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The most terrifying horror game of 2024 is less than two hours long

Silent Hill 2 Remake and Resident Evil 9 may be inbound, but the most frightening game of this year is short, sweet, and about to hit Steam.

Flathead new Steam horror game: A mannequin smiling in Steam horror game Flathead

Silent Hill 2 Remake is perhaps the most anticipated new horror game of this year. Speaking more speculatively, we’ve got a lot of hopes behind Resident Evil 9. But compared to a short, shocking, and seriously replayable new one-shot coming soon to Steam, a new RE or a new Silent Hill sound like a relaxing afternoon curled up in bed. A dark and twisted horror that serves as a spin-off and prologue to another new game, it may only last two hours, but your nerves won’t hold for ten minutes.

This is Flathead, from independent developer Tim Oxton. The first game published under Dread XP’s new XP Ultra program, its setup is deceptively simple. In front of you is a computer screen which displays a number. All you have to do is correctly guess whether the next number will be higher or lower than the previous one. If you get enough answers right and earn enough points, perhaps you’ll be allowed to go free. Right now, as horror games go, that might sound a little low speed.

Sitting to your right is a sentient, rubber-faced automaton. Operated using a clunky, screeching analog control panel, you also have a variety of tools and devices that you can strategically deploy to slow the progress of the entity that is standing behind you. Take a look over your shoulder. Can you see it? Is it closer? Roll the numbers again. Higher or lower?

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You can finish Flathead in two hours, but depending on your decisions – and your luck – the game will vary on each playthrough. It serves as a prologue to the upcoming Silkbulb Test, a dreamlike first-person game that combines the New Weird of SCP and The Backrooms with MK Ultra, body horror, and dark absurdism. The Flathead release date is slated for Thursday May 30, and you’ll be able to get it for $1.99. In the meantime, you can play the demo for Silkbulb Test right here.

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