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Consoles Gaming

The 20 Best Games Like ‘Clash of Clans’

If you spend a lot of time with Supercell’s mega-hit game, then you’re probably hankering for more games to play like Clash of Clans that hits that sweet spot of free-to-play mobile strategy goodness. It’s a great, challenging game to take with you on the go (and who can beat the fact that it fits in your pocket?) but now the game is looking a little long in the tooth.

So it might finally be time to branch out and try a little something else. Or maybe you just want to expand your horizons a bit. Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking for more games like Clash of Clans to add to your collection of mobile games, we’ve got 20 different games here for you to try out to see what you vibe with the most next. And the best part? Most of these games are free!

Check out 20 games like Clash of Clans that we’ve carefully curated for you below.

1. ‘Hero Sky: Epic Clash’

If you’re looking for something exactly like Clash of Clans, you can’t go wrong with Hero Sky: Epic Clash. Arm up with your buddies and fight through guild wars by first choosing a hero and diving into battle. Grow your modest starter village into a veritable fortress and claim the Sky World for your own. Save up gold and build additional structures to defend your base from potential invaders, and train up your followers for some seriously exciting battles.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.innospark.herosky&hl=en_US&gl=US
2. ‘Lords Mobile: Tower Defense’

Lords Mobile: Tower Defense is all about finding a new Lord to unite the Kingdoms, which have fallen into disarray since the Emperor was taken out. You’ll be tasked with recruiting new heroes, including dark elves, mermaids, dwarves, steampunk robots, and just about everything else you can think of as you fight on and establish a new empire. Raid castles with your massive armies and go down in history, all in this castle-building, army-fortifying strategy game.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.igg.android.lordsmobile&hl=en_US&gl=US
3. ‘Total War Battles: Kingdom’

If you’re a fan of the Total War series, there’s plenty to love about Total War Battles: Kingdom. Shape the land you rule over by building your own medieval kingdom, recruit members of a growing, formidable army, and defeat anyone in your way as you rise up, create a bustling economy, and rule your devoted people. Create alliances with Vikings and other groups of people to expand your influence even further until you eventually become a legendary medieval lord. All this, and the game fits right in your pocket. Plus, you’ll have something of an edge over other players if you come from a Total War background.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sega.twbkingdom&hl=en_US&gl=RU
4. ‘Cookie Run: Kingdom’

If you like a little more story baked in with your Clash of Clans-like games, Cookie Run: Kingdom checks all the boxes. Guard against the Cookies imbued with Soul Jam against a shadowy Harbinger of Darkness and help the five Cookie heroes battle those who would see the Kingdom fall. Build up your own cookie land, ally with delicious creatures, collect relics, and engage in flashy cookie battles where you can use special toppings and treasures to bolster your team. Think of it as Clash of Clans if everything were edible.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.devsisters.ck&hl=en_US&gl=US
5. ‘DomiNations’

DomiNations looks and feels like one of those throwback RTS games from back in the day. Its civilization simulation elements and wars with competing nations should feed your inner ruler since they’re both so strong. Each nation has its own strengths and weaknesses, which therein lies the fun as you figure out which one best suits your playstyle. The fact that you can obtain sage advice from historical figures, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Catherine the Great, and King Sejong, lends this mobile strategy gem an extra air of legitimacy in the way it handles ancient history.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/dominations/id922558758
6. ‘Guardian Kingdoms’

Guardian Kingdoms is all about becoming a guardian worthy of growing a kingdom around. Just like in Clash of Clans, you’ll go from zero to hero while you build a new kingdom, create alliances with other heroes, and o to war against anyone who might oppose you. In addition to crumbling enemy castles, you’ll get to steal crystals while heading out on adventures and destroying bosses. Collect new heroes as you play the game, and see just how far you can go. Recently, the game even added a new Barracks system, battle leagues, and additional troops you can pair with to crush the opposition.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phoenixonegames.guardiankingdoms&hl=en_US&gl=US
7. ‘Plunder Pirates’

Midoki’s Plunder Pirates was directly inspired by Clash of Clans. This multiplayer game finds you building up a base, training your own pirate squad, and hitting the high seas to explore while looking for treasure, all the while defending yourself against players and attack others to take gold and grog for yourself. You can use those resources to build up defenses and create your own buildings. As you build up, you’ll be able to complete quests and take part in 24-hour skirmishes called Rumbles as well as regular events, which last for seven days. Earn gems by completing missions, finding them in chests, or even at sea. All of this makes for a fun, pirate-centric adventure that lets you feel as though you’re living the life of Blackbeard himself.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.midoki.pirates&hl=en_US&gl=US
8. ‘Jungle Heat’

Jungle Heat is all about combat, involving military bases that you buildup and control, and taking it all to the jungle to attack your enemies. Explore tropical jungles practically teeming with resources like oil and gold, all to bring down the cruel General Blood, who rules with an iron fit. Head deep into the jungle to collect everything you need to train your troops, upgrade your buildings, and then match up with other players to see who has the most formidable set of soldiers. Battles are quick and easy, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to play the game. It’s a great substitute for Clash of Clans if that’s indeed what you want.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jungle-heat/id652136891
9. ‘Dawn of Titans’

Dawn of Titans is all about letting you take on the role of the Gods themselves, like Zeus, Thor, and the rest of the pantheon. You’ll collect additional deities to play as and control all while you expand your modest empire into something to be terrified by. Capture an additional enemy territory to ensure you’re on top of things while building a massive army to ensure you’re always ready to take on anyone who threatens to topple your empire. Clash of Clans fans will enjoy all of the similar aspects while also getting to collect and control the mythical deities with a wide range of superpowers. Who doesn’t want to see what all those gods can do after watching Hercules as a kid?

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.naturalmotion.dawnoftitans&hl=en_US&gl=US
10. ‘Boom Beach’

In Boom Beach, you’ve got to work with your own Task Force comprised of other players around the world if you want to fight off the evil Blackguard. As the commander of your own army, you’ll be infiltrating a tropical paradise as you plan out how best to storm other players’ beaches and what the best plan of attack is to come out on top. You’ll have to scout out the perfect location on the beach to come together and mount an assault on enemies and AI bases if you want to make the most out of your time with Boom Beach. Plus, task force challenges and monthly global events will keep you on your toes. As far as games like Clash of Clans go, the similarities are easy to spot here.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.boombeach&hl=en_US&gl=US
11. ‘Castle Clash’

Castle Clash may be one of the closest games yet if you want to replicate what you enjoy about Clash of Clans. It’s also one of the largest, as it boasts over 10 million players worldwide. It combines elements of strategy and combat for a game that lets you build up near-impenetrable fortresses and zany troops out of soldiers of your choice. It’s fast-paced, and there are tons of mythical creatures and other heroes to recruit, no matter what your typical taste in these types of characters is. Plus, you can play against other people or join a guild and play against tough bosses together. There are plenty of different ways to interact, and it’s all free.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/castle-clash-guild-royale/id692669501
12. ‘Gods of Olympus’

Another great Clash of Clans-like game that you’ll want to add to your favorite mobile device pronto is Gods of Olympus. Like an earlier game on our list, it lets you take control of the ancient Greek gods and lock them together in combat. Fight it out in real-time combat as you use gods like Zeus, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, and Athena. Or you can play together with allies for real-time co-op play in live battles as you all work to defend your city from attacks or simply destroy anyone who gets in your way. Interestingly enough about this game as well is that there are no build times, so every building and facility you need is completed instantly. That’s a major boon if you’re looking for something a little different.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aegisinteractive.goo&hl=en_US&gl=US
13. ‘Vikings: War of Clans’

Under the watchful eye of Odin, Vikings: War of Clans finds you rallying together with some of the most bloodthirsty Vikings the world has ever seen to rush into combat and strike down their enemies. Construct your own buildings and make sure your warriors are trained up, then send your own heroes on raids to become a mighty Jarl whose name is known throughout the world — and summarily feared. Collect resources, wield important knowledge to defeat others, and create or join a clan to pool your resources and become one of the most powerful Vikings to go down in history.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plarium.vikings&hl=en_US&gl=US
14. ‘Clash Quest’

Clash Quest isn’t exactly the same type of game as Clash of Clans, but it’s from the same creator. So it retains many similar elements while introducing a few new ones, too. It’s a turn-based puzzle RPG battle game that has you battling bosses throughout unique puzzles while you explore undiscovered islands with a group of heroes who find themselves stranded on an island. You’ll still collect heroes and build up armies, but this time you have to match the troops on the battlefield, using a variety of spells and more. You’ll also fight bosses from the Clash universe to keep things fresh. It’s not more that’s exactly the same, but instead a fun twist on a familiar game.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.clashquest&hl=en_US&gl=US
15. ‘Brawl Stars’

Brawl Stars is another game that deviates a bit from the Clash of Clans formula, but it’s still in the same spirit as the popular multiplayer game. It’s a MOBA and third-person shooter that includes a variety of different Brawlers that you can play to take out your enemies, whether they’re AI-controlled or real people bringing the fight for you. Unlock new Brawlers through Boxes, the Trophy Road, or purchase them in the Shop. There are also multiple seasons of the game to battle through with a battle pass you can unlock for additional goodies.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details/?id=com.supercell.brawlstars
16. ‘Barbearian’

If your favorite part of Clash of Clans is the epic combat, then Barbearian is a cuddly hack and slash game you’ll bear-ly be able to resist. Take part in massive, full-scale battles with over 100 levels teeming with action and adventure. Collect loot, nab upgrades, and try out new weapons as you bust through enemy holds, rescue prisoners, and create your own army, all as an abducted teddy bear! Yeah, you read that right. Grab plenty of loot to upgrade your bear, then melee your way to victory the best way you know how: crashing and bashing through everything. It’s the most fun you can have as a bear, that’s for sure.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/barbearian/id1351822099
17. ‘Emporea’

Take it all the way back to the classic days of strategy gaming with Emporea. Choose one of four different races (Orc, Dwarf, Elf, or Undead) as you work to build up a formidable economy teeming with powerful units who can use a variety of different spells and stick it to your enemies. Conquer new territories while defending what’s yours, and set up alliances to make sure you’re set to defend it as long as possible. There are over 90 different unique artifacts to collect, over 90 hero skills to choose from, and a new realm that kicks off every two weeks. Plus, there’s a new challenging boss encounter every 97 days. There’s plenty to keep you busy, especially if you like rising to the challenge and kicking it old-school, RPG-style.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.PixelFederation.EmporeaGame&hl=en_US&gl=US
18. ‘Clash Royale’

The natural evolution from Clash of Clans is Clash Royale, a real-time strategy game that includes elements of collectible card games, MOBAs, and tower defense titles. You’ll have one or two players working to rush the King’s Tower, which means an instant win. Otherwise, the game ends after three to five minutes and the win goes to the player who can destroy a tower or the team who’s managed to have the least bit of health taken from them. Level up, get stronger, and collect powerful cards to make sure your opponent always has a reason to worry about what you have up your sleep. It’s a bit different from Clash of Clans, but it’s just as exciting and especially addictive.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.clashroyale&hl=en_US&gl=US
19. ‘Rise of Kingdoms’

Rise of Kingdoms puts you in charge of 12 different civilizations. Which one will you ultimately work with to conquer the world? That’s up to you, as you decide on the best way to proceed. You can decide to put your own people first, explore unknown territories, or even decide to get tangled up in some vicious wars. whatever you do, you have the chance to create the strategies of your choice as you collect resources, form alliances, and complete missions to rank up quickly. The higher your level, the better you’ll see yourself performing, and eventually, you’ll be a formidable ruler that no one will want to touch. That’s the beauty of Rise of Kingdoms!

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rise-of-kingdoms/id1354260888
20. ‘Stick War: Legacy’

You’ve never seen stick figures like this. Bring all the stick figures you can think of together as you control an army of various stickman units. Grow your army, from zombies to centurions, all made out of sticks, then build up your facilities to start collecting resources. Mine plenty of gold so you can pay to train your stickmen in a variety of disciplines, and they can learn various attack methods: Sword, Spear, Archer, Mage, and Giants. Capture all the territories you possibly can while you collect new skins, play with others or enjoy the single-player campaign, and finish off a terrifying boss at the end of it all! It turns out that stick figures are a lot more sturdy than you thought they were. What we have here is one of the more visually distinctive games like Clash of Clans to adopt as a part of your mobile gaming regimen.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.maxgames.stickwarlegacy&hl=en_US&gl=US
Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 20 Most Underrated ‘Sonic’ Games

When it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog, we all know the greatest hits: the original game that started it all, Sonic CD, Sonic Adventure 2, and that’s just naming a few. There are a set of Sonic games that are widely accepted as the cream of the crop, and for plenty of good reasons. There are a few stinkers, too. Plus there’s a collection of underrated Sonic games worth mentioning as well. But that’s true of any long-running game series.

But aside from the best entries, we can usually all agree on and the collective clunkers, there are plenty more still that just don’t get the recognition they deserve. For instance, do you ever really sit and think about how much fun Sonic Lost World was? What about Sonic Spinball? Absolute, tried-and-true classics. And we think it’s time to make sure they’re properly recognized.

So let’s take a stroll through these 20 underrated Sonic the Hedgehog games. Grab those wallets, because you may very well find a new Sonic adventure you’re ready to embark on.

1. ‘Sonic Lost World’

Sonic Lost World finds Sonic facing off against a crew of Eggman’s terrifying new cronies, the Deadly Six. Things don’t exactly go as planned, though, as the Deadly Six rise up against Eggman. As such, Sonic uses a variety of new powers (plus the returning Spin Dash) to bring the fight to them. Sonic can fly through the air, move at breakneck speeds, and race through colorful levels reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. If it’s the super speed you appreciate most about Sonic, this is one entry you won’t want to miss. And just look at those bright, enticing colors! Gorgeous.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/329440/Sonic_Lost_World/
2. ‘Knuckles’ Chaotix’

This Knuckles-centric spin-off is a platformer that follows the titular echidna and the Chaotix Crew as they traverse the Newtrogic High Zone to stop Eggman from conquering Sonic’s world. Aside from its unique protagonists, this game is intriguing as it lets you choose which levels to play in the order you prefer, as you swap out playable characters using the Ring Power through Bound Rings. This means you can have one player stay put while another moves forward to create speed. There are plenty of creative moves just like this one that make Knuckles’ Chaotix an exciting entry in the Sonic universe, and it’s well worth trying.

