In horror games, maze-like levels can add an extra layer of fear. Because they break up the comfort of a straight road and make you feel lost.
What’s worse than being chased by a ghoul that wants to kill you? Being chased through a maze by a bloodthirsty ghoul. When it comes to horror games, having a clear way can be comforting. That’s why a game that breaks that mold can be even scarier.
Puzzle games that aren’t scary, like Portal, can be creepy on their own if they have the right mood. Here are the scariest maze-based games, ranging from straight horror games that bend the golden path to puzzle games that like to add creepy atmosphere to plain old puzzles.
3D Monster Maze
Even though PC games from the 1970s and early 1980s may seem simple now. You can still appreciate how clever people were when they put them on older systems. Making 3D Monster Maze is a simple idea. From a first-person view, all you have to do is run through the path and avoid the T-Rex that is after you.
Even with the old black-and-white grainy graphics, the T-Rex is still scary to watch as it runs toward you. Its size doesn’t seem to change. The only thing you have to do is run through the maze and collect points. Popular horror games from today, like Resident Evil 2 and Alien: Isolation, use the idea of being chased by a single monster.
Resident Evil: Village
All of the Resident Evil games that aren’t action-packed follow a pretty strict path. To get to new parts of the map, you have to solve riddles and find keys. Village, which came out in 2021, still had room for mazes in a small minigame.
You have to find both the balls and the mazes in the world to get to these minigames. You tilt the 3D board to get the ball to the goal once it’s turned on. The mazes in Resident Evil Village are a nice break from the scary parts of many of the other games on this list.
Alien Vs. Predator
Even though many old first-person shooters had scary parts, Alien Vs. Predator for the Jaguar is the scariest game you will ever play. Given that it is based on one of the most famous horror shows of all time, it makes sense. It’s very easy to get lost and turn around in the levels, which are like huge mazes.
Out of the three campaigns you can choose from, the tasks where you play as a Space Marine are the scariest because both aliens and humans are after you. The scares and jump scares don’t go away much when you take control of the two other creatures in the game.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 turns the series from survival horror with fixed cameras to a show as bad as the worst action movies. It still had a lot of the classic fear that makes you play the games. For me, the most scary part of the game is the hedge maze in the castle part.
To move forward, you have to run through the garden. And grab two things while cultists and infected dogs chase you. The bad guys are always close by, but when you turn a corner and see a group of them right in front of you, it always shocks you. Even though some dogs are in cages, they get out when you can’t get away.
In the crazy puzzle game Catherine, you have to complete a bunch of different mini-games in between the strange and sometimes scary story parts. The game is about Vincent, a regular Joe who has dreams about other worlds and gets caught in a strange love triangle.
The weird story makes the game stand out, and the fun range of puzzles keeps you interested. On the surface, Catherine may seem more interested in relationships than scares, but it still has some great scary parts.
Outlast is mostly a linear game, but there are times when you have to find your way through an open-ended maze-like part of the Mount Massive Asylum to finish a task and move the story along. A simple example of one of these goals would be to turn on a generator. Things are a little tougher when it’s dark, you’re lost. And a guy with a hammer seems mean and is slowly walking behind you.
A lot of the time that Outlast is played, the player feels like they can’t do anything and is stuck like a rat in a maze. This is a pretty good parallel, since it turns out that the staff at Mount Massive Asylum were testing drugs on their patients.
People may remember Doom as the first first-person shooter game, but it was also a great scary game. In particular, Doom 64 turned up the creepiness by putting more focus on dark surroundings and making the creatures scarier. When you add Doom’s famous maze-like levels, you have a scary mix. Nintendo fans were the only ones who could play what was probably the scariest game in the series, but Doom 3 fans might disagree.
After some quiet, Doom fans were treated to a few throwbacks to the Nintendo 64 version of the game in 2020’s Doom Eternal. Enemies and weapons like the Unmakyr made a triumphant return.
Silent Hill 2
A lot of people remember the maze in Silent Hill 2, which is under the Toluca Prison. This maze isn’t full of fun Jim Henson dolls and David Bowie. Instead, it’s full of scary monsters and almost total darkness. James Sunderland, the main character, doesn’t have a plan of the maze. So he has to make his own as he moves through the tight passageways.
Some monsters, like the series’ main character, Pyramid Head, are hiding in the dark, which makes things even more tense. In this artistic part, you have to jump into the abyss to move forward.
Portal, a famous puzzle game from Valve, has a lot of creepy parts. You feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending loop inside the building. Because there are so many puzzles and no other players around in the beginning of the game. You can finally get out of the Aperture building when it opens up into a maze of empty offices, vents, and work areas.
Most of the praise for Portal and its great follow-up goes to how they set the standard for linear first-person puzzle games. But the creepy mood that both games create is just as important. As if playing the series again wasn’t reason enough. You should take a moment to enjoy Valve’s environmental stories even more the next time you play.
Control is a supernatural third-person action game with a lot of different tasks, storylines, and ways to fight. The Ashtray Maze was one of the best parts of Geometry Dash Subzero because you could play it again and again and it had a very creepy feel to it. To get into the maze properly, you have to wait until a certain point near the endgame. If you look too early, you’ll just be sent around in circles. The creators made the right choice, since the gauntlet can be very hard for people who haven’t played it before.
It is hard enough to find your way through the maze without having to deal with some of the most dangerous Hiss enemies in the game. If you keep going, you’ll get cool gear and story points.
The “Playable Teaser” that Kojima Productions made for its doomed Silent Hill game was a completely unique scary experience for those who were able to get to it. The demo was just one path that looped over and over. Even though it wasn’t a real maze, the never-ending tunnel made me feel trapped. P.T. had some of the scariest graphics in video games. And it’s still a great example of how simple games can be fun and memorable.
Online sources no longer have P.T., which is a shame. But it’s an even bigger shame that the Silent Hill project it hinted at will never happen. Think about what the developers could do with a whole game if P.T. could do so much in just one hallway.