Smartphone Scares - A Look at Mobile Horror

With the nights getting darker and Halloween fast approaching it's the ideal time of year to indulge in some ghoulish gaming treats. An ever-present on console since the 90s, the horror genre has now made inroads into mobile and there are more than a few heart attack-inducing titles now available on iOS and Android stores. So switch the lights off, turn the headphones up to full and give this lot a try...

Night Terrors

In one of the most innovative horror experiences on any platform, Pokemon Go meets Paranormal Activity in this AR scarefest. 

Night Terrors uses your phone's GPS and camera to map your own home and turn it into a real-life house of horrors to be explored. The game also makes use of your phone's flashlight, accelerometer and in-app messaging to up the tension and scares in a way completely unique to mobile. Just be careful not to trip over your laundry basket / dog whilst fumbling around your darkened kitchen in a state of panic.

Night Terrors hasn't yet been released in its full form but an extended demo subtitled "The Beginning" is currently available on the iOS App Store.


A 3D adventure that tasks you with raiding a haunted house for bags of loot, Eyes is a simple yet effective frightfest with scares to match anything you'd find on console. As you explore you'll find yourself stalked by a malevolent spirit who announces her presence via shaking furniture and some seriously haunting sound design. If the unhappy spectre gets too close, it's game over.

In true survival-horror fashion your helplessness is exacerbated by some (possibly intentional) awkward controls, whilst a neat gameplay mechanic allows you to occasionally see through the eyes of the ghost itself. Released back in 2013, the short, sweet and scary nature of Eyes has ensured it has remained a cult hit ever since

Knock Knock

Proof if ever it was needed that the grotesque can be beautiful, Knock Knock's pretty art style acts a a striking contrast to its grim and unsettling content. The game is a peculiar mix of survival horror, adventure and 2D sidescroller that seems to document both ghoulish goings-on and your character's descent into madness.

Taking a more psychological approach to the horror, Knock Knock shows that you don't necessarily need regular jump scares to bring players a sense of dread and foreboding.

Papa Sangre II

As experimental as they come, the Papa Sangre series of games tell their story via sound alone, leaving it up to your ears to work out what is going on and where to go next. It's an amazingly effective technique and if you're old enough to remember seminal children's TV show Knightmare, it's about as close as you'll come to being the kid in the helmet.

We've opted to recommend the sequel here as not only does it polish the mechanics that little bit more, it also features a brooding voiceover from the meme-worthy Sean Bean. One does not simply play Papa Sangre II etc etc... 

The Spookening

Finishing off our list with something a little more light-hearted, The Spookening ups the pace to deliver a top-down action title that puts you in the disembodied shoes of a ghost named Herman. You'll have to scare the local townspeople, grab "soul power" and rack up combos to bring Herman back to life before daybreak. Good, clean fun and a lot healthier for your blood pressure than some of the darker titles on our list.