15 Unique Games You Should Play

15 incredibly interesting and unique games I think you should try out. Mostly story based and avoding games that "everyone knows". Games here have a very unique mechanic or execution that sets them apart - this doesn't necessarily mean they're the "best" games in that genre, but that they do something of their own that's worth praising by itself.

Runtime and MSRP will be listed for these games as per HowLongToBeat and non-sale Steam/Console pricing. Runtime will obviously vary per player and you can often find these games on deep discounts. The games are in "logical" order following from one another; a game being lower down in the list does not make it worse, and vice-versa.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is my favorite game of all time.

The game's narrative is told unlike any other game, and the fact it even works at all is itself praiseworthy - now let alone it being as incredibly high quality as it is.

The story features the 13 pilots of the titular 13 Sentinels, and is told in a non-linear fashion, meaning the order in which you see the reveals and twists will vary between players.

All and all, despite this, the story never feels like a chore to follow, and culiminates in an absolutely perfect climax that most "linear" games wouldn't even get close.

Gameplay wise, you're looking at an also very unique hybrid turn based and real time strategy combat system, which, while also incredibly high quality, is not the reason I give this game such high praise.

If you have any interest in sci-fi stories or novel methods of storytelling, please give 13 Sentinels a shot.

Runtime: 30h
MSRP: $60
"999" is the first game in the Zero Escape Trilogy, but itself works as a standalone story you do not need the other two to get a full grasp of.

This is a Visual Novel and Escape Room hybrid, where Nine Persons are trapped in a sinking ship, and given Nine Hours to find a door with the number Nine in it.

With a small degree of non-linear branching and player choice culminating in a masterful true ending, 999 is one of the most immersive, thrilling, and twist-full stories ever told in a videogame.

While 999 has received ports to modern conoles and PC through Steam, if you are able to play the game in original hardware (DS or 3DS) I highly recommend doing so, as the dual screens are mechanically relevant, and the modern ports' rendition of the mechanic is less than stellar.

I personally prefer the second entry in the series - Virtue's Last Reward - better than 999. However, VLR is much better served by understanding the events of 999, meaning this is a "package deal", where I recommend you try both.

Runtime: 18h (just 999)
MSRP: $25 (bundled with sequel)
From Kotaro Uchikoshi, the creator of the aforementioned Zero Escape series, AI: The Somnium Files follows closely in its mystery thriller footsteps by putting you in the shoes of a high-tech futuristic police detective equipped with an AI-powered eyeball.

This is a game that revels in the absurd, in the best ways possible - all while keeping the core detective "whodunit" grounded. While I personally find recurring the tonal whiplash in the writing to be very well done, this may not be the case for everyone, however, and some segments may come off as tasteless.

Similarly to Zero Escape, the storytelling here is superb, full of great twists and a fantastic ending.

The "escape room" gameplay this time is replaced with dream sequences, delving into characters' psyche and uncovering truths from their repressed past. These dream sequences often feel surreal and abstract, but always make sense given the full story's context.

Unlike Zero Escape, AITSF is significantly more character-focused, and has a heavy emphasis on themes of family and trauma. This is a tradeoff that pays off heavily if these themes resonate with you, but may fall flat if they don't.

Runtime: 24h
MSRP: $40
Created by Shu Takumi, the creator of the Ace Attorney series, Ghost Trick is possibly one of the most beautiful blends of puzzle and storytelling in a videogame.

You play as the eponymous Phantom Detective - a recently deceased mortal who now haunts the ghost realm with the ability to possess innanimate objects.

The main mechanic of the game is that of rewinding time on any other character's death and changing the environment in the original scenario to prevent the death - be it moving items to block a gunshot, distract someone, the like.

Through this vehicle, you uncover a complex series of twists and murders, with the ultimate goal of discovering who you were, and why you died.

If this concept sounds interesting, you best believe the execution lives up and even surprasses by far. It also has a cute dog in it.

Runtime: 12h
MSRP: $30
Hotel Dusk is a quintessential point and click adventure game with an unmatched style and a thrilling detective story.

The game is played in a "portrait" orientation on the DS, and combined with a noire style with beautifully sketched characters, lends itself a vibe that no other game matches.

The story revolves around an ex-police officer looking for his long lost partner - this takes him to the eponymous Room 215, a room said to grant wishes. Mysteries of the past are unraveled as you piece things together by interacting with the fantastic cast.

