A List of 15 Underappreciated Games
The cost of making games is relatively lower than making a film, hence there obviously are a huge number of games that you can play right now in your browser or even your smartphones. So it is a given that there will be many more games going under the radar even with their high quality. Here is a list of underappreciated and obscure games that are worth the time and money (maybe):
Westerado: Double Barreled is a procedurally generated detective game set in the wild west. As it happens with 8-bit games this one is also very difficult to play yet the difficulty is in no way unfair. Amongst the 2D Pixel Graphics Open-World is a humorous, brutal wild west tale that fulfils the fantasy of becoming the fastest gunslinger of the town. It is available for PC and Xbox One.
ANATOMY by Kitty Horrorshow is a very unique horror game in that it scares not by foreboding sounds nor any entity following you. It scares you through...I won’t spoil it although even if I spoil it the horror won’t die. Simply because ANATOMY leaves the scaring you to yourself only. If you are feeling brave enough go grab it from itch.io (PC).
Florence brings the essence of Romance Stories to gaming without complex mechanics and the sleaziness of visual novels(not that I mind;-P). A heartbreaking and heartwarming story which probes into all those known yet hard strings about how falling in or out of love changes us and the world around us. It is available to play on PC, macOS, Switch, Android and iOS.
Cultist Simulator is a deck building with a minimalist yet charming art style. But this isn’t a typical card game— here you are tasked with building a Cult through “exparimenting” with the game. In one go you may not even get to anywhere and end in a mundane way, in other you may end up cannibalising your own followers or you may even be acquainted with elder beings. The writing is immaculate with a morbid sense of humour yet it isn’t an edgy wannabe rather it is quite alluring in its charm and before you know it you have built yourself a cult or wait are you even alive? The game is available on Android, PC, Linux, macOS, iOS.
Pathologic 2 is a surreal gem which is both a sequel and a remake of the previous game (because the previous game is actually rife with bugs and inaccessible gameplay). It is one of those few open-world survival RPG that successfully does psychological horror in a game. The world presented here is equally bleak and humorous accentuating the atmospheric and surreal vibe of the game. The game was released for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
Void Bastards is a visually stunning first-person roguelike immersive sim, therefore, it places emphasis on planning ahead and planning on your toes to survive the Kafkaesque space bureaucracy. Inspired from BioShock and System Shock 2 one of the most elegant things about it is how well it meshes different genres, not for feature padding but meaningful gameplay innovation. The game is out in PC, Xbox One, Switch, PS4.
American Fugitive is a love letter to 90’s GTA back when it was top-down and a bit more arcadey. But this title brings a much appreciated polish and modernises the gameplay with a much more elegance and brings more fun to the table than its 90’s counterpart. As much a revamp American Fugitive also has its own distinct identity thereby elevating itself from a mere clone to an appreciable game on its own. It is available to play on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch.
Titanfall 2 went under the rug even after being a brilliant follow up to the title that changed and shook the stagnating genre of the first-person shooter, forgoing the cover mechanics and bringing in agility to the party. It is the second game which shines because of its addition of a fantastic singleplayer campaign which was hilariously voice-acted and deftly paced. It is sad that the publisher bugled its marketing thereby pushing a AAA game under the radar. If you love FPS then get this game on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Eternal Sonata is an examination of the value of artistry and a Renowned Artist’s approach to life itself. In this beautiful JRPG, you play as the real-life Polish composer, Frédéric Chopin who explores through his dreams while in the last hours of his life. With a phenomenal setting and a gorgeous Akira Toriyama art style, the game presents us with a thoughtful rumination on Chopin whose life was tragically cut short by tuberculosis at age 39. The game is available to play on Xbox 360, PS 3, Emulators on PC.
Killer7 is a game which holds its players in utter contempt, and in a toxic relationship. Yet, this game will always bring you back with a seductive desire. This game, boldly murders any conventions (genre, interface, gameplay) and holds up while falling to disgrace. A game which is flawed by design and is all style and no substance is also the exact opposite. This game is a must play for a trippy Saturday evening and is available on PC, GameCube, PS 2.
The Gardens Between is a serene puzzle adventure game which works best when played with another friend. The game incorporates time both as a gameplay and as a narrative technique very elegantly. Cast as two friends exploring dreamlike places filled with memories of their childhood. A game about nostalgia and childhood friendship blossoms beautifully when everything comes together. The game is available to play on PC, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, Switch, PS 4, Xbox One.
Surge 2 as a sequel to the Sci-Fi Soulslike brings a whole lot of new things instead of treading the same ground. In the gameplay many souls games conventions have been updated or subverted in novel ways to give itself an identity of its own while giving Soulslike a validation as a genre.
Invisible Inc. is a stealth based tactics game. This underappreciated gem merges two of the most strategic genre into an elegant game about conspiracies, espionage much in the vein of high stakes Heist movies. This game pushes you to take risk for a much tempting rewards while allowing creation of systems based stories.
Judgement is a spin-off of the much appraised Yakuza series with a different story to tell. In the game you play as a detective trying to solve a gritty series of murders while navigating the underbelly of yakuza filled Tokyo. The game has obvious Yakuza inspired design on its sleeve yet the experience is one that is very different, along with a unique combat system that is as over the top as it gets.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl, based on the novel Roadside Picnic and the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky, is an uniquely atmospheric experience and a unique gameplay centered around survival in a harsh open world. The gameplay was very novel which would later on become an influential template for other survival games to follow. Yet, the gameplay till this day is something which no other game has every come to close to recreating. Playing now the game may feel aged but, the gameplay at offer here is one of the most frustrating yet rewarding experience of highly emergent gameplay.
Honorable Mentions: BPM: Bullet Per Minute, Inertial Drift, John Wick Hex, Hardspace: Shipbreaker, NaissanceE.