16 votes

What are some games that exceed expectations?

I'd love to hear about some games that are surprisingly good, deep, or different. As in, the premise or the presentation of the game does not bode well or looks weak, but the game itself rises above those preconceptions and limitations to be greater, richer, or more interesting than you expected. Think games like: a surprisingly good movie tie-in, a really great edutainment experience, a well-executed corporate mascot platformer, etc.

What is it about the game that sets your expectations low, and how does the game overcome that low anchoring?

7 comments

  1. [3]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal immediately comes to mind. Even just this game's name does not inspire confidence. I'm sorry, but anything with creeper in the title just doesn't cut it for me. The...

    Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal immediately comes to mind.

    Even just this game's name does not inspire confidence. I'm sorry, but anything with creeper in the title just doesn't cut it for me.

    The graphics of Creeper World 3 are also, at a glance, pretty "meh". The game's visuals are not necessarily bad, I would just say it looks browser-game good.

    But look closer...

    I swear to god, Creeper World 3 is not only the best tower defense/real-time strategy hybrid ever made, I would even go as far as to say it is the best tower defense game, period, and one of the best RTS games, ever. It is such a phenomenally fun and challenging experience, even with a relatively limited set of mechanics and tactics.

    The game has a lengthy campaign whose story quality is perfectly fine for what the game is, and then once you beat the main story, there are even more hand crafted missions, hundreds, to play, and then there is a level editor to design your own levels, and then there is a built-in scripting language to make your own player, ally, and enemy units, and then there is a central repository where you can download levels made by other players, complete with the custom things they scripted into them.

    And it's all made by one fucking dude.

    10/10.

    The same guy then came back and made Particle Fleet: Emergence, which, while being a very different game from Creeper World 3, still has a lot of the same features. I recommend everyone try out both games.

    Finally, this motherfucker is currently developing Creeper World 4 in three dimensions. Insane.


    The developer's YouTube channel has a lot of videos showcasing Creeper World 4's development, for anyone interested.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      asoftbird
      Link Parent
      Didn't it start as an online flash game?

      I would just say it looks browser-game good.

      Didn't it start as an online flash game?

      3 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Not exactly. The first two games were made with Adobe AIR. Creeper World 3 was made in Unity. There was a browser-based minigame prequel released after the third game that used a Unity browser...

        Not exactly. The first two games were made with Adobe AIR. Creeper World 3 was made in Unity.

        There was a browser-based minigame prequel released after the third game that used a Unity browser plugin.

        4 votes
  2. [2]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Craft the World is a 2D game about dwarves and base-building. If I were to tell you about its mechanics, it would appear to be a castrated version of Dwarf Fortress: it has much less of everything...

    Craft the World is a 2D game about dwarves and base-building. If I were to tell you about its mechanics, it would appear to be a castrated version of Dwarf Fortress: it has much less of everything Dwarf Fortress has to offer.

    And yet...

    I have just shy of a hundred hours of casual play in it. It is, somehow, very entertaining to start over, and collect all the basic tools again, and build an underground base again... It is, generally speaking, a simple game that has very few mechanics that go beyond easy-to-get. Yet, somehow, it isn't perfectly easy to master – at least for a casual player like myself.

    It's a very good casual game for the type of a player that enjoys base-building but can't be bothered to think things through at the moment: it's for when they want to relax, or engage themselves in a simpler game.

    It's a simpler version of Minecraft where you set orders for multiple characters with an overview of what you're doing.

    6 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      That is my very favorite style of gaming. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

      It's a very good casual game for the type of a player that enjoys base-building but can't be bothered to think things through at the moment: it's for when they want to relax, or engage themselves in a simpler game.

      That is my very favorite style of gaming. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

  3. Deimos
    Link
    I think I'll have to go with the One Finger Death Punch games (linked to the second one). The game's art is mostly stick-figures, and you play entirely by pushing two buttons—one to attack to your...

    I think I'll have to go with the One Finger Death Punch games (linked to the second one). The game's art is mostly stick-figures, and you play entirely by pushing two buttons—one to attack to your left, and one to attack to your right.

    Despite being that minimal, they still managed to put a surprising amount of style and variance into the game, and it just feels great to play overall. I never expected to like it, and originally just tried the first one out as part of a high-score competition with some friends during Extra Life. I bought it immediately after and have ended up playing about 40 hours between the two games. It's not really the type of game to play in long stretches, but it's great to drop into for a few levels here and there.

    5 votes
  4. Kuromantis
    Link
    Freeways. Full walkthrough Wikipedia article (or in this case stub) It's essentially a traffic simulating game where you need to draw the roads to make traffic as fast and efficient as possible,...

    Freeways.
    Full walkthrough
    Wikipedia article (or in this case stub)
    It's essentially a traffic simulating game where you need to draw the roads to make traffic as fast and efficient as possible, but in increasingly unique scenarios which actually make the game quite challenging.

    4 votes