Top Ten Worst Games of 2015 You've Never Heard Of
When people talk about the worst games in the industry from 2015, more often than not they’ll talk about the terrible AAA fare, like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 or Alone in the Dark Illumination. Typically, the lesser known bad titles are talked about by critics such as Jim Sterling, TotalBiscuit or Angry Joe.
The thing is, people can’t always afford those big budget games, which means we have developers throwing games out left and right hoping to get exposure. This leads to some mixed results, and within the past year I’ve found myself entrenched in a bog of mediocrity during my time playing some lesser known titles. Sure, I’ve come across several good games which I will talk about later on, but for now, here’s a list and a video of the Top Ten Worst Games From 2015 You’ve Never Heard Of.
Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is a game that I, like many others, viewed in a semi-positive light at first; something that, looking back on it, was bad judgement on my part. I can now see all the cracks and fissures that make this game downright frustrating to play through again. It’s not that the game doesn’t have its own merits of course. The artwork in this game is macabrely beautiful, the soundtrack haunting, the story is somewhat thought provoking and it should be an easy sell for all of those who love dark point and click adventure games. Unfortunately, the game falls flat due to its writing which completely contradicts the philosophy it was trying to build itself off of. It was using Immanuel Kant’s second categorical imperative, which reads as follows:
Which roughly comes down to “never treat people as a means to an end”, as a backdrop for the morality and the choices you made throughout the game. I know there’s a lot more to it than that, but at risk of me speaking on the subject for too long, I’m giving a very basic summary. It does provoke questions about the subject and at points the writing is solid, but the ending ultimately goes against everything the game tries to teach you. I’d love to see more thought provoking games like Tormentum out there, but I’d like them to make people ask the right questions rather than question “Doesn’t this go against everything the game has set up so far?”
Disappointing sequels seem to be a trend with lists like these, and Finding Teddy 2 is no exception to this rule. Finding Teddy 1 was originally a mobile point and click adventure game. This game borrows tons of ideas from things like Castlevania, Metroid and Legend of Zelda 2, but it almost never makes itself stand out from those games. There are some unique things like the singing mechanic that our heroine uses to communicate with the other denizens of the world, but it wasn’t enough.
When you’re exploring the world, you’re not exploring a living world; you’re exploring boxes with random enemies floating around. The game doesn’t know how to convey what it wants you to do or where it wants you to go. Even classic Zelda games did better than this, giving you more stakes and telling you a story with little to no dialogue. Finding Teddy 2 doesn’t.
The combat tries to emulate those classic games as well, but you’re never under any real threat, so any sense of accomplishment from beating an enemy is lost. You can just hack at enemies for hours until they fall over with no real strategy put into just how you attack.
This game lacks what its predecessor had and that was a heart. It relies too much on games of the past without developing its own identity. It thinks pandering to our past sensibilities will make us forget about how the game doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but this just isn’t the case.
Ossuary is one of the few games I can’t imagine anyone giving a number rating to because it’s such an enigma to me. It was mostly well written, the imagery and atmosphere of the game corresponds with the story that’s being told, but the gameplay is, quite frankly, very obtuse. There are puzzles in this game that you will need to write down, and while that might sound great for older gamers, it goes about it in the most unenjoyable way. It makes even those who enjoy the moon logic from past adventure games scratch their head in confusion.
Every puzzle is tedious and mind-numbing to complete. The game’s entire screen moves with you as you play (giving you a sickening feeling) which is only enhanced by the stark contrast of colors, and it just drags on for far too long. It’s like being on a cruise ship stuck in mud in the Sahara desert; it just isn’t as engaging as it should have been.
If this game was story and story alone, it would have been fine, but the gameplay they tried to add to it just didn’t work. It’s on this list because of just how poorly it controls and how jarring the gameplay is compared to the beauty of the story. I’d love to see more from these developers but only if they figure out how to make games first.
If there was one game a lot of indie game fans didn’t want to see on a worst games list, it was Animal Gods. A game that was filled with so much potential and with developers who were willing to send out copies of the games to people and ask just what they should add to it. The people spoke, but it seems that it fell upon deaf ears. Unique graphics, an interesting story and an immersive world aren’t the only things that a game needs to be playable.
It needs at the very least decent gameplay if you’re going for the action/platformer route, but Animal Gods doesn’t do that. Each level gives you a different challenge; sword fighting, shooting a bow and arrow, or teleporting to a safe area, and they’re all broken. The swordplay takes far too long to kill anything, and unless you step into the path of the monsters, you’re not going to die. Same thing for the bow, except it takes slightly longer because the enemies move more. Just hit the attack button at the monster and you win; it goes for both the bow and the sword. To top it all off, every single enemy is a damage sponge so you’ll have to hit it a few times, watch it run away to an area you cannot reach, and wait for it to come back. The boss fights make you do the exact same thing but with more enemies this time around.
The teleporting thing thrusts the idea of perfect platforming on you, and not the rewarding kind where you felt like you accomplished something. Oh no, if you breathe wrong during these sequences you will die and have to go all the way back to the last checkpoint. The worst thing is, it isn’t always your fault either; you’re slipping and sliding all over the place to the point where you might accidentally step on the invisible hit box for the death lines.
Sometimes you can step almost right on top of them and nothing happens, and then sometimes you brush by it with your cloak and you die. The game is unfinished, pure and simple.
Terablaster is a game about shooting things, trying to achieve a high score, and memes. That’s it. There’s almost nothing more to it other than a vague sense of accomplishment for shooting the right thing. Think of it like Asteroids except with none of the charm. The game barely has any content, and while it’s only $1.49 on Steam, it’s just not worth it. Don’t waste your money on this.Go spend a dollar more on DLC Quest; it’s a fun parody that will at the very least make you laugh.
