Once in a while, there is a game that makes you go: “Huh?”. You let out an exasperated sigh and a confused expression appears on your face as you proceed through what is undoubtedly a fever dream of someone who spent too many hours locked inside a tiny, padded room.
That doesn’t mean weird games are unanimously bad. On the contrary – what lies in the deepest reaches of the developers’ minds can give birth to some very unique gameplay ideas, which in turn translate to excellent games. Many games that are currently considered avant-garde, extravagant or to put it simply, just plain bonkers, have turned out to be critical and commercial successes. This stands to prove that as long as plying the game is an overall fun experience, the players can swallow any crazy idea the devs throw at them.
Our list will present ten of the weirdest games to ever grace our computers and consoles. Some have weird mechanics, some are set in an out-there environment, some make you concerned about the mental state of people who made them. But one thing that they do have in common is that they are decent titles, offering interesting mechanics if you can look past weirdest moments.
The Sims 4
|Developer/Publisher:||Maxis, Electronic Arts|
You’re probably wondering why we’re starting with The Sims 4. At first glance, the series that is nowadays synonymous with the life simulation genre doesn’t bring the word “weird” to mind. But after second and third glances, the weirdness of playing god with your A.I. controlled little creations might give you a pause.
In The Sims 4, the strange adventures of your, uh, “children” go even further than before. Thanks to a variety of expansions you can influence almost any aspect of their lives – from usual influence over their careers and aspirations, to how they spend their free time, whether or not they get a pet or if they decide to summon a vengeful spirit to haunt their dream house.
But the weirdest thing about The Sims 4, and the entire series, is how invested it makes you feel. You want your sims to succeed in life, get their dream job, fulfill their lifetime ambitions, etc. You lose sleep over whether or not your sim kids will get to their preferred college. You worry about the pet in your virtual home more than about Mr. Whiskers meowing right next to you. That is what makes The Sims 4 weird and worthy of a place on our list.
|Genre:||life simulator, RTS|
|Developer/Publisher:||Maxis, Electronic Arts|
Spore, a title from the same developers who brought you The Sims series, is quite possibly the only game that lets you create life from scratch. And by that we mean LITERAL scratch – cellular-level life forms, evolving as the player progresses through the game.
Spore is divided into several stages, each related to the evolutionary level of your creations. At the Cell stage, the player controls a small, monocellular life-form, gathering resources necessary to survive and evolve. In the Creature stage, you can create their land life form. The creature can develop new features through the player’s decisions and interactions with other species. The following stages add the option to create social units and growing them larger and larger, forming into thriving tribes and civilizations.
What makes spore so unique is the level of control handed to the player. The creature’s development can follow different paths, depending on the choices made throughout the gameplay. Unlike The Sims, where the player controlled a small family unit, where the player decides on the evolution of an entire species. Also, life forms the player can bring to life can look super weird.
Superhot took the gaming stage by storm, receiving critical acclaim and nominations for many industry awards. What made it o special is also what makes it one of the most unique and weird gameplay experiences. In the game, the player is tasked with reaching the other side of the corridor-like level, while defeating enemies along the way.
The game uses a unique mechanic, where the time flows only when the player moves. That means anything from enemies to bullets flying around halts if the player stands still. Oh, and getting hit even once is fatal, both for the enemies and the player. This makes the game extra challenging and requires careful planning of each step. These gameplay mechanics, combined with simplistic graphics design and intriguing story narrative, made Superhot one of the most unique gaming offerings of 2016, one of the weirdest games on our list.
Portal 2 is the second installment of a series born as a spin-off to Valve’s Half-Life. In the game, divided into single-player and cooperative campaigns, the player controls a character equipped with a portal gun, capable of opening gates between different spaces. Using it, the player has to solve puzzles given to them by GLaDOS, a rogue artificial intelligence.
The key reason for which Portal 2 made our list is that it introduced a mechanic that can ruin friendship as easily as playing Mario Cart. The cooperative mode requires, well, cooperation between the players who solve portal-based puzzles together, bombarded by humiliating comments from GLaDOS. Initially easy, the puzzles get increasingly more complicated and require a solid dose of cleverness and trust in your partner to pull the weight on their end. That can get frustrating, especially when your partner can’t figure out where to put his portal even when the answer IS LAID OUT RIGHT BEFORE THEM!
