of objects and structures.
As a whole, Darkwood is all about its atmosphere and the tension that it creates without relying on cheap jumpscares to frighten you. Its gameplay, camera angle, and graphics may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for a unique type of horror game, you should definitely give this one a try.
Price: $19.99 (Steam)
Alien: Isolation is a sci-fi horror game played in first-person that puts you in the universe of the Alien films. Much like the first Alien movie from 1979, in Alien: Isolation, the main character finds herself on the board of a large interstellar ship, in which a monstrous xenomorph has set itself loose and is now on the hunt.
Alien: Isolation masterfully uses its setting and context to create tension and gives the player an opportunity to truly feel what it would be if they were trapped in a spaceship, stalked by a bloodthirsty alien creature. Fittingly for a horror game of this type, Alien: Isolation puts the player in a highly vulnerable situation, stripping them of any effective way to stand up to the monster that hunts them, and forcing them to run and hide.
Speaking of running and hiding, this is where the game’s main star – the Alien itself – is allowed to shine. The developers of Alien: Isolation have made sure to give its titular character a complex AI that is able to take note of player behavior patterns and learn from them, meaning that what may have worked once or twice to save you from the xenomorph may not work a third time, which encourages the player to use different strategies and to think creatively rather than always stick with the same strategy – a highly-fitting gameplay design for a game based on the Alien movies.
In conclusion, Alien: Isolation is a great horror game that’s equal parts scary, thrilling, and difficult, and the only real gripes I have with the game are that it may rely a bit too much on jumpscares and that it doesn’t have the most creative of quests.
Price: $29.99 (Steam)
Observer is a first-person psychological horror set in the near future of 2084, in Kraków, Poland. The game takes heavy inspiration from the 1982 Blade Runner film as well as from books such as “1984” to deliver a gripping sci-fi story told through the eyes of a genetically enhanced protagonist who works as a detective and needs to use his various cybernetic augmentations to reveal the mystery behind a grisly murder. The bulk of the game’s playtime takes place inside a large apartment building that’s under a lockdown. You need to navigate the building, interrogate its inhabitants, and use your assortment of cybernetic powers to find clues that will slowly unravel the game’s overarching mystery. Though inspired by similarly-themed media, Observer doesn’t feel derivative and offers a lot of interesting ideas of its own. One of the coolest but also more disturbing features in the game is the main character’s ability to hack into people’s brains and see their memories and thoughts, thus acquiring important information that could help with the investigation. The mind-hacking sequences are made fittingly surreal, bizarre, and creepy, but also have a major role in both Observer’s gameplay and its story and plot.
Speaking of story, the writers of Observer have made sure to make full use of the opportunities that this specific setting gives them, creating a complex and engaging story with various twists and turns along the way that will keep you guessing as to what’s actually going on in the game until you finally finish it.
If you like this type of setting and enjoy psychological horror that relies more on disturbing and surreal imagery rather than on conventional blood, gore, and jumpscares to keep you on edge, you should definitely give Observer a try, as it’s a great game with a lot of thought and care put into it.
Slender: The Eight Pages
Slender is a very simplistic, yet surprisingly effective, free horror game. The game is played in first-person and the player’s goal is to walk around a forest at night and find and collect eight book pages that have slightly changed places between playthroughs but are generally located in the same area. While seeking the pages, the player is being stalked by a mysterious creature that looks like a very tall and thin man dressed in a suit. The said creature generally moves slowly and only when you aren’t looking at it directly, and it catches you if you stare directly at it for too long or if it gets too close to you.
There’s virtually nothing more to be said about the gameplay – it is as bare-bones as they come, yet the game is very effective at creating tension and anxiety within the player due to the setting, the sound design, and even due to the lack of any actual context. The monster that stalks you is creepy but doesn’t look particularly scary, and it doesn’t even have any animations for its model. Instead, every time you actually see it, it would remain still, but your screen would start to get static, indicating that the Slender man would catch you if you don’t look away and run.
All in all, Slender: The Eight Pages isn’t a game on which you will spend more than a couple of hours. It has very little content and its minimalist gameplay offers no depth whatsoever. The game is still very effective at what it’s supposed to be – a creepy and unnerving experience that requires no backstory or context. In my opinion, the best way to experience Slender is to play it with friends at sleepover parties for an hour or two of anxiety-fueled fun.
Best Horror Games for Mac in 2022 Cloud Gaming
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Price: $19.99 (Steam)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the classics when talking about the horror gaming genre. It is a first-person survival horror game that takes place in the long dark halls, shadowy stone rooms, and claustrophobic dungeon tunnels of a medieval castle, that you must carefully navigate whilst gradually uncovering the game’s story and, by proxy, the story, and past of the main character.
Throughout the game, you will be hunted by several different monsters, all of which you have no way of defeating, meaning that your only chance for survival is to run away and hide. The game offers several stealth mechanics that allow you to remain unseen by the creatures that are stalking you. However, there’s also a sanity system that causes your character’s vision to become blurred and distorted and causes them to hallucinate disturbing images if their sanity becomes too low. This significantly adds to the game’s fear factor, enhancing its atmosphere and adding a new challenge for the player. The player character’s sanity drops if they remain in the dark for too long, if they bear witness to disturbing events, or if they stare for too long at any of the monsters.
