21 votes

What's a noteworthy game that you never see mentioned anywhere?

Maybe it's a random itch.io find; maybe it's a minor title from a long forgotten console; maybe it's a dev project your friend asked you to play test. Whatever it is, you think it's neat, and you never see it mentioned anywhere.

Tell us about the game -- what is it? Why is it noteworthy? Do you think it deserves more recognition than it's gotten? Why do you think it's as hidden away as it is?

31 comments

  1. [2]
    DeFaced
    Link
    The original 2006 Prey. It suffered from so many delays and game engine swaps it was almost Duke Nukem Forever status, but when it came out it was a very good FPS. The shooting mechanics were...

    The original 2006 Prey. It suffered from so many delays and game engine swaps it was almost Duke Nukem Forever status, but when it came out it was a very good FPS. The shooting mechanics were excellent, and the fact that you never really die was so interesting because you could play a sort of mini-game and come back to life, it never really let you drop out of the combat. It also played around with zero gravity and inter-dimensional portals.

    It's a shame this game is so overlooked, it's an excellent game that's very hard to find and can't be purchased on Steam. It ends in a cliffhanger that was supposed to be fleshed out a bit with side stories in the original Prey 2 but that was cancelled and we got the Arkane Studios Prey instead. It's one of my favorite games, albeit it's very generic in many ways by today's standards and hasn't aged too terribly well, but it's still incredibly fun. There's a reason I've always kept an Xbox 360 copy of it on my shelf.

    11 votes
    1. bub
      Link Parent
      I also really liked the 2017 Prey too though. Unfortunately, it also got less recognition than it should have in my opinion. Two unrelated, great, games given the short end of the publicity stick....

      I also really liked the 2017 Prey too though. Unfortunately, it also got less recognition than it should have in my opinion. Two unrelated, great, games given the short end of the publicity stick.

      Although I do remember the publications I read at the time (2006-ish), like PC Gamer, PC Magazine, etc., talking about the first Prey quite a bit actually.

      5 votes
  2. [5]
    joplin
    Link
    I really liked No One Lives Forever, but don't see it mentioned too often. It no longer works on modern OSes, and attempts to port it have been stymied by the legal issues explained in the link....

    I really liked No One Lives Forever, but don't see it mentioned too often. It no longer works on modern OSes, and attempts to port it have been stymied by the legal issues explained in the link. So it's sort of fallen through the cracks. (Apparently there are some fan ports, but I haven't had a chance to try them and no longer have my original install disks.)

    It was a really great game for a number of reasons. It was funny. A large part of the game is waiting around a corner listening to the bad guys talk about their plans. The game is set in the 1960s cold-war era and is a lot like a James Bond movie. The various bad guys work for a number of different corrupt organizations with humorous names and ideologies, and the henchmen of these organizations often talk about them as if they were some everyday corporation.

    The game is also sprawling in its scope in a way that's similar to the original Half Life. At various points you infiltrate a Bavarian village, a high-rise construction site, corporate offices, a space launch site, the space ship while it's in space, a Scottish glen, and more I don't remember. There's even a second game on the disk that starts out shortly after the main game ended where your character is on vacation relaxing after the whole experience and a monkey steals her gun. After chasing the monkey you find that H.A.R.M. (the main bad guys) are still up to no good and you have to stop them.

    In addition, it had a pretty decent multiplayer component, too. You could find servers and play with others using all the crazy weapons and gadgets the game contained.

    All-in-all, a great game, but I rarely see it mentioned beyond the talk of the legal troubles with porting it. The follow-up was pretty mediocre, unfortunately.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      TheJorro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Oh hey, I just reinstalled these two games last month. They're abandonware so they're freely distributed. Here's the main place to get them now: http://nolfrevival.tk/ It looks like a sketchy site...

      Oh hey, I just reinstalled these two games last month. They're abandonware so they're freely distributed. Here's the main place to get them now:

      http://nolfrevival.tk/

      It looks like a sketchy site but it's legitimate, I installed from there just fine without issues and have been enjoying replaying them. On a brief play of both, I thought the second game especially holds up much better than the original but they're both worth a play I think, I barely remember how they stacked up since I was so young when I first encountered them.

      Excellent games, criminally forgotten thanks to licensing disputes.

      EDIT: Reputable source for this download.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        joplin
        Link Parent
        I presume these only work on Windows? I am on macOS, so that won't work for me, unfortunately.

        I presume these only work on Windows? I am on macOS, so that won't work for me, unfortunately.

        1. TheJorro
          Link Parent
          The games apparently have a Platinum and Gold rating on WineHQ, if that's helpful, so it might still be possible to play it on OSX through Wine.