Buy Now, $122.50
https://www.ebay.com/itm/224999518465?epid=56209554&hash=item3463043101:g:OGsAAOSw9rJii8xd
3. ‘Sonic Chaos’

This Master System and Game Gear game follow Sonic and Tails as they work to steal away the Chaos Emeralds from the dastardly Eggman, who’s stolen them in a bid to create nuclear weapons. Based on the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, it’s essentially a follow-up to that game and the first to feature Tails as a playable character with his own selection of abilities. It was also the first original Sonic game made for a handheld. If you owned a Game Gear, chances are you had a copy of this too, but if not, you should be sure to dig into this classic, speedy Sonic platformer now, too. Retro handheld aficionados certainly remember this selection as one of the most underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Chaos-Sega-Game-Gear/dp/B00004YSWK
4. ‘Sonic Colors: Ultimate’

Sonic Colors: Ultimate is a remastered version of the original Wii game, which marked a stunning return to form at the time for the Sonic series. Sonic must stop the evil Eggman (as usual) from doing something heinous: this time, it’s enslaving an alien race and trying to take over the world. You know, as you do. It introduces the Wisps, which are special power-ups that Sonic can use to help stop Eggman, as they imbue him with attack power and other abilities, all based on different colors. That includes the Cyan Laser, the Orange Rocket, Pink Spikes, and more. It’s a speedy, exciting addition to the Sonic series that deserved another shot at reaching a larger audience, and if you’re always chasing classic Sonic, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this otherworldly adventure.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/sonic-colors-ultimate-switch/
5. ‘Sonic Riders’

This high-octane racer brings Sonic the Hedgehog characters together to battle it out to see who’s the quickest on hoverboards. It includes 16 tracks spread out across an actual story mode with a plot. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are looking for the Chaos Emeralds to make the Babylon Garden rise so he can enact another evil plan. He ends up starting up a race called the EX World Grand Prix to get his evil machinations going, and as it happens, Team Sonic and Amy Rose join in for two campaigns’ worth of action with new characters Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross. The races are quick, the stages are inventive, and the core gameplay is strong. If you love racing, this is an exciting Sonic game that’ll strike your fancy. You just can’t put together a list of underrated Sonic games and not bring up this one.

Buy Now, $69.99
6. ‘Sonic Forces’

Sonic Forces came about in commemoration of Sonic’s 25th anniversary, and let players create their own unique custom character to help save the day. Sonic the Hedgehog is, once again, working to thwart Eggman, who’s actually conquered the world this time with the help of the sinister new villain Infinite. It features both side-scrolling gameplay like classic Sonic titles as well as 3D action like Sonic Colors, which means it features the best of both worlds. The real draw is its character creator, which lets you act out your Sonic OC fantasies, as you can play alongside classic characters like Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as well as Team Chaotix, Amy Rose, Silver the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, and more. It’s a jam-packed Sonic celebration, and a great platformer all-around.

Buy Now, $24.49
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Forces-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B076ZFBK4W
7. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble’

This Sonic platformer for Game Gear is the standalone sequel to Sonic Chaos, so it’s very much in the same wheelhouse. It finds Sonic and Tails working to collect six Chaos Emeralds before Eggman can, and introduces Fang the Sniper (then Nack the Weasel). It also marks Knuckles’ first appearance in a handheld Sonic game. There’s nothing particularly innovative about this entry compared to Sonic Chaos, but what makes it underrated is that it’s more of the same, enjoyable action that Sonic Chaos presented. It’s also proof that, if you didn’t own a Game Gear in its heyday, you really should pick one up on the cheap now.

Buy Now, $49.95
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Hedgehog-Trouble-sega-game-gear/dp/B00004R9G9
8. ‘Sonic Spinball’

Sonic Spinball is an entirely addictive pinball game where Sonic himself is the pinball. Interestingly enough, it’s set in the animated series continuity. Eggman has built a fortress on top of a volcano in a bid to transform the animal inhabitants of planet Mobius into robots. Sonic and Tails work to infiltrate the fortress, but Sonic is knocked into the waters surrounding the fortress. Across four different levels, he must pinball around to try and free the animals, avoiding toxic sludge, hitting switches and bumpers to proceed, and defeating bosses to move past certain areas. It’s extremely challenging, but that’s what makes it so much fun. Plus, it looks great. Sonic Spinball offers one of the more clever spinoff entries in the series and is most definitely considered highly within this selection of underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Spinball-Sega-Game-Gear/dp/B00004YSWL
9. ‘Tails Adventure’

Did you know Tails had his own solo game? Tails Adventure has Miles “Tails” Prower exploring Tails Island as he defeats a variety of enemies lurking there. It’s a little different than your typical Sonic game, as Tails can only walk or fly, and it’s more akin to a typical platformer than most Sonic games. But it’s a fun, casual adventure where Tails can collect 26 items across 12 stages, which will require a bit of thinking and challenge to get through. It’s a fun change of pace, and it’s a great option for Tails fans, especially since he’s had so few chances to shine in the spotlight.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/tails-adventure-3ds/
10. ‘Sonic Rush’

This Nintendo DS platformer was one of the most exciting new-school Sonic games to hit the popular handheld. Interestingly, it brought a new character named Blaze the Cat into the fold, who comes from a dimension with seven Sol Emeralds, much like the Chaos Emeralds. Eggman somehow managed to get his hands on those too, and Blaze has to retrieve them. She meets up with Cream the Rabbit and Sonic the Hedgehog, and the pair team up to figure out how they can stop Eggman and his nefarious plot, collecting the Sol Emeralds and realizing the meaning of friendship along the way.

Buy Now, $39.95
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Rush-nintendo-ds/dp/B0009SQFHK
11. ‘Shadow the Hedgehog’

Don’t let his edginess fool you. Shadow the Hedgehog is actually a fun character, and so is his 2005 video game. It completely changed things up in terms of classic Sonic elements, instead focusing on third-person shooter and nonlinear gameplay mechanics. Shadow can use a variety of weapons and special attacks, and can even embark on special sub-missions if you so choose.

It’s all in an attempt to try to regain Shadow’s lost memories, and so he can reunite with his creator’s granddaughter Maria. If you’ve ever wished for a more violent Sonic game or one with a bunch more edgy content, this is the Sonic game for you. It’s actually quite fun, much in the way of Final Fantasy spin-off Dirge of Cerberus. Shadow the Hedgehog in all its gun-toting and melee-weapon swinging glory has to be given its flowers as one of the more underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $88.77
https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Hedgehog-Xbox/dp/B0009PKDQC
12. ‘Team Sonic Racing’

Sonic and the gang are all revved up and ready to go in Team Sonic Racing. Characters from the Sonic universe like the Blue Blur himself, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Amy Rose, and more have joined up for a team-based kart racing game where the winner takes all. With awesome new Wisp-based power-ups, lots of fun Sonic moments for the fans, and speedy new karts, fans will have plenty to dig into with this new Sonic racer in their hands. From the starting line to the finish, tackle radical new tracks, groove along to familiar Sonic music, and earn extra points based on which position you complete the race. It’s a Sonic free-for-all that you won’t want to miss.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/team-sonic-racing/C2Q9FW49H8K3
13. ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’

When Sonic and the Black Knight debuted, it was the laughing stock of the Sonic community. But that’s just because people didn’t understand its brilliance. And they still don’t. It combines fantasy storytelling with the world of Sonic as it introduces a wizard named Merlina, granddaughter of Merlin, as she tries to escape from a black knight and his soldiers. She accidentally summons Sonic after performing a spell pleading for a hero to save her. Merlina explains to a bewildered Sonic that the black knight is King Arthur, who’s been corrupted by the power of Excalibur. Sonic has to defeat him before he can return to his world. Aside from an exciting story, the game is unique in that it gives Sonic a sword to swing around while allowing him the same speed and mechanics as the rest of the series, making for a fun and refreshing change of pace.

Buy Now, $78.85
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Black-Knight-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B001D8PFIK
14. ‘Sonic the Fighters HD’

This lesser-known fighting game brings Sonic characters together to clash in 1v1 battles. It uses the same engine as Fighting Vipers and is the first wholly 3D game in the Sonic series. It’s been largely an afterthought for some time, which is of course a mistake. Who doesn’t want to see Sonic and Knuckles duke it out? And Tails and Amy Rose is an enticing battle as well because it sounds like a hilarious match-up. It may ultimately be a pretty simplistic fighting game, but it’s a lot of fun and features some very cool animation. It’d be nice if Sega revisited such a silly yet wholly engaging concept from one of the most underrated Sonic games and fighters that’s way better than it’s given credit for.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/sonic-the-fighters/BVXG5MD1R3WC
15. ‘Sonic Shuffle’

If you like Mario Party but wish it featured Sonic characters instead, you’ll love Sonic Shuffle. It’s a similar board game that also includes minigames like its Nintendo counterpart, and it’s great to play with a room full of friends. Sonic and friends are sent to “Maginaryworld”, where they meet with a fairy who asks the group to collect “Precioustones” in a bid to save the world from the evil villain Void. All playable characters, including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat, Super Sonic, E-102 Gamma, and a Chao, have their own unique abilities while roaming around the board. The game also supports the Dreamcast’s VMU, something rarer even for the system’s heyday. It’s a great party game with fun Easter eggs for Sonic fans and is criminally overlooked.

Buy Now, $98
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Shuffle-Sega-Dreamcast/dp/B00004T4XO
16. ‘Sonic and the Secret Rings’

Sonic and the Secret Rings kicked off the Sonic Storybook series, with Sonic and the Black Knight to follow. It’s a spin-off that marked the hedgehog’s first appearance on the Wii and finds Sonic trying to stop an evil genie called the Erazor Djinn. While it mostly plays like a classic Sonic title, it’s set in the Arabian Nights universe and features a special system where Sonic can earn experience points and levels to become more powerful over time. It’s a fun, imaginative game that incorporates plenty of Wii Remote movements, and its version of the Arabian Nights story is fun to take in.

Buy Now, $50.17
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Secret-Rings-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B000IONGVI
17. ‘Sonic Unleashed’

Ever wish Sonic could transform into a bigger, badder version of himself? You get just that in Sonic Unleashed, where Sonic is cursed with becoming a Werehog, a werewolf-like creature. After Eggman (once again) destroys the world as we know it in an attempt to release the ancient evil being Dark Gaia, Sonic must work to defeat Dark Gaia, who also cursed him with the Werehog transformation.

The gameplay is split into two different styles because of this: traditional speedy Sonic platforming, and a third-person style where Werehog Sonic is slower and more deliberate, fighting off waves of enemies in his much more powerful form. Though it was initially the butt of many jokes as it turned Sonic into a Werehog, it’s very much a fun little diversion that brings enough different types of gameplay to the fold that it’s definitely an overlooked gem at this point.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/sonic-unleashed/C098FGNMTS8F
18. ‘Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine’

Love Puyo Puyo? Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is precisely that, only it features Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Though it’s just a puzzle game, it does feature some story elements. Robotnik (Eggan) has kidnapped the poor denizens of Beanville and has turned them into robots. Naturally, you have to stop him. Because who else is going to?

The mechanics are simple to learn. You watch for colored shapes descending down from the top of the screen and match the colors to clear lines and eventually the entirety of your play area, much like Tetris. It’s easy to get lost in for hours, and while it isn’t a traditional Sonic game, it’s still fun to keep around for bite-sized chunks of gameplay. This addictive puzzler, with its goated upbeat soundtrack, get a worthy nod here for its placement here as one of the most underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/34286/Dr_Robotniks_Mean_Bean_Machine/
19. ‘Sonic Battle’

This handheld Sonic free-for-all is the second fighting game in the Sonic franchise and the sequel to Sonic Advance 2. As usual, it has a plot, too. Eggman learns of a secret artifact his grandfather discovered: a sentient weapon called the Gizoid. Eggman tries to bring back the Gizoid, but can’t hack it and abandons it at Emerald Beach. When Sonic finds it, it syncs with him and develops a special link with him. Sonic names it Emerl, and discovers it can use the Chaos Emeralds.

The pair train together, but this eventually attracts Eggman, who creates an army of Emerl clones. All that to say, you have to face off against other Sonic characters in 3D arenas with up to four players, kind of like a Super Smash Bros. type situation but in a 3D space. it’s a fun diversion, if simplistic, but it could definitely use a remake on a modern system that doesn’t force you to squint to see everything. Still, it’s a great game.

Buy Now, $79.98
20. ‘Sonic Pinball Party’

Sonic Spinball may be the premiere Sonic pinball game, but Sonic Pinball Party is a close second and one of the lesser-known Game Boy Advance titles. Set in Casinopolis, Eggman is up to his old tricks, trying to turn people into robots. He brainwashes both Miles and Amy Rose while doing all this, and Sonic must rescue all of his friends by winning a pinball tournament: the “Egg Cup Tournament.” This pinball adventure comes with a variety of different tables, fun effects, and creative environments. It’s a solid pinball romp that you’ll want to take out of your pocket and engage in while on the go, especially if you’re still kicking around with your GBA. You’ll definitely want to dive deep into this one so you can join the sub-section of Sonic fans that christen it one of the more forgotten and underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $64.72
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Advance-Pinball-Party-Game-Boy/dp/B000BAR9MQ
Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 8 Best Mainline ‘Silent Hill’ Games, Ranked

When it comes to horror, fewer video game franchises have a better reputation for terrorizing players than Silent Hill. Since 1999, the small town of Silent Hill has been a hotbed for bizarre creatures, mysterious deaths, and some seriously disturbing happenings. And we’ve loved it ever since it debuted on the original PlayStation in the ’90s. With each subsequent release, we’ve hungrily jumped on each game, eager to have the living hell scared out of us, and begin to mark down the best Silent Hill games during each harrowing journey.

