Bus Simulator Prepared to go around urban blocks in the professional comforts of the driver’s seat. Astragon’s Bus Simulator provides players with an outlet for enjoying the great outdoors indoors while allowing for the satisfaction of collections and upgrades that enhance the driving experience. For critics, it just doesn’t fit the bill of what you would call the best game. It’s…sparse, and, compared to other games, leaves you wanting more. Cultured Vultures, for example, says “while the driving has depth, it felt like it should’ve been a side feature in a larger game about bus management.” But that minimizes the impact Bus Simulator has on a niche but starved market. I mean, where else can you have an immersive experience that “challenges” you to take your passengers from point A to point B and give them the right change? It’s repetitive, but in a deliberate sense that gives you the satisfaction of wages well earned. But, with unhappy critics, it still comes out with a playscore of 7.56
9. Metal Wolf Chaos
Metal Wolf Chaos XD Metal Wolf Chaos was first released in 2004 and then, it was understood as an action gem, satirizing America’s hypernationalism with its absurdist humor, frantic combat, and simple controls. While it was panned for being too repetitive, the reception was positive overall. More than a decade later, though, it’s still pretty much the same, and that’s saying something. Getting a critic score of 6.54, that clearly wasn’t enough, given all the clunkiness that comes with it. As GameSpot describes it: “Metal Wolf Chaos is an old game with a wild reputation, and though it lives up to it in some ways, it’s not good in general.” But, for something like Metal Wolf Chaos that made its name through its admittedly aged absurdity, the laughs, the nostalgia, and the explosions, make it all worth sifting through its “ancient” cracks. It might be hard to recommend to someone new, if you’re in it for the meme, you can see exactly how it made it this far. It has a playscore of 7.66
8. NASCAR Heat 4
NASCAR Heat 4 Let’s face it, the expectations were never that high for this latest installment of the NASCAR Heat series. But, with their decent handle on marketing, we did at least get a taste of the graphical improvements that were coming in this entry from Monster Games. Good graphics, though, aren’t the only thing that makes a racing game great. It’s also important that they get the details right. As one of the most recent and most accurate representations of the NASCAR competition, it’s a little disappointing that their AI is a little frustrating and that their career mode isn’t all that different from the last. Still, what NASCAR HEAT 4 has, it freely shows off. And what it has is a product that vastly improved everything from its predecessors–from a less grindy career journey to overall better handling. No matter what the critics say, NASCAR still seems to be the best one around and it has a playscore of 7.81.
Blair Witch, Of course, everyone remembers The Blair Witch Project. It’s the found-footage horror movie that changed it all. Taking place in the haunted woodlands of the iconic film, face your fears and escape every shifting forest with your loyal dog at your side. For all of its ubiquity though, for critics, the material just didn’t translate well into this videogame adaptation by Bloober Team. PS Lifestyle described it as “an intriguing story plagued by unsatisfactory gameplay, with a few neat ideas sprinkled throughout.” That might not be the sentiment of most players, but it does point the flaws to an otherwise decent horror experience. Bogged down by bugs and wonkiness, Blair Witch is still pretty good by PS4 standard, earning it a gamerscore of 8.87. With critics unsatisfied at a measly 6.76, Blair Witch barely scrapes by with a total playscore of 7.82
Erica With the power of PlayStation’s very own PlayLink, players can immerse themselves in this unique cinematic experience: an interactive drama where every choice can make a huge difference. Full Motion Videos aren’t new by any means, but Flavourworks’ Erica seemed to elevate it to new heights. Its wonderfully produced with an ominous soundtrack and an interactive storyline that branches out into different endings worth exploring. Erica’s choices may not always be as impactful as we’d expect, and its characterization a little lacking, it remains an impressive look into a genre making its comeback. For some reason, though, it just couldn’t with critics like Hardcore Gamer and french publications, Gameblog, and Jeuxvideo, who found it redundant, limited, and shallow. Perhaps it’ll get its chance in the spotlight, but for now, it remains in the shadows with a playscore of 7.86.
5. ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove It’s another win for fans of a cult classic videogame. In 2019, we witnessed the reunion of an iconic 90s duo, kicking back their musical platform adventures with a significantly smoother, modern look. Fortunately, all their 90s charm survived the transition too. UN-fortunately, at least for critics, so did some of the kinks. With all its inside jokes and clunkiness, there are more than a few critics that think, no matter how back in the groove Toejam and Earl are, it’s just too hard to recommend. God is a Geek, for example feels “like the entire experience is stuck in the past, hampered by some basic mechanical flaws.” Just like many of today’s remakes, this game is faithful to a fault. On the other hand, it’s just the kind of thing that fans would want. Letting them revel in the shared nostalgia of its dazzling visuals and groovy soundtracks was just enough to pull it up to a gamerscore of 9.02. All in all, it remains an underrated gem with a playscore of 7.89.
4. Deemo Reborn
Deemo RebornThe advent of the VR ushers in new problems in the way we enjoy games and that’s particularly true for this game. From the makers of our favorite rhythm games on the mobile, Rayark takes everything we loved about their mysterious protagonist and transported it into the realm of virtual reality. Deemo Reborn is a complete overhaul of the original game, forgoing the old tapping mechanics and 2D cutscenes for the mad immersive rush that the PSVR provides. On the platform it’s an absolutely lush experience, packed with new gameplay elements and added voice acting that rounds up an already great game. But, there’s the rub. As great as it is as a VR experience, it can’t be shared with players who are only on the regular Dualshock controllers. Like WorthPlaying says “controller fans will feel comfortable with the adventure game but loathe the rhythm game.” With critics needing to represent the two competing sides of the control coin, the divide is almost understandable. Earning a 6.84 from critics and 9.10 from gamers, it earns a total playscore of 7.97.
3. Stranger Things 3
Stranger Things 3: The Game C’mon. It’s one thing to hate a game for offering subpar content for its price point, but it’s another to kick a game that’s basically a giveaway. This isn’t Stranger Things; their first rodeo into videogame tie-ins, with a mobile app a few seasons ago. But, they definitely ramped things up for the anticipated season 3 return of their original series set in a whole new era. From last time’s 8bit art style, the gang returns with a little bit more pixel power. Based on such a well-loved series, critics have panned it for offering less than what the source material could offer, earning it a critic score of a less than decent 6.82 Push Square felt, despite the added dimension: “the gameplay and presentation [were] terribly flat.” Given such a wider scope than the usual game giveaway, it does seem unfair to expect so much from Netflix’s effort. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a tie-in that still packs the spirit of the series it was based on, and that’s bite-sized sci-fi puzzle adventures. Gamers have appreciated it thus far with a score of 9.16 and a total playscore of 7.99
ONINAKI Square Enix doesn’t always hit it, but this might be one of their most polarizing games of recent years. In the days leading up to its release, everyone was outpouring with joy at this JRPG that brought Chrono Trigger director, Takashi Tokita, back in the spotlight. Aside from its production, Tokyo RPG Factory’s Oninaki also drew audiences with its gorgeous visuals and a premise that divides the lands of the living and the dead. The atmosphere was pretty different at launch though when critics found Oninaki couldn’t stick the landing. Aside from narrative flaws, Critics like RPG Site said “it’s close to being greater than the sum of its parts, yet it falls apart in its execution.” Compared to its lackluster critic score, ONINAKI gets through with a whopping 9.31 gamerscore. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s hard to say no to a Square Enix game, but it may also be that despite its flaws, the game packs a poignant punch that’s as captivating as it is aggravating. It seesaws in between quality and for that, it gets a playscore of 8.00
1. KILL la KILL
KILL la KILL – IF According to IGN, Kill la Kill IF completes the checklist of things you’d want in an anime videogame adaptation: beautiful cel-shaded graphics, an endorsement from the series’ animation studio, and the masterwork of A+ Games. But, perhaps it was exactly this kind of expectation that brought it down on the critic side. Kill la Kill IF is certainly far from perfect. The roster may be a little shallow, the side content could leave you wanting, and, compared to the breakthroughs of Naruto’s Ultimate Ninja, its fighting isn’t exactly mindblowing. You tell these to a fan, and they’d probably agree. But Kill la Kill IF delivers on providing a NEW experience for fans of the anime. And sometimes, that’s all that fans need. If there’s one critic that got it right, it’s GameSpot, who–while acknowledging its shortcomings as a fighting game–understand that it was designed especially for fans. With its gamerscore of 9.32 lifting it out of the depths, Kill La Kill is our most underrated game with a playscore of 8.05