          The games apparently have a Platinum and Gold rating on WineHQ, if that's helpful, so it might still be possible to play it on OSX through Wine.

          4 votes
    2. Akir
      Link Parent
      Right before making this game, they made Shogo: Mobile Armour Division, which was supposed to be "Anime: The FPS". I love the game, but it's an extremely hard sell, doubly so after considering...

      Right before making this game, they made Shogo: Mobile Armour Division, which was supposed to be "Anime: The FPS".

      I love the game, but it's an extremely hard sell, doubly so after considering it's age. The game was rushed through to be the first game on a brand new 3D game engine while at the exact same time this tiny studio was contractually obligated to make Blood 2 (on the same untested engine, no less). Needless to say, there are a lot of cut corners on this game and the enemy AI is very much unfair.

      The thing that makes it unique was that it was (by a very narrow margin) one of the first FPS games to really try to put a narrative up front, and this game does have an interesting plot to keep you invested. The real appeal of the game is that it has you on and off giant mechs, and the mechs have some really awesome science fiction weapons.

      Even with all the cut corners, it still oozes with character. There are posters all over the place that reference Evangelion and Macross, and with the varied locations, combined with the sense of scale you get while on your mech, make it seem like a long interesting journey. And while the plot seems to be really contrived - it seems to really bolt on drama at every turn it can - the voice acting is good enough that you won't really notice it. And of course, it's even got that anime style opening song!

      Blood 2 nearly tanked Monolith - their publisher was going out of business and it seemed that they were going to take Monolith down with them. If it weren't for Shogo, they wouldn't be around today. That being said, NOLF is probably a bit better of an example of the quality of game that Monolith makes.

      And of course, if you want to see some of Monolith's best games, just play their most popular games, F.E.A.R., Condemned: Criminal Origins, and the Shadow of Mordor games.

      4 votes
  3. [4]
    markhurst
    Link
    Not enough people talk about nethack, freeware roguelike still going strong (and being updated) since the mid-1980s. http://www.nethack.org

    Not enough people talk about nethack, freeware roguelike still going strong (and being updated) since the mid-1980s.
    http://www.nethack.org

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Minor thing but NetHack is actually copyleft free software under the "NetHack General Public License"

      Minor thing but NetHack is actually copyleft free software under the "NetHack General Public License"

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        markhurst
        Link Parent
        What's the difference between freeware and free software?

        What's the difference between freeware and free software?

        3 votes
        1. Moonchild
          Link Parent
          ‘Freeware’ usually refers to software which can be acquired free of charge. ‘Free software’ usually refers to software whose source code is freely available, user-modifiable, and shareable.

          ‘Freeware’ usually refers to software which can be acquired free of charge.

          ‘Free software’ usually refers to software whose source code is freely available, user-modifiable, and shareable.

          8 votes
  4. [4]
    Crespyl
    Link
    Iji, released as freeware by Daniel Remar way back in 2008, right at the beginning of that big indie boom (just a few months before both World of Goo and Spelunky, in fact). It's a sci-fi...

    Iji, released as freeware by Daniel Remar way back in 2008, right at the beginning of that big indie boom (just a few months before both World of Goo and Spelunky, in fact).

    It's a sci-fi side-scrolling platformer/shooter, with fairly expansive levels, a couple of different enemy factions with some interesting infighting, a nifty weapon combining/upgrading system, and some light RPG elements. There's a few routes through the story and some secrets to find hidden across the map.

    Iji was one of the first games I encountered where your playstyle would be tracked (as opposed to just the explicit dialogue choices) and could affect the story. The factions will notice if you're playing with a pacifist or warlike approach, or if you favor one side over the other, and their in-game behavior and dialogue will change accordingly.

    It definitely had a big impact on my taste in games, and I've always felt that it's been somewhat overlooked in the years since.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Wes
      Link Parent
      Ah, I remember Iji. There were actually a lot of great early Game Maker games. Seiklus was a really well done exploration game. The Karoshi games by Jesse Venbrux. An Untitled Story and the Jumper...

      Ah, I remember Iji. There were actually a lot of great early Game Maker games.

      • Seiklus was a really well done exploration game.
      • The Karoshi games by Jesse Venbrux.
      • An Untitled Story and the Jumper games by Maddy Thorson were some of my favourites. They've always had an eye for great level design. Super happy to see them recognized for their title Celeste.
      • Sandbox of God by David Galindo (Vertigo Gaming) was a simple concept but always amused me. While I didn't care for the genre Ore no Ryomi was also the progenitor of Cook, Serve, Delicious.
      • More notable games by Vlambeer, Hopoo Games and others.

