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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 391 games from the last 38 years, with 5,583 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.
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...
Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person
Teardown is a strategic game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Your objective is to claim the key cards that are hidden around the map. However taking one triggers the alarm, giving you only sixty seconds before...
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
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...
Release Date: 24/10/2016
Out Now: PC
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...
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...
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...
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...
Release Date: 29/09/2017, updated in 2019
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.
Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023
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...
Release Date: 17/11/2011, updated in 2022
Out Now: DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 25/02/2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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.
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...
Release Date: 15/08/2018
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...
Release Date: 28/03/2023
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...
Release Date: 14/02/2014
Out Now: PS3 and PS4
Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds
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...
Release Date: 10/05/2017, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 01/08/2013, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and Switch
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...
Release Date: 28/04/2016, updated in 2021
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...
Release Date: 30/05/2019
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...
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...
Release Date: 31/10/2023
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...
Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011
Out Now: PS2 and PS3
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...
Release Date: 11/08/2021
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
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...
Release Date: 21/06/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 13/10/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Switch and Web
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...
Release Date: 05/09/2023
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
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...
Release Date: 22/06/2023
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...
Release Date: 24/02/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
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...
Coming Soon: PC
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...
Release Date: 16/05/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5
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"...
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
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...
Release Date: 04/08/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 13/03/2023
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...
Release Date: 27/06/2023
Out Now: PC and Web
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.
Release Date: 27/07/2023
Out Now: Web
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...
Release Date: 11/03/2020, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 06/12/2018, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Hades is a fighting game where you battle your way through dungeons to escape hell and the clutches of Hades. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades and through the game, you'll meet many recognisable Greek gods like Zeus, Athena and Poseidon who will...
Release Date: 18/10/2005
Out Now: PS2, PS3 and PS4
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Shadow Of The Colossus is an action-adventure game where you play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the...
Release Date: 30/01/2019, updated in 2021
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...