All ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ games, ranked by difficulty

Images via Illumix/Scott Cawthon

Now that Blumhouse and Universal have given us our first look at the Five Nights at Freddy’s live-action movie, there’s a no more opportune time to refresh our memories and take a look back at Scott Cawthon’s universally successful franchise, which spawned an all-encompassing fictional universe consisting of spin-off games, a novel trilogy, an anthology series, and now a Blumhouse-produced blockbuster. Usually, we would be ranking the FNAF games based on performance quality, but we thought it best to spice things up a little. Many of the later Five Nights at Freddy’s titles are notoriously difficult, so much so that Cawthon was forced to nerf several levels to make them less impossible.

Obviously, any ranking is entirely subjective rather than objective as the order differs per individual preference. Some of the hardest games that we’ve compiled might seem incredibly easy to someone else — and vice-versa — so it’s hard to say with the utmost confidence which FNAF titles are proven to be the most difficult. We’ll take into account certain facts surrounding the game’s development, as well as some personal insight, and make as comprehensive of a list as humanly possible.

10. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach

Although the trailers made it look promising, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach couldn’t hold a candle to some of the OG FNAF games. Cawthon tried to modernize the franchise for a new generation, but it backfired miserably. Instead of continuing the fearsome legacy created by its predecessors, Security Breach plays nothing like a traditional FNAF game, so it’s surprising to learn that it remains a mainstay in the series rather than a spin-off, but we digress. If we cut this short, a first-time run of Security Breach won’t have you dying more than three times max, even if you’re an absolute rookie. If you can run circles around animatronics with bad AI, play a 3D version of Five Nights at Freddy’s with about a tenth of the difficulty, aim even poorly, and hold down the shift button, then you shouldn’t find too much to whine about with Security Breach.

9. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted

If we had to summarize Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted, it would be on par with Security Breach, only ranking marginally higher due to the specific level with the plush babies, which successfully built up some tension and wasn’t too mind-numbingly easy. We’ll also admit that the vent repair mini-game was also challenging, so those are some minor qualities that Help Wanted has going for it. In general, Help Wanted is just a much worse version of old FNAF games, such as Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, which was known to be chaotic. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say that the flat mode of Help Wanted is one of the most dull, uninspiring experiences in the whole franchise — and it’s not even close. The VR version would definitely rank higher, but that isn’t as accessible to everyone, plus being an afterthought, so it doesn’t really count.

8. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location

It isn’t such a simple task to rank Sister Location, especially since it’s horribly inconsistent. It has two nights that are infamously difficult, whereas the rest are insanely simple. Night 4 was so difficult upon release that Scott Cawthon was forced to nerf it in a patch, which the community does find absolutely hilarious, just in case you were wondering. Players can also unlock a bonus night by disobeying Circus Baby and going to the room on the opposite side of the Scooping Room on Night 5. This secret room is so precise that it’s bound to take a few tries, even if you’re a seasoned veteran in the FNAF world. As far as Night 1, 2, and 3, there are limited challenges and tactics that rely purely on patience. Plus, Sister Location‘s regular Night 5 is almost impossible to lose, never mind impossible to beat. We’re convinced you’d have to completely stop trying to even stand a chance of failing.

7. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Special Delivery

Tracking animatronics is significantly harder in Special Delivery, the FNAF AR game. While the gameplay isn’t complicated, it doesn’t make the game any easier. The window given to you to shock an animatronic is slim, so unless you have lightning-fast reflexes, you’re in for a long ride. It didn’t bode well for Special Delivery being an iOS and Android exclusive, especially since most gamers have a strong aversion towards mobile games and don’t consider them to be ‘real’ gamer content. Not to mention the fact that mobile games function on smaller screens with more finicky controls, so that’s also losing points for Illumix’s migration to mobile. We’ll recommend giving it a go if you’re interested in continuing the storyline established in Help Wanted, but only if you’re willing to sacrifice smooth gameplay.

6. Five Nights at Freddy’s

You wouldn’t think to find Five Nights at Freddy’s so high, but there’s a perfectly good reason for that. There’s a pretty clear divide in the FNAF fandom as to whether or not the original is difficult. Nowadays, if you’ve played through every sequel, it’ll be a piece of cake to speed-run FNAF. With that being said, let’s not underestimate how much precision is required to beat FNAF — constantly flicking between Freddy and Foxy, countering Chica and Bonnie, watching the doors, conserving the power — the whole deal. Especially for a newcomer, all these requirements can be overwhelming. Even the FNAF warriors can remember their first time, so we’ll also chalk this decision up to nostalgia. Although it seems trivial compared to later sequels, FNAF laid the groundwork for the others, introducing gameplay seldom seen before that time, no matter how easy or hard it might be.

5. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3

Although it might look initially imposing, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is another inconsistency. It might look difficult to manipulate the mechanics, but since you have to lure Springtrap using audio, it isn’t too hard to trap him in a consistent loop. We’ll give credit where it’s due and say that managing your resources in FNAF 3 is a lot more challenging than that of future sequels. It does require intense focus to keep an eye on Springtrap while also navigating the cameras and all the other usual shenanigans of a FNAF title. In many ways, the reboot system makes it harder, but even when the cameras go out, if you remember roughly where Springtrap is, you’ll eventually get the hang of leading him around. When the ventilation goes offline, the player’s vision will fade periodically. This doesn’t really take effect until later on, however, so you’re never too pressed for time.

4. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4

Although a lot of fans would consider Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 to be one of the more difficult games, it’s actually startling how minor the challenge increases throughout. Nightmare Freddy has a delay in checking on him, so he doesn’t pose much threat, and Foxy is arguably the most difficult part of the game. That being said, focusing on the breathing mechanic is what ranks FNAF 4 higher than all the titles mentioned thus far. You do have to be patient and manage your time effectively, which isn’t always easy when the suspense is building. Once you get used to it, it becomes like clockwork, but it’s learning the mechanics and applying everything you’ve learned that’s the real challenge. As long as you’ve got some decent headphones, you shouldn’t be rage-quitting too much.

3. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator

After hours of trying, you might just be able to beat Night 3 of Pizzeria Simulator, but then you have Night 4 to look forward to. Even after researching multiple strategies, no one can ever give you the answers to beat the game. It’s all about trial and error and finding what works, even if it isn’t the conventional way. Much more so than other games, Pizzeria Simulator requires immense patience. And not the kind of patience we’ve preached for FNAF 3 and 4, more like monk-level zen. Once you hear a noise, you’ll have limited time to make a move, which usually means shutting everything down and waiting to continue. Also called FNAF 6, the so-called Pizzeria Simulator removes all optimal strategies, so there isn’t one ‘specific’ way to win. It’s all about the three P’s — Persistence, Patience, and Precision.

2. Five Nights at Freddy’s 2

If you thought the reaction time to beat the OG FNAF was ridiculous, the sequel takes it even further. Realistically, Night 1 and Night 2 could be beaten by anyone with relative ease, but that’s just the game’s way of lulling you into a false sense of security before going for the throat. But when the timeframe given to put on the animatronic mask is shortened as the nights go on, the difficulty raises from manageable to absolute insanity overnight (literally). By Night 3, you’re just about ready to tear out your hair, uninstall the game and leave the FNAF fandom forever. We’re shocked that so many people stuck around after Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, but that just goes to show how popular the franchise has become. When you have to check the camera constantly, the way you move needs to be perfect. Any small slip-up and it’s game over. And that isn’t even the hardest one.

1. Ultimate Custom Night 

Technically, depending on what difficulty you personally set for Ultimate Custom Night, it could rank anywhere on this list, but let’s be honest, FNAF fans are fearless. No matter what, they’re going for gold. If we’re being honest with ourselves, 55 mode is undeniably harder than any FNAF game in existence. It’s actually considered an honor to beat 50-20 mode as not many people have even attempted it, let alone succeeded. We tip our hats to you, brave gamers. It isn’t hard to understand why Ultimate Custom Night is so unbelievably impossible, but there are so many mechanics built in that it starts to get utterly ridiculous trying to focus on them all at once. There are doors, flashlights, cameras, vents, coins, sound cues, visual cues, time-based mechanics, distractions, small mini-games, using the mask, and keeping an eye on temperature and power. Just an hour of Ultimate Custom Night is the worst punishment imaginable for your worst enemy.

About the author

Chynna Wilkinson

Chynna Wilkinson

For over 7 years, Chynna has been a noteworthy presence within creative media. As a self- proclaimed geek and driven by a passion for horror, comic books, video games, and modern cinema, she takes pride in providing only the best publications. She likes to label herself as an innovative writer doing what she loves, especially when it concerns her favorite interests. Aside from personal written projects, she can be credited as an award-winning screenwriter, published poet, and accomplished academic writer. She has taken the media industry by storm, producing short stories, screenplays, articles, features, and poetry that thoroughly engage, excite and thrill those fortunate enough to read them. She enjoys watching anime, horror movies, and animated shows; her life revolves around cinema, video games, and tasteful literature.