A Mobile game having problems transitioning to the PC isn’t anything new, but it’s a shame to see Mimpi, a cute little mobile game, have so many problems. It’s a fun concept: dog dreams about crazy things and you adventure through those dreams. It’s a great concept, but a poor execution. Mimpi didn’t make the transition to PC gaming very well. The game is unresponsive and nearly unplayable at times. It becomes quickly apparent that nobody playtested this game after it was ported because there are a lot of things that are better suited for a touchscreen.
If you use a controller, you need to practically mash it in order to get moving. If you use a mouse, you need to be careful how fast you move because sometimes you might go rocketing into the side to your death. The game has a unique art style and you can tell it has a lot of heart, but there’s no excuse for it to play this poorly, PC port or no. What’s sad is that the mobile version is actually quite fun and it shows just how little effort was put into the PC port. If you want to play Mimpi, play it on your tablet, but stay away from the PC release.
Horror games have been flooding the market as of late, and while it is nice to see a resurgence in the genre, I might be more reluctant to see it if games like Sylvio are what’s going to come out of it. Some parts of it, like communicating with ghosts, work very well while other parts like fighting ghosts with a screw gun just don’t work. Sylvio tries to build itself up like this atmospheric horror game with a rich, interesting world and then it makes you shoot a blob with a potato gun, and it removes any semblance of horror this game might have had.
Sometimes the best mechanic in the game, the ghost listening mechanic, can lead you to your death because the hitbox on the blob isn’t defined. So, it could be in the next room and it just kills you out of nowhere while the microphone is telling you it’s still 30 feet away.
Or, you have to deal with the clumsy platforming mechanic that makes you jump around in an abandoned amusement park. Its save points are also so heavily spaced out, even after some updates, that it becomes even more frustrating when you are killed by seemingly nothing and you have to go all the way back to the beginning. Sylvio is just an unfinished game that tries too hard to be serious when it’s asking you to shoot potatoes at shadows.
On paper, The Weaponographist seems like a slam dunk of a game due to its similarities to The Binding of Isaac. Problem is, while it does have the creativity of The Binding of Isaac, it doesn’t have any of the gameplay. Playing The Weaponographist is similar to your first time ice-skating; you slide haphazardly across the ice and hope that you don’t collide into someone that will kill you.
What makes matters worse is that your character, Doug Mcgrave, has to swing his weapons. Not only do you have to fight against the slip and slide controls, but you have to mash the attack button wildly as you do so hoping that you’ll land some form of damage on the swarms of enemies who seem to be very well adapted to the icescapes they live in.
It has tons of referential jokes that quickly become grating, like you’re listening to an unfunny comedian who only does referential jokes and you can’t stop them from talking no matter how hard you try. As a player, you’re doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Sure, you could just “git gud” at struggling with the controls, but do you really want to spend money on a game where there’s very little reward for your struggles? If I wanted to do that, I’d go play Dark Souls, at least then it makes the dark abyss of madness at the very least entertaining.
Red Goddess: Inner World is a game I can’t recommend to anyone on the PC because it just doesn’t work. The game crashes constantly regardless of your computer’s specs, it has frame rate issues, the narrator is not implemented well, and he becomes annoying very quickly. The combat and movement controls are akin to wearing concrete shoes while trying to perform somersaults, the graphics are so scaled back that it makes the map nearly unreadable, and sometimes you have to slam your fingers down onto the controller or mouse in order to get it to work.
I was told that the PS4 release was better and that’s fine, but the PC version is still a steaming pile of carrion roasting in the sun. If you’re going to release on more than one platform, all of your releases should be stable at the very least.
The Last Dogma.That game’s name alone should tell you just what sort of trouble you’re getting into when you decide to play it. The game introduces itself with a mind numbingly long (yet skippable) cutscene telling you of the game’s story, and you are given a note happily telling you that The Last Dogma has a complex story. And, if you don’t understand it, have no fear: the developer has made a Steam discussion page just for you. This page has since been taken down since the dev originally posted, but it can be found on the developer’s blog, and it gives an explanation of the game. The game claims to be a black comedy and a social satire, all while throwing Christian cannibalistic cults in there, with daemons who claim to be controlling you. Terrible time travel story lines run amok. Most of the “cut scenes” are comic book pages that you have to flip through individually and it just rips you right out of the game. It tries to emulate classic horror adventure games, but the story does not reflect that.
You have a gun, but you don’t use it until halfway through the game where you’re treated to people dying in over the top explosions of blood. What was even the point of giving us the gun if every human just absorbs all of the bullets? It also decides to give you a fake blue screen of death, adding insult to injury considering just how many times this game will crash. The story tries to be deep and meaningful, but it’s like the developer took a bunch of different ideas and threw them all in a blender, hoping to get something worthwhile, but it turns out to be a complete and utter mess. There’s no consistency in the story telling and it just goes all over the place to the point where telling you about it in depth would drive anyone to madness.
The Last Dogma isn’t just bad, it’s atrocious. It tries to be an intellectual game, snubbing all of those who don’t understand it, but guess what? People don’t understand it because the game is so mind-numbingly bad that you could probably get the same exact thing from reading a political commentary written on a wall of a grocery store.
2015 hasn’t been a bad year for gaming, with games like Bloodborne, Life Is Strange, Stasis and Dropsy all being released this year. However, they make games like the ones I mentioned in this article stand out all the more. You’re welcome to play the games on this list, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
What bad games did you play in 2015? Was there an awful game that nobody talked about that only you suffered through? If so, discuss it below!