Unfortunately, while there have been several Silent Hill games over the years, not all of them share Like any long-running series, Silent Hill has grown and changed over the years, and its changes have drawn their fair share of praise and detractors. The Silent Hill of today is not the same as it was when it began, and it’s still evolving. One day we may even get a new game if we keep holding out hope.

But which games are the best out of the core selection of Silent Hill entries? Which ones are stinkers, and which should you consider playing first? More importantly, which Silent Hill game is the best of the best? We’ve got you covered with our rundown of all eight mainline Silent Hill games, ranked. Stick around and see if your favorite makes the grade.

8. ‘Silent Hill: Downpour’

Silent Hill: Downpour, like Homecoming, attempted to recreate the formula that made the first few Silent Hill games work. Unfortunately, it story involving prisoner Murphy Pendleton was ultimately forgettable. When Pendleton finds himself stranded in Silent Hill after his prison transport vehicle crashes, he makes his way through the town unlocking a variety of repressed memories and discovering the truth behind a variety of heinous crimes.

It’s a decent setup, but ultimately a bland and unexciting game in general, with little to connect it to the classic Silent Hill gameplay so many loved and appreciated. And with so much forced wandering around and backtracking, you’d think the combat could make up for those things a bit, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case. To add insult to injury, longtime composer Akira Yamaoka wasn’t even a part of the game’s development. It was the perfect storm of a disappointment for most players.

Buy Now, $58.80
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Hill-Downpour-Xbox-360/dp/B003O6G47U
7. ‘Silent Hill: Homecoming’

Silent Hill: Homecoming, developed by Double Helix Games, explores the plight of soldier Alex Shepard, who returns from overseas to search for his missing brother, who has (of course) vanished into the ether of Silent Hill. Though the core gameplay remained more or less intact as it was in previous games, a number of significant changes to the formula altered it heavily, to the point of no longer being Silent Hill in the eyes of some. The protagonist’s background as a soldier made the combat far more fluid and effective, changing the dynamic of your interaction with the monsters.

In addition, the camera was no longer fixed, giving the player full control. Though many still found the game scary, it took away the claustrophobic, cinematic feel of the original installments, granting the player more of a sense of capability. This put it in line with Resident Evil 4, which shifted in a more action-oriented direction, but, unlike RE4, it did not receive universal acclaim. It’s an acceptable game, but ultimately disposable in terms of the Silent Hill name.

Buy Now, $26.48
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Hill-Homecoming-Xbox-360/dp/B00149MEWI
6. ‘Silent Hill: Origins’

Silent Hill: Origins flipped the script and acted as a prequel to the first Silent Hill game. It follows trucker Travis Grady as he sets off in search of a girl he rescued from a house fire. Along the way, he ends up unlocking a series of repressed childhood memories, and as we all know, that’s never good news for anyone trapped within the world of Silent Hill. It’s a decent portable game, but ultimately predictable, forgettable, and quite short. It did its job as a prequel, but now it’s difficult to recall much about, proving just how lackluster it was.

Buy Now, $169.80
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Hill-Origins-PlayStation-2/dp/B0011BE3KA
5. ‘Silent Hill: Shattered Memories’

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was a reimagining of the original Silent Hill that debuted on the Wii, with ports to the PlayStation and PSP. It includes everything that made the original game great, but it’s now played in an apparent different universe with some alternate characters, plot points, and new gameplay mechanics: a first-person segment, over-the-shoulder perspective, and psychological tests that alter the course of the game. While there are still monsters, however, there’s no combat. It could have been an excellent reworking of the original game, but it wasn’t quite what was necessary to go do in history as one of the best.

4. ‘Silent Hill 4: The Room’

Silent Hill 4: The Room was released for the PS2, and was different from the outset, not even taking place in Silent Hill. It instead follows a man named Henry, who lives in the town of Ashfield. He’s been trapped in his apartment for five days, with no means of communication with the outside world. On the fifth day, a hole appears in his bathroom wall, and it plunges him into a world of nightmares. This entry largely did away with the puzzle-solving that was a hallmark of the series, instead focusing more heavily on combat, to fantastic effect.

The game received largely positive reviews, but criticism was leveled in multiple directions, with some feeling that the game’s lack of emphasis on puzzles was a detraction, and others felt that the reliance on fixed camera angles had become an outdated hindrance as opposed to a genuine horror tactic. Personally, I enjoyed it the most out of any of the other games with the Silent Hill moniker. For better or worse, this was the last game to be developed by Team Silent, which had started the series, and as such it’s memorable for the many ways that cemented it as part of the traditional Silent Hill cabal.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://www.gog.com/en/game/silent_hill_4_the_room
3. ‘Silent Hill 2’

Silent Hill 2 appeared on the PS2 in 2001, expanding on everything that made its predecessor so groundbreaking. It tells the tale of James Sunderland, a man who has received a letter from his deceased wife, telling him to meet her in Silent Hill. Where else, right? The claustrophobic and well-designed atmosphere soiled many pants and won rave reviews.

What Silent Hill 2 is most known for is introducing series mainstay villain Pyramid Head, who became one of the single most famous video game monsters of all time. He is a constant, voiceless villain that stalks James relentlessly, often forcing him to hide and pray he’s not discovered. To this day, Silent Hill 2 is still viewed by many as one of the greatest horror games ever made, and it often graces the higher reaches of Greatest Game lists.

2. ‘Silent Hill’

The original Silent Hill remains one of the most terrifying. Following one Harry Mason, a man who travels to the enigmatic town of Silent Hill to find his missing daughter, it championed the Resident Evil-style survival horror mechanics perfectly and felt just like the natural evolution of the genre. Eschewing common horror tropes for slow pacing and a deeply unsettling atmosphere, it was considered groundbreaking.

Physical horror was largely pushed aside for intricately structured psychological horror, using fixed camera angles and what many consider to be clunky controls to create an atmosphere of tension and borderline helplessness. A shaky flashlight lights your way, which hints at how poor Harry’s aim is. Everything about Silent Hill is fantastic, and it’s well worth revisiting, even if you’ve played it a dozen times. If you’ve never played it at all, well, you’re in for a treat.

Buy Now, $234.99
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Hill-playstation/dp/B00001XDUB
1. ‘Silent Hill 3’

Silent Hill 3 debuted on the PS2 in 2003 and continues the tale Harry Mason began in the first game. It follows his adopted daughter Heather, who discovers that she is an important pawn in the plans of Silent Hill’s horrible cult. Like the two games that preceded it, Silent Hill 3 is an extremely disturbing, often outright horrifying game that makes excellent use of multiple elements to craft an atmosphere of dread and mystery. Heather must solve all manner of bizarre and macabre puzzles to advance, always plagued by the horror that surrounds her. This may all sound like it’s par for the course, so why does it top the list?

Out of all of the Silent Hill entries, it feels legitimately like the one that we could relate to in real life. Heather has no idea what’s going on, her life is falling to pieces around her, and there’s no way to figure out all of the secrets she finds herself dealing with. And we all know how difficult it can be to deal with being a teenager. Beyond that, it introduced us to some truly gross enemies, story concepts, and fridge horror that we’re still thinking about today. Seriously. If you haven’t experienced this entry, take some time to do that now. You won’t regret it.

Buy Now, $212
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Hill-3-Playstation-2/dp/B00007LV7Y
Categories
Movies/TV Popular Culture

The 25 Best Anime Theme Songs of All Time

When it comes to anime theme songs, there are positively far too many bangers of tunes to keep track of. Whether you vibe to Bleach’s “Asterisk” or you can’t stop humming Dragon Ball Z’s “Cha-La Head Cha-La”, we’ve all got that one favorite song that we’ll always bust out when it’s time to break out the anime music playlists.

But which ones are set to go down in history as the best of the best? Which anime openings are cemented in everyone’s minds as exemplary tunes that no fan would ever be able to forget? Obviously, there’s no one correct answer here, but we were able to round up 25 of our favorites that represent the cream of the crop, the absolute masterpieces of the genre.

Check out this list of the 25 best anime theme songs of all time. And be ready to let us know if we missed your faves.

1. ‘Sailor Moon’ – “Moonlight Densetsu”

“Fighting evil by moonlight! Winning love by daylight!” Whether you know the Sailor Moon theme song by its English dub lyrics or the original Japanese, you have to admit it’s one ridiculously catchy tune. It holds all the wonder and romance the legendary magical girl series has featured since its debut in the ’90s and remains the best song in the game (aside from Sailor Stars’ “Sailor Star Song”). If you’re a Sailor Moon fan, you know you’ve had this one as your ringtone more than once. This is one for the Moonies, and it’ll always be a favorite that everyone and their brother knows.

2. ‘Cowboy Bebop’ – “Tank!”

“I think it’s time we blow this scene…get everybody and their stuff together…okay, 3, 2, 1, let’s jam!” One of the best anime series of all time gets one of the best opening songs of all time. Cowboy Bebop is a rare, near-perfect anime series, and its jazzy “Tank!” is a tune that gets you hyped every single time. You just don’t skip this song. You don’t. And it’s always worth listening in because you can’t help but jump up out of your seat.

3. ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ – “A Cruel’s Angel’s Thesis”

If you’re an anime fan, chances are you know all about Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s one of the most popular mecha series of all time, and chances are you know all about the “Shinji, get in the robot!” meme. The opening song, however, is all about rising and becoming a legend, which we all know the cursed children ended up being after fighting off the Angels and saving humanity…well, kind of. At any rate, this is a true-blue karaoke classic and one of the best songs you’ll hear in the anime world.

4. ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ – “Sono Chi no Sadame”

You thought this was a list of some of the best anime theme songs of all time, but it was Dio! There are plenty of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure songs to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with the original. It has no business pumping you up this much and prepping you for a long, amazing anime journey, but it goes so hard you won’t even believe it.

5. ‘Dragon Ball Z’ – “Cha La Head Cha La”

The most famous fighting anime of all time has to have an equally famous theme song, and this first-season banger is it by a long shot. It may not always make sense, but “Cha La Head Cha La” is a bona fide bop, as are all the rest of the Dragon Ball songs. Sparking! And don’t forget the English version, which is just as good.

6. ‘Lucky Star’ – “Motteke! Sailor Fuku”

The moe anime that launched a thousand memes, this ridiculously gleeful opening even has a dance you can shake it along to. If you’re a Lucky Star fan, you’ve probably sung this yourself over and over again in the shower, as well as everywhere else, too. You’ve probably cosplayed as Konata while eating a chocolate cornet and humming this song. And to think, it’s all about a sailor uniform. Yep. Bet you didn’t know that.

7. ‘Gundam Wing’ – “Just Communication”

The Gundam series is known for many things, and excellent music is just one of them. Two-Mix’s “Just Communication” is the first theme for Gundam Wing, and it does a perfect job of getting you hype for figuring out the weird attraction between Relena and Heero, and the secrets behind the Peacecraft family…and everyone else, for that matter. “Just wild beat communication!”

8. ‘The Promised Neverland’ – “Touch Off”

Okay, look. Everything about the first season of The Promised Neverland was hype. It was close to perfect, including this theme song. We can just pretend the second season didn’t happen so we can think about how amazing this song is. The “na na na” chorus? Spare a chef’s kiss for that part of the tune, because it plants an earworm in your head that’ll never go away. Just don’t think about the second set of episodes. They may as well not exist.

9. ‘Dororo’ – “Kaen”

Dororo may ultimately be a somewhat depressing anime, but its opening is anything but. It’s an inspirational tune that’s inspired by the flames of ambition, and it stirs something wild in you every time you listen. If you need to prepare for something, this is the song to get you going. Light it up, and dive into this series while you’re at it. It’s criminally underrated.

10. ‘Berserk’ – “Tell Me Why”

Berserk is hardly an upbeat show, yet this is one of the most radio-friendly rockers you’ll ever hear from an anime. It has a nostalgic, alt-rock vibe to it that just feels good. While the anime is filled with carnage, this is a song that just ignites something inside of you — perhaps the desire to start your own Band of the Hawk and live your own dream?

11. ‘FLCL’ – “Ride On Shooting Star”

The Pillows wrote one of the most iconic songs they’d ever craft when they put pen to paper for FLCL’s opening “Ride On Shooting Star”. It’s a crunchy, garage-rock tune with one of the most recognizable riffs in anime. And though the anime is short, it’s oh-so-sweet. So you’d better not skip this song when it comes on, even though it’s more of an ending than an opening.

12. ‘Paradise Kiss’ – “Lonely in Gorgeous”

No one understands the longing of Paradise Kiss heroine Yukari better than Tommy february6, the pop project alter ego of The Brilliant Green’s Tomoko Kawase. As a result, this high-fashion pop track has the gloss of new love written all over it, but it’s also bittersweet, too. A true, delectable banger that prepares you for what’s to come.

13. ‘Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’ – “Inner Universe”

The late Origa put her all into this Russian theme song for the excellent Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. From the chorus to the haunting introspective bridge, this song embodies everything appealing about this series, from Major Motoko Kusanagi to the adorable Tachikoma robots.

14. ‘Serial Experiments Lain’ – “Duvet”

This all-English opening wouldn’t have been out of place on ’90s alternative radio, and that alone makes it worthy of being added to any anime playlist. Serial Experiments Lain can be difficult to parse, that’s for sure, but this tune makes it feel a little easier to relate to since it feels like the late ’90s embodied in one catchy track. “And you don’t seem to understand…” — you got that right, this show is confusing.

15. ‘Devilman Crybaby’ – “Man Human”

Devilman Crybaby is a masterpiece of an anime as it is, but the anime’s trippy, dark opening is right up there with the best of the best. It’s a pulsating, thumping beat with repetitious lyrics, but it feels just like the rave that Akira went to and transformed into the Devilman during the show. And it gets you pumped and ready to see what’s to come. You won’t be ready, really, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for it.

16. ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni’ – “Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni”

This self-titled theme song for one of the spookiest, most disturbing, heart-wrenching series you’ll find this side of Another will prepare you for the trippy, time-looping storytelling of Higurashi. There’s nothing quite like your first time viewing the series, and this first song will get you in the mood quickly.

