The Best Free Scary Games on Steam

by | Last updated | Posted in Blog

best free scary games on steam

With flash games going the way of the dodo and Steam quickly becoming the go-to place for gamers in search of a free scare, join us as we explore the Best Free Scary Games on Steam.


Steam revolutionized the way we look at and play video games when Valve first introduced it back in 2003, and has evolved to become a powerhouse in the PC video game industry ever since.

Fast forward to 2024, and Steam has not only become the de-facto place for blockbuster AAA game releases, but a heaven for independent developers to showcase their creations.

Steam offers a vast library of games encompassing various genres, and has built up a thriving community where gamers can connect, share their expertise, and also explore an extensive selection of new and old titles.

Horror is one of the most popular genres on Steam and has everything to offer from atmospheric indie horror to innovative multiplayer titles that re-imagine how a horror game should be played. Steam even has some scary VR games on offer, which are sure to take your immersion to the next level.

The Scary Games Vault has built up an extensive collection of the most trending scary games on the internet, but today we thought of giving Steam its moment in the sun.

So, grab your bible and get ready for the ride. Here are the best free scary games on Steam.

Best Steam Horror Games

Free-to-play games can be a bit iffy in terms of quality, but we have done our best to sort the best from the rest. This list is in no particular order, so without wasting any time, let’s get right into it.

Poppy Playtime

Mob Entertainment burst into the scene with Poppy Playtime, a unique take on the “Vengeful Toys Coming Alive” concept popularized by the Five Nights at Freddy’s series.

Poppy Playtime takes you on a horrifying adventure, solving intricate puzzles along the way in your quest to stay alive. Instead of trapping you to a single room like FNAF, Poppy Playtime lets you explore an abandoned toy factory, and hands you time handy inventory like the cartoonish GrabPack that makes this a different experience from other adventure horror games we’ve come across.

The first chapter of Poppy Playtime is free to play on Steam, but the same isn’t true for Chapters 2 and 3. Still, we feel that the free-to-play Chapter 1 is the best entry in the series so far, especially if you want to test the waters of this game universe before spending your hard-earned cash.

Doki Doki Literature Club!

If there was a video game equivalent of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” this would be it.

On the surface, Doki Doki Literature Club! Couldn’t be further from your quintessential horror game. To the untrained eye, this might seem like your typical visual novel with cute anime girls, but once you get your head stuck in, you’ll start to see why this is one of the best psychological horror games of the modern era.

Trust us when we say that this game will catch you off guard, and is not meant for the faint of heart. The Steam page of this game literally states “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed” and that’s all you need to know about it!

Ultimate Custom Night

Ultimate Custom Night is a greatest hits compilation of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, the ultimate mashup from the twisted mind of Scott Cowthon.

You can choose from 50 of the series’s iconic animatronics and set custom difficulties for the ultimate challenge. The gameplay is simple – watch over the entrances of your security office, and don’t die!

Dagon: by H. P. Lovecraft

30 minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but that’s all Dagon: by H. P. Lovecraft needs to deliver one of the best free-to-play horror experiences on Steam. Lovecraft’s work has had an everlasting impression on the horror genre, and this game takes you on an immersive ride through hits greatest hits.

Dagon: by H. P. Lovecraft has an Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam, and manages to live up to the legendary writer’s legacy from whom it borrows its name.

Tiny Bunny: Prologue

A horrifying visual novel, Tiny Bunny: Prologue puts you in the middle of a creepy, quiet village at the heart of the Siberian forest where you’ll have to fight to keep your sanity. The protagonist is constantly bombarded with nightmares and is in a race against time to uncover horrifying secrets hidden deep within the wilderness.

The black-and-white aesthetics go hand in hand with the game’s unsettling premise, and the original soundtrack does a great job of keeping you up at night. Let us warn you that every choice you make here has consequences, so choose wisely!

We Went Back

Getting stuck on a time loop inside a desolate space station deep within the stars is not a fate we would wish upon anyone, but for the protagonist of We Went Back, this is their reality. You’re all alone and have no choice but to go around in circles and pray that your escape route is around the next corner.

But, escaping is not as easy as it sounds. You’ll face unimaginable horrors on each trip you take around this cosmic house of horrors. You’ll find clues that help your escape once in a while, but they are easily missable so better keep your eyes peeled.

Alien Swarm

At this point, Alien Swarm might be more than a decade old, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still one of the best free multiplayer horror games you’ll come across on Steam.

Build your team of four, choose from over 40 weapons and other goodies, and set off for battle against waves of aliens who want nothing but your soul. It might not have jump scares like some other titles on this list, but we feel that the thought of getting overwhelmed by a swarm of creepy aliens would strike fear into the hearts of even the toughest gamers out there.


