If you can stand some anime goofyness and wonky PS2 era controls, I can not recommend Custom Robo for the GameCube enough. It might be my favorite “weird” game ever.
Custom Robo is my SHIT
I loved both the Gamecube game and the DS game.
I’ll never get over that one part in the gamecube game, the fucking never ending exposition dump set in a moving elevator, resulting in a like, 40 minute elevator ride
The shit I remember is that part where you could just flat out refuse to go on the mission to save the world at the end of the game. All your friends are shit-talking you and pleading for your help, and you can just say “Nah, I’m good”. The game just ends right after that and you have to restart a super long exposition section.
I love puzzle games even though I never talk about them, and I was just at my parents house the other day, playing my old XBOX 360, which means I fell into the familiar hole of playing Hexic HD for about three hours. I don’t even know how it happened. It’s just the perfect puzzle game, I think, easy to begin, new concepts come to the player at a slow drip (but a really satisfying slow drip) and though it’s a really chill experience, when it gets intense it can get surprisingly intense, using the slow pace of play to its advantage to make every move feel excruciatingly important.
Of course, my original version I played was the Zune HD version, which I’m almost 100% certain cannot be found anymore.
Race the Sun is an endless runner that has you pilot a solar-powered ship through worlds that are generated daily, and that I love for how it plays on the inherent futility of its genre by leaning really heavily into a kind of absurd dark comedy. The writing might come off as a little insincere or edgy sometimes but it’s limited to short blurbs that are usually pretty funny, and the worlds have a sort of minimalist appeal that I’m really into, to the point where I have probably 35 hours in it across three different versions (Steam, mobile, and PSVR).
I touched on it in the “what are your top 10 games” thread but Steambot Chronicles for sure.
Look, I know it was laggy and load times were shit, but
- It just did SO MUCH
- And in such a charming way
Wait, I know the actual weirdest game I played when I was a kid. It was Lego Island. Check out this segment from Giant Bomb.
This old Lego PC games were so good! I think I owe Lego racers my love for the medium in general and i certainly owe Lego chess for being my gateway to strategy games (and boardgames cause y’know, chess).
Diary of a Spaceport Janitor - I liked this game so much it inspired me to write badly about it. A thing I wrote just after I finished it:
On the surface, it’s a game about wandering around a giant spaceport and burning trash. At first, everything is overwhelming and nothing makes sense. The game offers just enough instruction to start you off on the wrong foot, then sets you loose in the middle of a landscape which has no regard for you. There are too many different items and charms and vendors, no indication as to what’s important and what isn’t, and the streets seem to loop back on themselves. At some point, you’ll probably find yourself shambling woozily through an alien bazaar as your vision distorts and your ability to read blinks in and out, searching desperately for a genderswap booth. You will vomit on your feet, having eaten rotten street meat, and then collect your own vomit so you can burn it for credits. You will swallow an eye and light a candle to a cruel god. This is secretly the best part of the game, and you will miss it once it’s gone.
Road Not Taken - This is a puzzle/roguelike-like-like from Spry Fox, who you might know for making excellent mobile games like Triple Town and Alphabear. It uses the same art style as those games as well. You play as a ranger who’s sent into the woods every winter to rescue lost children. The movement is grid based, with enemies moving every time you do, and you can pick up and move various objects which interact in different ways. It’s hard to explain why it’s so good, but it’s in part because the tone is much sadder than you’d probably expect (you’ll rarely rescue all the children), it can be excruciatingly difficult, and the puzzle mechanics are all very solid. It’s really unlike anything else I’ve ever played and I was a little baffled that no one else seemed to like it very much.
Heart of Darkness was a huge-budget cinematic platformer, the first game with a soundtrack by a live orchestra, and some of the best pixel art ever, but almost no one remembers it. But if they do, it’s for the ridiculous death animations.
There’s nothing too weird about its gameplay, just that it bombed so hard; think of games like Another World and Flashback, but Heart Of Darkness is a step closer to LIMBO and INSIDE and away from those early tries.
Man, that game had some atmosphere. I borrowed it a couple of times at the local library.
I’ll also give respect to Mischief Makers. I had no idea it was a game that went under the radar. All my friends who got an N64 during the first year of it being out had it, so I always thought it was a pretty big deal at launch.