17. ‘Dirty Pair’ – “Ru-Ru-Ru-Russian Roulette”

Let’s face it: the older the anime series, the more dramatic and city pop-like tunes you get. And Dirty Pair certainly skews toward the classic J-Pop idol and city pop genre, all for the better. From the first crunchy notes of guitar and “Ru-Ru-Ru-Ru-shi-an” of the song’s opening, you’ll be hooked. Try and find a better ’80s theme or two cooler female protagonists. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

18. ‘Urusei Yatsura’ – “Lum no Love Song”

Lum is gorgeous, but she has a very sweet side to her as well. That comes out in this very catchy, very cute opening to the long-running slapstick comedy Urusei Yatsura. It’s all about Lum being in love with the guy she cares about, but it’s also a song you won’t be able to stop humming. And you’ll want to sing it again and again, too.

19. ‘Card Captor Sakura’ – “Catch You Catch Me”

Sailor Moon’s “Moonlight Densetsu” may be the crown queen of magical girl music, but Card Captor Sakura’s “Catch You Catch Me” is a whole other world of sweetness and poppiness that feels just like going out hunting for cards with Sakura herself. And if you listen to it long enough, you might start feeling a little like Kero-chan, bopping around in Sakura’s bedroom.

20. ‘Elfen Lied’ – “Lilium”

Elfen Lied tells a very bleak story, but its theme song is a pious, respectful anthem. It isn’t something you’ll want to listen to on your daily commute or anything, but it’s a nice, reverent hymn that focuses on Lucy’s plight and the kindness she was eventually shown. O, lily of purity! What possessed you to make such a banger?

21. ‘Samurai Champloo’ – “Battlecry”

Just like Cowboy Bebop’s “Tank!” is iconic in all the right ways, its spiritual counterpart Samurai Champloo is known by its theme, “Battlecry”. A hip-hop gem like no other, this song flows with the best of ’em and feels like the best companion to Mugen and the rest of the gang in the show. Plus, it’s still one of the best opening songs in the anime world by far. Rest in peace, Nujabes.

22. ‘Bleach’ – “Asterisk”

Bleach came out at a time when the shonen anime scene was positively exploding again. And if you jumped on it from the beginning, you know how hype “Asterisk” got you as soon as the show began. It was the first of what would be many, many excellent opening songs, but it was one of the best ways to kick off a series ever, period, and Orange Range took the cake with this unforgettable tune.

23. ‘Hellsing’ – “A World Without Logos”

Hellsing’s Alucard has a certain groove to him, in the way he moves, speaks, fights, and eliminates other vampires. So it makes sense that this jazzy, Beatles-esque Britpop tune sways along just like he does. It might not feel like what you’re probably expecting from such a violent and grisly anime, but it’s a deeply dark, mysterious bop that’ll make you feel as cool as a new recruit for the Hellsing Organization.

24. ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ – “Ready Steady Go”

“Let’s get started, ready steady go!” Just try to get this song out of your head once you think about it. L’arc~en~ciel (French for “rainbow”) understood the assignment when providing this song for Fullmetal Alchemist. Not only did it seem to capture the Elric brothers’ plight and adventure perfectly, but it became the perfect “road” song. Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean.

25. ‘Gunslinger Girl’ – “Light Before We Land”

I’ll go ahead and say it: Gunslinger Girl is deeply depressing. So you need a little bit of hope to balance out the bleakness. The Delgados’ “Light Before We Land” offers just that. It’s a ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds, and a reason not to skip the animation with each episode. It’s also strangely comforting, so you’ll want to come back to it again and again.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 20 Best Licensed Video Games

We’ve all played them: games based on our favorite TV shows, movies, music, anime, comics, you name it. If there’s a property out there in the world, chances are it spawned a game. For the most part, that’s pretty much a death knell for said game, as licensed titles usually aren’t very good. But over the years, that sentiment has largely shifted. Back during the days of the NES, SNES, and Genesis (and many later generations), movie games like Top Gun and Friday the 13th were pretty awful, and largely the result of a handful of some pretty lazy developers. Now, it seems licensed properties have been taken a bit more seriously, and it shows with some of the more quality titles out there. It’s pretty cool when you check out the full gamut of the best licensed games when you start reminiscing over them.

With that in mind, it can be difficult to sift through game after game that’s tied to a particular property, hoping it’s good, and hoping you’ll actually want to play it. That’s why we’ve taken the initiative to put together the definitive list of the best-licensed games around to help you make an informed decision on what to play next. And there’s a little something for everyone here, whether you love horror games, beat-’em-ups, or good, old-fashioned shooters.

From the Bond series to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, check out these awesome licensed games, in no particular order.

Best Licensed Games
Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

1. ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition’

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition revives the brawler that originally debuted and went dark once more thanks to licensing issues, and it’s a fantastic game. In a not-so-subtle River City Ransom homage, this beat-’em-up tasks you (and up to three additional players) with fighting your way through seven different worlds, each divided up into smaller digestible chunks. After selecting a character from Scott, Ramona, Kim, and Stephen, it’s time to jump into a technicolor, fictional version of Toronto to stave off the evil exes.

Advance little by little as a variety of enemies spawn in to tear you limb from limb, beat them to a bloody pulp, and then continue to the end of each stage. Vanquish a boss at the end and then soldier on to the next area. It’s a retro-flavored adventure through and through, and you’ll love every minute, especially with closely it sticks to the original character designs and vibe.

Buy Now, $4.94
https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-the-game
2. ‘Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered’

There have been many attempts at making a good Ghostbusters game, but Terminal Reality knocked it out of the park with 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Playing like a movie-centric Gears of War with an over-the-shoulder perspective, it tells a new story in the movie universe with a player character who’s a new recruit to the Ghostbusters team. Set two years after Ghostbusters II, it tells a brand new story that could very well have been a new film installment. Not only that, but it was an exciting, challenging game on its own that included plenty of proton pack usage, original actors, and creative ghost appearances that culminated in some satisfying hauntings.

Buy Now, $24.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1449280/Ghostbusters_The_Video_Game_Remastered/
3. ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’

Who hasn’t wanted to jump into the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight? Batman: Arkham Asylum lets you do just that, complete with a knock-down, drag-out cat-and-mouse game with the Joker, Batman’s arch-nemesis. Control Batman as he punches and kicks his way through legions of henchmen, uses the Batmobile to get around town and even uses his grapple gun to travel around above bad guys to get the jump on them.

It’s just like being Batman himself! And as we all know, if you can be Batman, you gotta go ahead and be Batman, even if it’s just in a game. There have been plenty of Batman games over the years, but the Arkham series is one that absolutely gets it right. This is just one of the many titles that’s well-regarded among the best licensed games starring DC’s “Dark Knight.”

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/35140/Batman_Arkham_Asylum_Game_of_the_Year_Edition/
4. ‘The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay’

The ill-fated Starbreeze Studios wasn’t meant to last, but The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was a universally-acclaimed adaptation of the Riddick character, who starred in Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. Players take on the role of Riddick himself, who’s tasked with breaking out of the Butcher Bay prison. Using a combination of first-person stealth mechanics and melee, Riddick must interact with and complete quests for other inmates if he wants a chance at getting out of the facility. It’s widely considered to be one of the best games of the Xbox era, and one of the best licensed games ever made, period.

Buy Now, $33
https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Riddick-Escape-Butcher-Developers-pc/dp/B0002MQG36
5. ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’

Brace yourself for a hard truth: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most beloved RPGs of all time. And it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a licensed game, too! This game was released in BioWare’s prime. Making your way through this tale of an amnesiac Jedi searching for their past and a way to stop the Sith feels like a trilogy unto itself. Unfortunately, though the story is as good as ever, the game does feel a bit aged. However, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you shouldn’t miss this game. Pick it up on PC and grab some mods to improve the experience. You won’t regret it. Plus, it’s getting a remake!

Buy Now, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/32370/STAR_WARS__Knights_of_the_Old_Republic/
6. ‘Friday the 13th: The Game’

There was never truly a decent Friday the 13th game until developer IllFonic stepped in with the license. Then, Friday the 13th: The Game totally killed it. Literally. Because it’s Jason, get it? One player during each match takes on the role of iconic killer Jason Voorhees, while the rest do their best to take him down (they’re camp counselors, of course).

An all-star team, including Friday the 13th creator Sean Cunningham, master of horror Tom Savini, and even Kane Hodder, one of the men who brought Jason to life for gore-hungry theatergoers over the years, brought the game to life. It’s stuffed to the brim with references to the many iterations of Jason over the years, and asynchronous multiplayer that’ll have you coming back for blood every time.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/438740/
7. ‘The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series’

Telltale knocked it out of the park with its portrayal of the award-winning comic series The Walking Dead, introducing an original cast of characters that immediately captured the hearts and minds of everyone who played it. Introducing protagonist Lee Everett, surrogate parent to young Clementine, forced us all to confront everyday fears like losing everything to zombies while still having to fight them off and make some semblance of a life. Though Telltale Games is sadly no longer with us as a studio anymore, it left behind a legacy that we won’t soon forget: Clementine will remember this. And we’ll be left wondering why the show couldn’t be nearly as good as this game.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/207610/The_Walking_Dead/
8. ‘Alien: Isolation’

The iconic Alien franchise may have gone off the rails in terms of its cinematic installments, but the video game series is still going strong. Alien: Isolation took us on a terrifying trip through the remote space station of Sevastopol. As Amanda Ripley (Ellen Ripley’s daughter), players must traverse the station in search of a very important flight recorder and other secrets that unravel throughout the game.

There’s just one problem: there are xenomorphs aboard. As Ripley, you must avoid the Alien by stealthily navigating sections of the game, using distractions to keep it from lunging at you at inopportune times, deftly managing ammo, and solving puzzles to stay one step ahead. The first time you’re unceremoniously yanked out of hiding and devoured? It’s heart-stopping, to say the least. Alien: Isolation is one of the best licensed games that can be compared to the top survival horror experiences out there.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/214490/Alien_Isolation/
9. ‘Mad Max’

The world of Mad Max, namely Mad Max: Fury Road is the perfect breeding ground for tie-in games. But in the simply-named Mad Max, instead of taking on Immortan Joe, you tangle with his son Scabrous Scrotus, the ruler of Gas Town. Although you’ll get the same vibe that the movie had, there doesn’t appear to be any continuity between Mad Max: Fury Road and Mad Max the game. Still, this is a licensed game that’s every bit worth your time. Mad Max recreates the desperate, gritty feeling of the movie franchise. Its vehicular combat is some of the most visceral and well-done that the gaming world has ever seen. And if you love open-world RPG mechanics, you’ll be at home here.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/234140/Mad_Max/
10. ‘GoldenEye 007’

The greatest James Bond game of all time is based on the movie of the same name, starring Pierce Brosnan: GoldenEye 007. Widely considered to be the single best Bond game of all time, it’s also one of the best shooters ever made. GoldenEye was revolutionary in many ways when it debuted, and remains influential to this day, from its mission structure to its adherence to the source material. Developer Rare took the run-and-gun philosophy and enhanced it by adding special tasks for players to complete.

In fact, the game itself is less about eliminating targets and more about using stealth to sneak past enemies if possible, like Bond himself. Further, the game was able to perfectly capture the cinematic essence of the source material. The actors’ likenesses (namely Brosnan’s) went a long way toward making the game feel more like jumping into the movie as well.

For those reasons and many more, GoldenEye 007 is one of the best James Bond games of all time, and gamers will continue to look back fondly on all it accomplished. Placing this retro FPS on a list of the best licensed games is practically mandatory.

Buy Now, $64
https://www.amazon.com/GoldenEye-007-nintendo-64/dp/B00000DMAT
11. ‘South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park’s video game presence peaked with South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and there are likely more awesome entries to come. After The Stick of Truth, which was excellent on its own, this superhero-centric endeavor served up some more hilarity, this time skewering the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other hero-centric media. Your initial goal as a new member of Coon & Friends, Cartman’s superhero team from the show, is to find a nasty old missing cat to collect the $100 reward money.

The journey for $100 will take you across the breadth of South Park itself, and you’ll cross the path of practically every major character at one point or another. The ironic part of this entire journey to get the reward money is that it looks like Cartman has spent well over $100 on his Coon & Friends basement setup with a “merchandise” area and other Coon-centric decor. It plays out just like a traditional South Park episode from beginning to end, and it’s infused with the show’s signature humor as well.

It’s the next best thing to watching the show itself, and even worse in some ways, with more uncensored content.

Buy Now, $49.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/488790/South_Park_The_Fractured_But_Whole/
12. ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’

Do you really want to feel like a superhero? Like, really and truly? Marvel’s Spider-Man has some of the best movement I’ve ever seen in a game. Few titles capture the feel of being a superhero like this one and the original story is like something straight from the comics. It’s one of the few traditional comic-centric games out there that actually feels completely true to the source material. Web slinging feels excellent and I spent hours traipsing around the virtual New York just sightseeing. This is one game that will get your spidey senses tingling and even if you’re not a fan of Spider-Man, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

Buy Now, $19.99
13. ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’

Experience a whole new side of the Lord of the Rings universe with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game continues the same narrative that began in Shadow of Mordor, as it follows lead character Talion, infused with the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor. The duo work to forge a new Ring of Power in an effort to fight against Sauron, and along the way must cleave through enemy Uruks and Ologs while amassing allies to take on Sauron when the time is right. Even if you’ve never cracked open a Lord of the Rings book in your life, there’s plenty of reason to get excited about this follow-up, because it does just about everything it sets out to do correctly, all while respecting the source material.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/241930/Middleearth_Shadow_of_Mordor/
14. ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a sweeping return to form for games based in the Dragon Ball universe, with a major shift from the 3D, open-air fighting of games like Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and its predecessor to straightforward, classic 2D fighters. It doffed the additional freedom that larger play areas offer for tight quarters brawling, which is a great switch-up for the anime-inspired games.

The game rounds up over 20 combatants culled from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super for an interesting mix of faces. From the beginning of the game, you’ll jump straight into a cute hub world with chibi-fied avatars of each of the characters represented in-game. You can interact with others around this hub world to purchase items with Zeni or coins, start online matches, play a game in the Arcade/Story Mode, and mess about with options.