Among the collection of weirdness on our list, rolling a sentient blob around and collecting everything in its path to make it bigger is probably one of the weirder ones. The story of young Prince tasked with collecting material necessary to recreate the stars destroyed by his father in a drunken fit turns the protagonist into an equivalent of a dung beetle. All because of the Katamari – a magical orb that attracts anything smaller than it, causing the objects to stick.
The core mechanic of rolling the Katamari around, gathering anything smaller than the ball, is pure insanity. At first, the player won’t be able to collect much as the ball is pretty small and nothing bigger than a pebble will stick to it. However, the more stuff sticks to the ball, the larger the objects it can consume. The game features physics that influence the “rollability” of the orb – certain objects will make it get stuck, hindering the roll. The player will have a lot of fun grabbing road signs, cars, or entire houses and rolling them around while remembering to maintain the “spherical” shape of the heap.
My Friend Pedro
|Genre:||shoot ‘em up|
|Developer/Publisher:||Dead Toast Entertainment, Devolver Digital|
Pedro is a banana. He tells you, the protagonist, to go out there and mess up some punks. You grab your stuff, which includes a variety of weapons – pistols, SMGs, shotguns, etc. – and mow down enemies in side-scrolling environments, collecting points for more stylistic kills. All because Pedro told you to, and he is a banana.
The bizarre premise above is the weirdest part about this rather straightforward shoot ‘em up. The player can use a selection of the aforementioned weapons to shoot at oncoming foes. The game features separate crosshair for dual-wielded guns, allowing the layer to shoot at two targets at a time. In MFP the player is rewarded for craziest kills, achieved through bouncing off the walls and other acrobatic movements. All this makes My Friend Pedro an off-the-rails experience full of bonkers action and weird banana stuff.
|Genre:||adventure, survival horror|
|Developer/Publisher:||Ice-Pick Lodge, tinyBuild|
Pathologic 2 made our list not only for being a timely game – dealing with a sudden plague that has struck a little town. It’s also one of the eeriest, creepy, weird, uncomfortable, you-name-it games released in recent years.
Everything in Pathologic 2 is depressing – from the plot to the claustrophobic setting. The player controls a young doctor who arrives in his hometown and sees it overtaken by the plague. Constantly observed and threatened by the distrustful residents and dealing with the symptoms of the disease himself, the protagonist has 12 days to find out what caused the plague before everyone, including him, are killed by it.
Pathologic 2 mixes survival horror, adventure and RPG gameplay mechanics. The player has to investigate the town, questioning the people about the possible roots of the plague. At the same time, they have to maintain the protagonist’s physical and mental health, slowly deteriorating under dramatic circumstances. Considering all this, Pathologic 2 is a game for the players with the nerves of steel.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
|Developer/Publisher:||Obsidian Entertainment, Ubisoft|
Let’s be honest here, a game based on the controversial cartoon from Trey Parker and Matt Stone could not be anything but weird or even downright gross. Aside from gameplay mechanics typical to the genre,
The Stick of Truth features a variety of minigames, some of which include defecating, performing an abortion, and many others based on the series provocative, gross-out sense of humor. The game features a story mode, co-written by Parker and Stone, in which the player character – the New Kid – joins Stan, Kyle, Carman and other South Park kids in a role-playing game for the Stick of Truth, imbued with limitless power.
|Developer/Publisher:||Coffee Stain Studios|
In the past decade, goats have reached the status of meme gods. Thanks to remixes of popular songs, which included the variety of sounds made by these farm animals, goats have risen on the internet icon ladders. The other reason for the goats’ rise to glory was Goat Simulator.
The game gives the player to control this rambunctious creature, smashing through a suburban environment There is no story and no lofty mechanics behind the game – just pure fun of controlling a goat, prancing about in peoples gardens, tackling fences and causing other kinds of damage to private and public property. It’s certainly one of the weirdest video games on Steam.
Untitled Goose Game
|Developer/Publisher:||House House, Panic|
Much like Goat Simulator, Untitled Goose Game thrived through the memetic influence it had on various social media, but also thanks to generally competent and focused gameplay. In UGG, the player controls the “titular” goose, who runs around the village honking, wing-flapping and generally messing with the villagers.
The game world is divided into several areas, each of which has some objectives to be fulfilled, usually involving terrorizing humans with a variety of goose antics. Messing with people as a goose may not be the weirdest stuff to do in video games, but it is plenty weird regardless.