To be clear, this is not a "whodunit" like AITSF. but rather a more elaborate piecing together of complex sequences from years past - all set to incredible pacing and writing, and a moody soundtrack evocative of the film noire genre that inspired it.

Runtime: 15h
MSRP: Not available, just emulate it
The very poorly titled Sexy Brutale is a time loop game, wherein you are tasked to manipulate pieces of the environment in order to prevent several murders from happening.

To do this, you must first peek and stealth around the intricately laid out "Sexy Brutale" mansion-casino, as you can not be spotted. You can then learn what tools and mechanics were used to execute the murder, and sabotage them in subsqeuent loops.

The overarching story told, while still good, is overall a step down from Ghost Trick's, if we were to compare - but Sexy Brutale wins out in terms of puzzle complexity and difficulty, giving you that feeling of masterminding a complex operation every time you pull off a save.

Runtime: 6h
MSRP: $20
It's hard to describe The Red Strings Club. You could call it a point-and-click, or a visual novel, maybe even a puzzle game.

Whichever label you choose to apply, though - TRSC is a punchy cyberpunk narrative with brilliant writing, atmosphere, and character arcs.

TRSC is one of those games that occupy far more of your headspace than their runtime implies. The game's philosophical questions and social commentary stuck with me for days after completing the story.

Beyond that, some of the characters in the game are more than willing to take jabs at you, the player, in a way I've never seen other games pull off well.

It's definitely not an experience for everyone, and I can understand some folks might find it too pretentious, but if cyberpunk anticapitalism and social philosophy are keywords that spark joy for you, please give this one a shot.

Runtime: 4h
MSRP: $15
Needy Streamer Overload is a very interesting character study on the psychological aspects of internet fame.

You play as "P-chan", the producer for an up and coming internet streamer and idol, "Ame-chan" (the titular Needy Streamer). As P-chan, your job is to manage Ame-chan's schedule, stream topics, interactions with chat, etc.

This is, at its core, a time and resource management game. However, the game's narrative expands as a consequence of your actions, with each different "route" exploring a different facet of the effect of internet fame on mental illness.

Due to the core design, it's nearly impossible to keep all the spinning plates going, so in every "run" you'll always end up having something happen to Ame-chan. The endings range from comedic to downright horrifying.

It may be obvious, but this game requires a strong content warning for all sorts of mental health adjacent aspects, including substance abuse, self harm, and suicide.

Runtime: 3-12h (depending on endings seen)
MSRP: $16
Gorogoa is an incredibly creative puzzle game where you manipulate hand-drawn panels to tell a story.

You can overlay panels onto eachother to change the context, have characters move from one panel to another, and solve puzzles by reorienting things around.

This is not a game that can easily be demonstrated in video, much less text, but it is frankly one of the most brilliant and satisfying puzzle games I have ever played for its entire runtime.

I highly recommend it for anyone who loves unique puzzle experiences.

Runtime: 2h
MSRP: $14
Another one out of my "favorite games of all time" bag. Fantasy Life is a cult classic RPG for the 3DS, developed by the same folks that made the Professor Layton series, with music by Nobuo Uematsu (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, Granblue Fantasy, etc).

This game understandably received mid reviews upon its release. It's definitely one of those games that either absolutely clicks with you and is a 10/10 or doesn't and is mostly uninteresting.

The main concept here is the Life system, a "jobs" or "skills" like system like you'd find in RuneScape, where you can freely change your class and level it up. There's combat, gathering, and crafting lifes to train up.

If you enjoy a low key relaxed and slow going experience, with lots of content to go through and spend time with, this game is probably for you. Combine that with a simple but fantastic story, charming graphics, music, and writing, and you have an absolute winner.

Runtime: 30h main story, 100h+ postgame
MSRP: Not available, just emulate it
Katana Zero is a fast paced sidescrolling action game, where you have the ability to slow down time to perform insane sequences of moves.

The gameplay and challenge here is absolutely top notch, as your character is just as fragile as the enemies.

As the name implies, you play as a sort of cyberpunk samurai, slashing guards and other enemies with your katana. You'll often find yourself using the bullet time to parry and slash enemy bullets to keep yourself alive as well.

After you complete each level, you get to rewatch your play in real time, which is insanely satisfying and makes you feel like an absolute badass.

