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1979’s Alien is one of the most terrifying movies ever made. Ridley Scott’s masterpiece helped to define the burgeoning slasher genre, but it’s not as mean-spirited or gleeful as future entries in that genre would become; rather, it’s a lean, stripped-back sci-fi story about blue-collar space workers trying to deal with the perfect predator.
Naturally, there have been lots of games to feature Alien’s Xenomorph, but many of them have taken the route of the sequel, Aliens, which was a much more action-packed affair. Alien: Isolation, on the other hand, is a pure survival horror experience, and if you want games like it, you don’t have to look too far. Here are the 12 best games like Alien: Isolation to play right now.
1. System Shock 2
Although System Shock 2 is more of an immersive sim-style adventure than Alien: Isolation, it has the same sense of isolated dread and panic as Sega’s horror game does, as well as a host of different alien beings to meet (and run away from very fast while screaming). BioShock might be the game that gets all the praise, but System Shock 2 remains the superior experience thanks to its enemy diversity and rich narrative.
Again, like System Shock 2, Prey is an immersive sim rather than a survival horror game, but it does present a whole space station to explore and get lost in, much like Alien: Isolation does. You’ll need to keep returning to previous areas you’ve explored in order to uncover more of the map and gather resources to help you survive, and there’s even a thought-provoking story to experience as well.
3. Super Metroid
We might be deviating somewhat from the blueprint here, but the SNES classic Super Metroid shares more DNA with Alien: Isolation than you might think. Samus is infinitely better-equipped to defend herself than Amanda Ripley, but Isolation’s rich atmosphere, sense of alien dread, and creature design are all here. Series antagonist Ridley even feels like he takes heavy inspiration from Alien’s Xenomorph.
Scorn isn’t a perfect game, but if you want a game that encapsulates both the breathless horror and the H.R. Giger-inspired design of Alien: Isolation, then this cult survival horror game is worth a look. It’s a little clunky and clumsy, but it successfully communicates the feeling of being truly alone and scared in a world that you don’t fully understand, one that’s haunted by incomprehensible creatures.
5. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Capcom’s Resident Evil 7 proved to be exactly the kind of shot in the arm the franchise desperately needed. After many years in the wilderness, the first-person RE7 brought things back to basics; you’re exploring a farmstead and trying not to get killed by a family of what appear to be immortal hillbillies. If you like Alien: Isolation’s panicked enemy encounters, then Resident Evil 7 is a must-play.
Followup Outlast 2 is a little too gleeful in terms of its violence to recommend, but the original Outlast is a trend-setting masterpiece, even today. It’s a first-person horror game in which you must explore an asylum, trying not to get murdered by its inhabitants. The gameplay is a purer experience than Alien: Isolation’s; you won’t find any kind of crafting system here, but instead pure, unadulterated horror.
7. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
This classic (and highly influential) horror game set the benchmark for many games to follow. In Frictional’s game, you must explore a massive castle that’s inhabited with unknowable creatures. They’re literally unknowable, too; looking at them for too long causes your sanity meter to drain, so you need to make sure that you’re solving the game’s puzzles without spending too much time in the company of enemies, just like in Alien: Isolation.
8. Dead Space (2008)
The recent Dead Space remake is a solid enough experience, but for our money, the 2008 original is more worth your time. No Dead Space game is particularly subtle, but the idea of exploring a huge, abandoned space station while horrors stalk you through the vents is one that Alien: Isolation would later take to heart. Check out the sequel, too (but give Dead Space 3 a miss).
Created by the team behind Amnesia, SOMA is a sci-fi take on Frictional’s first-person horror formula, albeit one with a decidedly more philosophical bent. You wake up in an underwater facility and must figure out how you got there, all while solving the mystery of the monsters that stalk the station’s corridors. It’s a great game, and it tells a nice chin-stroking yarn as well.
10. Hello Neighbor
Whether or not you like the media empire that’s sprung up in Hello Neighbor’s wake, it’s worth a look if you’re searching for games like Alien: Isolation. You’re on the run from the titular Neighbor, who stalks you relentlessly in an attempt to stop you from entering his basement and learning the truth behind what happened to your friend. Organic hide-and-chase gameplay is the order of the day here.
We’re really going out on a limb here, but Subnautica’s emphasis on exploring a wide, hand-crafted map, searching for crafting materials, and avoiding terrifyingly murderous wildlife make it at least thematically similar to Alien: Isolation. You’re stranded (read: isolated) on an alien planet, so there are marked similarities. Also, Subnautica is great, and more people should play this underrated survival masterpiece.
12. Metro 2033
Last but not least, 4A Games’ gloomy, dingy shooter franchise Metro is worth a look if you want something first-person, atmospheric, and horror-inflected at times. Rather than Alien: Isolation’s organic encounters, though, Metro 2033 is a more linear affair, so if you’re in the market for something more story-driven, then you should definitely give these games a look.