10 Scary Horror Games for Your iPhone

A pocketful of frights

Whether you're preparing for a monster movie marathon, lacing up your sneakers for a zombie walk, or just wish every day was Halloween, sometimes we're all just desperate for a good fright. Here at Lifewire, we have that same feeling deep in our spooky bones. That's why we've put together a creepy cheat sheet for iPhone gamers in search of things that go bump in the night.

There are plenty of iPhone games that offer jump scares, psychological terrors, and even just pure zombie-dodging fun — and in our humble opinion, these are ten of the best.

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Five Nights at Freddy's (series)

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 game screenshot
Scott Cawthon

Five Nights at Freddy's is the king of all jump scare games, and has developed a cult-like following (and sequel schedule) that could only be rivaled by slasher films of the 80s. If you like being scared, a few minutes with the game is all you'll need to understand why Five Nights at Freddy's has developed the reputation that has. There are moments that will make you jump right out of your skin.

Set in a family-friendly pizza parlor with an animatronic cast of entertainers (think Chuck E. Cheese or Showbiz Pizza Place), players take up the role of a new overnight security guard looking to survive until they can cash their first paycheck. It should be a quiet job, but as it turns out, those animatronic playmates have a life of their own in the evenings.

With limited power, players switch between security cameras and door locks to keep an eye on these metal-boned monsters as they try to live to see another day.

The series has spawned multiple sequels, each one revealing hints about a much deeper story. As a result, the internet is full of message boards discussing and deciphering Freddy's lore. Be sure to start with the first game and work your way through; that way you can join in the chatter and try to unravel the mystery that is Freddy Fazbear's Pizza for yourself.

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Dark Echo

Dark Echo game screenshot

The only thing more terrifying than the nightmares you can see are the ones you can't. Dark Echo leans into this concept, offering an audio-first horror experience that's every bit as terrifying as your imagination allows.

While you can't see monsters in the traditional sense in Dark Echo, your footsteps create something akin to sonar. Like a bat seeing in the dark, the noise you make will help you reveal what's in your surrounding area. Unfortunately, those same noises that help you see can alert the creatures near you of your location, changing players from hunter to hunted.

There are a number of audio-only experiences on the App Store (Papa Sangre, The Nightjar) but Dark Echo does something very different — and very scary.

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Lost Within

Lost Within game screenshot

Photo from Amazon

Big, console-like horror experiences aren't too common on mobile, and most of the games that have tried are largely forgettable. That's not the case with Lost Within, a game of asylum exploration from the master craftsmen at Human Head and Amazon Game Studios.

Taking up the role of a police officer, players will investigate a disturbance at an abandoned insane asylum that plays home to its own urban legend: "The Madhouse Madman."

As it turns out, some legends are based in fact, and players will need to avoid former-inmates-turned-monsters as they unravel the story of what took place within the building's walls so many years ago.

Fans of console horror games like Outlast, be sure to check this one out. 

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Year Walk

Year Walk game screenshot

While the woods can provide an eerie setting in just about any horror scenario, it's not the things lurking in them that will keep you on edge in Year Walk. Instead, you'll be unsettled by the silence, confusing landscape, and the discoveries you make. 

Year Walk is a game based on Årsgång, a Swedish folk custom in which a person walks at night to a church, outside of which supernatural tests appear which, if passed, allows them to catch a glimpse of the future.

Year Walk is a surreal, creepy adventure set in the Swedish winter that's unlike anything else you've played before. Strange art, suffocating solitude, and an intentionally confounding navigation keep you questioning everything until you've reached the very end.

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Cube Escape / Rusty Lake (series)

Cube Escape: The Cave game screenshot
Cube Escape: The Cave.

 Rusty Lake

Room escape puzzle games are a dime a dozen on the App Store — but what if I told you there was a room escape game that formed just a small part of a bigger series? And what if that series was about a single spooky location, with nearly a dozen games in this series that take place in different time periods, each one unraveling a little more of this location's mystery? This, in a nutshell, is Rusty Lake.

