What Are Some Underrated Games You Love That Nobody Talks About?

What Are Some Underrated Games You Love That Nobody Talks About?
Image: Kingsley's Adventure

Everyone grows up with different games and while there’ll always be some shared experiences, there’ll also be games that’ve slid under the radar or gone unnoticed by most. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s was particularly interesting for PC gamers because there were so many weird and experimental titles being played at home or at school in an era where gaming hadn’t yet hit the mainstream.

From shareware titles at school fetes to discs being passed around school playgrounds, there were plenty of ways to get your hands on good video games. But it’s always wild to sit down with mates and discuss what you did and didn’t play back then.

It’s even weirder when you’ve played and loved a game that nobody else seems to have ever even seen.

There’s plenty of underrated games out there, and many which didn’t get the audience they deserved. Here are just a few examples of underrated games I personally played and loved which never seemed to gain a fanbase — and I’d love to hear your picks in the comments below!

The Urbz: Sims in the City (DS)

the urbz underrated games
Image: Vicky N / YouTube

I’ll take any chance I can get to shout out the underrated Sims games for handheld consoles.

Like the other weird games in the franchise, The Urbz took the classic Sims formula and injected it with a dose of strange beings, conspiracies, ghosts and bayou backwaters. Rather than being a straightforward life simulator, this adventure is more a Sims story RPG where players complete quests and attempt to overthrow the tyranny of capitalism.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to play the games, check out my in depth interview with the crew who made it for why should absolutely dig out this adventure:

It’s an absolutely bonkers series that’s extremely underrated.

Fairies of the Forest

Fairies of the Forest is a late 90s era game developed in Australia by Glow Zone Interactive, and it’s a cutesy storybook adventure about a fairy who wants to fly. It’s not a particularly good game, but it’s one that I played repeatedly when I was young so I have very fond memories of it. Sadly, it seems like I’m the only one who actually has a copy.

The footage uploaded above is the only footage of the game I can find online, and I recorded it from my own home PC. While I’ve since had a few people reach out and chat to me about the game, its existence and sales history is a mystery. Personally, I grabbed my copy from the bargain bin at Harvey Norman when I was very young — but I’m not sure how widely it was released.

Glow Zone Interactive barely has a presence online despite its published books (The Monster That Ate Canberra, The Dinosaur Who Wanted To Fly) being wildly popular in the 90s. It seems to be a defunct Australian developer, but there’s not much buzz around the company or the games it made now.

Contact (DS)

Contact is a game so underrated I couldn’t actually find any decently sized images of gameplay — so this ancient video from our pals over at IGN will have to do. This RPG adventure for the Nintendo DS is genuinely brilliant, and I’m surprised it doesn’t have more of a following.

Beyond a terrific story, it’s also a beautiful, pixel art game filled with gorgeous landscapes, memorable characters and great boss battles. While the dual screen system was wildly under-utilised, the game was too good to be impacted by this choice. With plenty of places to explore and items to gather, it should be regarded as one of the best titles from the Nintendo DS era.

If there’s any Contact fans around, shout out!

Kingsley’s Adventure

kingsley's adventure game underrated
Image: Lutris

Kingsley’s Adventure is a 1999 3D platformer developed for the PlayStation One that was launched and quickly forgotten by nearly everyone. But with its cute, cartoonish aesthetic and unsettling atmosphere, it’s a fantastic journey everyone should’ve played.

I know at least one person other than me has played Kingsley’s Adventure because there’s a 2000s-era mural of the game’s main character on the way to Bankstown in Sydney — but it seems like it’s just me and the mystery painter who loved the game.

Regardless, Kingsley’s Adventure is a gorgeous, wholesome game that was unfortunately shafted in an era when endless 3D platformers were overrunning the market. Even though it was succeeded by better and brighter games, Kingsley’s Adventure is still a wonderful time, and deserves far better than it got.

