Five games that channel the spirit of Lovecraftian cosmic horror

Gare – Friday, May 31, 2024 2:46 PM
Share on

I think we can all agree that H.P. Lovecraft’s works have had a tremendous influence on the horror genre – particularly when it comes to the realm of video games. The fear of the unknown, and the sheer terror of indescribable cosmic entities has permeated the gaming sphere for a while now, resulting in countless games that try to tap into this very emotion. It’s a topic we’ve already covered in the past, but it’s been long enough where we felt the need to come back to it – so, on that note, we’ll be going over five more titles that, in our humble opinion, fit into this category.


We’re starting off our list pretty strong: namely, with one of the best survival horror games in recent years. SIGNALIS had already piqued my interest when I tried its brief playable demo, but not even I was ready for just how engrossing the finished product would end up being. Set in a totalitarian dystopia with androids and splashes of cosmic horror, SIGNALIS has been inspired by genre titans like Resident Evil and the fan favorite Silent Hill 2. In my review of the game, I wrote:

“In my eyes, SIGNALIS is undoubtedly a triumph – a game that pays homage to the genre greats that inspired it, all the while adding its own voice to the mix. It feels pleasantly familiar, yet fresh and exciting at the same time, offering players a prolonged peek into a haunting, dystopian world of android-like Replikas, authoritarian regimes and nightmarish visions. It marries the classic survival horror gameplay loop of Resident Evil with the mind-bending narrative beats and unforgettably dark, oppressive atmosphere of the early Silent Hill installments, creating a game that I can only describe as a genuine love letter to the genre.”

So yeah, it’s pretty good.


Conarium is about as Lovecraftian as you can get: in fact, not only has it been inspired by HPL’s “At the Mountains of Madness”, it outright takes place some time after it, starring four scientists that attempt to “challenge what we normally consider to be the ‘absolute’ limits of nature”. A walking sim with a rich atmosphere, Conarium ditches cheap jump scares in favor of detailed world building and storytelling – in his review, our very own Dracolich gave the project high praise, writing: “[Conarium] managed to hold my attention to the point I lost all sense of time as I stared – in awe – at the various incredible locales thrown at me, trying my best to take in all its fine details. This is one title I can wholeheartedly recommend to fellow fans of Lovecraft’s oeuvre.”


A standalone psychological horror game from Frictional Games, the esteemed creators of the Amnesia franchise, SOMA had plenty of expectations to live up to following the success of the wildly popular Amnesia: The Dark Descent. And boy did it live up to those expectations. SOMA is the kind of horror title where the actual monsters (because yes, there are monsters in this one, too) are probably the least of your problems, and are generally the least scary things about the game – dealing with questions regarding the nature of consciousness, SOMA’s masterfully told storyline manages to be both disturbing and fascinating, and is packed with enough existential dread to make it one of the most depressing horror games to date.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened

Okay, so we’re kind of cheating here, because this is a game we’ve (technically) already mentioned on our previous list. But not really, because that was the original, and this is the 2023 remake, which follows the timeline established in 2021’s Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, essentially serving as its sequel. The essence of the title remains unchanged, however: Holmes and his trusted partner Watson find themselves entangled in an investigation that will put them face to face with otherworldly entities and a dangerous cult serving an ancient, cosmic being. So, you know – pretty much what you’d expect from a “Sherlock meets Lovecraft” kind of crossover.


This is probably not a game you expected to see on this list, but hear us out: Control may not be strictly Lovecraftian, but its narrative does deal with forces beyond human understanding in a way that’s probably most reminiscent of the SCP Foundation (And if you don’t know what that is, we highly recommend checking it out). Developed by Remedy Entertainment, Control has you explore the titular organization – called the Federal Bureau of Control, or FBC for short – in the role of Jesse Faden, the FBC’s new Director, as she dives into the depths of the compound and encounters numerous inexplicable phenomena that manage to break the rules of reality itself. The main gameplay loop of Control is one filled to the brim with relentless action, but it’s the writing – the countless documents, letters and emails you can discover during the quieter moments of the campaign – that really does an excellent job of capturing that wonderfully strange, SCP-esque vibe.

If you liked this article, follow us on our channels below and/or register!