I’ve played a lot, and I mean a lot, of games over the years. Generally, I’m pretty good at picking up ones that are pretty good, whether that’s through reviews or word of mouth. Things like the Steam user review system helps with this, as does the internet in general! Having said that, from time to time I’ve managed to end up buying and playing an absolute stinker.
A while back I wrote about games that are often referred to as being ‘the worst game ever‘ in spite of them not really being all that bad by comparison to the genuinely awful. These are ones I’ve played and think are utterly dreadful (in hindsight in some cases). It was actually more difficult to think of ones I’d played than I expected, but I think I’ve found some really bad ones. Enjoy!
This seemed like such a neat idea! Explore a haunted house over the course of 30 days. Every day you’ll find more and more of the house and its grounds is open to you, and every night more and more strange stuff starts to happen. Your character’s health is tied to how you, the player, react to various surprises, events, and (of course) jump scares. If you jump, which I think is worked out by sudden movements of your mouse, then your character loses a little health, until they lose so much that they’re scared to death. There are a ton of rooms and loads of events to experience.
The problem is that the house is too big. Every day there’s more to explore, and you’ll need to go through the same rooms you’ve already visited every day before to find if anything has changed or if a previously locked door is now magically opened. It’s nothing short of tedious. The scares are poor, the story is non-existent, and the character health thing doesn’t work. I lost health when I looked around trying to find the jump scare that I heard but didn’t see. The puzzles are nothing more than ‘find the right key for this door’, which just requires you to walk around even more. A boring slog that I gave up on by the 15th day. I dread to think how dull the later days are when there’s even more empty space to walk around. Maybe that’s what the real horror is…
I remembered this fondly from when I was much younger. Playing those Star Wars scenes with the fancy (for the time) visuals was something I did over and over again. At its core, Rebel Assault is really just a series of mini-games set during the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, all played using FMV visuals. Sometimes you’d be flying a ship through a canyon, other times you’d be taking cover behind walls before popping out to shoot at stormtroopers.
It’s dreadful. The controls are clunky, the visuals grainy and hard to read, and the collision detection a mess. The number of times I’d crash my shuttle because I supposedly hit a wall I was well clear of is astronomical. Go and take a look on Steam! You can buy both the first game and its follow up in a bundle. I say ‘look’ because you shouldn’t buy it unless you want an ugly, messy game that simply does not hold up. At the time I can understand why I was wowed by the visuals, but in reality, the actual ‘game’ aspect is just dreadful.
I think this one takes the title of ‘Worst Game I’ve Ever Played’ (although it may be in competition with another game on this list). I reviewed this for Big Boss Battle because the trailer looked somewhat interesting. I like a decent third-person cover-based shooter, and this looks at least competent. Run around, take cover, shoot aliens and robots! What could go wrong? As it turns out, everything.
From a terrible framerate to broken gameplay, there was nothing good about Gene Rain. The story made absolutely no sense, thanks in part to one of the worst translation efforts I’ve ever heard. Then there are the seemingly unconnected levels, with zombies one minute and flying death machines the next. The sound is broken, the graphics are broken, and the game itself is broken. I managed to break the game on four occasions whilst playing it through, and it’s not a long game to start with. I beat the final boss without realising it was the finale, rather I thought it was the end of the first chapter. Genuinely one of the worst things I’ve ever played.
This is the game that Gene Rain is in competition with. Again, I reviewed this for Big Boss Battle (honestly, I don’t just review bad games for them!), thinking a game about running a spy safe house in a foreign dictatorship sounded like a cool idea. And it was a cool idea! It’s a shame the execution was utter shit.
What starts out as a neat idea, with you having to use the correct phrase and counter phrase to identify spies when they come into the safe house’s front, become tedious as each new room just gives you another simple mini-game to complete. Once you’ve built the six-or-so rooms, you’ve seen everything there is and just need to repeat the mini-games (and I do mean mini) over and over until the game ends. There’s nothing interesting here beyond the premise. Add the sloppy presentation, bizarrely disparate art styles, and the fact that sometimes your mouse clicks just don’t work, and you’ve got a dreadful product.
Still Life 2
I’ve talked about this game before. It’s the sequel (surprisingly) to Still Life, which is the sequel to Post Mortem. All the games are point-and-click and surround an investigation into murders over the course of nearly 100 years. The initial game’s descendent features in Still Life, but the game ends on a cliff hanger that leads into Still Life 2. The murders are grisly, and the investigation is interesting! This game starts out well enough, with the protagonist being captured and locked in a Saw-like house, filled with horrifying murder devices that have clearly been used more than once.
The problem is that it was boring and horribly paced. It took forever to get any more story, and part of the problem was the ludicrously obtuse puzzles. It’s the classic point-and-click issue of ‘guess what the developer was thinking’ that leads to so many of the solutions seeming to be utterly nonsensical. Just as I thought I was reaching the conclusion, something happened and I ended up in an entirely new area, at which point I gave up and decided it just wasn’t very good. No more boredom, please!
A couple of honourable mentions here. Plague Road has a cool art style but boring, grindy gameplay. It uses Rogue-lite in the worst way, by having you repeat tedious combat over and over to progress. Then there’s Clicker Heroes which I’ve inexplicably spent over 50 hours on. It’s barely even a game as you don’t even need to interact with it, being an idle game. I don’t know what possessed me to spend so long on it. I’m sure there are plenty more, but my brain can’t stand thinking about it any further. What are your worst games ever?