Mars Underground

mars underground game forgotten
Image: Mars Underground

Mars Underground is a 2019 Aussie indie game which features a Groundhog Day story where protagonist Mars is locked in an endless timeloop where the only way to escape is by dying over and over again. It’s accompanied by a creepy soundtrack, well-paced mysteries and gameplay that’s genuinely fun and rewarding. Sadly, it never quite got the attention its quality demanded.

If you’re a fan of point-and-click adventures or you’re just in the mood for some spooky time travel adventures, Mars Underground is absolutely a game you should play.

It’s one of those games that’ll stick with you for a long time.

Pokémon Conquest

pokemon conquest game
Image: Mega Mike / Amazon

Pokémon Conquest is one of the least celebrated Pokémon spin-offs of all time, and that’s unfortunate because it’s great. This game is a Nobunaga’s Ambition crossover that uses Pokémon grid battles (also seen in Fire Emblem) to advance the story.

The turn-based gameplay means it’s a game packed with strategy, and as you conquer new locations you’ll be able to rearrange and perfect your perfect Pokémon battle squad. It’s a challenging game, but one that’s always clever and fun — and it’s a real shame it never seemed to gain the popularity of fellow spin-offs like Snap or Stadium.

Should the series ever return, a Pokémon Conquest for Switch would go down a treat.


Now it’s your turn. What forgotten games did you play and love that nobody ever seems to talk about anymore?

It doesn’t have to be from your childhood — there’s plenty of modern games that go unnoticed amongst the current deluge of indie and AAA adventures.

Tell us about it, and why more people should play it in the comments below!

Comments

  • Heaven’s Vault (2019) flew so far under the radar and that drives me insane.
    Developed by Inkle, it was one of the most unique games I’ve played in a long time.

    It’s about archaeology and main mechanic is translating an alien language.

    Story was great with many layers, visually unique too.
    Not super duper polished but so many reasons to love it despite a few glitches.

    Please play it and show it some love!

    • Oooh, there were a few Kotaku articles about that when it came out and I mentally noted to try it but haven’t got around to it. I think it’s been in a couple of Humble bundles, but it’s currently in the ‘Games for Readers’ Steam bundle, which includes Neo Cab, 80 Days, Hypnospace Outlaw and Sunless Skies, all of which are excellent.

  • Hah. I could do an under-rated game every day for the rest of my life, it feels!

    But rather than dredging up old classics like The Creed, Incubation, Silver, Return Fire, or Rocket Jockey for things that didn’t get the fame I felt they deserved, I’ma go modern:

    A couple nights ago I finished ‘ASMR Journey‘ a solo dev jigsaw puzzle game with some calming, soothing sound effects and animated puzzle pieces. It’s not super big having only 5 puzzles, but it’s also only like… three bucks, and hasn’t sold well enough to even show up on SteamSpy, which is a real shame, to me. I really enjoyed just mentally ‘checking out’ to methodically move pieces around to soothing sounds like rain on windows, fireplaces, and boiling water for a nice hot cuppa.

    The other thing I mentioned to some friends a little while ago was ‘Fruit Sudoku‘ – it’s sudoku but all the numbers have been replaced by pieces of fruit, which makes it very educational to convey the concept to anyone whose eyes cross when they see a stack of numbers. It’s ultra lightweight, but again: it’s only three bucks! Great value. And again: too small for SteamSpy.

  • Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Such a weird, cool little game that had FPS, action adventure and 2d plane fighter mechanics with a David Cage weird supernatural story, reviewed ok but didn’t sell well. It even had David Bowie working on the sound track.

  • Warzone 2100 – the best RTS almost no one has ever played.

    Agent Armstrong – this odd alt. Steampunk 1920’s 3Dish side scroller platformer/shoot em up. Missed out on a US release oddly enough, but the art is full of charm and the game competent enough.

  • Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battlecars. I’m glad everyone jumped on board for the sequel, Rocket League, but I still miss the more imaginative arenas the original game had. Like one horseshoe shaped arena where you could get to the opposite side of the map really quickly by cutting through a tunnel that connected both goals.

