What's the number one reason we play video games? Because they're fun. At its core, that's what the industry comes down to. The reason people create new games and hype up pre-releases is because of the fun experiences associated with them. Keeping this in mind, it doesn't matter whether a game got rave reviews or not. As long as people have fun with it, where's the harm?
Many of the biggest gaming franchises spawn because of how fun they were the first time around. Look at how massive Mario has become. Do you think he got that way because Super Mario Bros. was boring? Developers then try to enhance the experiences that they've created so that they can continuously bring the same fun times that they're known for.
However, it's not always clear-cut like this. There are many times when a game is inexplicably fun but doesn't get enough attention by the general media or gamers in general. Because of this, many great games undeservedly slide under many peoples' radars. Not only is this unfair to the people who created these games, but it's unfair to those who've never played them. All gamers love making memories, and there are many games that have the potential to do so but will never get the attention of Call of Duty or Overwatch.
But we've played a lot of games over the years, so here are 15 amazingly fun games you've probably never heard of.
15 Duck Game
This Steam game may look like much at face value, but Duck Game is a lot of stupid fun. The concept is incredibly simple. Everyone plays as ducks, you pick your hat, and you're then dropped off in an arena where the last man standing wins. Each map is different and riddled with new obstacles to overcome and weapons to pick up. It's very reminiscent of hectic party games from the N64 days and that works to the game's benefit.
Duck Game is one of those gems that knows exactly what it is and what it's trying to do. While the concept itself is still being worked on, the core gameplay is as fun and chaotic as you could want. So grab a buddy, fork over that extra few bucks, and get ready to play.
Spelunky is one of those quirky games you come across when you're browsing a download store for the Xbox or PlayStation. Like many underappreciated gems, the game itself doesn't look all that impressive, but it doesn't need to be. The moment you boot up the game, you'll realize that you're in for something special.
Spelunky is an incredibly difficult game, but its randomized levels and challenging learning curve make it insanely addicting. Three other players can also drop in to join the expedition or chuck bombs at each other in DeathMatch. There are plenty of things to do and find in this game. Despite how short it is, you'll get plenty of hours out of this game and you won't care for a single minute.
13 WonderBoy: The Dragon's Trap
Just a few weeks ago, WonderBoy: The Dragon's Trap came out on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Apart from its initial release, it hasn't received much attention. It's quite a shame too because this game is charming and full of life.
Going into the game, you have to understand that it is a remake of WonderBoy III, which came out on the SEGA Master System. Gameplay-wise, it doesn't change the formula, but that's perfectly okay. The different forms and powers of Wonder Boy are both enamoring and functional. The changes that are made are purely graphical and the results are gorgeous. Gone are the pixel backgrounds and in their place are whimsical hand drawn graphics that fit with the game's theme very well. If you like those kinds of adventures, this game is for you.
Mixing different genres is never an easy thing to do, but the developers of Darwinia accomplished it and more. The game itself is set in a digital world, where little AI soldiers are being controlled by the player. Darwinia is a place where these little programs live, but when viruses begin affecting the world, it's up to you (the player) to help them out.
At face value, the game seems like a real-time strategy. While that's definitely an element, Darwinia also has pieces of action, puzzle, and hacker games alike. As far as the quality of the game is concerned, you're never going to be doing the same thing twice and that shakes up the gameplay in all of the right ways. It was one of the first indie games ever produced and spoke well about what the genre could be in the future.
11 Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth
If you like horror games, then Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is right up your alley. Based on the Call of Cthulhu books by H.P. Lovecraft, the game seeks to replicate much of the horror-filled scenes and terrible set pieces that kept many readers up at night.
Does it come as any surprise, then, that the game is heralded as one of the best horror experiences by those who have played it? It includes terrifying imagery, a sanity meter, visual horror with the various monsters, and so much more. The unfortunate problem is that sequels to the game were planned, but because of how little attention this title got, Headfirst Productions (the developers) of the game went bankrupt and canceled all future projects.
10 Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exxodus were some of the greatest games to ever come out on the PlayStation. The 2D platforming was combined with ambient set pieces and beautiful sound design. The games were as creepy as they were intriguing. Then Munch's Oddysee came out and it was great (but not as great as Abe's stories). Then there came Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath.
Because the game took such a different direction for the series, many people were upset and decided not to invest any time into it. Unfortunately for them, Stranger's Wrath is a darn good action game, full of gorgeous visuals and tight gameplay. Because so few people played it though, it caused the developers to not continue the series until New 'N' Tasty came out.
It's always sad to see a game get rave reviews and then go to underperform in terms of sales. That's exactly what happened to Okami. This game took Japanese folklore, heightened it to an eleven, and crafted an entire experience out of it. The game puts you in the role of a wolf (who is secretly the goddess Amaterasu) who saves Japan.
Apart from excellent gameplay, Okami boasts a cel-shaded art style with inspiration from watercolor paintings and old Japanese tales. The result is a beautifully gorgeous game with an excellent story and gameplay to back it up. It even managed to win some Game of the Year awards because of how excellent it was. Yet nobody seemed interested in giving it a whirl. At least it's been given some re-releases on different consoles.