Set in an abandoned hospital, the creators of AfterHours have paid meticulous attention to detail to make this one of the most unnerving free scary games on Steam. The goal is to escape the facility, relying on silence and stealth to escape from the mysterious being that calls this creepy building its home.

Psychological horror is a hard genre to get right, but the team behind AfterHours – Runway Studios, has done a solid job that has been rewarded with a ‘Mostly Positive’ rating from the Steam community.

Cry of Fear

An 8-hour campaign with multiple endings is rare to find on AAA games these days, let alone in a free-to-play title. But, this is what sets Cry of Fear apart from the rest, and its top-tier co-op mode puts the cherry on top.

It is set in ‘Otherworld’ a place that might be familiar to the fans of the Silent Hills series. It is a first-person shooter that hands you some heavy machinery on your quest for survival, but the guns won’t be of any use if you don’t manage the limited resources well.

Don’t let your guard down, because there’s no guarantee where the next scare might pop out from.

SCP: Secret Laboratory

Released in 2017, SCP: Secret Laboratory is built upon the lore of the SCP Foundation and expands upon its universe of the paranormal. Here, you’ll have to take the responsibility of dealing with the aftermath of a mass containment breach at Site-02, as you switch between different roles like  Scientists, Mobile Task Force agents, and Class-D personnel in your battle against otherworldly entities.

Grab your guns and join in on the hunt, in your quest to save humanity in this free-to-play multiplayer horror game.

If you enjoy the thrill of mowing down demons, you might want to take a look at Demon Killer as well!

Fears to Fathom – Home Alone

Home Alone is the first entry to the Fears to Fathom series, which unravels its story in a unique episodic format. You play as a 14-year-old named Miles, who finds himself alone at home in a struggle to make it through the night.

There are multiple endings based on the choices you make, and while the story wraps up in just one hour, we guarantee that the experience will be worth it.

And, if you feel that the first episode has done enough to get you hooked, there are several other entries to the Fears to Fathom you should check out.

Dark Deception

Dark Deception can be described as Pac-Man’s evil twin. Only hear, you collect crystal shards instead of yellow balls while being chased by horrific, bloodthirsty monkey bellhops instead of ghosts.

You’ll be constantly on the run, navigating through a giant maze inside a rundown hotel, and there is no place to catch your breath. All you can do is run, as there are no weapons to defend yourself.

In Dark Deception, all your senses will be on alert at all times and may god save you if you get trapped between two murderous apes.

Don’t Be Afraid – The First Toy

Imagine being kidnapped by a psychopath and being trapped in their house of horrors, with no obvious way of escape. This is the situation that Jamie, the protagonist of Don’t Be Afraid – The First Toy finds himself in.

Be warned, the further you explore your torturer’s facility, you’ll start coming across increasingly disturbing imagery. The simple yet eerie sound score only adds to the horror, keeping you on edge as you search for the true meaning behind what “The First Toy” actually means.

He Needs His Medicine

The basic 2D visuals of He Needs His Medicine might make it seem like this game was thrown together by a couple of friends over the weekend, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The game has an incredible six different endings and has top-notch voice acting to keep you hooked throughout the short yet enjoyable gameplay.

Most players will find He Needs His Medicine is a little too easy for their taste, but the replay value alone is what keeps us going back to it.

Lake of Voices

Lake of Voices is a choose-your-own-adventure-style game that plays out as a visual novel, where each decision you make impacts your in-game characters.

The visuals might not be as crisp as some other entries on our list, but that doesn’t hinder this game from keeping players hooked into its ominous lore.

The Devil Haunts Me

Let’s be real, with a name like ‘The Devil Haunts Me’ did you think this game was not going to be scary? It is told in a unique top-down style, and the work of Lum, a promising horror game developer.

In this free-to-play adventure, you’ll be collecting resources like water and food to survive and explore the forest around your dwelling as the wilderness starts to reveal its secrets to you.

You’ll soon realize that Mother Nature isn’t as friendly as it seems and that you’re nothing but an intruder forcing you to claim the land for your own.


There was a time when free-to-play games were looked down upon as nothing but a joke, but times have changed.

Steam now possesses an extensive library of free-to-play horror titles that are more than capable of giving you a good spook, and although most have subpar runtimes, the experience will be memorable and leave you entertained.

If you are a console gamer, then you should check out our PlayStation 4 guide: Scary PS4 Games: 10 Titles to Play with the Lights On.

Thirsty for more scary free-to-play games? Check out our own collection of awesome titles in the Scary Games Vault. Go Vampire hunting in Vampire Survivors, or blast down rows of demons with your trusty AK-47 in Demon Killer.

Remember to keep the Scary Games Vault bookmarked, so you never miss the next indie horror sensation when it gets released!