10 of The Most Challenging Video Games


If you yearn for Battletoads and think that modern projects are entertainment for casuals, this list will definitely please you.

10 of The Most Challenging Video Games That Challenge the Gamer

1. Dark Souls

Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows.

The Souls series from the Japanese company From Software has gained fame due to its complexity. Are you used to the fact that in modern AAA-blockbusters the rules are explained to you, allow you to change the difficulty settings and save at any time? In Dark Souls, things are different.

Here, even the simplest enemies can kill with one or two blows, and you can only save yourself by fires. As a result, you will rush in search of them, while you are chased by crowds of ferocious undead and stern warriors in heavy armor. The amount of healing estus in the flask is limited, and traps and ambushes lie in wait at every step.

However, Dark Souls isn’t just about relentless combat in which you have no margin for error. There are magnificent landscapes and amazing places where you will visit: the gloomy and majestic castle of Lothrik, the cold beautiful Iritiil and the sun-drenched Anor Londo.

If you are new to the world of Dark Souls, start playing with the third part. It is both the most beautiful, and the management in it is simpler (but only in comparison with the first two).

Buy for Windows →

Buy for Xbox One →

2. Bloodborne

Platform: PlayStation 4.

The heir and successor of the ideas of the Souls series of the same developer. The mechanics of Bloodborne resemble Dark Souls, but there are significant differences: the pace here is much higher. You find yourself embroiled in a frenzied and aggressive battle with crowds of opponents, in which you have no opportunity to retreat. No shield, no heavy armor – your Hunter has only a melee weapon, an almost useless musket, suitable only for parrying enemy attacks, a coat and a triangular hat.

The creators of Bloodborne were clearly inspired by the film “Van Helsing” with Hugh Jackman: a hunter who exterminates monsters in a dying city, the theme of vampirism, the general entourage and appearance of the main character. The dynamism of the action is off the scale, the imagination of the developers who created the monsters knows no boundaries, and the level design is a real delight.

Bloodborne is a good reason to buy a PlayStation 4, even if you don’t consider yourself a console fan.

3. Demon’s Souls

10 of The Most Challenging Video Games

Platform: PlayStation 3.

This game is the progenitor of Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Despite its considerable age, Demon’s Souls still looks interesting and exciting. We try on the role of a nameless warrior who must free a distant, fog-covered kingdom from evil demons and an obsessed ruler.

Many players will say that Demon’s Souls is more difficult than the following Souls games. There are only two save points on each level, the opportunity to heal is limited (the estus recovering by the fire has not yet been invented), the enemies are strong and are reborn after each of your deaths.

Demon’s Souls remains one of the most exciting games on the PlayStation 3. The gloomy Middle Ages, dragons, evil undead and huge dangerous demons will appeal to fans of dark fantasy. If you’ve tried Dark Souls and Bloodborne, embraced the spirit of these games, and want to see how it all started, Demon’s Souls is waiting for you.

Buy for PlayStation 3 →

4. Cuphead

Platform: Xbox One, Windows, macOS.

One of the monstrously challenging games. A hybrid of run and gun and platformer with cute hand-drawn graphics in the style of old Disney cartoons.

Here you have to manage two cup-headed brothers who lost in the casino to the devil himself and are now forced to knock out debts from other similar poor people. However, the latter do not intend to part with their souls, so it will not be easy for the brothers to fulfill the mission.

Cuphead is, for the most part, boss fights. They are such here that you will need a very fast reaction, a sturdy keyboard and a huge patience to cope with them. And, of course, a considerable amount of luck, because often opponents attack in a completely unpredictable order. You can not make mistakes and delay, otherwise the fight will have to start anew.

Buy for Windows and macOS →

Buy for Xbox One →

5. Dwarf Fortress

10 of The Most Challenging Video Games

Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac OS.

When you first open Dwarf Fortress, you’ll likely have a thought: How do you even play this? Yes, problems in the development of the project begin with its schedule. ASCII characters look like code from The Matrix. But you can get used to them. When you get comfortable, instead of incomprehensible letters, you will see eternally drunken bearded dwarves with hammers and pickaxes, trolls from underground caves, arrogant elves, ferocious goblins and fire-breathing dragons. Well, if you cannot decipher the flashing hieroglyphs, you can download the version of the game with screwed hand-drawn graphics.

When the basics of management are mastered, the most interesting thing will begin. You, along with seven dwarves, have to build a powerful underground fortress in distant wild lands. The game world is randomly generated, and each time you will be waiting for more and more new dangers. Dwarves can die of hunger and thirst if you don’t master farming and animal husbandry. And they can be killed during a siege by goblins or the undead under the leadership of necromancers.