It’s everything you could want from a Dragon Ball fighter and more. This dream scenario coming true for anime fanatics is well-deserving of getting honored on this checklist of the best licensed games.

Buy Now, $59.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/678950/DRAGON_BALL_FighterZ/
15. ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated’

Licensed games aren’t all shooters and beat-’em-ups. They’re fanciful platformers, too. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini BottomRehydrated is a fun undersea adventure where you’re tasked with defending Bikini Bottom from Plankton’s sea of robots. You’ll play as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy as you swap between characters and use all of your unique abilities to defy the advancing robots.

It’s far from a perfect game, but its lighthearted humor and potential as a speedrunner’s game have kept it in the public eye over the last few years. It may not seem like much, but it’s a super sweet adventure for fans of the show and a great platforming adventure for everyone else. This remake is especially great because it’s available on contemporary consoles and fixes many of the original release’s issues that remained present over the years.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/969990/SpongeBob_SquarePants_Battle_for_Bikini_Bottom__Rehydrated/
16. ‘Star Trek: Elite Force’

When you’re trapped in the U.S.S. Voyager and it’s suddenly transported into a hull space teeming with dangerous Borg, you’ve got to make it your mission to defend yourself and the rest of your team from the terrifying aliens. This shooter is full of tense moments that have you working alongside the Voyager crew to set phasers to kill as you use nine weapons with two firing modes, power your way through 40 missions, and test your might across various multiplayer modes. If you’re a Star Trek fan, this is a must-play.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://www.gog.com/en/game/star_trek_voyager_elite_force
17. ‘The Simpsons: Hit & Run’

If you love Grand Theft Auto and The Simpsons (a truly hilarious combination), The Simpsons: Hit & Run is the game for you. The Simpsons must investigate a series of strange incidents happening around Springfield, like robot wasps hanging around, a new brand of Buzz Cola suddenly appearing, and black vans showing up to spy on the family around town.

Looks like there’s a ton of weirdness going on across seven different levels, and it’s your job to investigate throughout madcap mayhem just like all the vehicular violence seen in GTA. This might very well be the most fun you’ll ever have when playing with The Simpsons. Springfield’s most iconic cartoon family has been in some bad games, no doubt. But at least you can always refer to this one as one of its strongest video game representations and one of the best licensed games lucky enough to feature them.

Buy Now, $69.99
https://www.amazon.com/Simpsons-Hit-Run-pc/dp/B0000A0V3B
18. ‘DuckTales: Remastered’

DuckTales! Woo-hoo! Originally released on NES, this adventure is anything but “fowl.” It’s a platformer crossed with a Metroidvania that has players taking control of Scrooge McDuck as he searches for treasures to increase his coffers. He can attack enemies, open objects, and bounce with his cane. There are five different levels to explore, and familiar DuckTales characters to mingle with as you really see why life is like a hurricane for this duck family. It’s far from a duck blur, though. It’s a complex, exciting platformer that’s far from a cash-in on a popular animated show.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/ducktales-remastered/C07J3ZJPGX6Z/0001
19. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)’

If you love the idea of playing as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, or Raphael and beating the stuffing out of enemies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game is the perfect option. This side-scrolling beat-’em-up is one of the most exciting ways to play as the Turtles, and you get to follow after Shredder and his goons as they take April O’Neil away. Save the day with Splinter and pulverize the baddies into dust in this classic arcade game. You’ll want to revisit it again and again.

Buy Now, $399
https://arcade1up.com/products/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles
20. ‘Evil Dead: The Game’

The Evil Dead movies are some of the finest that horror has to offer, and though there have been several Evil Dead games over the past few years, none have been as satisfying as Evil Dead: The Game. Play as a variety of Ashes (including the Ash vs. Evil Dead incarnation) as you work with other players to clear out each area of Deadites, or play as the baddies to possess the good guys and make each match a living hell for them.

You can even take the form of trees and cars if you’d like to run over characters or trap them in your branches. It’s everything a fan of the movies could ever want, and then some. It’s so refreshing to see Bruce Campbell get a win in the sub-genre of licensed video games along with all the other triumphs he’s garnered during his illustrious career.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/evil-dead-the-game
Categories
Gaming

‘MultiVersus’ Preview: A Smashing Brawler With Plenty of Potential

There’s no topping the greatest crossover brawler ever, Super Smash Bros. Everyone knows that. But there’s still plenty of room for alternatives, especially if they’re as fun as Player First Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s MultiVersus is. MultiVersus is an upcoming free-to-play fighting game that throws characters like Batman, Arya Stark, and Velma Dinkley into battle across various stages, where each combatant attempts to knock their opponents out of bounds.

So, the elephant in the room still needs to be addressed. Yes, at its core, it’s pretty much exactly like Super Smash Bros. and its various iterations. So much so that you could call it a complete ripoff, but here, that’s not a bad thing. After spending some time with the Closed Alpha, I’m pleased to say that MultiVersus goes a bit deeper than that – and it’s actually fun to play. It shouldn’t be difficult to make a game like Smash that you actually want to play, but alas, it is, considering how many titles have failed and attempted to recreate the formula.

So much so that MultiVersus being entertaining comes as a pleasant surprise. Here’s my MultiVersus preview.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

You start off by completing a lengthy tutorial that shows you the ropes and lets you unlock a character right off the bat for your trouble (Wonder Woman). From there, the game is happy to hold your hand and teach you how to pull off the various movesets for each character as well as default controls you’ll need to know if you want to survive. There’s a wide variety of movements to pull off, with satisfying combos, aerial moves, and even special abilities for certain characters to pull teammates back from the brink of falling off the map. It goes much further than you may be imagining, which I found refreshing.

After you complete the tutorial, you can jump in and choose a character. Currently, there are 15 known playable characters in MultiVersus from across eight different Warner Bros. Discovery-owned franchises. That includes the DC Universe, Looney Tunes, Game of Thrones, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Scooby-Doo, The Iron Giant, and Tom & Jerry. That means you can pit Batman against Superman, Finn the Human against Shaggy Rogers, Tom & Jerry against Bugs Bunny, and so on. Each have their own variants with different costumes and palette swaps for when you fight against other characters, and you can unlock those as you play.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Each character has a variety of different attacks and specials they can pull off, from wonder Woman’s AoE Amazon Shout ground attack to her Lasso of Truth projectile or Harley Quinn’s Batter Up! baseball bat swing. They’re all quite easy to pull off and memorize, and tailored to each character’s respective franchise or series. I appreciated that they weren’t just generic attacks assigned to everyone. Play online modes like 1 vs. 1, Teams, Co-Op vs. AI, or Free-For-All. You can play with real people or bots, which I appreciated very much because I don’t always want to connect to a game online or play with people who can stomp a mudhole through me when I’m just starting out. Alternatively, you can set up a Practice game or a Custom game.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

If you try to engage in matchmaking and no one connects, you’ll get filtered into a game with bots to get you going. I was so thankful to see that I wasn’t being forced to wait forever and I could get right into a bot game instead of simply not having the opportunity to play. All games should have bots, but I digress.

The more you play as each character, the more you’ll unlock. You accrue XP from each match, which will be assigned to the fighter you played as. Spend all your time as Taz, and you’ll level him up quickly. There are various mastery tier levels to unlock, and as you earn enough XP to snag them, you’ll be rewarded with everything from emotes to Perks, which you can equip at the beginning of a game. So if you choose a main early on and keep playing with that character, you’ll reach new mastery levels quickly. Your rewards are more goodies to keep you in the game, which feels good — and costs you nothing.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

As you jump into games, you can complete Starter Missions when you first jump into the game, like “Play 5 Matches” or “Accept A Rematch in Teams or 1 v 1” to earn gold and XP. These will all go a long way toward helping you unlock new goodies, and other items that you can equip your characters with, like Perks and emotes. Perks can be equipped ahead of matches and can give you a leg up on the competition. It’s good to save these for when you think you might be in for a particularly difficult match, and they can often turn the tide of battle, at least they did for me. Stock up on them when you can and save them if you think you’re in for a tough fight.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

As for what’s to come, I assume there will be plenty of extras on their way at some point, and more information about what to expect from the Battle Pass. There are additional characters supposedly on the way both before and after the game’s debut, but nothing has been confirmed just yet. However, with its battle pass availability and the way the game metes out unlockables, it will likely offer new characters quite often. It is planned as a live service game, after all. And for me, at least, new characters and cosmetics are going to get me in and playing much faster than anything else.

The fact that MultiVersus is a free-to-play game will likely be its saving grace, however, because while there’s a decent amount of content to explore, the fact that there are so few characters at this time is a bit disappointing. If you needed to purchase it, when games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate exist (and offer far more characters for a fair price), it likely wouldn’t stand a chance on the market as-is. But given that there’s no cost to try it, and you can earn in-game currency to purchase unlocks and earn characters, it should attract plenty of players looking to rise through the ranks, even if it’s just to be able to see Harley Quinn in their favorite outfit or to unlock a cool Batman emote.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Despite low expectations at first, I had a lot of fun with MultiVersus, and it’s something I could see myself jumping into and enjoying a few rounds of here and there, even though I’m part of the Smash faithful. I’d like to see more, better characters from additional franchises on their way, but as it stands, MultiVersus is a fun little diversion that’s surprisingly full-featured and enjoyable. I’m all for clobbering everyone as Harley Quinn, so get in line if you’re ready for me to hand out some punishments when the game finally launches later this summer. I hope my MultiVersus preview put some of your fears at ease about this upcoming platform fighting game.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

The Top 10 Best Rhythm Game Songs

When it comes to rhythm games, the most important thing, undoubtedly, is music. But you can’t just make do with uninspired EDM and nightcore. You’ve got to bring the heat with all kinds of genres, whether that means cutesy pop or thumping beats. But if you’re anything like me, playing so many rhythm games over the years has made so many of the tunes across titles sound the same. Luckily, there are still some absolute bangers that you can always count on to get the crowd moving, or at least singing along to. And thankfully, I’m here to highlight them as the best rhythm game songs.

With that in mind, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve distilled all of my favorite rhythm game songs down into a handy list that you can refer to the next time you need to decide on a playlist to get hype with — or at least to inspire you to bust out the dance mats and plastic drums. These songs will get you shakin’ what your mama gave you all over the place, or at the very least ready to get up out of your seat.

Without further ado, these are the top 10 best rhythm game songs, in no particular order.

Best Rhythm Game Songs
Sony Computer Entertainment

1. ‘Gitaroo Man’ – “Flyin’ to Your Heart”

It isn’t often that the first stage in a rhythm game can totally blow you away. But Gitaroo Man’s “Flyin’ To Your Heart” grips you immediately with its thumping J-Pop sensibilities and ridiculously catchy lyrics. You’re thrown into a musical battle as you strum along with U-1, and it’s practically otherworldly. Whether you listen to the song in English or Japanese, there’s plenty to love about it.

2. ‘Groove Coaster’ – “DX Choseinou Full Metal Shojo”

Bandai Namco’s Groove Coaster is in a class all its own when it comes to addictive rhythm gaming. Once you’ve played your first couple of songs, it’s nigh impossible to forget about the experience. The same can be said of “DX Choseinou Full Metal Shojo,” a song that’s hyper, zany, and full of voice snippets from a Japanese voice actress chanting phrases over and over. It’s a challenging stage, but it’s also a ridiculous earworm that you’ll be thinking of long after you leave the machine. And then you’ll want to come back and perfect your score, again and again and again. At least, that’s how it makes me feel. I surmise you’ll feel the same, too.

3. ‘Rhythm Heaven’- “Fan Club”

Okay, just hear me out. Rhythm Heaven is one of the greatest rhythm games of all time. And when you get to “Fan Club,” you’ll understand why. Though the English voice actress doesn’t exactly sound like she’s putting her all into the singing, this catchy little tune is all about a pop singer whose fan club is cheering her on while she croons her heart out. Yes, they’re monkeys. Yes, they’re absolutely adorable. You’ll never get the little “I suppose!” quips out of your head. It’s just a sweet little song that really makes you wish you were an idol, too.

4. ‘PaRappa the Rapper’ – “Prince Fleaswallow’s Rap”

In the rain or in the snow, you’ve got the funky flow. That’s how you’ll be feeling after you listen to Prince Fleaswallow’s flea market rap in PaRappa the Rapper. This reggae-centric groove is so smooth, so fluid, and with such a vibe, that it’ll quickly become your favorite song in the entire game. In fact, who cares about what PaRappa needs to do to make money? Prince Fleaswallow’s flow is so cold that there’s no way you won’t be impressed by the bars he and PaRappa spit. Seriously, this is the best song of the game by far, no contest.

5. ‘Um Jammer Lammy’ – “Fire, Fire!!”

Let’s get on, let’s get on! This Lammy guitar groove is timeless. When our favorite lamb rocker runs into Chief Puddle, who’s working to put out a fire, she stops to give him a hand. It has an old-school, jazzy feel that’s less like a grungy rock tune and more like a cross of classic swing music and oldies mixed together. Plus, the lyric “Fireman’s daily work can’t be done!” is accompanied by an insane run of buttons you need to press on your controller that just feels incredibly satisfying to pull off.

6. ‘Bust A Groove’ – “I Know”

Bust A Groove’s Pinky Diamond may be one of the coolest rhythm game characters to ever exist. She’s a hairstylist, an assassin, a stripper, and a fortune-teller. So her personal song should reflect everything that makes her this awesome. And guess what? It does. This soul-infused bop lets us know everything we need to know about Pinky, such as the fact that she’s “strong and sexy, too” and that she knows and can see all. If this song doesn’t get you up out of your seat and dancing until you can’t stand up any longer, then you probably just don’t like music.

7. ‘Bust A Groove 2’ – “Got To Be Happy”

Admittedly, Bust A Groove 2’s Tsutomu may be one of the lamest characters on the roster. He’s kind of a nerd, and he’s very quiet. But don’t count him out in terms of absolute bops. His song, “Got To Be Happy” is an anthemic banger about living your life to the fullest, getting in the groove, and totally killing it at everything you do. It’s impossible to listen to without feeling pumped up, and that’s the mark of an excellent song, rhythm game, or otherwise.

