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Attempt
The Impossible
 

How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally, a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.

This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Colossus or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us for example) and let them give you all they've got.
 
This list includes 395 games from the last 38 years, with 5,597 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to take on a mountainous challenge.

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Subnautica

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

Teardown

Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Teardown is a creative traversal game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Play involves knocking routes through the destructible buildings to set an escape route to steal the key cards. It’s an unusual game because...

Rocket League

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...

My Summer Car

Release Date: 24/10/2016

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

My Summer Car is a strategy game about doing up a broken-down car over one long summer. It sounds simple, but the level of detail is the attraction here. You start the game with hundreds of loose parts and assemble both your car and engine. Not only do...

Osu!

Release Date: 16/09/2007, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Osu! is a rhythm action game where you tap the screen in time to the music similar to the Elite Beat Agents games. This starts as a simple challenge but develops in speed and complexity. At higher levels, the games is an esport with people competing to...

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Conduct Together

Release Date: 06/12/2018

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Conduct Together is a strategy game where you control toy trains along overlapping train tracks. Each train can be started and stopped with a specific button. Other buttons change different points. The aim is to transport people from one station to the...

Cuphead

Release Date: 29/09/2017, updated in 2019

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Hand-Made

Cuphead is a running, jumping and shooting game that looks like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. You play on your own or with someone else and work across the screen, jumping gaps, shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles.

Don't Starve

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Day and Night, Hand-Made and Open World

Don't Starve is an open-world survival game where it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you have to work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so...

Celeste

Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Celeste is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is haunted by self-doubt at the scale of the task at hand. She presses on but is...

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Release Date: 17/11/2011, updated in 2022

Out Now: DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a role-play game and an expanded version of the DS game Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn. In it, you play a young boy who travels between worlds and battles enemies in an attempt to save his mother. It...

Elden Ring

Release Date: 25/02/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Elden Ring is a role-play game set in a fictional world created by fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, with a focus on combat similar to Demon's Souls and an open world with real time and weather like Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Drink More Glurp

Release Date: 06/08/2020

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up...

Graveyard Keeper

Release Date: 15/08/2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Pixels

Graveyard Keeper is a funeral-themed role-playing game where you are the caretaker of a local cemetery. You make choices about how to lay out the plot, what services to offer and generally how to make money from your unusual enterprise. The pixilated...

Terra Nil

Release Date: 28/03/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Open World

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you use clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city-building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays an...

The Last Of Us Left Behind

Release Date: 14/02/2014

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

The Last Of Us Left Behind is a survival adventure game where you play Joel, a father figure, looking to protect a girl in his care, Ellie. The game creates a filmic and emotional experience that extends beyond the usual zombie shooting to offer an...

Dead Cells

Release Date: 10/05/2017, updated in 2023

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Dead Cells is a running, jumping and fighting game where you are escaping a prison. In a bright pixelated world you must accurately time attacks and dodges to defeat a wide range of enemies. It's intentionally hard, and you will die a lot. But each time...

Ibb and Obb

Release Date: 01/08/2013, updated in 2020

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Ibb and Obb is a puzzle game where you run, jump, land on enemies and solve momentum puzzles. The novelty is that it's a game designed for cooperation. One player controls the green creature, Ibb, and the other controls the pink creature, Obb. The world...

Pico Park

Release Date: 28/04/2016, updated in 2021

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Pico Park is a collaborative puzzle game for up to 10 players where you traverse levels using one another to solve puzzles. It's a game about communication and physics as players work to position themselves to bridge a gap, use ropes to hang off ledges...

Get To The Orange Door

Release Date: 30/05/2019

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Get To The Orange Door (GTTOD) is a platform game where you run, jump and shoot your way through minimalist levels. Movement is parkour in nature, meaning that you use architecture, street furniture and other objects to get an advantage when getting...

Hollow Knight: Silksong

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac, PC, PS5, Switch and Xbox X|S

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon, Hand-Made and Open World

Hollow Knight: Silksong is an action platform game and the sequel to Hollow Knight. The game provides similar gameplay to its predecessor where you run, jump, and battle your way through a kingdom inhabited by bugs. Unlike...

Jusant

Release Date: 31/10/2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Jusant is a climbing traversal game where you take a challenging-yet-meditative climb to the top of a tall tower. You use the trigger buttons to hold on and the stick to jump and reach for the next position. In this way you methodically work your way up...

