Horror games have their charm even for the young, here are 10 horror games perfect for children.
One game fans are eagerly awaiting in 2023 is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom which won the award for the Most Anticipated Game of 2023 at the 2022 Game Awards (per Screen Rant). The game appears as to be heading down a darker route much like Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess. Horror is can be a great element in Zelda games, with both of these previous games balancing fantasy horror elements while keeping their younger audience in mind.
Zelda games are often designed for a wide range of gamers including adults and children. Even though Majora's Mask is a horror fantasy game, it's a great pick for kids as they get to play as a character closer to their own age for a change. This is just one of the many fantastic horror games that are great for kids.
Ghost Trick is a unique game that perfectly fits its title "Phantom Detective." In this game, the main protagonist, Sissel, is a ghost working to uncover the mystery of his own death. The other purpose of this adventure game is to prevent the deaths of humans by performing various tasks called Ghost Tricks as the player shifts between the living world and the ghost world.
The game is straightforward but can help kids develop their critical thinking skills when they're trying to perform Ghost Tricks. The game is rated T for its focus on death and murder but this is the only downside as the game lacks jump scares or horrifying creatures that might not be as appealing to younger fans.
Majora's Mask is one of the best Legend of Zelda games and while it is a fantasy action-adventure game it does possess quite a few horror elements too, much like Twilight Princess. The game was originally rated as an E for "Everyone" by the ESRB but this was later changed to an E10+ for the 3DS release due to some genuinely scary scenes and monsters.
Majora's Mask might be too much for some children, particularly those who are pre-disposed to nightmares. However, for those interested in the genre, the game is the perfect option to get started. Link is a younger age in this game, which will allow younger players to see themselves more in the character and story.
Free mobile app games are always perfect fits for kids and Plants vs. Zombies 2 is an essential horror game for kids and a great beginner game for new gamers. Another tower defense game akin to Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zomvbies isn't overly complicated. The game contains engaging gameplay with fun horror vibes that are definitely family-friendly.
Due to its straightforward gameplay, it's an ideal pick for any young horror fan who is new to video games. It'll also fulfill that desire for something with an edge of macabre while the game simultaneously maintains a relatively positive atmosphere with bright colors and the contrast of the zombies with the plants.
Bendy and the Ink Machine takes some darker twists with cartoons and has an animation and art style inspired by Steamboat Willie with darker and grittier colors. While the game received a rating of PEGI 12+ this is primarily due to how cartoons become villains in a creepy way. There are also a few jump scares, but that's about it.
There's also really no violence in the game at all, so it's far from an unreasonable game for kids to play. The game is perfect for younger players who want to see a darker twist on cartoons and who enjoy great stories, as the story being told here is really the strongest aspect of this episodic survival game.
Ghosts 'n Goblins has been a franchise for a long while now and Resurrection is the latest title in the series, released in 2021. This is a side-scrolling game where the knight Arthur fights against all sorts of classical horror monsters in the Demon Realm. While Blasphemous, one of the hardest Metroidvania games, is the ideal adult 2D horror fantasy game, Ghost 'n Goblins is the ideal kid 2D horror fantasy game.
It should be noted, however, that there is quite a bit of violence in the game. Parents all approach this differently and as long as they're okay with their younger children playing violent games, then Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection is a perfect pick. This is the only drawback of the game for kids as it isn't really a scary game at all, and it has an E10+ rating.
Slender: The Eight Pages has long since been an iconic video game and the first time players play it's definitely quite the scary game. However, the more the game's played the less scary it seems. The task of the game is simplistic where players are supposed to find the eight pages without getting caught by the Slender Man.
He can appear at any moment and the intense music can make the game an even more suspenseful experience. The suspense and the sudden shock of getting caught or seeing the Slender Man suddenly are the only real horror elements in the game. There's no blood or violence or any sort of adult themes present in the game.
In Costume Quest, one of the best Halloween video games, the player is a child who is trick-or-treating alongside others when one of them is kidnaped by a monster. The player then has to organize a group of other trick-or-treaters to save their friend from the monster. It quickly transforms into a game like Dragon Quest with turn-based combat.
The monsters the player faces are often classical horror monsters and sometimes fantasy ones. This game is perfect for kids who always daydreamed about going off as real heroes to defeat monsters, especially as they pretend to be the characters that they dress as on Halloween night. The game isn't horrifying or violent and most reviews agree that the game is okay to play for most ages with some recommending the gamer be at least seven years old.
Halloween Forever is another side-scrolling game where the player will encounter dozens of classical horror monsters and even some new ones. Players control the Pumpkin Man who travels through three different horror-filled worlds.
The game is perfect for young gamers who prefer the atmosphere and vibe of horror without jump-scares or scenes that will give them nightmares. The ESRB rating of the game is E10+ primarily because there issome blood in the game, but it isn't an overly gory game like most titles in this sort of genre.
Hello Neighbor is an E10+ game and the game can almost seem scarier than most horror games simply because the villain is a real human. The violence in the game is tame, however, and the game sometimes feels as if it was purposely designed for younger gamers.
The game is all about stealth as the player tries to sneak into their neighbor's house and discover what dark secret they have laid within. Trying to avoid the neighbor and getting caught are the suspenseful actions of the game, but this is a great alternative for younger gamers who aren't quite ready for mature games like Resident Evil.
The Luigi's Mansion games are the perfect series to dive into for younger fans interested in horror games and are all rated E. Luigi's Mansion 3 is wonderfully made and is available on the Nintendo Switch. This game has Luigi slowly stepping through a haunted hotel where he has to save his friends.
The gameplay is mostly the same as the previous titles with Luigi weakening and catching ghosts. While the game does have its edge of horror it can also be a fun and comedic game with Luigi's reactions to the story around him making it an easygoing game for kids that will be more fun than scary.
MORE: 10 Games To Play While Waiting For The Legend Of Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom
List Writer for ScreenRant since 2022. Caleb Greenough is a writer from Nebraska who spends much of his free time writing Fantasy and Horror stories. He has a B.A. from Wayne State College that he received in 2020 and an M.A. from Southern New Hampshire University he obtained in 2022. In addition to writing Fantasy, he is also a big fan of reading books like the Wheel of Time or playing games such as Dark Souls or the Legend of Zelda. He is also a big fan of anime and manga with his favorites being Code Geass and Dragon Ball Z. He spends a great deal of time writing and is published in the Horror genre. His published works and some of his other writings can be found on his blog. His biggest dream in life is to be an author with multiple Fantasy novels and novel series under his name.