10 of the hardest games ever made

hardest video games ever cuphead
hardest video games ever cuphead

What’s the hardest game you’ve ever played? A perilous platformer, choice-based emotional odyssey, or tricky tactical nightmare?

We couldn’t possibly decide on a single game to dub the hardest ever, so we’ve taken some suggestions from the GAME community and added a few of our favourites to compile a rock-solid playlist of challenging titles.

hardest video games ever game logo

What’s the hardest game you’ve ever played? A perilous platformer, choice-based emotional odyssey, or tricky tactical nightmare?

We couldn’t possibly decide on a single game to dub the hardest ever, so we’ve taken some suggestions from the GAME community and added a few of our favourites to compile a rock-solid playlist of challenging titles.

So in no particular order, here are ten of the hardest games ever made. If this is all a bit much for you, why not unwind with our selection of six relaxing games to help you chill out.

1. Dark Souls

hardest video games ever dark souls

Yes, we had a feeling this one might crop up. It has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult, with a seemingly endless lineup of tough bosses who can (and will) step on you like you’re an ant. And while we know it’s all just part of the learning curve, there are times when we’ve been stomped on just when we were about to get to a bonfire checkpoint, and we might have shed a couple of very small tears.

Shop Dark Souls here

2. Cuphead

hardest video games ever cuphead mugman

Solid choice. Don’t let the colourful environment, upbeat soundtrack, and happy little barbershop quartets fool you – Cuphead is tough. You’ve got just 3 HP to see you through Cuphead’s abundance of boss fights (there are more of those than the regular platform levels), and you’ll have to keep learning new strategies to take them down because each fight has multiple stages. If you’re struggling, check out our Cuphead tips to give you an edge.

Shop Cuphead here

3. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege

hardest video games ever tom clancys rainbow six siege

Rainbow Six Siege has quite the focus on tactics, which can be tough when you’re starting out and everyone else seems to have mastered them all already. But it is possible to achieve great things regardless of whether you’re playing as a particular Operator or a standard Recruit, and some of the most smirk-inducing moments in the game can happen when you’re facing skilled opponents and manage to trick them into slipping up…

Shop Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege here

4. Super Mario Maker 2

hardest video games ever super mario maker 2

The regular levels of Super Mario Maker 2 can be pretty challenging at times, but at least they’re always fair. However many goes it takes you, you know that it’s possible to beat them in the end, even if you make a minor mistake here and there. But then you take a look at some of the expert levels made by other players, and you realise that absolute perfection is being demanded. Is it worth even trying? Of course it is. Think how smug you’ll feel when you manage to beat these five incredible user-created levels.

Shop Super Mario Maker 2 here

5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

hardest video games ever sekiro shadows die twice

Given that it came from the developers of Dark Souls, we shouldn’t really be surprised that Sekiro made it onto the list. The bosses here are just as tough as their Dark Souls counterparts, and this time it’s all about learning to break their posture so you can get that brutal finishing blow in before they recover. It’s tough, but the sheer euphoria you’ll feel when you finally pull it off is worth a lot of the pain. Difficulty aside, the game is also beautiful to look at, featuring a fantastical interpretation of Sengoku-era Japan.

Shop Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice here

6. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

hardest video games ever oddworld abes oddysee

There’s a bit of a learning curve here, and even the game’s makers have admitted this game was tough. Almost every action you take needs to be carefully calculated, because there’s not a lot of space for error and the baddies hit you hard, but you also have to balance that out with the desire to explore every nook and cranny you can find. Keep at it, though, and before long you’ll be dodging Sligs and Scrabs like a pro. Oddworld recently got a remake, but if you want to experience the original in all it’s polygonal glory, you can find it on the PlayStation Classic.

Shop digital credit here

7. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

hardest video games ever getting over it with bennett foddy

Look, getting your legs stuck in a cauldron and hauling yourself up a mountain with a rock climbing hammer was never going to be an easy feat. Losing your grip and falling all the way back down to the bottom, again, is also not an easy thing to experience. Just take a deep breath, resist the urge to scream loudly as Bennett Foddy soothingly reminds you that there are bigger things in life to worry about, and try again. That’s all you can do.

Shop digital credit here

8. Super Meat Boy

Hardest Games - Super Meat Boy

Despite its simple control scheme, Super Meat Boy is anything but straightforward. Its level design is fiendish, throwing curveball after curveball at the player, demanding pinpoint platforming precision to survive. Thankfully, restarts are instant and lives are infinite, meaning you can keep throwing yourself against Super Meat Boy’s dastardly designs indefinitely.

Shop digital credit here

9. Ring Fit Adventure

Hardest Games - Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure is arguably the most difficult game on this list because it asks you to exercise. Luckily, the game makes this dreaded activity riotously enjoyable by sending you on a varied and rewarding fitness quest.

Shop Ring Fit Adventure

10. Battletoads

Hardest Games - Battletoads

Stepping on a plug. Getting a parking ticket. Finding out your boiler has exploded. All of these frustrations pale in comparison to the many failures you will experience in every single level of Battletoads. This rock-solid side-scroller can be played in co-op, but don’t think that’s going to make things any easier. Find this title in Rare Replay if you’re ready for the ultimate challenge.

Shop Rare Replay here

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hardest video games ever cuphead