  • Did a video a little while ago focusing specifically on Windows 95 and 98 stuff on this subject: https://youtu.be/QEBPbKODlVg

    Outside of that, I had an Atari Lynx with a stack of games on it, due to the Lynx not being popular I doubt too many played many of the games I had on it.
    Stuff like S.T.U.N. Runner, Roadblasters, Gates of Zendocon, Kung Food, Power Factor, Scrapyard Dog, Steel Talons and Toki were all fun.

    Could list lots of old DOS classics too.

  • I don’t think Final Fantasy X-2 gets enough love. The battle system was fast, the dress sphere transformations were cool to watch and it didn’t take itself seriously at all.
    Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is such a beautiful game and uses 1st person and 3rd person gameplay so well. The story is also really sad and interesting.
    Lastly, Gabriel Knight 3. It’ll never happen, but I’d love a remaster of this classic.

  • I liked Binary Domain more than many highly rated franchises. Couldn’t say how well-known this game is on this site but it’s a fun 3rd person sci-fi shooter where you have to destroy robots, small and huge. It’s less fun once you ratchet up the difficulty to the max though. When I did that and couldn’t get past one overly long section with not enough auto-save points, I put it away and haven’t returned to. Did finish the game on Normal though and I had a good time with it.

  • The Urbz and Contact were amazing games. In fact, the DS had so many great games that didn’t get their due. Feel the Magic: XX/XY (or Project Rub) and its sequel The Rub Rabbits were excellent.

    On PC, I wish more people could get their heads around EYE: Divine Cybermancy. It was the weirdest shit. The team are making the new Necromunda game, which kinda looks like a sequel with fewer door locks that hack your brain.

    • I’ve had EYE sitting in my queued list for… must be a decade. It looks weird and up my alley, but also a little unfriendly and intimidating? Maybe I’ll get there sooner now thanks to your post.

      • Yeah, I couldn’t figure EYE out, either. I couldn’t tell if was a multiplayer only game or if it was just a really poorly-explained single-player game that let you change sides at the drop of a hat? It felt like most of the quake/HL2 mods that were coming out at the time.

  • I think Outer Wilds is a game everyone should play, most people I tell about it have never even heard of it.

    • The only reason I bought that game was because it was getting so much positive press and buzz in general, so I’m not sure it qualifies. I’ve started it twice and given up on it twice, I get about an hour in and am so bored I move onto something else. But enough people love it that I must be missing something.

      • I will say you find most of the cooler places in the game after a fair bit of exploration, and the controls feel less clunky, but the core gameplay (chill self-guided exploration) is there in the first hour so if you didn’t enjoy it maybe it’s just not a game for you!

  • Far out Kingsley’s Adventures and Pokemon Conquest!

    I wish they would bring back Jonah Lomu Rugby.

  • A more recent release, but Rocket Arena is one of my favourite games that seems to have flown under a lot of players’ radars despite being free with Xbox Game Pass (otherwise it’s a mere $5!)

    It’s an awesome fun 3v3 arena shooter with cute cartoon characters from a team of former Halo devs. Sure there’s a battle pass and cosmetics to unlock, but all the characters and maps are free and there’s new ones added every season!

    Definitely worth giving a go if you haven’t already; just be sure to enable crossplay!

  • Mini Healer on Steam. All of the World of Warcraft/MMO healing experience with none of the real people. It’s in Early Access, but it’s still fleshed out and it’s a blast.

    • Oh, I need to add Dragon Warrior Monsters. To this day it’s superior to Pokemon and you’ll never convince me otherwise. I’ll kill for updated Switch ports.

  • Huniepop. Its one of my go to chill games which then had many many cheap knock offs come from it. Usually F2P with microtransactions, unlike Huniepop which is a complete game.

  • I’m commenting just to say that “hey, I have that game. That was a very fun game!” after seeing Contact in this list.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!