10 best horror games that take place in the ocean

Recent horror releases like puzzle adventure game Silt and atmospheric exploration game iron lung show that the dark depths of the ocean continue to terrify players. According National geographic, over 80% of Earth’s ocean has never been mapped or explored by humans, which means there could be a lot of weird things lurking in the dark undersea.

Besides the strange ocean creatures that people have already discovered, this fear of the unknown has led to many horror movies, shows, and even video games that are set in the ocean. Some of these games, like SOMA, particularly stand out among the rest.


ten Deep Fear (1998)

A screenshot of a mutated human in the game Deep Fear

Released in Europe and Japan in 1998, deep fear is a survival horror game for the Sega Saturn. At the start of this game, a space capsule crashes into the Pacific Ocean, which contains a chimpanzee who has been sent into space to test the effects of cosmic radiation. When the nearby underwater research facility called “The Big Table” attempts to investigate this, a series of events lead to the base being compromised by cosmic-ray bacteria that turn living creatures into monsters.

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Players control an ex-Navy SEAL named John Mayor, who is apparently immune to the disease, as he attempts to rescue the other people at the facility and escape. Although often considered a simple resident Evil clone, the game was actually revolutionary for its time since players could simultaneously run and shoot. With some unique ideas such as the player managing base oxygen levels, this game could have been a classic if it had better voice acting and hadn’t released on the sadly forgotten Saturn.

9 Morocco (2021)

A screenshot from the game Maroccuro

Created for the DreadXP Dredge the Depths Jam, Moroccan is a 2021 Lovecraftian horror game that was developed by Maldo19, who also created The Horror of House Salazar. Strange accidents continue to occur along the local coastline, caused by unspeakable horrors that lurk in the depths of the ocean. Two coastguards, also lovers, try to save as many people as possible by driving their motorboat to each of the drowned.

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Depending on the player’s actions, they will receive one of three endings, but there is always a feeling that these creatures are too powerful for humanity to handle. This inevitable feeling of helplessness, along with the simple arcade-like game mechanics and retro art style, make Moroccan a powerful experience.

8 Water Womb World (2020)

A screenshot from the game Water Womb World

Released in 2020, Water womb world is a short indie horror game created by Yames. Unlike many other titles from the developer, like discover my body and Growing up my grandfather!, which focuses on body horror, this game mixes evolutionary cosmic horror, ocean horror and Christian theology. The protagonist is a Christian who believes that the Garden of Eden was in the ocean and that Adam and Eve were aquatic lifeforms who were forced to move to earth after committing original sin.

After finding Eden’s underwater location, the protagonist begins to search for the objects and lifeforms therein, but things change when a messenger from God gives the protagonist a choice. With the gritty retro graphics and buzzing ambient sounds that Yames is known for, this game delivers a thoroughly spooky experience players won’t forget.

seven Narcosis (2017)

A promotional photo for the game Narcosis

Released in 2017 for PC and VR, Narcosis is a first-person horror game focused on psychological storytelling where the protagonist is an engineer who works at a methane extraction facility in the Pacific Ocean called Oceanova. After an earthquake destroys the facility, the protagonist must find a way to escape the submerged Oceanova using a high-tech industrial diving suit.

As the narrator seemingly tells the story of this disaster to someone else, the protagonist must deal with the difficulties of finding leftover air containers, environmental obstacles, leaky methane pipes, dangerous aquatic creatures and narcosis-induced hallucinations. Although the experience is quite short and primarily a “walking simulation”, the well-written narrative and excellent environmental storytelling create an emotionally powerful experience.

6 Iron Lung (2022)

A screenshot from the game Iron Lung

After creating the critically acclaimed retro-inspired FPS DUSK, David Szymanski developed a different but still perfectly executed game called iron lung, which combines cosmic horror with ocean horror. In this short, low-poly adventure, the player is an unnamed convict who is tasked with investigating a strange ocean of blood on one of the galaxy’s remaining moons. Ever since the “Quiet Rapture” wiped out all habitable planets and stars, the remaining humans have been desperately searching for resources.

If the convict completes the mission, he gets his freedom, but there are creatures in the water that may not let the convict survive. To create a feeling of claustrophobia and dread, Szymanski trapped the player in a small submarine where they can only see what’s outside by taking low quality photos. While essentially blind and trapped in a moving coffin, the player feels immersed in a confined and horrifying environment.

5 Slime (2022)

A screenshot from the game Silt

Silt, which was one of the most anticipated horror games, finally released during the summer of this year. Similar to the award-winning game Limbo, This surreal atmospheric puzzle adventure takes place in a beautiful but dangerous monochromatic world where the player must solve environmental puzzles. Contrary to Limbo, however, the protagonist, who is a diver, has the power to control other creatures.

While trying to uncover the mysteries of the ocean, the diver will encounter lost civilizations, peculiar pieces of technology, and terrifying monsters. The player will need to use the abilities of various creatures, such as piranhas that can cut through vines, to solve puzzles and progress. This new mechanic and detailed storybook art style make the game a fun and visually stunning adventure.

4 SOMA (2015)

A mysterious monster in a transport tunnel in SOMA

Developed by Frictional Games, who also created the Penumbra trilogy and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA is a 2015 survival horror game where the protagonist, Simon Jarrett, agrees to take part in an experimental brain scan after surviving a car accident. When he wakes up, he finds it’s now the year 2104 and he’s in the PATHOS-II Underwater Research Facility, which was humanity’s last surviving outpost after a comet hit. the planet.

Despite being helpless, Simon must navigate the facility, with the help of an employee named Catherine Chun, to find and launch a digital black box into space, which houses the spirits of the humans who lived in it. PATHOS-II. While the stealth-focused gameplay isn’t for everyone, SOMA worth playing for the beautifully crafted environments and narrative.

3 Subnautical (2018)

An underwater space station seen in Subnautica

Released in 2018, Subnautical is an open-world horror action-adventure game and one of the best survival games ever made. When a spacecraft known as the Dawn attempts to locate the crew members of another ship that has gone missing near an alien planet, a mysterious energy pulse causes the Aurora to crash land on the planet. The protagonist, a systems maintenance chief named Ryley Robinson, is the only surviving crew member.

Now Ryley must explore the planet’s ocean to uncover the secrets of the accident, but many dangerous creatures lurk in the depths. With a huge and detailed world to explore, it’s no surprise that the game was successful and received a sequel titled Subnautica: below zero.

2 Sunless Sea (2015)

A screenshot from the game Sunless Sea

Set in the same universe as the browser game Fallen London, sunless sea is a story-driven RPG exploration roguelike where the player is a steamship captain who must explore the vast Unterzee, which is an underground ocean. Once the player customizes their character’s background and goals, they are immediately immersed in this detailed and dangerous world.

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As the player visits new places, completes story quests, trades goods, fights ships and fights monsters, he tries to achieve the goals assigned to him. Even though the player will die multiple times, the intricate world building and immersive atmosphere will keep players coming back time after time.

1 BioShock (2007)

A screenshot from the BioShock game

Speaking of games with an immersive atmosphere, the FPS 2007 BioShock has some of the best examples of environmental storytelling in any video game. Created as a spiritual successor of System shockthe game follows a young man named Jack who enters a destroyed underwater city called Rapture after surviving a plane crash.

Using guns and “plasmids”, which are mutagenic serums derived from a gene-altering substance called ADAM, which grants users superhuman abilities, Jack explores and battles enemies to uncover the mysteries of the city. Although there have been two sequels, none of them can top the groundbreaking gameplay design of the original.

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