8. ‘Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA’ – “Fascination 〜eternal love mix〜”

There’s something creepy about this tune, and it’s undoubtedly the fact that it sounds like a stalker calling someone up and asking “Where are you?” over and over. But it’s also so hype, with the voice samples going “I am all you need” throughout the song, becoming more insistent as the steps ramp up in difficulty so it feels like you’re running away from this mysterious individual. By the end, when the phone sounds like it’s been picked up and you hear “We are connected,” there’s a sense of foreboding — did the stalker win, or what? Doesn’t matter, because this song slays so hard.

9. ‘Pump It Up’ – “Will o’ the Wisp”

If you’re more of a Pump It Up fan than a Dance Dance Revolution devotee, you’ve no doubt gotten down to this BanYa classic: “Will o’ the Wisp”. It sounds like it’s been plucked straight from the Twilight Zone, but it’ll give you a great workout.

10. ‘beatmania 4thMIX’ – “PARANOiA MAX ~DIRTY MIX~”

What would a list of rhythm game songs be without at least one good “Paranoia” mention? This tune is a staple of Konami rhythm titles, especially Dance Dance Revolution and Beatmania, and this particular mix is everything fans know and love about the song, pumped up to the max. It combines techno, house, electro, and samples to make the perfect combination for you to dance to and lose your mind while swaying in your seat. Try not to listen to every single “Paranoia” remix after you hear this one. I dare you.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 20 Most Forgotten Gaming Characters

Mario. Sonic. Crash Bandicoot. These are all hallowed names in the gaming universe. They’re iconic characters that most gamers know, and for good reason: their games are great, they’re designed well, and they’re likable! They’re mascots that, like Pac-Man, have long had their likenesses engraved in the history books. No one would even dare consider them to be among the huge crop of forgotten gaming characters.

But just like there are mascots that everyone knows and loves, there are plenty of lesser characters that just didn’t jibe well with audiences, or their games weren’t that memorable. Maybe players just didn’t like these mascots, or they grated on the nerves, like the infamous Bubsy. Or maybe they were decent characters, but their games didn’t sell well enough to establish a franchise.

Whatever the case may be, these gaming mascots have mostly been lost to the sands of time. While some of them enjoyed multiple sequels and chances for gamers to get to know them, others vanished into thin air after a single title. We’ve collected some of the most overlooked mascots for your reading pleasure. Enjoy this trip down memory lane — or your first brush with some of the weirder mascots out there. There are definitely plenty of them.

Forgotten Gaming Characters
Sega

1. ‘Glover’

Glover is exactly what you’d think: an anthropomorphic glove. He can maneuver a ball around, which is his main method of interacting with the environment. He can roll, bounce, throw, slap, balance on, and dribble the ball he’s rolling at the time, though it will depend on which level he’s in. He might use a bouncy ball, bowling ball, crystal ball, or one of several others. Glover only appeared in one game on Nintendo 64 and PC, as the planned sequel, Glover 2, was canceled. Since then, Glover continues to languish in obscurity.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1257880/Glover/
2. ‘Blinx the Time Sweeper’

The ill-fated Blinx was originally slated to be the Xbox’s mascot. This cat with a vacuum is called a Time Sweeper, and as such can manipulate time. Using his TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner, he can slow time down, speed it up, record a moment in time, reverse it, and stop time entirely. Blinx actually got two games, despite low sales and mixed reviews for the first title. Unfortunately, his 2004 sequel is the last anyone’s heard of Blinx, and he certainly hasn’t established himself as the Xbox’s mascot. That honor would go to Master Chief if we had to choose. So it should come as no surprise that Microsoft’s feline representative is counted among this long list of forgotten gaming characters.

Buy Now, $24.97
https://amzn.to/3w7Gx6U
3. ‘Gex: Enter the Gecko’

Gex is a wise-cracking gecko who can, well, run and jump. He’s also an expert on a wide range of pop culture topics. But that’s about all he’s known for, and that doesn’t put him very far above the Geico lizard if we’re being honest. Though the Gex games received mostly positive reviews, Gex has largely disappeared out of the collective gaming consciousness. He just wasn’t that memorable, and his games weren’t worth banking on a future with, especially given that they mostly lacked originality.

Buy Now, $69.90
https://www.amazon.com/Gex-Enter-Gecko-Playstation/dp/B000021Y5T
4. ‘Chuck Rock’

Chuck Rock was actually the early mascot for developer Core Design, ahead of Lara Croft’s 1996 debut. This neanderthal loves to say “Unga Bunga” while sporting a punk mohawk and throwing rocks at things. He’s also a rock star. Overall, a pretty unique spin on the typical mascot character, but not enough to stand the test of time. He did enjoy several sequels, however, and Core Design has promised a modern one is on the way.

Buy Now, $26.10
https://www.ebay.com/p/4642
5. ‘James Pond: Underwater Agent’

Get it? Pond? Because he’s a frog? This amphibian, dressed like James Bond, is exactly what you’d expect: an underwater hero. He can do everything the typical mascot hero can do, but he can also fire off bubbles at enemies to trap them a la Bubble Bobble, then pop the trapped enemies’ bubbles to finish them off. Surprisingly, there were a few James Pond games, but ultimately the mudskipper has never become the household name his creators thought him destined for.

Buy Now, $75
https://www.ebay.com/p/56248537
6. ‘Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure’

Dizzy is an anthropomorphic egg, but don’t call him Humpty Dumpty. He’s named Dizzy for the way he can roll around the games he stars in, peppering in somersaults and other fun ways to interact with the environment. He’s always on the way to save his friends and family, the Yolkfolk, from the wizard Zaks who want to destroy them. Dizzy enjoyed several games, most of them platformers, but the series eventually fizzled out and this egg became cracked.

Buy Now, $18.50
https://www.ebay.com/itm/144463039412?hash=item21a2ab0bb4:g:FzwAAOSwx6diMJ4k
7. ‘Punky Skunk’

Ever heard of a punk skunk? You have now. Punky Skunk follows an anthropomorphic skunk named Punky who uses a special set of gear to accomplish his mission: saving the world. That includes a snowboard, skunk spray, a pogo stick, and all manner of wacky items strewn through each level. And that’s about all you can say about Punky. He only ever got one game, but it’s still pretty fun if you’re looking for something weird to play.

Buy Now, $149.94
https://www.amazon.com/Punky-Skunk-PlayStation/dp/B00002STJU
8. ‘Jersey Devil’

Ever heard of a Jersey Devil? These mythical creatures are rooted in folklore, but the star of this PS1 game is one, too. This bat-like protagonist can jump, punch, and glide his way through expansive levels when it comes to defeating his enemies. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much about the Jersey Devil that set him apart from the rest of the mascots in the world, so there weren’t any sequels and we haven’t heard from him again. Even though its overall design is pretty cool, this edgy creature wasn’t popular enough to rise above its placing here among so many other forgotten gaming characters.

Buy Now, $279.96
https://www.amazon.com/Jersey-Devil/dp/B00002STJ5
9. ‘Skunny’

Skunny is an adorable squirrel who collects rings and travels around in mine carts whenever he can. He can also dash very quickly, much like Sonic the Hedgehog. Unfortunately, when it comes to describing Skunny, that’s about all there is to say. This budget game hero appeared in only a couple of titles before fading away. But if you’re curious, they’re fun enough for an afternoon or two, if only to see what could have been.

Buy Now, $8.99
https://www.ebay.com/itm/403497659930?hash=item5df255ae1a:g:LBUAAOSwCbliF9SI
10. ‘Titus the Fox’

Titus the Fox is actually developer Titus Interactive’s mascot, so he did serve his initial purpose, but he didn’t get much of anywhere after starring in his first game. Titus must go on a quest to save his girlfriend Suzy as he makes his way throughout the Sahara desert. He can pick up and throw objects, stand on thrown objects, and even throw enemies. In fact, stacking items on top of each other is required if you want to make your way through to the end of the game. Ultimately, however, there was nothing exciting enough about Titus to help him appear in another game, and he’s largely disappeared from the zeitgeist.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/711230/Titus_the_Fox/
11. ‘Croc: Legend of the Gobbos’

Croc is a friendly crocodile that players can control a lot like Mario in Super Mario 64. He can use a deadly tail swipe to defeat enemies and bosses, and a hip drop, also like Mario, to break open crates. He’s also absolutely adorable, which is definitely something important he’s got going for him, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to keep potential players interested. The game was released to mixed reviews and even went on to have a sequel — and several mobile games later on in the mascot’s life. Sadly, despite all this, there just wasn’t room for much else. Even though he’s considered to be one of those forgotten gaming characters from the age of 32-bit consoles, his cutesy stature has aforded him a small fanbase that still adores him.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://www.amazon.com/Croc-Legend-Gobbos-PC/dp/B00001YVBH
12. ‘Aero the Acrobat’

Aero the Acrobat is an interesting mascot case, as he looks a bit like a villain character, but he’s actually there to save the day. As a circus star and the best hope for rescuing the performers at The World of Amusement Circus and Funpark from the evil Edgar Ektor, Aero has to pass through hoops, step on platforms, throw stars, and aim aerial drill attacks at enemies while in the air. All in all, an interesting take on the typical mascot platformer, but not memorable enough to cement Aero in the annals of history. As far as forgotten gaming characters go, this platforming daredevil sticks out as a fan favorite for retro heads that gave his games a try.

Buy Now, $16.49
https://www.ebay.com/itm/203222045537?epid=4241&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2f50fa5361:g:LvMAAOSwaYtiD-VT&amdata=enc%3AAQAHAAAA0FaFpol2%2BoDcqcbnUSHJ93vqBSDfZ66KlFgA3vP83oKbAfumFqMN%2BJwp%2FIINEMxZj%2FLZEzwZxpKe1N4k97GA0WyfqgL1RIg0QwrIyooexph3Lxzui83U14RX9XFpmBXkS%2BHlvhMiraMn6ZwIymB9iBy5StUSx5ydH2UsbSujh%2BqExNvqAH7mDZTIOvFRe%2BV78xrMeqg%2FGMa44ljchQSPeZbhwC35MswYFjgHB9U1YzR5e%2F%2Fkw1T9nUDMjTWd25NKbrD8%2BT1wmj%2B2c%2BrdcOgkyrM%3D%7Ctkp%3ABFBMhvazjZdg&var=503570278275
13. ‘Ristar’

Ristar is, well, an anthropomorphic star, as strange as that is. He can reach in eight different directions, and that’s his main mode of attack. He can extend his arms, grab the enemy, and headbutt them to kill them off. He can also open up treasure chests in this way and grab and throw enemies if they mess with him. Other than that, Ristar doesn’t have a ton going for him. He only ever appeared in one game, but it did well enough, acting as a decent alternative to Sonic, even though Ristar didn’t get established as a mascot.

Buy Now, $0.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/34312/Ristar/
14. ‘Bonk’s Adventure’

Bonk is a cute (totally bald) little caveboy whose mission in life is to rescue Princess Za, a small dinosaur who the evil King Drool has kidnapped for his own. Just like his name implies, he “bonks” enemies on the head, and collects pieces of meat as a power-up. In his second stage power-up level, he can stun enemies. In the third stage, he can become invincible for a short time. The games Bonk stars in are actually pretty fun, but unfortunately, he’s no longer in the public eye.

Buy Now, $870
https://www.ebay.com/p/4305?iid=275303355652
15. ‘Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel’

Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel is an interesting case. He’s actually a rival from Aero the Acrobat, marking an occasion where mascots appear in mutual characters’ games. Zero has a few innovative moves that feel great in practice, like special dives and swoops, and bright, colorful graphics. He brings some real personality to the game, but ultimately, he didn’t get another game — Aero the Acrobat did, funnily enough.

Buy Now, $294.99
https://www.ebay.com/itm/324797180063?hash=item4b9f6ba89f:g:A74AAOSwTIJhSc7k
16. ‘Zool Redimensioned’

It isn’t immediately obvious what Zool actually is, but there’s an easy answer: a gremlin. Zool is the “Ninja of the Nth Dimension”, a creature who was forced to land on Earth and earn a ninja ranking. Zool is ultimately memorable because of his bizarre design and even snagged a sequel game in 1993. But, like the other mascots on this list, Zool didn’t manage to stick around very long.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1647730/Zool_Redimensioned/
17. ‘Wild Woody’

Yes, if you’re curious, Wild Woody is a pencil. That’s about it. But he can actually do a series of pretty interesting things when compared to other similar platforming games. Woody can jump on characters and literally erase them as an attack, and can also bring sketches to life to destroy enemies in his stead. He can draw three times in a row, selecting sketches from his personal sketchbook. You’ve got to hand it to the developers: it’s unique, but we never did hear from Wild Woody again after a single game.

Buy Now, $199.99
https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Woody-Sega-CD/dp/B000HEDVBE
18. ‘Rocky Rodent’

Rocky Rodent is exactly what he sounds like: a rodent named Rocky. He uses four different hairstyles as weapons to rescue the daughter of the owner of his favorite restaurant. He’s serving ’90s vibes, down to his hair and attire, from top to bottom. There’s nothing much to say here, Rocky just didn’t make the cut. But it’s still fun to go back and check out his game to think back on the ’90s, a truly weird time for all of us.

Buy Now, $128.88
https://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Rodent-Nintendo-Super-NES/dp/B00002STY4
19. ‘Cool Spot’

Technically, Cool Spot wasn’t meant for video games. It’s the 7Up mascot. And to be fair, that little red dot has been in the 7Up logo since time immemorial. But Cool Spot as a game character? Just like Yo! Noid, Cool Spot’s powers are based on his status as a soda pop character. He can jump and attack by throwing soda bubbles in any direction as well as cling to and climb various things. In the end, all you really remember about him, though, is that he’s a 7Up-centric character. Not really conducive for a game mascot.

