We’ve often gone on about how games being easy was not a bad thing. It meant more people getting into gaming; gaming as a whole becoming more accessible. However, we in no way want to take away from all the hard games out there. The rage inducing games that make you want to throw your controller at the screen and snap your keyboard in half. We in no way think that these are the only hard games out there, but what we have here are some of the hardest games that gaming has ever seen. Note that we’ve gone for games that are both good and hard, not games that are infuriatingly hard due to bad design or bugs and glitches. Without further ado, here are games that will make you RAGEQUIT.
FromSoftware’s Souls games are considered the standard or benchmark when it comes to games that are hard today. Sure, they’re plenty difficult, but we can guarantee you that there are games in this here list that are much harder than any Souls game you’ve played. This includes games like Sekiro, Nioh, and even Bloodborne. Now, to be fair to the Souls series, they’re a very punishing series of games. You’re constantly on your toes, there’s a threat around every corner (there might not be, but you should just learn to assume so), and even the weakest of mobs can take you out if you’re not careful. They’re games that focus on skill and timing, and reward those who are patient and willing to read their opponents. Paired with some of the cleanest hitboxes we’ve seen in gaming, fantastic level design and boss fights, what we have here is something that’s just short of unfair while still offering its own kind of masochistic fun.
VVVVVV is a game where you take control of Captain Viridian and your job is to locate and recover your missing crew members. As with all games on this list, your journey ahead is wrought with dangerous obstacles, well, mainly spikes. A LOT of spikes. The reason VVVVVV is on this list is its gameplay mechanic. There’s no jumping, instead you flip the gravity, meaning pressing V will cause you to start “falling” upwards, and pressing V again will make you fall downwards again. This results in some infuriatingly mind-boggling levels that WILL see you die hundreds of times to see the end. A deserved spot on this list we say.
With a simple story premise and simple to understand game mechanics, Jump King took Twitch by storm sometime ago, because despite its simplicity, it was deceptively difficult to complete. All you needed to do was jump from one platform to another, slowly making your way to the top to save the “hot babe of legend”. The jumps start off easy but eventually start becoming increasingly difficult with new obstacles showing up to make the jumping harder, be it slippery platforms or howling winds. Plus, you didn’t know what was coming next as you got higher, meaning you might need to fall down after knowing what’s up to make sure you land on the right platform next time. What’s worse, one screw up and you might find yourself all the way at the bottom; and you see your face, heart, sanity, willpower and everything in between falling along with the character all the way to the bottom.
Celeste is a 2D puzzle platformer that requires precise and controlled platforming. The game features some very tight controls and increasingly challenging levels. While the game is plenty challenging on its own, once you finish it, you’ll unlock the B-side, which is even harder, after which you can unlock the C-side, which is harder still to the point of being impossible! The game requires you to pull off maneuvers with damn near perfection in order to progress, failing which will send you right back to the start of the puzzle for another round and executing the same move. It’s an addictive and unforgiving cycle.
Ikaruga is a fantastic arcade shooter. We’re talking more like Galaga or Space Invaders here, and not an FPS. There are few games that truly define the bullet hell genre, and Ikaruga is one of them. In addition to being an extremely polished and well-made game, it’s also devilishly difficult, all because of the flawless implementation of one simple mechanic. Color switching. Enemy projectiles in the game are either black or white. Your ship’s polarity can be switched between black and white, with black being able to absorb black projectiles and vice versa. The same mechanic works when dealing damage to enemies as well. Just the addition of one other thing to keep your mind on when the screen is swarming with bullets ups the challenge to a whole new level.
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
The Devil May Cry franchise has always been known for being challenging from the get go, however when Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening dropped, it was almost impossible to complete without cheating or being a literal gamer god. It was so difficult in fact, that the game had to be re-released with the difficulty toned down. The normal difficulty was a hellish ordeal, and the game quickly garnered a reputation for being one of the most difficult games you could get your hands on. Enemies took forever to die, and you had to be perfect in your combat execution; even a small misstep would mean a do-over.
Ninja Gaiden is one of those games that’s infamous for being difficult twice over. Let us explain. The game was first released as an 8-bit, 2D side-scroller for the NES in 1988. It was painfully difficult then, with all the checkmarks to make the game as much of a pain for players as possible. Difficult platforming sections, wave after wave of enemies, complex and difficult boss fights. You’d think that would make anyone hate the game, but it was so good you kept playing anyway (and hating ourselves for it), because we’re all masochists that way. But if that wasn’t enough, Ninja Gaiden was remade and re-released in 2004 for the PS2 and Xbox, this time with a spankin’ new 3D makeover, and a whole new world of pain. Enemies in the game were incredibly fast, and the bosses (if you were ever reached them) required superhuman reflexes. As it turns out, you needed actual ninja-like reflexes to beat even the first level. This version of Ninja Gaiden was re-released with an easier ‘Ninja Dog’ mode so that people could actually make it past level 1.