Offering a Twin Peaks level of weird, the Rusty Lake series sees players in all sorts of peculiar situations, from being trapped in a box en route to the lake to receiving a mysterious birthday present as a child in 1939. 

In a neat twist, the series is broken into an assortment of free experiences and paid ones. The free stories (which greatly outnumber the paid ones) use the Cube Escape title, while the meatier paid titles go by the moniker of Rusty Lake. 

Wondering which order to play them in? The official website offers a suggested order — though you can really dive in and start with any game you like.

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Night Terrors

Night Terrors game screenshot
Novum Analytics

Horror movies often scare viewers by showing the unseen things that might lurk in their house — but at the end of the day, it's always somebody else's house, so it's easy to create a sense of distance. Night Terrors is the first game that goes one step further, offering an augmented reality experience that puts those very nightmares within the four walls you call home.

Using your iPhone's camera, flashlight, and the disquieting nature of darkness, Night Terrors tasks players with exploring their home using only the screen of their iPhone to guide them. It's a good mix of tense waiting and unpleasant jumpscares that ensure you'll never look at your laundry room the same way again.

At the time of this writing, only a teaser — Night Terrors: The Beginning — is available for download. We're hoping for a more fully featured fright fest from developers Novum Analytics soon.

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Home game screenshot
Benjamin Rivers

Pixel art isn't typically equated with an unsettling atmosphere, but indie developer Benjamin Rivers shows just how much can be accomplished when trying to establish a great deal with a limited art style.

Psychologically unsettling more than straight up horrifying, Home leads players through an unfamiliar scene, interacting with the world as they try to understand what's happened and why. No answers are set in stone, and the choices players make will help frame the way the story is viewed by the game's protagonist.

In fact, the game is so open to interpretation that players are able to submit their own theories directly to the game's website. Don't check it out unless you've played the game through to the end first! The discoveries you make will leave you absolutely shaken.

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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead game screenshot
Telltale Games

There are more Walking Dead games on the App Store than we'd care to count (but that didn't stop us from trying!) — yet few have offered the kind of scary tension that the series is known for as well as Telltale's Walking Dead series.

Over several seasons, Telltale Games have been releasing episodic games that form a unique tale told in the world of The Walking Dead — and starring original characters that you'll care for just as much as you do Rick and Carl. The zombies are terrifying, but more importantly, you'll have to make some tough choices that could lead to the sort of regrets that will haunt players long after they've finished playing.

Telltale are well known for their high-quality story games, but none have offered quite the thrills, scares, and sense of responsibility that The Walking Dead has.

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The School: White Day

The School: White Day game screenshot
ROI Games

Starting life as a South Korean PC game in 2001, The School: White Day is a remake that reminds us of just how unsettling Asian horror entertainment can be (and why we love it so much).

Presented in the first-person, The School: White Day is about students who are locked in a school overnight with an off-kilter janitor, ghosts, and absolutely nothing to protect themselves with. This isn't the sort of game where you fight monsters and reign victorious — it's the sort of game where you try to find a place to hide and pray to survive until morning.

With seven different endings, The School: White Day offers plenty of replayability. If you missed it during its underground cult phase in 2001, you'll be pleased to know it's sharper (and scarier) on modern mobile devices than it ever was on desktops.

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Into the Dead

Into the Dead game screenshot

Sometimes horror is just about trying to survive. If you're on the hunt for an iPhone game that puts you squarely in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Into the Dead is arguably your best bet. It's an endless runner played from a first-person perspective that has you dodging and weaving your way through an army of living corpses.

You'll start out with nothing but two feet and a heartbeat, but will quickly unlock a number of weapons that help you survive a little longer, often upping the tension thanks to limited ammo.

With only the sounds of the groaning zombies and your own panting breath to fill your ears, Into the Dead does a great job of creating an environment that you can lose yourself in.