Buy Now, $60.99
https://www.amazon.com/Cool-Spot-Super-Nintendo/dp/B000035XZO
20. ‘Jazz Jackrabbit’

Jazz Jackrabbit is actually a fairly successful mascot, an anthropomorphic green rabbit, whose sworn enemy is a tortoise named Devan Shell. Jazz is armed with a gun to take down his enemies, but he can also run, jump, and eat carrots to earn health again. There were several Jazz Jackrabbit installments, but ultimately Jazz has been retired. This is one mascot that would be awesome to see return at some point, though. But for now, he’s just going to have to live with his niche status among this collection of forgotten gaming characters.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://www.gog.com/en/game/jazz_jackrabbit_collection


Categories
Movies/TV Popular Culture

The 21 Best Anime Like ‘Horimiya’

When it comes to romance anime, Horimiya really is a crowd-pleaser. It’s got everything: a girl with a shiny, popular veneer at school who comes home and reveals a totally different personality, a soft boy who’s got tattoos and piercings in high school who everyone misunderstands, and plenty of romantic interludes. It’s really one of the best out there, and it’s a shame it’s so short. Luckily, it isn’t the only series of its kind. Horimiya isn’t the blueprint, thankfully, so if you’ve just finished the show and you’re looking for more, there is a long list of similar shows you can tap into and enjoy. To make things easier for you, we’ve collected them all here. If you’re ready to check out the best anime like Horimiya, be sure and add these picks to your streaming queues.

Anime Like ‘Horimiya’
Funimation

1. ‘Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai’

A young man named Sakuta Azusagawa lives his life and minds his own business. Until the fateful day he meets classmate and idol Mai Sakurajima, dressed in a bunny outfit, parading around at the library. No one can see her except for Sakuta, which opens up into a bizarre investigation into a phenomenon called “Adolescence Syndrome,” a mysterious illness that’s been plaguing Mai, Sakuta, and a number of others. The two continually become closer and closer while the world is unable to see Mai, and the series revolves around unraveling why Mai has disappeared from the world, and why Sakuta is the only special person fated to continue to see her after her “disappearance.” This selection is the top candidate for anime like Horimiya.

Watch Now, Funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/rascal-does-not-dream-of-bunny-girl-senpai/
2. ‘Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku’

If you tend to hide parts of yourself (like the hobbies you enjoy) from others, you’ll vibe with Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashi, also known as Wotakoi. It follows office worker Narumi, who never lets anyone know she loves anime and video games. The ironic part is that her friend, Hirotaka Nifuji, is just like her in nearly every respect. They’re boyfriend and girlfriend, and they bond over being an otaku. But as the title of the anime suggests, love is hard for otaku, as we see that philosophy play out time and time again throughout the series. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so frustrating for both of them. The “anime like Horimya” vibes are very strong here.

Watch Now, Amazon prime
https://www.amazon.com/Wotakoi-Love-Hard-Otaku/dp/B07C3WL3VP?ots=1
3. ‘Kimi no Todoke: From Me to You’

Sometimes, all you really want to watch is a sweet romance, and that’s what Kimi no Todoke: From Me to You delivers. It centers on the love growing between high school freshman Sawako Kuronuma (nicknamed Sadako after the Ring movies) and popular student Shota Kazehaya. Sawako looks unapproachable and terrifying, which nets her the reputation of being a ghost and cursing people. But she’s actually very kind and unassuming and just wants to help people. When she meets Kazehaya, he opens her eyes again to the idea of having friends and even being in a relationship. And slowly but surely, the two fall in love. There’s a lot to appreciate here from this quality anime like Horimiya.

Watch Now, Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/kimi-ni-todoke-from-me-to-you-f502ae87-e71c-4526-ba2e-f2abce04315e
4. ‘Maid-Sama!’

Kaichou wa Maid-Sama, or Maid Sama!, centers on high school student Misaki Ayuzawa, who’s the only female student at the formerly all-boys school Seika High. Now that it’s co-ed, Mizaki is doing her best to whip the boys into shape so the girls filtering in can feel safe and supported. She’s an uptight, boy-hating force who acts as a sign of hope for the girls, and as such has something of an ominous reputation at school. That’s why, when it’s discovered she has a sweeter, softer side to her while working at a maid cafe, she has to fight to keep classmate Takumi Usui from spreading her secret all around the school. It’d be mortifying if everyone knew the tough-as-nails Misaki was actually working as a maid!

Watch Now, Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/maid-sama-6fb8e98f-1792-4179-877b-98f8fe019aaa
5. ‘Toradora!’

Ryuji Takasu is a high school student who tries to look friendly and approachable, but his eyes always make him look like a delinquent. That makes his love life a bit of a non-starter. One day, he runs into the school’s “most dangerous” girl, Taiga Aisaka, who’s the best friend of the girl he’s got a crush on. Taiga is volatile and angry, with the nickname “Tiger,” and she dislikes Ryuji. But she has a crush on Ryuji’s best friend. With this knowledge, the two try to navigate relationships with the other’s best friend, arranging to help with their respective crushes. Of course, this devolves into a relationship between the two, and if you’ve seen any romance anime, you can probably guess where this all goes.

Watch Now, Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80049275
6. ‘My Dress-Up Darling’

My Dress-Up Darling might sound strange on paper, but it’s an addictive and wholesome series that any romance fan will love to the moon and back. The lovably clueless Wakana Gojo and the gorgeous and kind Kitagawa Marin are memorable characters who aren’t afraid to be their authentic selves, and the romance that blossoms between them are unlike you’ve seen before in the anime realm. Gojo wants to be a professional doll creator, while Marin is a model and aspiring cosplayer who needs help creating her costumes. An adorable partnership is formed between the two that turns into one of the cutest relationships you’ve ever seen. And Marin is the best waifu of the past anime season. Period.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/my-dress-up-darling
7. ‘Fruits Basket’

Fruits Basket is a shoujo classic, and for good reason. Tohru Honda is a high school student who lives with the Sohma family. It’s anything but a normal life, however, as a collision or even a hug results in family members Yuki and Shigure turning into a mouse and a dog, respectively. They’re still their same charming selves (good news for the Prince Yuki Fan Club!) but they’re adorable little critters you want to scoop up and hug. The rest of the Sohma family is a menagerie, too. The volatile Kyo shifts into a cat, and living in a house with this trio can feel like a real circus. Can love grow in this circus of a family? Of course it can, but you’ll have to wait and see what happens. Fruits Basket embodies what you’re looking for in an anime like Horimiya.

8. ‘After the Rain’

Akira Tachibana is a high school student who works part-time at a family restaurant. Little by little, she starts to fall in love with the manager, Masami, who’s a 45-year-old single father. Akira has difficulty figuring out why she feels the way she does about her manager and grapples with the potentially problematic aftermath of falling in love with her senior. But the story is a poignant and romantic one that anyone who enjoys anime like Horimiya will find charming in all the right ways.

Watch Now, Amazon Prime
https://www.amazon.com/After-the-Rain/dp/B078X16ZLT
9. ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets’

High schooler Futaro Uesugi is down on his luck and needs some cash. When the opportunity to tutor the rich Nakano family presents itself, he jumps on it. As their tutor, he has to make sure five different sisters, each with their own personality, end up graduating from high school. They all view him as an annoyance and a stranger, but somehow Uesugi must work through their icy exteriors to get them to learn, improve their grades, and maybe even form friendships…if a relationship doesn’t come of it first. Which quintuplet will Uesugi match with in the end? You’ll have to watch and find out.

Watch Now, Funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/the-quintessential-quintuplets/
10. ‘ReLife’

Arata Kaizaki is a 27-year-old NEET who stays at home, lies about having a full-time job, and only manages to work short shifts at the convenience store. He’s offered a job one day by the mysterious Ryo Yoake, but he has to participate in an experiment called “ReLIFE”, which will make him look 10 years younger and have him live out his high school days again as a regular student. This is in an effort to “fix” Arata, and everything that’s gone wrong with his life, but of course, as is usually the case with anime like these, that only starts to cause more problems than it fixes as he falls in love with student Chizuru Hishiro and plenty of awkward situations ensue. Prepare to elicit a whole lot of laughs from this highly energetic anime like Horimiya.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/relife
11. ‘Bloom Into You’

Yuu Koito is a first-year high school student, but she doesn’t really know what love is like – yet. Like many of us, she thinks it’s all about finding someone absolutely perfect for you, then the dates that follow. She wants to be left breathless by it all. So when she finally gets her first confession from a childhood friend, she’s a little shocked. She tries to figure out how to respond, and in the middle of it all, she finds someone she can fall in love with — and maybe confide in. The girl she finds herself catching feelings for may not be the person who confessed to her, but she’s certainly not about to give up on the love that can bloom between the two.

Watch Now, HIDIVE
https://www.hidive.com/tv/bloom-into-you
12. ‘Kaguya-sama: Love is War’

Student council members Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya attend Shuchiin Academy together, and they look fabulous when out and about. As such, people think they’re the perfect couple. The pair love to deny this and have mixed feelings about their true thoughts about one another. Neither one of them is willing to confess their love, as that would show signs of weakness. Instead, they just start trying to push each other by any means necessary to be the first to confess. The result? A hilarious time filled with zany antics. The abundant humor in this anime like Horimiya will put you in a very happy place.

Watch Now, Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/kaguya-sama-love-is-war-da69fc06-cdea-42dc-8827-52cee194db54
13. ‘Yuri!!! on Ice’

Yuri!!! on Ice follows Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki as he develops his career while watching his idol, Russian skater Victor Nikiforov facing off against a talented Russian skater named Yuri Plisetsky. Yuri is in a bit of a depression after he’s defeated in a series of skating competitions and decides to put his career on hold. However, when he mimics an advanced routine performed by his idol Victor, Victor ends up seeing it and comes to help breathe some life into his new protege’s skating life. With Victor as his coach, Yuri is able to jump back into the skating circuit – and the pair become closer and closer with each passing day. The end result? A beautiful relationship that shimmers just like the ice the pair skate upon.

14. ‘Kamisama Kiss’

Nanami Momozono is a high school student who has nowhere to live. Thanks to her father’s gambling debts, she’s lost the apartment she lived in and needs to find a home. Still reeling from the turn of events, she meets a man named Mikage, who’s being chased by a dog. She saves Mikage and he takes her to his home as a token of his gratitude. Once there, she realizes it’s a shrine, and Mikage is the past Earth Deity of the shrine. He’s marked her with the sign of his successor, which means she’ll have to take on the role of a god while as a homeless human. And you know what? She may just find some romance while doing it all.

Watch Now, Funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/kamisama-kiss/
15. ‘Orange’

A delectable slice of life pie like Orange is always a treat, especially when it’s coupled with a premise like this one. Naho Takamiya receives a letter addressed to herself from ten years into the future. She’s quick to write it off as a prank — that is until the things written in the letter begin coming true. Takamiya, currently a second-year high school student, finds the letter urging her to kickstart certain chains of events in order to alter the past for her future self. While she’s stuck trying to figure out who this letter came from and whether it contains the truth, she’ll discover hidden truths that lead to relationships she may have never explored without this catalyst. Get out the tissues, because this series is a real tearjerker.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/orange
16. ‘Your Lie in April’

Kosei Arima is a piano prodigy whose mother suddenly dies in a tragic accident. When he does, he has a mental breakdown while performing on stage during a recital. After that, he can no longer hear the sound of a piano, despite his hearing being perfectly fine otherwise. He meets the free-spirited Kaori Miyazono, who plays the violin and helps Kosei get back to playing the piano the way he used to before losing his mother. As Kosei falls in love with Kaori, he realizes that her health is deteriorating. We won’t spoil what’s left from here, but this is a powerful story about love, grief, and acceptance that’ll certainly tug at the heartstrings. As an anime like Horimiya, Your Lie in April sticks out as one of the more emotional picks on this list.

Watch Now, Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/your-lie-in-april-8156b6d6-46ae-4576-877e-022657255de6
17. ‘Given’

A shy student named Mafuyu Sato is often seen carrying around a guitar at school. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t know how to play it. He’s apparently on the search for someone to help him, and one day he finds Ritsuka Uenoyama, who’s trying to get some rest in his favorite spot to nap in the entire school. All Ritsuka wants to do is sleep, but Mafuyu has other plans – like begging Ritsuka, the guitarist in a band with two other guys, Akihiko Kaji and Haruki Nakayama, to help him learn how to play guitar. Ritsuka has to worry about his reputation, but he cares for Mafuyu. Given turns in a slow-burning love triangle that’ll delight and entice viewers looking for a rock-and-roll romance that’s quite unlike most of the other series out there. This pick is one of the more unique variations of an anime like Horimiya.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/given
18. ‘Ouran High School Host Club’

Haruhi Fujioka is a student attending the prestigious Ouran Academy on a scholarship. She doesn’t quite fit in with all the rich kids, given her background, which makes her anxious. On her first day, while looking for a place to study, she finds the Third Music Room, where the Ouran High School Host Club, with six male students dressed to the nines, entertains female students with tea, sweets, and a good time. Haruhi accidentally destroys an $80,000 vase while there and ends up having to work off her mistake disguised as a male host club worker. Of course, that doesn’t stop some of the club hosts from falling in love with her. With all that being said, it earns its placing here as a great anime like Horimiya.

Watch Now, Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70205014
19. ‘Nisekoi: False Love’

Raku Ichijo is the son of a Yakuza faction leader. Chitoge Kirisaki is the daughter of a boss in a rival gang. When the pair meet, Chitoge accidentally knees Raku in the face. In the aftermath, Raku loses the locket his childhood friend gave him. When it turns out Chitoge is a new transfer student in his class, he forces her to help her look for the locket. They grow to hate each other, only to find that the gangs their families belong to want to marry their children off — so Raku and Chitoge must pretend to be in a relationship together. This doesn’t go well, as you’d expect, but it’s extremely entertaining.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/nisekoi
20. ‘Rent-A-Girlfriend’

Kazuya Kinoshita is down on his luck when it comes to romance. His very first girlfriend dumped him. But he didn’t give up. He turned to an online dating app in a bid to “rent” a girlfriend instead. True, it’s hardly the same as finding a real partner, but in Kazuya’s case, he needed something to fill the void. Enter Chizuru Mizuhara, Kazuya’s date. Sweet, kind, and attractive, Kazuya is smitten with her, even as he forks over cash to benefit from her services. Kazuya’s falling hard for his new rental girlfriend, and Chizuru is keeping it professional. Someone’s undoubtedly going to catch feelings, however, and things are going to spiral out of control. Welcome to Rent-A-Girlfriend, where the feelings are real, but the dates are not.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/rent-a-girlfriend
21. ‘Citrus’

Yuzu Aihara breaks all the rules, while schoolmate Mei is a stickler who won’t tolerate disobedience. What happens next when they clash at school? In this situation, opposites attract. The two begin living together as sisters (a surprise that comes out of nowhere), but they still have to grapple with their feelings for each other, and that’s easier said than done. In this case, the series featuring a lesbian relationship isn’t the part that’s hard to decipher, but how in the world it could potentially play out. That’s going to be one puzzle you won’t figure out anytime soon — but you’ll know one thing for sure: these girls are falling in love with each other, and fast. And there’s nothing that can stand in the way of true love, after all.