Beyond the action sequences, an interesting narrative of mental health and war trauma is also woven throughout the game. I will not spoil the story, but it is very well handled, with several twists that leave you wanting more.

The only downside here is that the game ends on a cliffhanger, and a sequel has not released yet. Despite that, though, I still highly recommend Katana Zero for what it is, both in gameplay and story.

Runtime: 4-6h depending on skill level
MSRP: $15
Furi is the quintessential "pure" 2.5D action game. What it lacks in buildcraft, skill leveling, party composition, etc, it makes up for in absolutely brutal and fantastically designed encounters.

Furi is a boss rush game, with a total of 10 bosses to defeat. Each boss features complex patterns and multiple phases to go through, meaning you can often take over an hour just in retries, and that's on the base difficulty.

The game's unique health system lends itself to incredibly tense back and forths. Both your character and the bosses have several health bars, regaining one each time they knock an opposing one out. This system means both you and your enemies can come back from perilous situations with good play.

The feeling you get from defeating a boss in Furi is similar to that of other renowned action games like Dark Souls, but without the trudgery and walk backs.

Beyond that, a lightweight but impactful story is told in small segments between each boss. For how little is spoken, it does an excellent job at creating complete character arcs, which come together perfectly in the end, as you truly understand what is happening.

Runtime: 5-7h depending on skill level
MSRP: $20
Tunic is a fantastic homage to the original Legend of Zelda. Tunic features an in-game Instruction Manual, similar to the games of yesteryear. Both the manual and the characters you'll find utilize an alphabet you're unable to read, meaning that it's up to you to piece together your goals.

The gameplay here is much akin to a classic 2D Zelda, with the added "Knowledge Based Game" element of piecing together how to do things by deciphering the manual. You don't begin with the full manual, so progression often happens by gaining knowledge of things you could always do.

Combine the very unqiue manual system with fantastic souls-like encounters, and you have an adventure game for the ages, which is unfortunately very easy to spoil and not very replayable.

Runtime: 12h
MSRP: $30
Much like Tunic, Outer Wilds (not to be confused with The Outer Worlds) is a Knowledge Based Game ("KBG"). Unlike Tunic, however, Outer Wilds is a pure KBG, meaning the game features absolutely zero mechanical or statistical upgrades, or even story flags to block progress.

Indeed, all progression in Outer Wilds is mental, and comes from your knowledge of the world and the secrets within.

Due to this feature, it's very hard to properly describe Outer Wilds without spoling things - as your knowledge BEING progression, a spoiler here holds far more weight than in a typical game.

With that said, Outer Wilds is a space exploration game, taking place in a small fully simulated fictional solar system. The game is entirely open right from the start, meaning you can explore in any direction.

No matter where you go, though, you will quickly uncover ruins of a long lost civilization, which hint to the locations of other ruins you'd want to go to. As you visit these ancient sites, you'll more and more uncover the absolutely incredible narrative being told here.

The fact the game never holds your hand makes all discoveries feel like personal accomplishments - a type of narrative payout you'll never be able to find in a more linear type of story.

Outer Wilds is an absolute masterpiece of non-linear storytelling, a once-in-a-lifetime experience you'd wish you could replay. I also recommend the Echoes of the Eye DLC, as it answers a few questions left hanging from the base game's ending.

Runtime: 16h (27h with DLC)
MSRP: $25 (+ $15 DLC)
Last but by no means least is Tetris Effect. You may find it silly to put a Tetris game in a list like this, but if you ever played this specific entry, you know exactly what I'm going on about.

Tetris Effect isn't simply Tetris - it uses Tetris as a vehicle to deliver a mesmerizing one-of-a-kind audiovisual experience.

As you play Tetris, your inputs are synced to music and visual effects on screen. Your lines, clears, and combos all initiate audiovisual cues in perfect sync to your gameplay.

Beyond the standard Tetris gameplay, a "time pause" mechanic is also available, letting you create massive combos up to 20 lines at once, which is also incredibly satisfying - especially with the following flurry of sound and visual spectacle.

Tetris Effect is a hard sell, as the pure visceral satisfaction of your gameplay being linked to an incredible soundtrack and visuals is impossible to come across in video, much less text.

Still, if you have even a passing interest in Tetris, and the concept of a musically hypnotic and visually breathtaking experience using it as a background interests you, this is a must-play.

Runtime: Non-Applicable
MSRP: $40


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