Any serious PC gamer will tell you that the PC is the best platform on which to play games. Sure, consoles offer a more immediate and more accessible experience, but PC games can be infinitely customised and changed to your liking; with mod support and variable graphics settings, PC games are whatever you want them to be. Even so, many PC games still manage to slip through the net so that experienced PC gamers don’t get to try them out. Here are 10 underrated PC games you might want to check out!
You’ve probably played Bastion or Transistor, and you’ve almost certainly heard of Hades, which was one of the most popular games of 2020. Pyre is by the same developer as all of these titles, but it’s a much more obscure game, probably because it’s a 3-on-3 basketball sim with a party-based RPG tied up in its gears. Believe it or not, though, Pyre works, largely thanks to its great cast and dedication to the “sports game” bit. If you don’t like sports but secretly wish you did, check out Pyre.
2. Browser-based games
We want to give a shout-out to all browser-based experiences here. Whether it’s the horror-drenched atmosphere of Fallen London, the high-energy fun of betting on sports on sites like www.betstation.com, or the ability to play games like Minecraft without downloading a launcher (yes, you can really do that), you shouldn’t count your browser out when it comes to playing some of the best PC games around. Even the Google Chrome “no internet” dinosaur game is great fun!
3. Cruelty Squad
Your first impression of Cruelty Squad is likely to be horrible. It looks, for want of a better word, abhorrent, with its bright, clashing colours and deliberately ugly, sickening aesthetic. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you’ll find an appropriately warped satire of capitalism and work culture. Dig even deeper than that and you’ll find a perfectly acceptable immersive sim here, albeit one that you might have to work to get through given just how cynical it can be.
4. Blazing Chrome
Were you, like everyone else, massively disappointed by the utterly terrible Contra: Rogue Corps? If so, you should definitely check out Blazing Chrome, which is effectively the proper Contra spiritual sequel we all deserved. Blazing Chrome encapsulates classic 16-bit-era run-and-gun gameplay, and it’s even got the retro-futurist feel that many Sega Genesis and SNES games espoused. It’s challenging, but if you’ve got the patience, this is an excellent sidescroller.
5. Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2
Back in 2019, Polish developer Tate Multimedia revived its platforming mascot Kao the Kangaroo, re-releasing what is arguably his best adventure on Steam and giving it away for free for a hot minute. Even at its current price, though (which is an absolute steal), Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 is well worth a look if you love 3D platformers. It plays like a rougher-around-the-edges Rayman 2, and in some places, it’s arguably got even better level design than Ubisoft’s game.
6. Spec Ops: The Line
Those in the know are already aware of just how important Spec Ops: The Line is, but if you haven’t played this game, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s just another meat-headed military shooter. It was released in 2012, after all, which was the flashpoint for terrible modern warfare games, and it doesn’t look like anything special on the surface. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find a tale that’s as shocking as it is cynical. Check this one out. Trust us.
7. Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
Frogwares gets better and better with each detective game it develops, and Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is no exception. It takes the more freeform mechanics of The Sinking City and refines them further, creating an open-world detective game that feels satisfying to play. The combat sections are a little rough, and the fact that mysteries don’t tell you their solutions when you’re done with them can feel unsatisfying, but this is a story as much about Holmes himself as about his work.
There have been plenty of 2D Metroidvania games that took inspiration from Dark Souls, but none of them are quite as underappreciated as Aleksandar Kuzmanovic’s Unworthy. Its stylish black and white visuals, satisfying skill tree, and surprisingly full map make it a joy to explore, and it’s got the Hollow Knight quality of offering secrets to discover that round out the plot and make the world feel even more alive. It’s a touch derivative, but this is a great time if you love Souls games.
9. Paradise Killer
Much like Sherlock Holmes Chapter One, Paradise Killer is a freeform investigative game, but this one takes inspiration from the works of Suda51 and the vaporwave aesthetic. You are Lady Love Dies, an “investigation freak” (read: detective) who is awoken from exile to discover the truth behind a murder on an island that is constantly being reborn. The setting, characters, and plot are deeply strange in Paradise Killer, but at its core, the murder mystery is still satisfying to solve.
10. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
Now here’s a game that doesn’t get the love it deserves. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling’s Paper Mario influence will be obvious if you’ve ever played any of the games from Nintendo’s series. Despite this, Bug Fables manages to carve out an identity of its own through surprisingly loveable characters and a great storyline. With adorable music, great world-building, and well-implemented (if somewhat derivative) combat, Bug Fables is worth your time if you love Paper Mario.