My pick is Legend of Legaia for PSX. It was overshadowed by a ton of other great Playstation RPGs but when I was a kid I preferred it to stuff like FF7 and Legend of Dragoon. It had a really cool combat system where your physical attacks were handled by different inputs that resulted in different combos. Kind of like Sabin’s Blitzes in FF6 except you could chain different combos together and create a cool string of attacks. You could also unlock new moves through trial and error by trying random inputs, which cut down on battle fatigue since if you were overpowered you could just freestyle and maybe learn an awesome new move.
Your magic was based off of different enemies you could absorb with different elemental types like a very basic version of Pokemon.
The music was great, too. I loved the atmosphere in this game way more than most PS1 era RPGs. The game starts out by presenting you a really pleasant world but by the end you’re battling in a giant body horror dungeon.
I will throw my cents in for Battle Brothers. Since Battletech has gotten a really strong reception here, I feel like this will go over well too.
It’s a medieval turn-based strategy game with a group of mercenaries. You travel the land and take contracts, outfit your troops, and level up your people. It’s also heavy on fatalities and RNG. One of the additional wrinkles in the game involes managing the morale and resolve of the individual mercs. Your men will fight and defend better when things are going well, and they will even flee and abandon your carefully crafted shieldwall if their squadmates die.
You will buy food and repair tools and bandages. And you will be short of gold all the time. It really is Battletech with maces and blades.
if we’re talking about robot games i have to shout out Gotcha Force. it’s really repetitive and oddly paced but you get to fight with toy robots on a micro scale and some of the robot designs are super cool.
There are tiny tanks, planes, transforming robots, gattling gunners, ninjas and even robots that will combine together!
In terms of play its kind of like a simplified Virtual On and also acts as an early predecessor to stuff like Gundam Versus.
also Astro Boy Omega Factor is hands down my favorite GBA game. it’s a bit too hard but it feels incredible to play and the story is surprisingly affecting.
@2mello i definitely consider Heart of Darkness as the first entry in the child endangerment cinematic platformer genre yeah.
Microsoft’s early 2000s Motocross/Midtown/Monster Truck Madness racing games are all really fascinating and (at least I remember) fun to play. Midtown Madness is really interesting as a piece of gaming history that is mostly forgotten despite arguably being the biggest influence to open world crime games, most notably GTA III. I mean, Rockstar straight up bought Angel Studios not long after GTA III launched and not long after they did Smuggler’s Run.
I also love Motocross Madness 2 a whole lot, there’s some fun locales and set pieces in the stunt mode there and it controlled pretty well from what I remember. I also enjoy that Rainbow Studios is still kicking (Found out after learning they made MX vs. ATV: All Out!) and has survived for two decades just by making dirtbike games. That rules.
Raw Danger for PS2! AKA Disaster Report 2. This is a game set in a futuristic underground city that is flooding because they built it under the hudson river I guess?!, set during CHRISTMAS, and you must survive the elements and get to safety while uncovering the conspiracy responsible for the disaster. You play as 6 different characters and the story changes depending on your actions! It can be pretty janky and has some tedious item management stuff but it also has some really cool survival mechanics and setpieces of a type you don’t really see much of in games from that era. It’s a very strange thing that thinks way outside the box of the usual video game scenario, and uses its premise to create excitement and danger in a way most nonviolent games never try to do.
Also the North American release has this extremely choice box art:
The funny thing about this being the North American box art is that the outfit that the people are wearing looks like a early twentieth century British school uniform to me.
oh! one game people might be into is **Ore no Ryori (My Cooking) **. it’s a funny set of mini games about cooking where a frog (formerly the best chef in the world) challenges you to work in several food shops and face off against their masters:
it has some of the best uses of analog sticks and turns them into a dexterity test with a bit of humor. if it seems familiar that’s because it’s the inspiration for Cook Serve Delicious!
Disc Jam: This one completely caught me off guard. It’s an extreme disc…tennis(?) game that launched last year. If anyone’s played Windjammers, it’s essentially a 3d form of that. And if you haven’t, the best way I can describe it is like a mix between air hockey and tennis, but with a frisbee…? Anyway, it’s one of those games that you can pick up and learn in like 10 minutes, but it’s quite satisfying and exciting when you start to really get the hang of it.
One of my more intense matches
Frobisher Says: Here’s a nice litte gem for you PS Vita lovers out there. It’s a game of mini games (something akin to a Warioware title) with a pretty good sense of humor. One of my favorite mini games? Deleting the game save files of a poor child (yes, really lol).
NANOSAUR AND BUGDOM! Those games were A+!