Look, we can’t all be winners, okay? The 2010s have provided us with tons of quality content that we all enjoyed. After all, where else could you get games like Mass Effect 2, Portal 2, both Red Dead Redemptions, a simply astounding God of War reboot, and so much more I’m not even going to try and list? We listed like 100 of them somewhere else, so you can make use of that list.
There’s a law that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think it’s a law of physics. It can be applied to a few other things. One of those things is video games. For all this good we had, some bad had to arrive. As TechRaptor’s resident expert of all bad things, it was up to me to break down the bad and see where the problem spots were this decade. This is a cursed decade that rebooted Bubsy, after all.
First, let me set some expectations as to what to expect on this list. You will not see Aliens: Colonial Marines. You will not see that awful Star Trek third-person shooter. There are no Sonic games. There’s nothing published by EA or Ubisoft or Bethesda here. There is a game published by Square Enix, but honestly, that’s their own fault. Most of the games that seem to populate these lists are, at worst, kind of mediocre. I wanted the real bad stuff. So I dug for this. This is the top of the trash heap. You get quality. From me.
Bubsy: Paws on Fire / Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
Who better to represent all the awful games this year? Bubsy had not one but two different games come out in the 2010s. First, was The Woolies Strike Back, released on PC and PlayStation 4 on Oct. 31, 2017, making for one of the scariest Halloween surprises. Bubsy’s return wasn’t expected, and after playing the game it certainly wasn’t welcomed either. With a game that lasted a couple of hours at most, and little more than a shell that felt like an asset flip with Bubsy tossed in, things were looking dire for the bobcat. The fact that he followed it up with Paws on Fire, an equally uninspired runner that forced players to repeat content with Bubsy’s awful friends, didn’t help matters at all. No more Bubsy, please God.
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma – Episode 1
Most episodic games get finished. Most. Afro Samurai 2 isn’t one of those games. This is the sequel to the unique, if not particularly great, Afro Samurai, a game that starred Samuel L. Jackson and Ron Pearlman. It had lovely art and an amazing hip-hop soundtrack, which made it appealing. A sequel seemed normal. It’s a shame, then, that Afro Samurai 2 had none of the charm or creative ideas. Hell, it even looked worse somehow. The plan was for a three-episode series, but after the first episode bombed, the publisher canceled the other two, issued an apology for the game, and pulled the first episode from stores. Whoops.
Rollercoaster Dreams / Rollercoaster Tycoon World / Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride
This was a really bad decade for rollercoaster games. The Rollercoaster Tycoon series put out not one but two absolute stinkers with Rollercoaster Tycoon World and Joyride. World was your normal entry to the series, but full of bugs and barely playable to any degree. Joyride decided to be a VR on-rails shooter for some awful reason and was equally terrible. Both games basically brought ruin to a once-great series, leaving space for competitors. However, one of the few to try was Rollercoaster Dreams, which promptly slipped and fell into a disaster of its own. From hilariously awful graphics to a translation that gives nothing but gems of broken English, Rollercoaster Dreams had the perfect opportunity presented to it and totally blew it.
For a time everyone tried to copy Gears of War and Uncharted. The two popular third-person shooters rewrote the rules on cinematic games, after all. For a time there were plenty of terrible clones—remember games like Damnation and Quantum Theory?—but many of them eventually found their footing. However, someone didn’t tell Gene Rain this. The gameplay is clunky and full of bullet sponges, the translation makes no sense and characters often speak nonsensical lines with poor voice acting, and the whole game is filled with assets that clearly have nothing to do with the rest of the game. Much like the burning rowboat in the middle of the desert, Gene Rain is a mess.
Big City Stories
A free-to-play city builder shouldn’t be that hard to do right. Let players place a few city buildings, give them some tasks, limit just how much they can do in a day but provide ways to increase the limit either paid or not paid. Big City Stories tries that but instead wants to do it in third person rather than top-down. The result? A city builder where it is far too difficult to build cities. Instead of building cities, you’re playing awkward and awful, often broken, minigames. You’re navigating the world slowly to get to the next objective. You’re wasting time in traffic. Who wants to be stuck in traffic when you can play a city builder? No one, that’s who.