      Not all of these devs went on to become famous, but a good number of them did. I find that really encouraging that for many of these devs, working away at their passion really did pay off.

      5 votes
      1. Crespyl
        Link Parent
        Oh, I'd completely forgotten about Seiklus! I remember the Karoshi games as well, though Untitled Story wasn't familiar to me. Those were heady days, with so many Game Maker games popping up, plus...

        Oh, I'd completely forgotten about Seiklus! I remember the Karoshi games as well, though Untitled Story wasn't familiar to me.

        Those were heady days, with so many Game Maker games popping up, plus all the creativity going on in the Flash space, and sites like Rock Paper Shotgun and TIGSource to help concentrate discovery and discussion of the most interesting.

        2 votes
    2. Akir
      Link Parent
      Hey! I played this not too long ago. It was pretty decent, but my goodness is it difficult, especially if you are a completionist. I'm not sure that it's actually possible to complete a "kill...

      Hey! I played this not too long ago. It was pretty decent, but my goodness is it difficult, especially if you are a completionist. I'm not sure that it's actually possible to complete a "kill everyone" route.

      3 votes
  5. [3]
    bkimmel
    Link
    I would say SpaceChem, which served as the inspiration for a lot of process/engineering games like Factorio and Oxygen Not Included, but you don't see it discussed much anymore. Still holds up as...

    I would say SpaceChem, which served as the inspiration for a lot of process/engineering games like Factorio and Oxygen Not Included, but you don't see it discussed much anymore. Still holds up as a great game, even though it must be 15ish years old by now.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      As someone who loved SpaceChem back in the day, this made me feel very, VERY old. I double checked, and it turns out the game has only been out for 9 years, which makes me feel only slightly less...

      Still holds up as a great game, even though it must be 15ish years old by now.

      As someone who loved SpaceChem back in the day, this made me feel very, VERY old. I double checked, and it turns out the game has only been out for 9 years, which makes me feel only slightly less old. :)

      3 votes
      1. bkimmel
        Link Parent
        Nice! Thanks, that makes me feel a little younger, too.

        Nice! Thanks, that makes me feel a little younger, too.

        3 votes
  6. [2]
    ohyran
    Link
    Thomas was alone. First time I ever started crying over a tiny set of pixels.

    Thomas was alone. First time I ever started crying over a tiny set of pixels.

    6 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Thomas Was Alone was fantastic! It was a great testament to the idea that narrative can augment gameplay in a pretty powerful way. While his other games aren't as resonant as Thomas, I've yet to...

      Thomas Was Alone was fantastic! It was a great testament to the idea that narrative can augment gameplay in a pretty powerful way.

      While his other games aren't as resonant as Thomas, I've yet to play something by Mike Bithell that I haven't liked. I also just learned in linking that page that he has a new game out. On the wishlist it goes!

      2 votes
  7. FishFingus
    Link
    Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal. Like a 3D Pokemon game with fairies. Made by a German company, IIRC, with a planned expansion or sequel that was sadly never released. Very decent, with some memorable...

    Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal. Like a 3D Pokemon game with fairies. Made by a German company, IIRC, with a planned expansion or sequel that was sadly never released. Very decent, with some memorable music and fun combat.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    floweringmind
    Link
    Call of Saregnar is greatly inspired by the classic RPG Betrayal at Krondor, while also taking hints from Daggerfall, Might & Magic VI, RoA: Star Trail and other titles of the 90’s....

    Call of Saregnar is greatly inspired by the classic RPG Betrayal at Krondor, while also taking hints from Daggerfall, Might & Magic VI, RoA: Star Trail and other titles of the 90’s.
    https://www.callofsaregnar.com

    5 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      As someone who loved Betrayal at Krondor back in the day, this looks great. Thanks for putting it on my radar! I actually tried replaying Krondor relatively recently via GOG's version but found...

      As someone who loved Betrayal at Krondor back in the day, this looks great. Thanks for putting it on my radar! I actually tried replaying Krondor relatively recently via GOG's version but found that my modern gaming sensibilities could no longer see past the game's age. This looks like something that could give me the classic experience I want but with the quality of life of a modern reinterpretation.

      3 votes
  9. nothis
    Link
    Mushroom 11. It has maybe the most unique controls and mechanics of a game I've ever played, you play a strange blob you move by deleting "cells" on the one side that regrow on the other. Rather...

    Mushroom 11. It has maybe the most unique controls and mechanics of a game I've ever played, you play a strange blob you move by deleting "cells" on the one side that regrow on the other. Rather than slimy and soft, the resulting shape stays rigid, allowing you to form it into all kinds of "tools" to navigate the world and defeat enemies. The game is also quite beautiful, with strange, dystopian landscapes, alien-looking lifeforms and a narrative told without words. Think Annihilation, but without people.

