10 ways to scare yourself silly in VR this Halloween
Whether you've got the PSVR, Gear VR or Cardboard, these VR experiences will have you shaking in your virtual boots.
The moment virtual reality became economically viable for the average punter, some sadistic so-and-sos started plotting the most effective ways to freak people out with the fancy new tech. While there are the scarily expensive Vive and Rift options, virtual reality can be enjoyed for cheap with Google Cardboard, Gear VR or few $549.95, PlayStation VR. If you've already got your hands on some VR tech, we've rounded up the most terrifying VR experiences to date.
Gear VR or Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard is the cheapest, simplest way to enjoy VR experiences. Starting at $4.99, Google Cardboard is the barebones of VR tech. There are no straps or buttons, just a space to sit your smartphone and two lenses to create the depth of a virtual reality video. The second option for Samsung users is the Gear VR. While this option is much more expensive (currently retailing at $158.99), it does offer a much more comfortable, hands-free experience. There's also a button on the side that's used in most of the Gear VR's games.
These are currently the spookiest experiences you can download for Gear VR and Google Cardboard.
1. Insidious Chapter 3 (Gear VR, Cardboard)
Insidious Chapter 3 was, occasionally, scary. Insidious Chapter 3's official VR experience is downright terrifying. The short VR film has a seance call on the evil spirits that inhabit the house where Insidious 3 was set. What follows is a series of nail-biting jump scares and unnerving imagery pulled straight from the film.
2. Sisters (Gear VR, Cardboard, Vive and Oculus)
Sisters is an immersive VR escape room experience set in a dark Victorian house. Sisters tasks the player with exploring the house room by room, picking up and analysing clues about the titular Sisters. There are plenty of spooks that can only achieved in VR and worst of all a doll. Could they stop with the dead-eyed dolls already?
Download Sisters from Google Play.
3. 11.57 (Gear VR, Cardboard, Oculus and Vive)
Dubbed a "VR horror film where you are the main character", 11.57 is a terrifying live-action experience by Sid Lee Collective. What makes 11.57 is that there's no controls or objectives. The participant can only do two things, view the film in 360 degrees and pray for dear life.
4. A Chair in a Room (Gear VR, Cardboard, Oculus, Vive)
Not one story, but many. The A Chair in the Room series tells a variety of horror tales in the claustrophobic world of virtual reality. The original episode (which is available across all devices) tasks players with unravelling clues around a windowless room to discover how they found themselves in the chair. The second tale, Greed, puts players in the virtual boots of a corporate lawyer who reveals a sinister plot floor-by-floor in a building's elevator. A Chair in the Room was one of the first horror experiences for the medium, and the Wolf and Wood team has continued to improve with each iteration.
5. Goosebumps: Night of Scares (Gear VR)
Ha-ha! Goosebumps, you scoff. Goosebumps is the cheesy (but amazing) book series that stopped being scary the moment you hit high school. Ah, but you haven't experienced Goosebumps in VR. This short adventure brings some of the series' most iconic creatures, like Slappy the Dummy, werewolves and Jack Black's voice, to the virtual realm. Yes, it's lighthearted fun, but it just goes to show that everything is scarier in VR.
6. Dead Secret (Gear VR and Oculus Rift)
Robot Invader's Dead Secret is one of the platform's first mystery thriller titles. Popping on the VR headset here transports you to the scene of a grisly murder. Once there, the player must piece together clues to uncover details about the murder victim's past before they become the next marked murder victim. Dead Secret is one of the best thriller experiences for VR so far and even has the good graces of Amensia's Thomas Grip who called it a "well-told and creepy mystery". There's also one of those god-awful cymbal-banging monkeys. *Shudders*.
7. Dreadhalls (Gear VR and Oculus Rift)
Essentially the modern-day version of the Windows 3D maze screensaver, Dreadhalls has the players wandering the long, narrow corridors of a dimly lit dungeon. Taking inspiration from Amnesia, the player's only tool in Dreadhalls is a dying oil lamp that must be replenished to stop the player being totally consumed by darkness and the beasties that lurk there.
If you're one of the lucky few to have purchase a PlayStation VR, there's already a wealth of titles you can pick up to scare the living hell out of your closest friends and family. Personally, I was even terrified by PSVR's Batman: Arkham VR, but I created this list with braver types in mind.
8. Kitchen Demo
The original Kitchen demo (which was later revealed as Resident Evil 7) scared E3 punters so much back in 2017 that many made the call then and there that someone will eventually die in virtual reality.
The Kitchen demo sees players tied to a chair in a derelict kitchen as a nearby ally plots your escape. Though short-lived, the Kitchen demo demonstrates just how helpless VR can make the player feel. Saying anything more than that would be giving too much away.
Instead, wet your lips with these Kitchen reactions.
9. Here They Lie
This title isn't the PSVR's killer app, so to speak, but it is an intriguing step forward for adventure in virtual reality. An exploration game akin to Dear Esther at heart, Here The Lie tells the terrifyingly ambiguous story of its plaid-clad protag, a woman in a yellow dress and loads of zoomorphic folks with animal heads. Worth a look, despite the $24.95 price tag.
10. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Though this PSVR title's ties to its namesake are loose at best, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is still one of the most functional, game-like horror experiences on PlayStation VR. Set on-rails, the player must tour a twisted theme park in a roller coaster carriage, fighting of clowns, and other assorted loons. While having a masked maniac run at you is scary enough, the real tension comes from Rush of Blood's use the PlayStation VR's atmospheric 3D audio, truly chilling stuff.