Look, I enjoy narrative games, even those that are called "walking simulators." Drowning, however, has way too many problems. Starting with an absurdly slow walking speed, it displays text without voices and constantly requires you to stop and read the words flying in front of you. If you do so, you’re treated to a story about depression. That’s a perfectly fine subject, but Drowning handles it as poorly as possible. The message of three of the four endings is basically "choose to get better," with the last ending having the main character commit suicide. But it’s okay, the in-game voice in his head says, because at least your suicide will serve as a message to other people and encourage them not to. That’s horrid, and there are no two ways around it.
Heroes of the Seven Seas / Metropolis: Lux Obscura
I’m lumping these two games together because I have the same issue with both of them. Heroes of the Seven Seas is a VR rip-off of the ship segments of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Metropolis: Lux Obscura is a match-3/RPG mix. Both of those are great concepts done poorly for various reasons, leading to bad games that would have been forgettable were it not for a specific problem. What really sets them apart is that both games are unashamed in being racist and sexist. For Heroes, this means you go hang out with the Cherokee, which the game promptly refers to as "savages" and portrays as a race of orcs. On the other hand, Metropolis has a main character that refers to African Americans as "monkies," and has a woman narrowly avoid getting raped before super awkwardly hitting on the main character while still dressed in her torn clothes. Both of these lead to a situation that can best be described with a "yikes."
Troll & I
Usually, the most fun to be gotten out of a co-op game is teaming up with a buddy. At the very least, it’s making fun of a bad game with a friend. In the case of Troll & I, it’s neither. This is a game so bad, it makes co-op boring, often having one player stand around for 30+ minutes while the other solves puzzles; even when both players are active there’s very little to do. With terrible combat, confusing objectives, and glitches that cause the screen to shake violently, Troll & I has so much wrong with it that it’s impossible to recommend it to even co-op fans that love bad games.
The Quiet Man
The only game on this list by an actual, serious, big-name publisher, there’s so much wrong with The Quiet Man that you have to wonder how it was approved in the first place. The idea is that you play as a deaf man in a brawler, having to experience the world as he does. The reality is that it’s a poor brawler, the gimmick is both stupid and borderline offensive, and the plot is complete nonsense even when you do unlock a version with sound. The cream of the crop? The game is full of these FMV cutscenes that are hilariously awful. It even tries to transition them to in-game graphics in a way that you just know someone thought was cool, but mostly just highlights how bad the game looks. Square Enix, what were you thinking, honey?
Anything by Lightning Game Studios
I don’t like to single out developers. It feels kind of unfair, especially since they can change. But Lighting Game Studios deserves it for one simple reason. They put out their first PlayStation 4 game, called Solbrain: Knight of Darkness. The game was full of stolen assets. The trailer’s soundtrack came from Ori and the Blind Forest, there was a character model from TERA, a shield from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, UI elements from World of Warcraft, the description taken straight from Odallus: The Dark Call, and more. Every way you looked, something was stolen. It doesn’t help that the game was completely awful to boot, having you do little more than awkwardly fight waves of enemies in an empty zone. Lightning followed up with Spear of Destiny the Kaiseki, and while that didn’t have any stolen assets (at least, that was found), the game is still awful. Nothing made by this studio, which blatantly stole so much, should ever be considered, not even for ironic reasons.
I was going to only make this 10 games, but I just absolutely had to get this somewhere. So you get 11. Farnham Fables is a video game where a grown human adult male makes weird sexual comments about an underaged lizard girl. In episode 2 you play as another underaged lizard girl and you can tie your little sister to the couch, strip her naked, and spank her in a weirdly sexual way. These games super bizarrely try to sexualize underaged characters. Why is this allowed on Steam?
Look, I make this list with love. I don’t hate any of these games (well, besides Solbrain. Plagiarism is just straight-up inexcusable). They’re bad games, and that’s okay. Bad games are how you make better games. And there’s still a joy to be had with most bad games, just not quite in the way that’s expected. I highly suggest playing a few of these, if only to really see how it really can be.
Any games you think should be on the list? Not shocked to see these? Let us know in our comments below!