Steam has been around for over a decade. The longer it’s active, the more games it has. Although it is great to have a place to keep all your games, there’s a bad side to it as well. Many games are underrated just because they don’t have the popularity they deserve.
You can easily miss a hidden gem because a more popular game launched in the same month. Games resembling popular titles can be labeled inferior before anyone tries them. It’s sad, but there is a myriad of reasons that cause games not to be given the attention they deserve.
Well, I’m going to try to fix that. Although I know that a single article won’t solve this problem, I can do my part by listing the 13 best underrated games on Steam.
|Genre:||Hack and Slash, Action, RPG|
|Developers:||WANIN International, JERA|
|Release Date:||October 23, 2019|
|Average Playtime:||9 hours|
Dusk Diver is a beat-em-up action game in anime style. You will take on the role of Yumo, a typical high school student, to battle with the Guardians against Phantoms. In order to stop these creatures from infiltrating the realm of humankind, Yumo will have to hack and slash through them with the help of the Guardians.
The gameplay is not particularly inventive. You summon Guardians, use light and heavy strikes to chain strikes, and then use your ultimate to finish your foes.
Although you’ll spend a lot of time mashing, this game has a strategic element. Each Guardian has unique features and functions. To optimize your playstyle, you must carefully choose the best Guardian for the job and when they are supposed to aid you during combat.
Please note that Dusk Diver is a fun game, but it is not perfect. It has a few technical issues, it can sometimes feel repetitive, and it won’t be as good as a triple-A Hack ‘n Slash game if that’s what you compared it to.
However, in the end, Dusk Diver is fun, charming, and has charismatic characters. Although it isn’t necessarily a mind-blowing game, it is certainly underrated.
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut
|Genre:||Action, Space Dogfight|
|Developers:||Born Ready Games|
|Release Date:||April 8, 2014|
|Average Playtime:||6 hours|
Although I do like space dogfights, I’m not the most enthusiastic person when this genre gets new games. However, Strike Suit Zero is a weird combination of power fantasy, space battles, high-speed piloting, and awesomeness that I cannot compliment enough.
This is an indie game, so don’t go in expecting something highly polished, but there is a lot to appreciate in this game if you like any of the things I mentioned.
Classic dogfight space games are usually about piloting a unique ship and outmaneuvering your enemies to feel like the ultimate pilot. The added ‘strike mode’ as a twist to the gameplay loop makes this an addictive, fun, flashy experience.
As for the strike mode, it’s when your ship turns into an overpowered, cool-looking, fast-maneuvering giant robot that can explode hundreds of enemy ships.
The game follows a sequential mission rhythm. Each time you finish a mission, the story progresses, and you might be introduced to new gameplay elements.
However, chances are you will play this mech game because you want to pilot a Gundam-like destructive machine.
|Genre:||2D Platformer, Puzzle|
|Release Date:||May 26, 2020|
|Multiplayer:||Shared/Split Screen Co-op|
|Average Playtime:||7 hours|
In the world of Wildfire, you play as a character gifted with magic powers. Due to those special abilities, you have been labeled a witch by those who fear your power. Now, you will have to outwit the superstitious Arch Duchess’s warriors as they pursue you through dense forests, underground dungeons, and icy mountains.
Find your fellow villagers, rescue them from captivity, and then guide them to safety to take back the place where you were raised.
Not many people like heavily pixelated games. I do. But whether you like them or not, I insist you at least check some gameplay videos of Wildfire. This game has an outstanding amount of elemental interactions, which leads you to come up with creative, fun solutions for the situations presented.
It genuinely surprised me the find out the number of things you can set on fire. Elemental manipulation is key in this game, and you will use it to go advance through the game and outsmart your enemies.
Wildfire is the most fun when you utilize your elemental abilities to create fires, freeze water, and move the earth to achieve your goals.
Aces Wild: Manic Brawling Action!
|Genre:||Action, Beat ’em Up, Bullet Hell|
|Developers:||Culture Attack Studio, Tyler Doak|
|Release Date:||August 8, 2013|
|Average Playtime:||3 hours|
There are many good Beat ’em Up games out there, and some of the best Hack’n Slash games on Steam might be distant cousins of these games from an older era. However, Steam also hides some unique rough diamonds that people, unfortunately, haven’t paid attention to.
Aces Wild: Manic Brawling Action! is by far one of the most fun and inspired indie games I’ve ever seen on this platform. The game clearly draws a lot of inspiration from over-the-top games and anime series.
The devs describe this game as a fast-paced, hardcore Beat’ em Up. To be fair, this sounds about right. You do spend a lot of time in the air. In this game, the better you do, the harder you and your enemies hit. So playing it well allows you to move faster through your enemies since you will be more powerful, but it’ll also make enemies more dangerous.
It’s hard not to feel amazing playing this game. Everything, from the sound effects to the game’s overall pacing, helps you feel like an unstoppable brawling hero. As for the plot, it’s there. Acer wants to defeat his brother in a tournament, but all the entrants want to end Acer before he even gets to try, so you have to fight.
