E.g. games you’ve never seen come up in a discussion, recommendation thread, or otherwise don’t think others are likely to know about. Many of the things I bring up aren’t really obscure, but then again, I likely know more games than most:
Let me start with some:
- Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead - Well known in the roguelike community, unknown elsewhere. A free open source zombie survival game with ridiculous amounts of content and depth(>1000 crafting recipes that support alternatives, like 200 mutations, dozens upon dozens of starting scenarios and professions and traits, building, vehicles, farming, gear customization, bionics, dozens of zombie types and other creatures… you can do anything in this game), probably my favorite game ever. If you get it, I recommend the RetroDays tileset, doubling screen size, enabling NPCs, and always starting with 2+ tailoring.
- Knytt Underground - A quirky indie platformer from Nifflas, a guy who made these ambient exploration games for well over a decade. Has an odd artstyle, and first two of three chapters being tutorial, but it’s extremely fun, just challenging enough, and the characters are shockingly endearing, for me this game is up there with Undertale and Hollow Knight. Also, unlike store warnings, it has no violence or sexual contents(possibly someone’s idea of “revenge” for the game having a negative stance on religion and a positive one on LGBT stuff? no idea)
- Eador: Genesis - a single person’s love child, and a love letter to HoMM3, a turnbased game mixed with both more RPG aspects, and more 4X ones. Very poorly balanced(there’s mods for it, including a very big one that adds and rebalances tons of content), and the games can drag out(play with speedhack only), but it has that “special something” that makes it one of the only turnbased games I’ve ever loved.
- NetStorm: Islands at War - A truly unique 1997’s RTS game, where all fighting is done by buildings, rather than units, with dated but good audio that ends up creating a “rhythm” of the battlefield, where you can tell how stuff is going off the rhythmic sounds of buildings alone. Until somewhat recently, still had a website, now only a Discord and multiplayer server, as well as a developer who got his hands on the source code, and is still pushing out - quality - updates, including better support for modern systems. It’s incredibly fun, and possibly the most unique RTS out there. Sorry about no links here
- Transcendence - A free top-down 2D space game, with dogfighting, trading, a lot of asset reuse, but also some good ideas(built-in fast forward button, for one) that is to this date one of the most fun space games I played. Has a paid version on Steam with what was once addons/dlc included.
- Space Rangers HD - Another space game, this a quirky Russian one that has some really crude balancing(you well might not have fun if you don’t figure out how to game it, and that early on you’re fodder anyway, so just wait for tech levels to go up to gear up), but also a living galaxy, heaps of immersive text-based quests(some of which are entire small games in their own right, others simple adventures), and overall that kind of charm that only rough games ever have. Just, don’t do planetary battles, that’s just really awful RTS junk, and usually brutally hard.
- CONSORTIUM - a short indie game with simple visuals, but a very branching story, enough so that it actually created some illusion of realness for me. It’s getting a far, far bigger sequel, and I am excited for it.
- There’s also likely heaps of Flash games that qualify, but one I’d like to bring up is Chess Evolved Online, a chess game where you can reposition your pieces as well as replace them with heaps of new ones. Acquiring them like in a TCG can be very grindy(especially the rarer ones), but the actual pieces are well-balanced. Sadly, not many players, and the AI is awful so usually it simply straight up gets an advantageous start. Has daily challenges that I’m not sure are handmade or procgen.
The slightly less obscure games that I’ve nonetheless never seen come up anywhere:
- Exanima - An overhead view dungeon-crawler game, where all combat is physics based. You start awkwardly swinging your weapons around, but with time you learn to intuitively adjust the movements of your mouse and footwork to a degree allowing intuitive mastery I’ve never seen in another game. Has even more reviews, but I also don’t ever see it come up anywhere.
- Brigador - an isometric mecha game, with dozens of different mecha in 3 types(hovering agrav, sturdy tank, bipedal mecha), 50 or so weapons, plenty of both story-based and random scenarios, where everything is destructible, and some of the by far most satisfying audiovisual effects ever - seeing and hearing a shell plough through layers of slums, as your vehicle recoils from the shot, the enemy starts to turn, but is ultimately hit in the flank, is really incredibly satisfying.
- Duskers - a game where you explore derelict spaceships with drones, in a galaxy where civilization met some unknown to you end. Has great ambiance, and you control drones through a mix of direct control and a simple command line interface. Has plenty of reviews, but I’ve never seen anyone mention it.
- Skyshine’s Bedlam - an enjoyable turnbased tactics implementation of the FTL-like formula, that recently got a major expansion. Played it too long ago to say much, but I am surprised how unknown it is
- JYDGE - a slightly bland top-down stage-based shooter, with plenty of upgrades, weapon modules, and abilities to pick from, that I’ve nonetheless enjoyed far more than any other roguelite. Not as many reviews, but wouldn’t call it obscure either.
- Feist - a short, kinda-limbo-alike, not nearly as spooky, but has fun physics-based gameplay, and I’ve really enjoyed it a ton.
- Convoy - Faster Than Light’s far less known cousin, not as replayable, but still solid fun.
The “more noteworthy than great” ones:
- Aurora 4X - possibly the most complex game in the world, far surpassing even Dwarf Fortress(which, to be fair, is mainly just awful UX). On the topic of that video, I truly recommend Mandalore’s entire channel.
- Evil Islands - a (good bit) older game with systematic crafting, where you could pair a material and a blueprint, and then also slot enchantments into it, which themselves were composed of many runes. Not perfectly balanced, and the actual gameplay was not fun, but to me at least, it has that “something” that makes me want to make a spiritual successor to it. It also had targeting specific bodyparts.
- E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy - if you told me this game was shipped from a parallel universe… I’d probably believe you. Can be fun in co-op, but mostly, it’s just the incredible lore and theme.
- Of Mice And Sand - An admittedly grindy, but enjoyable and charming game that’s kind of like Fallout Shelter crossed with your shelter being a moving vehicle. It’s fun if you like that kind of thing, but not “great”.
I’ve probably missed a ton of games(my memory is awful), and you honestly have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for a chance to ask some people who might know some great games I’ve never heard of. I hope to get some replies anyway, though, since I put 2h into this post :C