A lot of games work on the “risk/reward” system; that is, acting quickly and instinctively can result in a higher score. At times, these sorts of games are infuriatingly difficult and quickly result in rage quitting. However, when the risk/reward mechanic is played out just right, addictive game play ensues. Here are the top three games that have driven me to the brink of insanity, but I just can’t stop playing:
- Super Meat Boy – $14.99
Super Meat Boy is a 2D platformer created by the independent developer masterminds Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes. The premise of the game is simple; control Meat Boy and finish each level by saving Bandage Girl. See simple.
But I forget to mention that there were traps and hazards. So, so many hazards. You’ll be furiously jumping and wall sliding to avoid buzz saws, pits of lava, salt (which is supposedly deadly if you are made of meat) and more. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on that current world, there’s the boss battle… Oh, and it’s one hit death, so better make sure you don’t die just before reaching Bandage Girl, otherwise it’s right back to the start again.
Chuck in harder, unlockable “dark world” versions of each level, secret nostalgia areas (which parody classic indie games) and a bunch of unlockable characters with different abilities, Super Meat Boy will have you coming back for hours on end.
- Hotline Miami – $9.99
This game is violent. If you do not like violence, then this game is not for you. For the rest of us, be prepared for a frenzy of brutality that is equal parts planning, skill and luck. Welcome to the world of Hotline Miami, where it’s either kill, or be killed.
Each level of the Hotline Miami starts the same; you’re in your apartment and receive a mystery call, asking you to perform a menial task that has an extremely sinister undertone. From there, the top down shooter has you clearing every thug in the area before you can progress to the next room. Whether you use your fists, baseball bat, bottle, machine gun, etc. is up to what you choose to pick up.
Hotline Miami is not forgiving. From the outset of the game, everything will kill you on sight or sound. Worst of all, it’s a one hit kill, even when punched. This forces you to think quickly: “should I use the gun for distance, but alert everyone in the area, or stealthily use a knife and just hope shit doesn’t hit the fan?” Additionally, when you kill an enemy, their body doesn’t fade away, so when you walk back through the room at the end, you are constantly reminded of how ruthless you were.
I admit, this game probably isn’t for anyone (hell, even the sequel was refused classification in Australia), but there is great challenge and fun to be had here.
- Crossy Road – $FREE (mostly)
What Crossy Road does right is give you that short time waster that pays off regardless of how well we do. At first, that mightn’t seem to encourage compelling gaming, but the game is so much more. It’s mind tricks man! Similar to the first two games, you will play, and you will die. However, without distinct levels, there is no memorising of layouts and no perfecting of runs. In addition to the random in game currency prizes that make keep you coming back for more, you can collect coins in each play through.
The more you play, the more coins you can collect and the more playable characters you can unlock. This game is really no more than a modernised Frogger, but soon after one play, the inner completionist and competitor takes control, forcing you to unlock each character and set further and further high scores.