Video games don’t usually follow a schedule per year when they come out, live it so happens with smartphones, for example. You know by now that Samsung releases their new flagships in the first quarter of the new year, while Apple waits until the very last months of the year to release the new iPhone. With video games, this is usually left by chance, mostly, as companies simply release their games whenever the new titles are ready to hit the market.
A new game though is not as time-sensitive as a new mobile phone. Hence the removal of the scheduled release dates for most new titles. Why? Because video games can be played for years after their release without feeling old, outdated, or run out. Many successful video games have had their release and then stood there, unnoticed, until someday the world has simply learned about them and started playing. And they never stopped!
What Makes An Underrated Game
This is what makes a video game underrated if we were to put a definition over the notion. An underrated video game is a game that was not in the spotlight at the launch, but then kept delivering and eventually got noticed by players. And yet, there’s still potential for these titles to grow, and become the favourites of even more people from across the globe. An underrated game is never a bad game. It’s just a game that is not as famous as it should be.
Ten Underrated Games Of 2020/2021
Now that we’ve settled on what underrated games are, here is our list of the top ten most underrated games from the past two years. We’ve sourced games from all domains and are recommending them to you based on our preferences but also what other professionals in the field are asking their audiences to try. These games are amazing, and even if you’ve never heard about them, you should definitely give them a try right away. You won’t regret it!
Age of Empires IV - There are probably just a handful of gamers out there who haven't had the chance to play some Age of Empires. if this is the case with you, consider trying the fourth instalment directly, and not go through the nostalgia of the first or the second, the true hits of the series. Age of Empires VI came out in 2021 and, although it came with all of the elements of a good AoE experience, it's been sort of underrated by most.
With this release, Relic Entertainment made it possible for one of the most beloved real-time strategy games to return to glory. Putting the gamer at the centre of epic historical battles that shaped the world, the new game is at least spectacular. The fourth instalment of the series has both the familiar and the innovative new ways to expand your empire in vast landscapes with stunning 4K visual fidelity.
Deathloop - There are games that come out and that you simply know won't be much in terms of success. And then there are games that come out and you expect the world from them, but they just don't make the cut although they're quite spectacular. one of these games is Deathloop. With such an incredible combo of visuals and story, we simply cannot understand why this game "enjoys" such an underrating from the gaming world.
Deathloop is a next-gen first-person shooter from Arkane Lyon, the award-winning studio behind Dishonored. In this game, two rival assassins are trapped in a mysterious time loop on the island of Blackreef, doomed to repeat the same day for eternity. You play Colt, who has only one chance to escape, by ending the cycle by assassinating eight key targets before the day resets. Do whatever it takes to break the loop.
Observation - What happened to the good-old thriller game that's so weird and impossible, it makes it even better when it comes like that? Introducing a 2020 forgotten sensation, Observation. This game is a sci-fi thriller uncovering the mishaps of what happened to Dr Emma Fisher, along with her crew of their mission, as seen through the lens of the station’s artificial intelligence S.A.M.
Players of Observation assume the role of S.A.M., operating the station’s control systems, cameras, and tools to assist Dr Emma in discovering what is happening to the station, where the vanished crew went, and whatever happened to S.A.M. himself. This unique game, blending puzzles with narrative adventure, doesn't just place you in a desolate space station that's unreachable by most ships. It simply makes YOU that station, and your only hope is figuring out how to make things work again for survival.
Maneater - Not all games are meant to be taken too seriously. In fact, nothing good happens when a game is viewed that way. It can often lead to addiction, or even create unwanted mental emotions. Maneater is exactly that, a game that's fun and should not be taken too seriously. It's not excelling in graphics, story, even controls. But it does offer great fun for a great price, and that's unbeatable for most new games out there.
Maneater is an open-world action RPG in which big, frightening bull sharks massacre and devour an endless spinning of humans and wildlife. You are the shark in this one, how's that for a change? Copious gallons of blood are shed as players explore the American coastal city of Port Clovis. Humorous narrator Trip Westhaven is along with you for the ride. He overshares about his ex-wife Susan, penchant for tropical drinks, and a possible foray into cannibalism.
Trials Rising - Fine, we're cheating a bit, as this game was released back in 2019, by the end of the year. Yet still, when we look at this release, it instantly gives us flashbacks to one of the golden eras of gaming. in this particular title, your missions are set like trials, which you have to pass in order to move to the next ones. You're on a dirt bike, and so things are going to get exciting really fast every single time a new level opens up.
