In the vast landscape of video games, some titles shine brightly, while others remain hidden gems, waiting to be discovered. These underrated games often offer unique experiences, innovative gameplay, and captivating narratives that, for various reasons, didn’t receive the attention they deserved. In this article, we will explore a selection of underrated games from recent years that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. These games may not have made headlines, but they have certainly left an indelible mark on the gaming world.
1. “Hades” (2020)
Developed by Supergiant Games, “Hades” is an action-packed rogue-like dungeon crawler that received critical acclaim but still flew under the radar for many gamers. In this game, you play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, on a quest to escape the Underworld. With its engaging combat, rich storytelling, and stunning art style, “Hades” is a hidden gem that showcases the best of indie game development.
2. “A Plague Tale: Innocence” (2019)
“A Plague Tale: Innocence” is a gripping narrative-driven adventure that takes place in 14th-century France during the Black Plague. Developed by Asobo Studio, the game follows the journey of Amicia and her brother Hugo as they navigate a world filled with danger and supernatural forces. Its emotionally charged story, well-crafted characters, and hauntingly beautiful visuals make it a standout title that deserves more recognition.
3. “Oxenfree” (2016)
“Oxenfree” is an atmospheric supernatural thriller developed by Night School Studio. This narrative-driven game follows a group of friends who accidentally open a ghostly rift on an abandoned island. With its unique dialogue system, hauntingly immersive audio design, and a story that leaves a lasting impact, “Oxenfree” is a hidden gem that exemplifies the power of storytelling in gaming.
4. “Celeste” (2018)
Developed by Maddy Makes Games, “Celeste” is a challenging platformer that received widespread critical acclaim but remains somewhat underrated in the broader gaming community. The game tells the story of Madeline, a young woman climbing the titular mountain while confronting her inner demons. Its precise platforming, touching narrative, and beautiful pixel art make it a must-play for fans of the genre.
5. “Return of the Obra Dinn” (2018)
“Return of the Obra Dinn” is a unique puzzle adventure game developed by Lucas Pope. In this game, you play as an insurance investigator tasked with unraveling the mystery of the Obra Dinn, a ship that disappeared at sea but has now returned with its crew dead or missing. With its innovative time-manipulation mechanics and intriguing detective work, “Return of the Obra Dinn” offers a truly distinctive gaming experience.
6. “Outer Wilds” (2019)
“Outer Wilds,” developed by Mobius Digital, is an exploration-focused adventure game set in a solar system trapped in a time loop. Players uncover the mysteries of the universe as they navigate different planets, each with its own unique challenges and secrets. The game’s sense of wonder, open-ended exploration, and clever storytelling make it a hidden gem that encourages players to embrace the joy of discovery.
7. “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” (2017)
Ninja Theory’s “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” is a dark and emotional journey into the mind of Senua, a Celtic warrior battling psychosis. This psychological action-adventure game offers a harrowing and deeply personal narrative experience. With its exceptional audio design, stunning visuals, and a sensitive portrayal of mental health issues, “Hellblade” is a game that deserves more recognition for its artistic achievements.
8. “Disco Elysium” (2019)
“Disco Elysium,” developed by ZA/UM, is a narrative-driven RPG that explores themes of identity and existentialism. Players step into the shoes of a troubled detective in a city on the brink of collapse. The game’s deep storytelling, intricate character interactions, and thought-provoking dialogue system make it a hidden gem that offers a truly unique role-playing experience.
9. “Stardew Valley” (2016)
“Stardew Valley,” created by solo developer ConcernedApe, is a farming simulation game that has captured the hearts of many but is still underrated in some gaming circles. This charming game allows players to build and cultivate their farm, form relationships with townsfolk, and explore a delightful pixelated world. Its relaxing gameplay, endearing characters, and endless possibilities make it a hidden gem in the simulation genre.
10. “Baba Is You” (2019)
Developed by Hempuli Oy, “Baba Is You” is a puzzle game that defies conventions. In this game, players manipulate the rules themselves to solve puzzles. It’s a brain-bending experience that challenges players’ creativity and problem
-solving skills in unexpected ways.
These underrated games represent the diversity and innovation that thrives in the gaming industry. While they may not have enjoyed the same level of recognition as blockbuster titles, they have left an indelible mark on players who have had the privilege of experiencing them. So, the next time you’re looking for a gaming experience that goes beyond the mainstream, consider exploring these hidden gems. You might just discover a new favorite game that resonates with you on a deeply personal level.