Ico

Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011

Out Now: PS2 and PS3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...

OCO

Release Date: 11/08/2021

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

OCO is a sliding and jumping game set with simple colourful levels each set in a rotating planetoid. Unlike other platform games, you control everything with a single button. Each different colour of platform you slide along grants different abilities...

Phantom Abyss

Release Date: 21/06/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: Mac, PC and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Phantom Abyss is a running and jumping game where you charge through temples to get to the exit. Your only tool is a whip that interacts with objects and can propel you forward. Along the way are numerous traps and difficult jumps to avoid. There are...

The Case of the Golden Idol

Release Date: 13/10/2022, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, Switch and Web

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

The Case of the Golden Idol is a point-and-click adventure set in the 18th century, where you attempt to solve 12 gruesome deaths. You play by investigating each scene to gather information in the form of words that you piece together to make statements...

Chants of Sennaar

Release Date: 05/09/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Chants of Sennaar is a traversal and translation puzzle where you play a traveller called to reunite the Peoples of the Tower who are unable to communicate with each other. Play involves exploring the cell-shaded world to decipher the glyph-based...

Mars First Logistics

Release Date: 22/06/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World

Mars First Logistics is a traversal game where you build robots to move awkwardly-shaped objects across the surface of Mars. It's a simple concept, but to contend with the cumbersome objects and rough terrain you need to use every tool at your disposal...

The Pale Beyond

Release Date: 24/02/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Day and Night

The Pale Beyond is a narrative simulation game where you captain an exploration ship stranded in the frozen Antarctic waters. You carefully manage and gather resources and keep your crew in good health to hopefully survive until the summer. It stands...

Dig Dig Boom

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Hand-Made

Dig Dig Boom is a puzzle game about traversing a mine with explosives to recover buried treasure. The turn-based play means you can take your time with each move, placement of dynamite and gem collecting. It stands out for the kinetic strategy where...

Humanity

Release Date: 16/05/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Cartoon

Humanity is a puzzle-action game where you are a lone Shiba Inu dog shepherding a huge marching crowd of people to safety. You place commands to get your flock of humans to jump, turn, push, float, shoot, and climb their way to deal with the "others"...

Summerhill

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Day and Night

Summerhill is a narrative traversal game where you are a young shepherd and their dog. Play involves exploring a mysterious land to find your lost flock to guide them back home. It draws on the unusual subject matter of sheep herding to create an...

Toodee and Topdee

Release Date: 04/08/2021, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Toodee and Topdee is a platform puzzle game where you control two characters to complete single-screen levels. The twist is that each character exists in a different plane. Toodee is a top-down block-pushing 3D world, while Topdee is side-on 2D...

Barotrauma

Release Date: 13/03/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Barotrauma is a cooperative space-submarine adventure set after humanity has fled to Jupiter's moon. You work with other players to steer your submarine, work the ageing machinery, fight monsters and fix the endless leaks. It's a game that revels in not...

Shogun Showdown

Release Date: 27/06/2023

Out Now: PC and Web

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cards, Grid and Pixels

Shogun Showdown is a tactical fighting game where you play a Japanese-inspired warrior batting to be ready to face the Shogun. Each run you choose a character and attack cards to work through a series of miniature turn-based battles.

The Password Game

Release Date: 27/07/2023

Out Now: Web

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: Text

The Password Game is a brain game where you must create a password that obeys an increasingly complex set of rules. It starts like any other password request, needing a capital, number and symbol, but the criteria soon get more complex, demanding, and...

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Release Date: 11/03/2020, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an action platform game that places you in control of a diminutive elfish spirit called Ori. As in the previous game, you run, jump and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world. As you do, new powers...

The Eternal Cylinder

Release Date: 30/09/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

The Eternal Cylinder is a strategy game where you survive by evolving your creatures to adapt to the environment. Your herd explore a strange world filled with exotic lifeforms and environments. All the while a menacing firey cylinder rolls towards you.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Out Now: PC and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is a flight simulator game in the long-running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft, you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from maps and...

Subnautica Below Zero

Release Date: 30/01/2019, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Subnautica Below Zero is an open-world adventure game that follows the original game, Subnautica. You play a scientist on an alien planet searching for clues about the research team that vanished there. What develops is a light...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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