Games were not always made to be easy. After the rise of the era where every title had to hold your hand, the industry is slowly moving back toward the time when you had to rely on skill and intuition to get the job done.
One type of game that has arisen in this time is the roguelike. While many roguelikes involve more expansive adventures that take notes from games that we played as children, there are some that inject their own personality. This can lead to games that hold nothing back in terms of difficulty, but can be beaten in just a few short minutes.
While that doesn't sound fun on paper, this style of game has been around for quite some time and is engaging. When done well, it gives a natural factor of replayability, motivating people to continue playing the game (even more so if it incorporates procedural generation). It's these kinds of games that gain cult followings and receive a lot of attention in the industry.
If you're the kind of person who loves a great challenge but doesn't have a lot of time, I'd recommend checking out these 15 insanely difficult games that you can beat in under 10 minutes.
15 Sonic The Hedgehog 2
SEGA created the Sonic franchise around the concept of speed. When you decide to rush through a level and ignore the special stages, this allows you to beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2 very quickly. However, this game will kick your butt, having many difficult sections and mechanics that will cause numerous frustrating deaths.
This brutal difficulty is made worse by the fact that the game will punish you if you move too quickly without paying attention to your surroundings. It's here that the addition of playing as Knuckles serves it well, as you can glide through most levels without a hitch. To this day, it remains one of the toughest games on the SEGA Genesis and we wouldn't force it on anyone.
14 Kirby's Dream Land (Extra Mode)
Kirby's Dream Land is not a long game. If you take it to work with you, you'll probably have it beaten during your lunch break. It's not meant to be easy or lengthy. However, beat the game and a new mode will be available to you called the Extra Mode.
Right away, it's clear that there's something different this time around. The enemies look and behave differently, and Kirby has half of his health. To keep this short, the Extra Mode is an unforgiving gauntlet of tough enemies and endless hazards that all want to murder Kirby where he stands. Because he can fly, the traps fly in from all sides of the screen. Don't even get me started on that Kabula fight either.
If you're into first-person shooters, then we recommend you check out SUPERHOT. This game builds itself on one mechanic: time moves only when you do. This means that bullets won't fly, guns won't fire, and enemies won't attack until you move. The game features many levels centered around this mechanic that require quick thinking and excellent problem-solving skills.
The nature of the game is very fast, and the campaign can be completed in about an hour or so. However, SUPERHOT eventually challenges you to speedrun the entire thing. Some people have been able to manage it under 20 minutes, and the VR game can be done in just under 10. To be able to do this, you'll need to understand how the game works and not move too quickly, or you'll die without a second thought. It's not an easy task.
12 Slender: The Eight Pages
The days when horror games were all the rage spawned many classic titles. Among them was a little game called Slender: The Eight Pages. A completely free game, Slender puts you in a dark forest where you'll come across mysterious pages. It's then that drums begin pounding and the thought of something following you becomes clear.
As you collect more pages, the benevolent Slenderman will become smarter and more difficult to avoid. In order to beat the game, it has to be done quickly. If you dilly dally for too long, he will catch you. Conserving your energy and flashlight are both difficult tasks, and the only way to beat the game consistently is by knowing where everything is, which is made more difficult by the fact that the pages can switch locations.
11 Super Mario World
When it comes to Mario games, Super Mario World remains one of the best. Featuring a sprawling world, new power-ups to acquire, and a beautiful score, there are few platformers that could dethrone it. However, there is a lot of content to explore in this game, which makes it seem nearly impossible to beat quickly.
Keeping that in mind, there is a way where you can skip almost all of the game and travel straight to Bowser's Castle. That being said, it's not an easy journey. You have to find two secrets, travel through the Star Road, and jump off at the right stop. That's without factoring in how tough the last level is, let alone the fight with Bowser himself.
If there were ever a pickup and play roguelike that would go down in history as one of the greatest games of all time, it would be Spelunky. This little platformer holds nothing back from the start, forcing you to learn how the games work, what the best strategies are for survival, and how to get by each situation. However, the game is randomly generated, so you'll never get into a steady rhythm.
The game can be completed in just a few short minutes, but that's assuming you never die along the way. If you lose your life, you have to start the whole thing over again. What makes it worse is that the further you get into the game, the more dangers appear that you must learn to overcome.
9 Lethal League
Lethal League is one of those games that you just have to play to understand. You and up to three other people control characters who are tasked with hitting a ball in the middle of the arena. Anytime someone gets hit by the ball (after it has been hit by someone else), they get knocked out and lose a life.
As you can imagine, this game gets fairly intense as the difficulty increases. When it comes to offline content, there isn't a lot going on, but it will require that you master the skills in the game in order to complete it. Popping and guarding are things you should know before going online to take the competition across the globe.