Watch Now, Crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/citrus

Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 20 Best Games Like ‘Little Nightmares’

Looking for something that’ll crawl under your skin and stay there? Little Nightmares is a terrifying puzzle platformer that grips you tightly and doesn’t let up. Once you meet protagonist Six and become entangled in her plight to leave the horrific world she finds herself in, you can’t look away. Unfortunately, aside from a sequel, there’s not much of the world created by Tarsier Studios to explore once you’ve completed it. Thankfully, we’re here to provide you with a selection of games just like Little Nightmares.

That’s where we come in. If you want more of the unique kind of terror that Little Nightmares induces once you’re deep in the thick of things, we’ve got good news for you: there are plenty of other games out there just like this one. So if you finished things up and need more to get you through your gaming dry spell, we’ve got you covered. Check out the 20 best games like Little Nightmares.

Games Like ‘Little Nighmares’
Bandai Namco Entertainment

1. ‘Limbo’

The monochromatic Limbo is close in spirit to Little Nightmares, especially since it’s dark, cinematic, and abjectly terrifying. You take on the role of a young boy who wakes up in a dark forest, where a spider is trying to kill him. The nameless child has to escape the dangers of the forest while snapping off spider legs, escaping spike traps, and all the humans who wish to attack him or kill him. It’s challenging, sure, but it’s also extremely chilling. If you’re looking for 1:1 games like Little Nightmares, then Limbo should be your first option.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/48000/LIMBO/
2. ‘Inside’

Inside is cut from the same cloth as Limbo, and from the same developer. It follows another nameless young boy who finds himself in a deep, dark forest, forced to escape masked guards, all armed with flashlights. He must avoid shambling hordes of zombie-like people, navigate a massive factory filled with flooded rooms, and a laboratory where it appears people are being experimented on. Much like Limbo, it’s a dark journey that requires an iron will to complete, chock full of grisly deaths and jump scares.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/304430/INSIDE/
3. ‘Among the Sleep’

This first-person adventure is seen through the eyes of a toddler named David, who’s essentially completely helpless. David gets in the middle of feuding parents, which is difficult to process as he’s still a child. He receives a teddy bear as a gift, and the bear takes on a life of its own and guides David on a terrifying adventure to find his mother Zoey after she disappears. David is too young to fight back against the terrors that strike as he makes his way throughout the game, so getting acclimated to what little you can do as a toddler makes for most of the scare factor throughout Among the Sleep.

Buy Now, $16.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/250620/Among_the_Sleep__Enhanced_Edition/
4. ‘Fran Bow’

Fran Bow is a graphic adventure game that follows the titular 10-year-old Fran, who finds herself dealing with mental illness after seeing her parents murdered. She receives pills as part of a treatment that causes violent hallucinations of a parallel universe. She’s imprisoned because of these visions and works to escape the asylum she’s forced to remain in. Having done so, she finds herself in a nocturnal forest that she must work through to find her way home. The game is rife with nightmarish imagery and the characters must continually grapple with trauma, abuse from outsiders, and horrible pitfalls that betray them at every turn.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/362680/Fran_Bow/
5. ‘Sally Face’

This eerie adventure centers around the titular Sally Face, or “Sal Fisher,” a boy with a prosthetic face. Together with his friends, he investigates a series of local murders. Across five episodes, he gets to the bottom of grisly murderers, gets mixed up in some demonic curses, and encrypted messages. While some of the content isn’t as horrific as what we see in Little Nightmares, Sally Face’s unsettling aesthetic should be more than enough to creep some players out, especially when you factor in humanity being enveloped by darkness even in the game’s better ending. Lots of fridge horror to be found here, which makes it a perfect candidate for games like Little Nightmares.

Buy Now, $14.98
https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/12482/Sally_Face__COMPLETE_GAME/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwmuiTBhDoARIsAPiv6L8LmYatmQHyysfUe-zj6VtQWKZRsTFm_OU7GokASNf8GGZj7pA-tiEaAirtEALw_wcB
6. ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’

This first-person survival horror game is all about Henry Stein, a retired animator who receives a mysterious letter one day asking him to return to his old workplace. When he arrives, he discovers a series of bizarre paranormal events being caused by the “Ink Machine.” While dealing with this strange, unsettling entity, players have to work to complete puzzles, defeat enemies, and collect objects, all the while piecing together what’s happening by way of creepy audio logs planted throughout the studio. Its classic animation style only serves to amplify its scare factor, too — kind of like a horror-centric Cuphead. The creep factor is off the charts here, which makes it just the right selection for games like Little Nightmares.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/622650/Bendy_and_the_Ink_Machine/
7. ‘Little Nightmares II’

What kind of a list would this be without a shout-out to the sequel to Little Nightmares? It’s further down in terms of recommendations only due to the fact that it’s actually a sequel, however, instead of a continuation of the story proper. Still, it serves up more of the story of Six and adds another player to the mix, too: Mono. Six and Mono find themselves trapped in a creepy world that’s been distorted by the disturbing hum of a distant tower, and they’ve got to work together to figure a way out. Oh, and it’s every bit as spine-tingling as the original game if you were worried. There are plenty of reasons to freak out anytime anything happens. Trust us. This is the logical next game to play after the original Little Nightmares, but you may want something else a bit different before diving right in for your nerves to handle it.

Buy Now, $29.99
8. ‘Detention’

Detention is more than just punishment for misbehaving in school. It’s also a nightmarish title for Red Candle Games. It’s set in 1960s Taiwan during the White Terror period, where students Wei and ray are trapped in Greenwood High School, a remote school in the mountains. They no longer recognize the area they once knew, as it’s now teeming with demons known as the “lingered.” While dodging and attempting to fight these creatures off, both students must devise a way to make their school normal once more without succumbing to a grisly death. Plus, there are multiple endings to experience, a couple of which mask the true conclusion. It’s absolutely not for the faint of heart.

Buy Now, $11.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/555220/Detention/
9. ‘Unravel’

This physics-based adventure introduces Yarny, a creature crafted from a thread of yarn. As you move throughout each level, Yarny unravels a bit to move, swing, and interact with items on his journey. Meant as the representation of the ties that bind people together, Yarny actually looks a little creepy — and while this story is a heartfelt one, it’s also silent. There are more than a few heart-pounding moments, and ways to see Unravel as more of a horrific adventure than anything else. It also controls similarly to Little Nightmares, so fans will notice this immediately.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1225560/Unravel/
10. ‘Pathologic’

Just about every facet of Pathologic is meant to scare the pants off of players, from its aesthetic to its eerie voice acting. It takes place over the course of 12 in-game days as you work to uncover the source of a bizarre sickness known as the “sand plague” that’s taken over a small town. You can play as each of the three characters in the town (Bachelor, Changeling, and Haruspex) to uncover the secrets of the town and where the sickness stems from. While it’s not overtly horrific, there’s a silent, disturbing air to Pathologic that makes it impossible to play in the darkness in the middle of the night. Prepare to sleep with the lights on after you’ve fully experienced this equally horrifying game like Little Nightmares.

Buy Now, $12.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/384110/Pathologic_Classic_HD/
11. ‘Yume Nikki’

Yume Nikki may seem unassuming: it’s a cult RPG Maker 2003 classic from the mysterious developer Kikiyama that follows a young girl named Madotsuki. The unassuming protagonist leads players through a series of seemingly unconnected dreams at first, but as players delve ever deeper into the game, things suddenly begin becoming a little clearer. That’s not before she happens across some particularly creepy locales such as a world full of bizarre, bleeding shape-like creatures, bird-women, and a monochromatic monster named Uboa. None of it really makes much sense, but it’s one of the scariest pixel-centric games you’ll ever play. Don’t believe us? Just play it.

Buy Now, Free
https://store.steampowered.com/app/650700/Yume_Nikki/
12. ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’

Video games love to play tricks on your perceived sanity, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent is no exception. Players control protagonist Daniel as he’s forced to explore the dark, harrowing halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with not a shred of memories about why he’s there, who he is, or what his story is. He can only remember his name and that something is hunting him – but what? Throughout the dark, inky blackness of the castle and the terror waiting around every corner, Daniel must keep his cool (and keep his wits about him) to avoid monsters, which will chase him recklessly to track him down. It may sound like a demented game of hide and seek, but it’s more than that: it’s a race to regain Daniel’s peace of mind, and probably your own after the game’s over.

Buy Now, $3.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/57300/Amnesia_The_Dark_Descent/
13. ‘The Pathless’

The Pathless is a third-person action-adventure where players control the Hunter, tasked with lifting the curse on a massive island. The Hunter is a master archer who must use her talents as well as her pointed bow and arrow skills in a bid to navigate the land while searching for a way to bring peace back to the world. Players must keep an eye on their dash meter and keep it refilled by shooting at talismans found throughout the world. Her eagle companion can carry her short distances as well, which occasionally helps her to explore new areas. While it’s a gorgeous game, it’s also quite unsettling.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1492680/The_Pathless/
14. ‘We Happy Few’

In the future, everyone’s strung out on Joy. Yes, everyone. And no, we’re not talking emotions here. Joy is a drug that everyone pops like candy, and it makes things rosy, beautiful, and oh-so-perfect. Who needs to know about anything going on in the real world when everything can be amazing at all times? That’s what Joy offers the people of Wellington Wells. Except no one is actually happy, which makes for a shocking and terrifying narrative to explore. There’s crafting, combat, and puzzle-solving with surprises around every corner, and new reasons to recoil in horror, too. We Happy Few is the kind of scary we’re talking about when the topic of games like Little Nightmares springs up before you start planning your Halloween gaming playlist.

Buy Now, $59.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/320240/We_Happy_Few/
15. ‘Contrast’

Step into the shoes of Dawn, an acrobatic performer with a host of shape-shifting abilities, in Contrast. Her forte is shifting into shadows, which transforms a 3D world into a 2D platformer when the need arises. Dawn can take objects with her into the 2D plane, which is advantageous when faced with quandaries that simply can’t be solved the conventional way. The shadows cast on walls by crowds of folks on the city streets open up new paths for Dawn to take as she flits through the whimsical sights and sounds of 1920s Paris. It’s unsettling from the get-go, especially thanks to the way Dawn gets around, and you’ll be on the edge of the seat the entirety of the game. All in all, Contrast is a perfect candidate for games like Little Nightmares.

Buy Now, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/224460/Contrast/
16. ‘Yomawari: Night Alone’

A young girl goes out in the middle of the night with her dog Poro and suffers a tragic accident. She returns home to her sister, who goes out to look for Poro. When the sister doesn’t return, the younger girl decides to locate her missing sister and dog. But when she heads out, she realizes nothing’s the same about her town or where she lives. There are spirits stalking about, hunting humans, and she’s got to figure out how to track down her loved ones, all without succumbing to the demons who want them all dead.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/477870/Yomawari_Night_Alone/
17. ‘Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut’

Don’t let this horror game’s pixelated graphics fool you. You control a nameless protagonist as you make your way through a post-apocalyptic hellscape after escaping your apartment. A disease has turned most of the world’s inhabitants into zombies, and you’re unsure if there are any other survivors milling about. You have to find food, weapons, and anyone else who may have survived the outbreak, all while mapping out where to go next and how best to avoid succumbing to the disease yourself. You feel the loneliness that permeates every single part of the game, and that’s part of what makes it such a memorable adventure, as well as absolutely spine-tingling.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/209830/Lone_Survivor_The_Directors_Cut/
18. ‘DARQ: Complete Edition’

DARQ is a beautifully crafted nightmare that feels quite unlike anything you’ve ever played before. Lloyd is a young boy who knows he’s dreaming. Unfortunately, instead of his dream turning into sunshine and rainbows, it’s a nightmare, and he can’t seem to wake up. Lloyd must explore his unconscious mind to survive the nightmare, all while solving gravity-defying puzzles, defeating bizarre creatures, and eventually escaping the dream world. This may be one of the most accurate representations of what a nightmare could feel like, especially since you’re so utterly helpless as Lloyd and can’t seem to escape the weird world you find yourself in.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/433550/DARQ_Complete_Edition/
19. ‘Kukui’

Kyle is a 10-year-old boy with a brain disorder that forces him to see things from terrifying parallel worlds. After suffering a terrible accident, Kyle slips into a coma. Though he’s paralyzed and unable to move, his brain still functions. This allows him to explore his trauma, understand what happened with the accident, and figure out a way to get back to normal. Throughout three unique maze maps, Kyle will collect pieces of his memories and confront parts of himself that he didn’t realize were locked away. Kukui is a must-play for anyone who enjoys games like Little Nightmares.

Buy Now, Free
https://store.steampowered.com/app/680040/Kukui/
20. ‘Another Sight’

Another Sight is unique in that it takes place in an alternative vision of London in 1899. It follows two protagonists: teenager Kit and a cat named Hodge. Kit loses her sight after being caught in the collapse of a London Underground construction sight. Hodge becomes her eyes as the pair team up for an intriguing fantasy adventure through a surreal, emotional world. It may not be as scary as Little Nightmares, but it’s well worth experiencing, especially since it features a disabled protagonist who’s trying to navigate her world with an alternate method of sight, something that’s a much different narrative path than so many other games out there.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/888630/Another_Sight__Definitive_Edition/