    I guess the game came out just when physics platformers were growing out of style a little but it's absolutely one of the best of its kind and one of my favorite indie games, period. Sidenote: Development of this game produced this famous listing of 2D camera systems in videogames, which remains one of the best and most complete articles on a game mechanic I've ever came across. Needless to say, Mushroom 11's camera is excellent but it's one of these things you don't really notice when they work.

    5 votes
  10. just_a_salmon
    Link
    Mandagon Steam is a short platformer with simple mechanics and story.

    Mandagon Steam is a short platformer with simple mechanics and story.

    4 votes
  11. Rocket_Man
    Link
    I think Gladius is a good example of this. In a lot of ways it's unremarkable, but the way it implemented tactics combat was great. Unlike XCOM or a lot of modern tactics games the arenas were...

    I think Gladius is a good example of this. In a lot of ways it's unremarkable, but the way it implemented tactics combat was great. Unlike XCOM or a lot of modern tactics games the arenas were sometimes very small and your characters didn't die.

    The second thing I really liked is that it tied your performance to the characters performance. This was done with somewhat unimaginative quick time events for each type of attack. I really enjoyed this method of interaction over being given a 60% hit chance because in the end if I messed up and missed an attack it was my fault and I could improve.

    It also has a good range of characters and abilities. It received generally good scores but the story was fairly bland and it was limited to consoles which probably hurt it quite a bit. But I see Gladius as an underappreciated tactics game that has a of space to grow as a sub-type to the current tactics offerings.

    4 votes
  12. cardigan
    Link
    The four main Cing adventures -- Another Code, Hotel Dusk, and their sequels -- are among my very favorite games, but I rarely see anyone talking about them. When they are, it's usually to mention...

    The four main Cing adventures -- Another Code, Hotel Dusk, and their sequels -- are among my very favorite games, but I rarely see anyone talking about them. When they are, it's usually to mention the creative ways they used the DS hardware in Another Code and Hotel Dusk (in which the player holds the DS sideways like a mystery novel), but what I appreciate is their nostalgic and bittersweet atmosphere. The characters are invariably a little sad, and all searching for something.

    And at least in those first two games, there are secret endings that are not so much endings as they are poignant moments of detail. All the secret ending to Another Code really is is a birthday message to the main character, and in Hotel Dusk, a "nostalgic gift" that can be found in a normally locked room of the hotel. They're both totally inconsequential items, and of zero interest if you don't care about the characters. But if you do, it's very touching. Before those two games, I had never really encountered a developer who not only wrote characters so delicately, but who would celebrate them (and attentive players) in that kind of small but poetic way.

    It was unfortunate that the company went bankrupt in 2010. It was something that I think they knew was going to happen, as they seem to go out of their way to bring the characters from both series together for a sweet cameo in Another Code: R.

    4 votes
  13. Narddog124
    Link
    There's a free game on Steam called The Plan that everyone should play. It's very short and not really much of a game, but it's a fun 15 minutes: https://store.steampowered.com/app/250600/The_Plan/

    There's a free game on Steam called The Plan that everyone should play. It's very short and not really much of a game, but it's a fun 15 minutes: https://store.steampowered.com/app/250600/The_Plan/

    3 votes
  14. [3]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Descenders. It does a really good job of adapting THPS-style point scoring with the race mechanics of downhill mountain biking, with randomly generated levels so the game becomes more about...

    Descenders. It does a really good job of adapting THPS-style point scoring with the race mechanics of downhill mountain biking, with randomly generated levels so the game becomes more about problem solving than grinding on the same environments time and again. It has 9 hubs to go through (10 if there's a Career Plus secret hub), and a bunch of secret levels. It's a game I keep coming back to because it's frustrating in all the right ways, but I always feel like I can do better.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      YES. I loved Descenders. Very satisfying gameplay and sense of speed, although I felt that the game almost broke itself by the later levels, where there simply wasn't a way to land safely at the...

      YES. I loved Descenders. Very satisfying gameplay and sense of speed, although I felt that the game almost broke itself by the later levels, where there simply wasn't a way to land safely at the speeds the game tacitly nudged you towards.

      1 vote
      1. knocklessmonster
        Link Parent
        I had to look up the later speeds, but the Desert boss is very RNG dependent. I lose 2/3 of my run to the ring of fire on it, or coming up short. I think it's fine if they're harder and require...

        I had to look up the later speeds, but the Desert boss is very RNG dependent. I lose 2/3 of my run to the ring of fire on it, or coming up short. I think it's fine if they're harder and require some braking finesse.

        2 votes