8 Donkey Kong
Moving things backward a few steps, we have the original Donkey Kong for the arcade and NES. Despite having only four levels, each one presents new challenges that, when combined with how Mario moves, make for a difficult experience. As you can imagine, when done perfectly, the game can be beaten in a matter of minutes.
Despite this, it will take a massive amount of patience in order to do this. Donkey Kong will continuously chuck barrels that have random movement patterns, and fireballs will be roaming the ground behind you, blocking where you can go. Top it all off with the fact that Mario will die if he falls from too high up, and you've got a game that will make people rip their hair out.
When it comes to classic shooter games, none boast the insane difficulty of Sinistar. Imagine you're playing Asteroid, but everything is moving five times faster, other little ships are flying around to kill you, and your field of vision is restricted. That's basically the design of Sinistar.
If you're skilled enough to take on the various obstacles, you'll hear the inevitable "Beware. I live." At that point, it's a sign of death, as the vicious Sinistar himself shows up to destroy you. He himself is a hard bugger to take down, but you have to do it while other obstacles are still flying around at all times. If you're determined to beat it, you'll likely be playing for weeks.
6 Zombie Estate 2
If you thought we were above making obscure game references on this list, you'd be wrong. Zombie Estate was a small game that made it to the Xbox Live Arcade and later refined with its sequel. Zombie Estate 2 takes you and up to three people in a top down environment where crazy hordes of the undead will try and take you down.
While the easy rounds are extremely easy, it comes to a certain point where the zombies are much more powerful than the weapons you carry. Even if you spend the currency to get a better gun, odds are that it won't be enough. You have to always be on your toes in Zombie Estate 2 and unlike other survival games, camping is generally a bad idea.
Action games are all the rage, but how about an isometric action game where the level generates as you move and a suave narrator backs you up? Bastion is one of the most well-crafted indie games to ever be put into thought, but it's not for the faint of heart. Bastion holds many level hazards and enemies that you likely won't beat the first time through, making it a difficult game to predict.
While the game takes a bit longer than 10 minutes to beat, it's still a quick adventure if you're into rushing through it. However, to rush through Bastion would be a disservice to you and the game. It deserves each player to take the time to step back and appreciate what's been crafted from start to finish.
4 Mega Man
Mega Man will always be loved by many (perhaps that's because no one has managed to revive the series or style of gameplay), and the first game will go down in history as one of the hardest. Having nothing to rely on but your blaster as well as a progression system where you decide where to go, Mega Man doesn't beat around the bush. It sends tough enemies and bosses your way, which can only be defeated by those who learn the game thoroughly.
Due to its quick level design, Mega Man can be beaten in a short amount of time, but it will take every ounce of skill that you have to do so. Sure, you gain more power-ups and abilities along the way, but in the grand scheme of it all, they don't decrease the amount of deaths you'll have.
3 ARMS (Level 7)
ARMS is a special game; not only does it make motion controls fun, but it makes them more intuitive than using an actual controller. Despite this design and how fun everything looks, the game's AI is brutal. In order to "beat" the game, you have to complete Grand Prix mode on at least level 4, and that's not an easy task in and of itself. If you ramp it up all the way, you're in for a true nightmare.
No matter how good at ARMS you may be, the AI will always find a way to outsmart you in local play. It seems that they respond to every move you make and are always three steps ahead. While it's not impossible, it's easy to say that the opponents programmed into the game are harder to beat than most people you'll play against online. Good luck.
2 Dead Cells
If you're looking for a beautiful and difficult new game to try out, I suggest you try Dead Cells. This retro-inspired Metroidvania game incorporates many roguelike elements into its design. Among these is how brutally difficult it is. While the player character is no slouch, all of his abilities do little when tough enemies dominate the screen.
The game incorporates a brutal death system, so it's not a long game by any means. It will just take every ounce of perseverance and skill that you have. The combat is precise, similar to Dark Souls, where if ever you get hit, it's likely your fault. Keep in mind the game is still in early access and could change significantly in the future.
One of the latest indie games to release on the Nintendo Switch is GoNNER. This procedurally-generated roguelike sees you take control of a little water drop named Ikk. You grab a gun, mask, and backpack before you walk through the depths of multiple worlds. The levels are insanely fast and you'll pass through the first few with ease. However, once you get to the boss fights and later worlds, you realize that you're in for something brutal.
During my playthrough, the only reason I was able to make it through the last world was that I ran nonsensically to the end of each level and had enough hearts to take a few hits before getting a game over. This game doesn't play nice, but if you want to explore everything it has to offer, you'll have to operate on its terms.