Death Mark's mystical horror setting presents itself as an exploratory adventure game, and much of your time will be spent wandering around a single predetermined location trying to find clues and objects that will help solve the case and quell the spirit's thirst for revenge without getting yourself killed in the process. It's a rare game that can start off tense and then continuously ratchet up the mood to almost unbearable levels until the final moments of the final chapter – and an even rarer one that has enough alternative characters, dialogue, and endings to make it worth playing through more than once – but Death Mark succeeds where it really counts. There's plenty on offer here for both horror fans as well as those looking for a mystery that requires more than hoarding knick-knacks and waiting patiently for your character to officially notice something before you can proceed.
The first Resident Evil remains a classic of the genre. In many ways it is – and can only ever be – a product of its time, though. Even when tuned and honed and buffed to perfection, it has its own idiosyncratic personality and ways; change them and you change the game. Series veterans will know what to expect, but new players should prepare themselves for a schooling in game mechanics which have largely fallen out of fashion.
The same applies to Resident Evil 0, and while the original game is the obvious draw here, the prequel deserves another look, especially for fans who skipped it. Both games look great on Switch and the ability to play on-the-go helps alleviate some of the frustrations inherent to their old-fashioned systems, giving them the best possible opportunity to win you over in a modern context. Both are available separately on the eShop, and if you buy physical you'll still have to download REmake via a code regardless. Ultimately, there's no better way to sample that original survival horror formula in 2019, provided you’ve got the stomach - and the space on your system memory - for it.
Darkwood is, thankfully, rather unlike any other horror game on Switch. Those with a taste for survival games will appreciate the constant pressure to salvage parts and craft new items while a clock ticks down in the background, while those with a love for all things sinister will really appreciate some of the truly disturbing moments. Despite the occasional technical flaw, the result is a purposefully slow experience that rewards multiple playthroughs with a storyline that branches depending on just how far into madness you’re willing to tread.
Friday the 13th: The Game - Ultimate Slasher Edition serves up a bloody feast that’s a treat for schlock horror fans who want an authentic Jason experience while taking that tricky asymmetrical multiplayer template and making it truly enjoyable. With a ton of extra skins, weapons, signature kills and more this complete edition couldn’t be any more stacked with DLC. Sure, it’s still a little janky, but with servers that are seemingly holding and two years of refinements straight out of the box, this multiplayer gem still knows how to make an entrance on Switch. Mrs Voorhees will be pleased.
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Despite being a set that includes three entries in the same series, the Amnesia: Collection actually offers three very distinct experiences. The Dark Descent is a milestone for the genre that belies its own mechanical issues by offering some good, old-fashioned scares. Justine is a brief but experimental foray into gruesome puzzle-solving that’s well worth the detour, and A Machine for Pigs takes a more stripped-down approach to the original’s systems, but introduces a much more immersive story as a result. It’s a proper little time capsule that’s perfect for those who’ve already exhausted their fear glands with Outlast and Layers of Fear and want another means to chill their blood on a cold, dark winter night.
Resident Evil 4 is one of the best video games of all time, and if you’ve somehow managed to avoid it all these years, the Switch edition is a decent, convenient way to catch up. Handheld mode is the biggest draw here and that’s not only where the game’s ageing visuals work best, but also where its control scheme makes the most sense. The lack of optional gyro aiming is disappointing and high definition arguably works against it in many ways, highlighting cracks which simply didn’t show up when it first released, but the genius of the underlying game still shines through and anybody who’s still got it sitting on their bucket list is in for a treat. If you haven’t played it in the last decade, the Switch version is a very solid one, even if it doesn’t feel as special as it once did. So, what’ll it be, stranger?
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror masterpiece and straight-up one of the very best horror video games ever released. It's a nerve-wracking affair – a slow, methodical game of cat and mouse against a brilliantly clever recreation of one of cinema's most infamous killers – but if you're up to the task you'll find one of the most satisfying gameplay experiences in the genre; a brilliant and beautiful homage to one of the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time. Feral Interactive has done a stellar job with this Switch port and the excellent motion controls and inclusion of all previously-released DLC only go to sweeten the deal. This is essential stuff for survival horror fans.
Stories Untold is a chilling adventure that manages to draw us right into its world through the ingenious use of its UI and perfectly realised lo-fi aesthetic. Through the walls of old technology and complicated machinery, it creates a uniquely strong bond between player and narrative, giving you a real sense of place within its world as it slowly corrupts and twists from the comfortingly familiar to something else entirely. It's one of the best interactive horror stories we've ever played and a perfect fit for enjoying alone in the dark on Switch.
We've stuck to truly unnerving horror experiences above, but if you're after some lighthearted, spoopy jumps, you'll also want to check out Luigi's Mansion 3 and Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. Are any of your favourites missing from this list? It's an ever-evolving beast we'll add to periodically whenever a worthy game rears its ugly head, so share your favourite recommendations in the comments section below.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games , the Best Free Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game and Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch.
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, and 2019. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, and the Best GameCube Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.