In the end, give it a try if you like challenging games with lots of action or even fighting games in general. There’s a good chance you will appreciate Aces Wild: Manic Brawling Action!
Valdis Story: Abyssal City
|Genre:||Metroidvania, Action, RPG|
|Release Date:||September 8, 2013|
|Average Playtime:||11 hours|
This is a game that surprised me for not being more popular. Valdis Story: Abyssal City has beautiful graphics, solid Metroidvania gameplay, and some of the most fun boss fights in the genre.
The one thing I love about this game is how engaging but challenging its greatest difficulty is. At first, Valdis Story made me take each regular adversary seriously. In many ways, it felt like playing a Soulsborne game for the first time. All enemies have the potential to take you down, so you are very cautious at first.
Once you get the hang of it, regular enemies make you feel like you’re playing a hybrid of a traditional fighting game and a platform hybrid. There’s a lot of decision-making and ability involved in each fight.
You don’t have to use the greatest difficulty to have fun. You also will switch between melee combat and sorcery, frequently finding magic souls. There are many different weapons, skills, and spells for you to combine and have fun.
This game offers enough variety for you to find the most fun and comfortable way to play each of its four entirely different characters. As for progress, there’s equipment to find, abilities to gain, and fun, original bosses to fight. It is unfortunate that this game is not more popular.
|Genre:||Action, Space Dogfight|
|Release Date:||July 21, 2022|
|Average Playtime:||1 hours|
I might not be the most enthusiastic fan of dogfight games, but some things make me love some of them. I enjoyed turning my ship into a Gundam-like robot in Strike Suit Zero, and I remember loving the 3D Shoot ’em Up gameplay in Star Fox games.
I always thought it was weird not to see a Star Fox clone on Steam, but eventually, I found Ex-Zodiac. Don’t think that calling this game a clone is a bad thing. This game scratches an itch that no other game had managed to before.
The idea is very straightforward on the surface since this is a rail shooter game. Your path through this 3D environment is preset. While in this static hallway, you can move around the screen, but every time you do, you’ll travel the same route and face the same set of adversaries. In many ways, it’s a side scroller shooter with an extra dimension.
This game looks, plays, and feels like a more stable version of the original SNES’ Star Fox game. It might not have the same memorable, charismatic characters, but the gameplay is 100% on point. Although I’d prefer if they kept the gameplay and used a better-looking visual style, I get that the developer was trying to emulate the 3D seen in the SNES.
|Release Date:||Oct 30, 2020|
|Average Playtime:||9 hours|
Visage is a first person horror game like Alien Isolation. However, although these games share a genre and a view perspective, Visage is a creepy, supernatural experience without combat sequences that keep you tense and uncomfortable at all times.
The beauty of a game like Visage is the fact it is way scarier than any horror movie can ever hope to be. By putting the player in a first-person perspective inside a haunted house, players have to deal with everything going on as they interact with the scenario.
Being a first-person game makes Visage a very immersive experience when reality warps in front of you. The perspective makes everything much more personal than if it’d happen to an avatar you’re controlling.
Besides all that, since Visage is a game, the jump-scares and creepy moments cannot be avoided. You might be able to close your eyes during a scene. However, in a videogame, you must keep playing to trigger the events that make the story progress. You have no choice but to be scared.
I recommend you to play this game at night, in a dark room, with your headphones on. Get in the mood, feel the room, and get ready to face some macabre stuff. If you like scary things, horror movies, and jump-scares, there is no way you won’t enjoy this game.
|Genre:||2D Platformer, Action|
|Developers:||Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker|
|Release Date:||January 26, 2021|
|Average Playtime:||8 hours|
Action-platformer enthusiasts are generally aware of The Messenger. There is, however, another Ninja Gaiden-inspired game that is at least as brilliant. I think many people would enjoy Cyber Shadow even more than The Messenger, especially those who prefer a more straightforward game without Metroidvania elements.
It has a beautiful vintage aesthetic, a cyber-ninja for a protagonist, and the music is upbeat and infectious. The gameplay is much like old Ninja Gaiden games, challenging but enjoyable. However, it has a twist. As you progress, you unlock upgrades, get stronger, and face new enemies and environmental challenges.
The developers made sure you wouldn’t feel bored when reaching new stages. An absurd variety of adversaries and obstacles keep things constantly fresh. On top of that, this game has many creative, engaging, and unforgettable boss battles. Checking what the next boss would be like was one of my motivations when the game got hard.
Regarding difficulty, this game can be quite hard at times. However, it follows that design philosophy of tough-but-fair. You will die a lot, but it’s all about practice, learning patterns, and understanding the game’s rules. Once you are familiar with the enemies’ behavior and your own skills, things will get much smoother.
|Genre:||Action, Rogue-like, Souls-Like|
|Release Date:||May 24, 2019|
|Average Playtime:||14 hours|
OmniFootman is a rogue-lite action game. Its combat is based on Dark Souls’ combat system. In other words, you will dodge, block and parry, then accurately land your attack.