8 War Of The Monsters
War of the Monsters is one of the greatest action games to ever be released on the PlayStation 2. You are given a selection of several giant monsters (each inspired from old 60s movies) and are then placed in a city where you then proceed to beat the living snot out of each other while destroying the landscape and crushing the people below.
The reason War of the Monsters works so well is that it genuinely feels like a classic 60s movie where King Kong and Godzilla fight each other. There's a lot of fun to be had with this title, but it's a shame that nothing has been done with it since its original release. At the very least, we would love to see a modern remake.
7 Dillon's Rolling Western
Like a few Nintendo consoles we've heard about, the 3DS suffered from a serious drought shortly after launch. However, it wasn't too long before the company began creating some solid downloadable games for the eShop. One of the first was Dillon's Rolling Western.
This game is an interesting hybrid between action and tower defense. You spend the day going to various towns and gathering resources. Then at night, you are invaded by the Grocks. You can construct towers and cannons to fend them off, while you go and pick fights with them individually. While it might seem a little convoluted, everything moves in real time, forcing you to think before you rush headfirst into a battle. It employs strategy and combat in unique ways and remains one of the best gems on the 3DS.
6 Dissidia Final Fantasy
Because of how massive the Final Fantasy series is, Square Enix has played their hand at combining their worlds several times. One of the first was with Dissidia Final Fantasy for the PSP. The game brought together various heroes and villains from the entire series into one interdimensional conflict.
While that sounds fairly comic book-y, the game is worth your time. Dissidia Final Fantasy is not an RPG like you'd expect. Instead, it focuses on action as well as building up the characters you use. The gameplay, as a result, is balanced and very solid, even featuring some epic boss battles with fan favorite characters and a powerful lineup of fighters to choose from. Unfortunately, the game came out on the PSP and has largely died out since its release in 2008. There is another entry in the series that was created for the arcade, but there are no current plans to bring it to a console.
Managing your resources and a big space are two challenging yet fun aspects of some games, and few pull it off better than Factorio. The game puts you in the role of a lonely traveler on an unknown world. In order to better your survival, you have to mine resources and construct factories to help you in your quest. The ultimate goal is to build a rocket ship in order to leave whatever place your on.
Along the way, you'll encounter all kinds of obstacles and monsters, but that's part of the fun. Factorio prides itself in testing how players manage their time and resources. It forces you to think on your feet and that gives the game a unique advantage against its competition. Factorio is currently an Early Access game on Steam, but despite this, you're bound to have a good time with it.
4 Rock Of Ages
What happens when you combine history with a modern joke? You get Rock of Ages. This obscure platformer/strategy game begins with Sisyphus pushing the eternal rock uphill. After he gets frustrated, he decides that he's going to let the rock fall down and from there the game gets even weirder.
After escaping from the watch of Cronus, Sisyphus then travels through various points in history, sending his trusty boulder across complicated tracks in order to take them all down. On top of that, you also have to bolster your own defenses so that people don't take you out first. The game is quite entertaining but is filled with stupid humor above everything else. If that's your cup of tea, though, then Rock of Ages is sure to give you tons of laughs and good times- especially if you play with a friend.
3 Freedom Wars
RIP, PlayStation Vita. Despite its failings, the Vita did have several games that are not only worth checking out, but worth much more than what they got. One such game was Freedom Wars. This Japanese RPG puts you in the role of futuristic folks who are imprisoned in the places they live. All around them, a powerful and advanced war is going on. From there, you have to break out and join the fight.
Freedom Wars doesn't shy away from the ridiculousness of its premise and that leads to some memorable results. The combat is both tight and unique, allowing you to play with friends or by yourself. You will be fighting against giant robots and strong foes all the while, so this game is sure to keep your attention for quite some time. It sold incredibly well in Japan but wasn't met with the same success out here in the States. Still, if you've got a Vita, give this title a try.
2 Affordable Space Adventures
The Wii U was another one of those consoles that didn't live up to its full potential. That said, there were some games that made perfect use of that second screen. Affordable Space Adventures was one of those games.
Taking place in a futuristic setting, Affordable Space Adventures puts you in the role of a customer who wanted to go on a vacation. So you rent an affordable ship and get on your way. However, there are some problems in the long run and you have to then explore various worlds with your small ship.
The best part of the game is the control system. Apart from moving the ship itself, the entire control panel sits on the GamePad. From there you can increase density, lower your fuel progression, switch on your light, and so much more. It perfectly simulates piloting an actual shuttle and makes the game that much more enjoyable.
1 Pong: The Next Level
If you thought that a concept as simple as Pong couldn't get any bigger, you'd be terribly wrong. Released for the good old PlayStation One back in the day, Pong: The Next Level was a perfect example of how a classic arcade game could be a fully-fleshed console release.
The core gameplay is still intact. Hit a ball back and forth and try to get it past your opponent. What makes the game excellent is the additions they sprinkle in. Each level is distinct and provides a new twist on the formula. One level will have power-ups floating around for you to snag. Another might bring out some penguins to block various shots. There are even levels where you have to hit the ball into a certain spot.
The possibilities with a concept like Pong are endless and Pong: The Next Level proves how creative the results can be.