Cosmic Horror Games That Go Beyond Mankind’s Comprehension

There are so many different types of horror and one of the best—especially in the format of video games—is cosmic horror. Beings far beyond our imagination or comprehension, the mere sight of them driving a person to breakdown or death. Otherworldly events have horrible (and often fleshy) consequences for humanity. It’s such an interesting concept and has been explored in a variety of ways, from classics like Alone in the Dark to FromSoftware’s Bloodbourne. With this list, I wanted to highlight a few newer games that go above and beyond to showcase cosmic horror in all its glory.

Sea Salt

a pile of worms and other creatures fight humans wielding flamethrowers

In Sea Salt, you play as a horde of creatures loyal to the god Dagon. Units are purchased with points so in that sense it’s similar to an RTS—except these are worms, black cats, cultists and fish people. You control the swarm as a single, fluid mass and mow down anyone and everything in your path. It’s morbidly satisfying, bloody, and takes a bit of strategy as you progress. While variety is important to any army, there’s something about having a huge pile of just worms that I liked, solidifying my status as a weirdo. Sea Salt is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch.


a large red blob of flesh stands in an industrial setting

Speaking of masses—Carrion stars a playable, goopy lump of flesh and teeth! With Metroidvania gameplay and upgrades that are fittingly alien and include spike armour, cobweb shooting and cloaking. The physics here is a highlight, with tiny human bodies flying all over the screen as you tear them apart. Even the save points are gross as you leave behind a pulsating fragment of the main body that attaches itself to the walls like an egg sack. Be sure to check out the wonderfully animated launch trailer as well! Carrion is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch, with a Playstation version coming later this year.

Gibbous: A Cthulu Adventure

a young man stands in an old library lit by candlelight

In contrast to the other titles on this list, Gibbous is fairly light-hearted and even quite funny at times! A classic point-and-click adventure with traditional animation that’s gorgeous to look at. Investigate the Necronomicon while enjoying the tons of references and even participate in a rap battle. Oh, and did I mention there’s a talking cat? Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure is available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux, and Nintendo Switch.

A Place, Forbidden

a hallway made of flesh with various furniture items scattered about

I’ve written about this game before, and I’ll do it again because I love it so much. Exploring the mysterious Oroboros Library and uncovering hidden secrets leads to some interesting places and the game has an overall extremely spooky vibe that feels very in tune with Cosmic Horror: unsettling awe. I couldn’t even tell you why it vibes with me so much, it just does. It’s short, sweet, and completely free. A Place, Forbidden is available on Steam and

World of Horror

a gameplay screen with various text boxes of stats and dialogue options. a woman stares up at a giant tentacled eyeball creature

Perfectly described as “1-bit love letter to Junji Ito and H.P. Lovecraft” you’ll be investigating sinister and disturbing events in a small Japanese town. The monsters here are deliciously grotesque and detailed, although the gameplay can take a bit to get the hang of. I recommend watching a video tutorial or reading a guide. In addition, events are randomized so each playthrough is unique! World of Horror is available on Steam, and

Sundered: Eldritch Edition

a young woman looks at a giant green skeleton with a spear imbedded in its head. inside the spear is a large purple diamond

Another Metroidvania, this one involving both fighting cosmic horrors and possibly becoming one (depending on your choices). Sundered is a fast-paced thrill ride with the developer’s trademark beautiful artwork. The Eldritch Edition adds local 4 player co-op as well as new areas. It’s interesting to me that developer Thunder Lotus Studios went on to make Spiritfarer, a management sim that explores death in a more “light-hearted” way–a girl and her cat helping ferry spirits into the afterlife (which is wonderful and made me cry). Sundered: Eldritch Edition is available on Steam, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox, and Stadia.

Slay the Spire

a man with a sword talks to a giant whale

A rogue-like with deck-building elements, Slay the Spire helped launch a new wave of card games with its addicting gameplay and variety of content. Each playable character starts with their deck and more cards can be bought or won throughout your playthrough. Powerups and curses change the tide of runs as well. Many improvements have been made in part to the game releasing in early access and a dedicated player and mod community. Be careful though–once you start playing it’s difficult to stop! Slay the Spire is available on basically every system and even mobile platforms. (Steam, Mac, Linux, Playstation, Xbox, iOS and Android.)

Stars Die

a man in a gas mask and military garb stands on a red fleshy beach. a dialogue box with various options takes up the lower half of the screen

The world is dying and a giant pile of flesh appears in the middle of the ocean. Explore it and meet the researchers looking into the phenomena and what it means to be human. With a more introspective title with great dialogue and several endings, the NPCs will complete their tasks with or without you, leaving actions (or inactions) completely up to you. The low poly graphics and detailed character portraits complement the setting well. Originally released on in early 2020, it has been expanded and updated. Also available on Steam.

Besides books, I think games are one of the best mediums for cosmic horror. Developers big and small continue to show sights beyond our wildest imaginations through their writing and visuals and how you can explore this in different gameplay styles. I can’t wait to see what horrors are in store for us in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by Lor Gislason

Lor is a body horror enthusiast from Vancouver Island, Canada who can be found chilling with their two cats and playing farming simulators. Find them on Twitter: @lorelli_

Amaia all by herself in the wilderness

Fantasia 2021: All the Moons Is a Fantastic Vampire Drama

The Night House Does Just About Everything Right