The adventure takes place in a cursed, ever-changing kingdom, which is to be expected considering the game’s genre. OmniFootman has over 40 distinct weapons, shields, and spells. Add that to the many different combat skills, and you will have a fresh experience in each run.
I’m well aware that rogue-likes, rogue-lites, and Soulsborne games are not for everyone. Since OmniFootman is a combination of two niche genres, I can see how this game might not have become a popular title. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a solid, fun action game.
The rogue-like side of the game is usually the most annoying part to those who like Dark Souls for its predictability. However, playing this game a few times will make you familiar with the enemies, so the ever-changing areas and random equipment give that constant sense of exploration.
You lose almost everything once you are defeated. Still, hopefully, you’ll find it fun to figure out how to get further and further with the things you encounter along the way. I know I did.
|Genre:||Action, Horror, Puzzle, Stealth|
|Release Date:||September 19, 2017|
|Average Playtime:||8 hours|
The girl En arrives at her destination, a legendary Palace, after spending a century in stasis. Her journey has a single objective: to save a life that shouldn’t have been lost. However, nothing could have prepared En for what awaited her in this mysterious place.
The adventure begins as a character-driven quest of discovery, but it doesn’t take long to change. As the game progresses, En is forced to face something horrible and unexpected. Every action and aspect of who you are is studied by the Palace and used against you.
The main game mechanics concentrate on stealth, action, and manipulation as you go up against yourself to discover that you are your worst enemy.
Although it sounds like an impossible pitch from an artsy indie game designer, this game actually manages to do exactly what it promises. You do plays as En and face En in the Palace. The weirdest part of Echo is that the Palace, or the game, does learn your gameplay patterns and use them against you.
This innovative approach to gameplay makes you constantly change, evolve, and use your own vices to predict the enemies’ behavior. It’s such an odd and unique experience that makes me feel like this game is criminally underrated.
Baba Is You
|Release Date:||March 13, 2019|
|Average Playtime:||7 hours|
Baba Is You is a bit hard to explain. It is a puzzle game, but it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before. In this game, you can change the rules of each phase to solve the puzzles. When I say entirely change, I mean it.
Baba Is You has some set of words throughout the map that you can often rearrange as if you were visually scripting the game. That way, you can make anything be anything, and the game becomes super nuts.
For instance, if you change the words Baba is You to Wall is You, the game lets you control the walls. If you spell Wall is Baba, each wall tile becomes a Baba clone. It’s such a creative, out-of-the-box, surreal experience that the more I try to explain it, the more I feel like I can’t convey it in words.
Baba is You has more than 200 levels that call for different uses of the game’s concepts. The more you play, the more you feel your galaxy brain evolving. Baba is You is one of those games where I never know if I’m breaking the rules or doing what’s expected, but that’s what I love about it.
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, RPG, Rogue-lile|
|Release Date:||January 18, 2022|
|Average Playtime:||6 hours|
In the 27th year of the Longwu era, an odd event started to occur. The snow that fell from the sky felt warm and did not melt. People that inhaled the warm snow went insane and turned into monsters. At some point, this event would be known as Warm Snow, hence the name of the game.
Generally speaking, Warm Snow is a rogue-like action game set in a dark fantasy world. You take the role of Bi-an, a warrior trying to save a dying world from the evil Five Great Clans. Bi-an’s quest seems impossible, but he is the world’s only hope.
Ever since Hades was a success, every single game that looks somewhat similar to it was called a Hades Knockoff. Although one might feel like Warm Snow reminds you of that game, it is a very unique title in so many different ways.
The setting is overall very different. Warm Snow’s art style is nothing like the one you find in Hades. This game has a very strong artistic and cultural identity. On top of that, many unique mechanics make Warm Snow its own thing.
Warm Snow has a loose upgrade system with a lot of randomnesses involved. This means that by learning how the game works and having some luck, your abilities will synergize in ways that you will wonder if that was even intended. It’s pretty awesome.
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, RPG, Open World|
|Release Date:||September 9, 2019|
|Average Playtime:||23 hours|
This game is an impressively underrated title; everybody who likes classic RPGs should play it.
Although it doesn’t happen in the medieval period, GreedFall is a Dragon Age-like title in many other ways. As for the setting, at least in my opinion, it feels like a better version of Amazon’s New World.
GreedFall is another RPG made by Spiders, the developers behind Of Orcs and Man and Technomancer. Unfortunately for them, the quality of their games is somewhat inconsistent, which might explain why GreedFall didn’t receive the attention it deserves.
Although the game lacks the level of polish you usually see in triple-A games, the game manages to look great and deliver voiced storylines that are interesting and engaging. In fact, all side quests in this game are so interesting that you never feel forced to go through them.
One of the greatest characteristics of this game, which reminds me of Bioware RPGs, is how your decisions affect your playthrough.
Unlike many other RPGs with choices, you don’t have a morality system, which encourages you to roleplay your character without any fear of being punished. I made decisions based on my moral standards instead of trying to be Mr. Paragon.
To make things even more complicated, some of the calls you’ll have to make will be solely based on your point of view. The game will often force you to choose the outcome of a situation based on what you consider to be the lesser evil.