In Trials Riding you will be able to ride the most challenging tracks around the world, from the Great Wall of China and New York City to the Eiffel Tower and everywhere in between. With the new hilarious Tandem Bike, get your friends and try to control one bike with two riders. From your local backyard to worldwide stadiums, defeat all your opponents online and rise to glory.
Maid of Sker - We are honestly shocked, no pun intended, that this 2020 release hasn't made it on any quality horror video games list that year. Or ever, for that matter. Maid of Sker incorporates all of the great elements of a good horror story game, one that's weird, unexpected, and yes, even terrifying at times. If you're into slow-paced horror games with loads of quick twists and horrific turns, this is surely the game for you.
In Maid of Sker, the first-person survival horror taking place in a remote hotel with a gory and macabre history from British folklore, you are armed with only a defensive sound device. You will make use of stealth tactics to avoid death amongst a cult of sound-based AI enemies. Set in 1898 and inspired by the haunting Welsh tale of Elisabeth Williams, this is a story of a family empire driven by torture, slavery, piracy, and a supernatural mystery that suffocates the grounds of the hotel.
Subnautica: Below Zero - Released back in May of 2021, we feel like this game is such a hit yet none of the respected gaming publications even mentioned it. Let alone make a comprehensive review of it. The game puts you on a desolate planet with ice-cold temperatures and an environment you can't even dream about. While on the ground, your mission is to figure out where you are, why you are here, and naturally, how to make it out alive and well.
Get ready for a sub-zero expedition you will not forget, maybe the one of a lifetime, in the arctic of Planet 4546B. You are here with a little more than your own self, some survival tools, and wits. Investigating what has happened to your sister, you stumble upon things that are hard to describe. With so many abandoned research stations around, you start to wonder where have all those scientists disappeared?
Partisans 1941 - There aren't many good quality games regarding the Second World War coming out as of lately. This dramatic story is about you turning into a Red Army commander, resisting the powers of the brutal German forces during the global war. In this game, your main goal is to control the Partisans who are opposing German occupation on the Eastern Front, in the midst of the Second World War.
To do this, you can use the tactical pause and study your surroundings as you plan, and then initiate combat, picking the very best possible way to go about it. Build a resistance camp in the woods, and find some allies who’re all up for your cause. Stop at nothing to get rid of the Germans and secure your lands from pain and death.
9 Monkeys of Shaolin - As more and more highly advanced and techy consoles and smartphones come out, something about old school gaming has been put to sleep. Whatever happened to the good 2D gaming in which you would finish a level and then move on to the next, more demanding one? Luckily, not all gaming producers are missing the mark on these classics.
With 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, if you love SNES, or SEGA, and spent dozens of hours playing their video games, then you’ll be transported right back to childhood. This title is surely for you if you remember those games of epic nostalgia, playing as Chinese fisherman Wei, avenging the death of your family and friends because of a pirate ride over your village.
Going Medieval - For our final pick of the most underrated games that came out recently, Going Medieval is simply a must for those who are into strategy gaming. Even the backstory of the game is really well made. Survivors of the plague come back as the phoenix bird from its ashes, and in a land that’s taken back by nature, with all of its dangers, it’s your job to put them back into living, says the description of this title.
In Going Medieval, you will be able to build homes for the people, as you help restore their lives, and keep them afar from wild animals and bandits. Design your settlements from small huts of wood to the sublime castles of stone.
How To Find Good Overlooked Games
Games that have been launched but haven’t reached enough people to be called “successful” are not necessarily bad. There are many reasons why good games, even great ones, fail in being recognised as such. One of the important reasons why this happens on a constant basis is timing. With such a vast industry, games are being poured out into the market every single minute of every single day. Weekends included! This makes it much easier for a good, even great game to simply be overlooked by the masses.
Another determining factor for games being overlooked and underrated is the price. Many great games start out at sometimes ridiculous prices. It’s one thing to pay the regular 20 or 30 bucks for a new, long-awaited game. But when the price of the title is over 50, even 70 bucks at launch, the majority of people who’re willing to pay that price and not get in trouble for it financially is exponentially lower than with a game that’s priced under that sum. This way, even the greatest games that come out are being overlooked, as gamers would simply turn the other way and buy three other new games, instead of just one, no matter how great it sounds.