But despite all this, Dwarf Fortress will open up unimaginable spaces for creativity. You can build huge castles from obsidian, ice and glass, catch terrible monsters, create cunning mechanisms – you can build anything here.

Download for Windows, macOS and Linux →

6. Don’t Starve

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, iOS, Android.

An interesting sandbox-survivalist. You have to stretch out as long as possible in the harsh painted world where you were sent by a cynical and snide demon named Maxwell. And here literally everything is trying to kill you.

Your first opponent is hunger. And it’s not easy to cope with it. You can pick berries, but they are always scarce. And during the hunt, the prey constantly slips away. There is not enough food and firewood, and winter is near.

Setting up camp, preying and cooking, sewing clothes and keeping the fire all need to be done at the same time. As a result, you don’t have a minute to take a breather. Autumn is replaced by a cold winter, which is not given to everyone to survive, winter is a wet spring, and that, in turn, is a scorching summer. Experiencing all the troubles, your character gradually goes crazy, and madness along with imaginary monsters can finish him off just like natural disasters.

But the scariest thing about Don’t Starve is the night. After all, in the dark you will find a cruel Charlie, who can only be driven away by fire. And nothing will help if at a critical moment you do not have a torch with you.

Buy for Windows, macOS and Linux →

Buy for PlayStation 4 →

Buy for Xbox One →

7. Sunless Sea

Platform: PlayStation 4, iOS, Windows, Linux, macOS.

A kind of game that captivates with a magnificent atmosphere in the spirit of the novels of China Miéville. Somehow London was kidnapped by bats and taken underground. Now the city is located on an islet, around which there is a boundless underground ocean full of dangers. You are the captain of a ship exploring the depths with one known purpose. Stock up on provisions and fuel. And set sail.

With a beautiful dark soundtrack and leisurely gameplay, Sunless Sea feels like a pretty relaxing and meditative game. But do not allow yourself to be deceived: the game is very difficult, and few people will get to the final. You can fall prey to sea monsters or pirates, be attacked in a port, fail an important mission, use up fuel and be left drifting in the sea without light and the ability to reach the shore. Maybe you’ll get crazy and eat your team.

The only thing depressing about Sunless Sea is the English language. It is extremely complex and oversaturated with literary turns. There is a fan translation of the game, and it’s not bad, but it’s not made for all quests. And you will have to read a lot and carefully. If that doesn’t scare you, welcome aboard, Captain.

Buy for Windows, Linux and macOS →

8. Salt And Sanctuary

Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Linux, macOS.

Salt And Sanctuary can be called Dark Souls in 2D. Here, in the same way, you need to kill monsters and try to bring the salt collected from them (analogous to the souls in Dark Souls) to the sanctuaries (like fires). That’s just to do it will have to be done in a flat two-dimensional space.

The game looks good and has an attractive atmosphere. Locations are diverse, bosses are unusual, opponents are quite complex. You will have to be more attentive to pumping and equipment: many enemies can be defeated only with a certain build.

You will have to die as often as in Souls. This is facilitated by very strong and complex bosses, which are extremely difficult to kill on the first attempt AND inconvenient controls.

Buy for Windows, Linux and macOS →

Buy for Nintendo Switch →

9. Super Meat Boy

10 of The Most Challenging Video Games

Platform: PlayStation 4, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Linux, macOS.

This game is extremely harsh. The protagonist here is a piece of bleeding meat. Literally. And the levels consist mostly of circular saws. To overcome them, it will take a great reaction.

The pace of the Super Meat Boy is very high. You will run, slide, jump, crawl, leaving behind bloody traces everywhere. Any touch of a trap or enemy kills. There is no scale of life here.

On each level (and there are 350 of them!) the hero must get to his girlfriend, meeting on the way to her such funny things as spikes, saws, rockets, lava and salt. And the latter is not particularly pleasant to touch when your muscles are not covered with skin.

Buy for Windows, Linux and macOS →

Buy for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita →

Buy for Xbox One →

10. Nioh

Platform: PlayStation 4, Windows.

The action of Nioh takes place in Japan of the XVII century, where an English sailor named William falls. To survive, he will have to learn how to handle a katana no worse than a real samurai.

The battles in Nioh are such that you will need a lot of skill. Racks, fast, medium and strong blows, rolls and jerks – each opponent needs a separate tactic. And few people you will be able to kill in a hurry. In some ways, Nioh resembles the notorious Ninja Gaiden, which is also famous for its tooth-crushing complexity.

In addition to difficult battles, Nioh has a good plot, atmospheric music, and attractive mythology: the yokai bosses migrated here from traditional Japanese myths and legends.

Buy for Windows →

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