This is a game that needs no introduction; everyone knows the Konami code by heart at this point, even if they don’t remember the game it was used in. Contra is a 2D side scroller with some platforming elements, plenty of power pickups and wave after wave of enemies being thrown at you. The boss fights are incredibly hard, and each one forces you to employ new tactics. The most unforgiving part about the whole thing was that you only needed to get hit once to die and you only had a total three lives. Of course, inputting the Konami code gave you 30 lives, but for some boss fights, even that wasn’t enough unless you knew exactly what you’re doing.
Super Meat Boy
Indie darling Super Meat Boy is credited with being one of the games that put the spotlight on indie games. This was an unforgiving twitch platformer; it had none of the frills or features that normally come with 2D side-scrolling platformers, it was all just pure skill combined with extremely tight and responsive controls. You go into this game expecting to die, a lot. And you’ll look damn cool doing it as you keep going splat on every other sharp and pointy surface the game throws at you. Every level will put your skills (and your sanity) to the test. Despite its difficulty, Super Meat Boy is so addictive you can’t decide whether to hold on to the controller for just one more try or throw it at the screen.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
The NES classic, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is one of those games that makes its way onto every one of these ‘most difficult games ever’ lists. And it does so for the exact same reason, or should we say, exact same level. The final fight against Iron Mike himself. Punch-Out!! has incredibly simple mechanics, when it comes down to it, it’s all about timing and reading the opponents moves. With Iron Mike, the difficulty spike blindsides you with a surprise right hook from outta nowhere. Even knowing exactly how to deal with him isn’t enough, because pulling it off is no easy feat.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is unique because the game consists of player-made levels. The game is notorious for having some incredibly difficult levels, levels which at a glance would seem impossible to complete. Here’s the thing though, in order to publish a level, the creator has to have successfully completed the level themselves. So you know for a fact that the devilishly difficult level you’re failing to complete for the umteenth time can indeed be finished successfully. Then you see some random guy on YouTube just breeze through the level in no time and set all kinds of records. *sigh*
Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
Just the name Getting Over It implies that you’re probably not going to be getting over anything anytime soon. Which is exactly what happens in Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. In addition to being infuriatingly difficult thanks to the way the controls work, we’ve got Bennett Foddy in the background dropping words of wisdom on us, which for some reason only infuriates us more and causes us to fudge up more. The most annoying part about the game is how screwing up the further you progress ends up sending you farther behind, closer to the beginning, forcing you to go through everything all over again.
F-Zero GX for the GameCube has a reputation for being one of the hardest racing games to ever see the light of day. This was a game that required you to memorise the racecourse in order to successfully finish the race without getting rekt. If your goal was actually winning the race, well, you’re going to need to put in the hours to master said race course and commit every twist and turn to memory. The game’s story mode was notoriously unforgiving with plenty of difficulty spikes, with most players failing to progress beyond even the second race in the story.
Ghost ‘N Goblins
1985’s Ghosts ‘N Goblins was one of those games that threw the worst kind of curveball at you. Why the worst? Well, in addition to being an extremely hard 2D side scroller that attacks you psychologically with its tricks and taunts, it makes you do it all over again in what can only be called the worst kind of “Your princess is in another castle”. That’s right, once you actually managed to struggle and beat the game, you would find out that you need to beat the game all over again to unlock the real ending. What’s more, it’s even harder the second time around! Like everything on this list, all it took was one misstep for your very fragile character to hit the dirt.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Not too many people have fond memories of Flappy Bird, especially the developer we’re guessing. The dev was upset enough to actually pull the game from both Google and Apple’s app stores. All of this doesn’t change the fact that it was an extremely addictive game. It was incredibly simple, and the only controls you needed to worry about was tapping; navigate your flappy bird through the sky without hitting any of the pipes. Simple enough, right? Wrong! Timing was essential, and being off by even a fraction of a second meant flying right into a pipe and starting all over again. Just thinking about it makes us want to throw our phones, even though they’re completely innocent.
1991’s Battletoads is an easy contender for the hardest game of all time. Makes sense; every single level in this god forsaken game was a new challenge for you to pull your hair out over. The game spanned across multiple genres, meaning the methods of torture were constantly kept fresh so you never got a moment’s rest. One single misstep and it’s game over, now while that’s true for most games on this list, for some reason this one just hit differently. If you’re one of the few who have actually completed the game, congrats. We hate you. 🙂