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6 Hidden Video Game Gems You Need To Play

Andy Gause |
December 1, 2013 | 11:12 a.m. PST


Limbo is not a game of dexterity. (Flickr/Marco Cruz)
Limbo is not a game of dexterity. (Flickr/Marco Cruz)

The seventh generation of gaming is coming to a close. It's been quite a fun ride gaming with the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

Now it's time to look back and reflect on all of the great gaming memories these systems have given. We all cherish the GTA's, Halo's, and Skyrim's of the world. But what about the under-the-radar games that you might have missed this last generation?

With the high price of the new consoles, many are keeping their current systems for the time being. So why not check out these hidden gems before sinking your teeth into the future of gaming?

SEE ALSO:  Everything You Should Know About Next Gen Gaming 


Darksiders (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) and Darksiders 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)

This adventure series from now-defunct THQ incorporates classic Metroid level design and God of War's combat system into a satisfying whole. Both Darksiders and its recent sequel tell the tale of War and Death respectively, two horsemen of the apocalypse, as they hack and slash their way through an earth overrun with demons and angels.

The series' responsive combat, unique mythological setting and solid mix of exploration were not enough to attract much attention, nor save its dying publisher. Available on every system under the sun, there's no reason you shouldn't check out this unheralded action game.


Limbo (PC, Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, Playstation Vita, Playstation Network)

This indie platformer from Danish developer Playdead is a minimalist masterpiece. The game follows a nameless boy searching for his missing sister but to reach her, he must traverse an eerie forrest replete with bear traps, giant spiders, and vicious locals.

The game is a 2D platformer, but instead of twitch reflex-based gameplay, the game relies on mood, atmosphere, and the lurking threat of a swift death to pull the gamer in. The game can be brutal at times, like when a trap snaps the head off its protagonist, but the black-and-white visuals keep the violence from becoming too much to stomach.


Bayonetta (Xbox 360, PS3)

Japanese developer Platinum Games was a hidden gems factory last generation. Their action games Vanish, Madworld, Shadows of the Damned, and Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengence were individually packed with more personality than all of the modern military shooters combined. They were colorful expressions of feverish energy and fluid, responsive gameplay. However, the unheralded originality of these games did not result in financial success.

Out of Platinum's many games this generation, Bayonetta is the developer's masterpiece. Strange doesn't even begin to describe this batshit crazy action adventure. The game stars Bayonetta - a witch with hair that covers her entire body and guns on her high heels. The controls are silky smooth, allowing the player to perform a whole fighting game's worth of exuberant moves. Platinum created a sequel to the game, but no one was interested in publishing the game until Nintendo swooped in to save the day. The big N is now publishing Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive. Do yourself a favor and pick up the first one before its even zany sequel drops next year.

SEE ALSO: Next Generation Console War Predictions: Sony's PlayStation 4


The Stanley Parable (PC)

The most recently released title on this list, this absurdist adventure game questions the very nature of choice in gaming; a relevant question for a generation that prided itself on giving the player choices but didn't always provide many consequences for said choices.

The Stanley Parable the short but sweet tale of Stanley, a bored office worker stuck doing the same menial tasks again and again. A wry British voice follows Stanley as he explores his recently evacuated office space. If you like games that examine the relationship between creator and consumer than pick up this or the criminally underrated shooter Spec Ops: The Line.


Stacking (PC, Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network)

Similar to Platinum Games, developer Double Fine Productions almost exclusively crafted unique and daring cult games. The company's last generation output is a hidden gems list unto itself: Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, and Iron Brigade are all tasty nuggets of inspired game design and hilarious story-telling.

However, my personal favorite of theirs is Stacking, an adorable puzzle game starring a tiny Russian nesting doll. The player must stack their small hero into other, larger dolls in order to possess the doll's various wacky powers. It's silent film cut scenes and 1920's aesthetics have yet to be matched, or even attempted, in any other game.

Honorable Mention: Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, Bastion, Journey, Gone Home, Hotline Miami.

All of the above games are available for cheap on Steam or Amazon.


Contact contributor Andy Gause at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter here.



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