Though Amnesia: The Dark Descent is certainly showing its age as the game was released twelve years ago, it is still a thrilling and highly creepy experience that any fan of the horror gaming genre is sure to appreciate.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is featured in the gaming library of Boosteroid – you can use this platform to play the game on your Mac.
Price: $29.99 (Steam)
SOMA is a very special first-person horror game that, seen from the perspective of its genre as a whole, may not offer any significant surprises or innovations in terms of its gameplay and mechanics. It is neither the scariest nor the most difficult horror game out there. However, the main appeal of SOMA isn’t in its gameplay but in the storytelling, the atmosphere, and the themes that are explored throughout its 9 to 12 hours of gameplay content.
With SOMA, what may initially seem to start off as a more typical sci-fi horror game soon becomes a deep dive into complex and timeless philosophical subjects such as life, death, the human soul, the nature of consciousness, morality, and choice. It doesn’t take long after you’ve started playing the game before you stop for a moment to process the in-game events and think about what’s actually going on in the game’s story and what that means to you. On multiple occasions, the game will present you with difficult choices that will make you question your own moral and ethical code until the realization that no choice can ever be the right one dawns upon you.
In terms of gameplay, I deem it unnecessary to go into detail about it – the gameplay it is competent and enjoyable and does offer some cool scares, but it is simply not the aspect of the game that should be the main focus.
SOMA is a fascinating, on-of-a-kind game that shows video games are a form of media that can offer a lot more than a couple of hours of entertainment. Despite its relatively short playtime, if you play through SOMA, it is all but guaranteed that the game will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
SOMA can be played on Mac with the help of GeForce Now.
Dead by Daylight
Price: $19.99 (Steam)
Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game where one player takes on the role of a deranged killer who hunts down a team of four other players with the goal to one by one bring them to a sacrificial altar and sacrifice them all at once. The team of four survivors, on the other hand, need to work together as a team and use stealth while searching for five power generators that need to be repaired in order to open a gate that would allow the players to escape to safety. The survivors are unable to fight back, but their advantage in numbers means that they have plenty of opportunities to outmaneuver the killer and even free their captured comrades before the killer finishes them off.
On the killer’s side, the player can choose from 23 different characters, each with their unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, which dictate the specific playstyle required to be successful.
An interesting gameplay decision is that the survivors play from a third-person perspective, giving them a better sense of their surroundings, whereas the killer plays in first-person, thus decreasing their line-of-sight and providing the survivors with an advantage.
Though on a technical level, Dead by Daylight doesn’t introduce anything innovative, its asymmetrical gameplay and its slasher-movie-inspired setting and premise make for a thrilling and fun multiplayer experienced, best enjoyed with a premade group of friends.
Dead by Daylight is available in the gaming library of Boosteroid, so you can use the service to play the game on your Mac.
Price: $13.99 (Steam)
Phasmophobia is another multiplayer horror game that features teams of four players who must work together, but this time the goal isn’t to run away from a deranged killer, but to identify what type of ghost is haunting the place they are in. There are 21 types of ghosts, each with their specific traits and behavior that the players need to be aware of in order to successfully identify what specific type of ghost they are dealing with.
In the game, there’s no mechanic to fight off the ghosts or counteract them aside from staying hidden once they start to hunt the players. The players have a sanity meter that starts to slowly drop at the start of the game. Sanity goes down quicker if certain traumatic events take place. The ghost starts going after the players once their sanity drops low enough, at which point the ghost-hunting and identification becomes a lot more difficult due to the possibility of getting killed by the ghost.
On paper, Phasmophobia may not sound like much in terms of gameplay or even in terms of scariness. However, this game is all about its creepy atmosphere, which it is mainly a game created for VR – you can still play it without VR, and it even supports cross-play between platforms, but using VR turns the creepy factor up to eleven, at which point the game becomes truly scary. That said, even without the use of VR goggles, it can still be tons of fun, especially when played with friends, which is why it is a game we’d definitely recommend for anyone looking for some co-op horror gaming experience.
You can play Phasmophobia on Mac using Boosteroid.
Price: $39.99 (Steam)
GTFO is another multiplayer/co-op PvE horror game, but unlike other titles on this list, here the game puts weapons in the player’s hand and gives them the option to fight back against the monsters that are hunting them. In GTFO, you play as a member of a team of four and your goal is to venture deeper and deeper into a deserted research facility full of ravenous enemies that hunt you every step of the way. GTFO often plays a lot like a classical FPS game, but though it enables you to kill your enemies, it isn’t a power-fantasy game like, for instance, Doom Eternal. Instead, you’d need to carefully pick your fights and, whenever possible, go for the stealthy approach rather than face your enemies head-on. A lot of the monsters inhabiting the research facility are in a state of stasis. So, if you are careful, you can navigate around them without waking them, thus making your expedition more manageable. On the other hand, if all enemies are awakened and alerted to your presence, your chances of survival would rapidly go down.
GTFO is a solid FPS survival horror game that masterfully mixes elements from two different genres to deliver a gripping experience where preparedness, strategy, tactical sense, stealth, and skill in combat all play an equally important role in the successful completion of each expedition. It is a game highly recommended for fans of the horror genre who want something more action-oriented as well as FPS gamers who seek a more tense, horror-themed experience.
If you want to be able to play GTFO on your Mac, we recommend using the GeForce Now cloud gaming service.