In the past, I’ll admit, I’ve had a tendency to write articles that were simply thinly-veiled attempts at port-begging – one of the perceived cardinal sins of PC gamers in general. Eventually, I decided to branch out into asking that old and nearly-forgotten games be re-released on modern platforms, partially out of the revelation that begging for games on a single platform was completely self-serving, but equally important was the fact that I was just running low on material in general: hopefully that problem won’t end up rectifying itself.
Regardless, after those articles began to dry up, I considered multiple ways to keep the concept alive. While I’m happy with what I ended up deciding on, there were some other concepts I managed to kick around: one of them a simple enough concept – a complete reversal on the original idea, done up as an April Fools’ parody of one of those PC ports articles, done completely tongue-in-cheek, focusing on the idea that it was, in fact, the console gamers that were being deprived of games. As time went on, I began to feel that the joke article simultaneously came off as too bitter in tone and was far too interesting of an article to relegate to joke status. So while I still decided to release the article on April 1st, it’s now a legitimate article, detailing 10 games I feel console gamers should be allowed to play.
The rules for this article is somewhat different than the usual. This time, we’re looking at relatively recent PC games (let’s say, games that were released from 2006 – a decade ago, near the beginning of the seventh-generation of video game consoles) that have not appeared on consoles at the time this article was written. To make things a little more interesting, I’m also going to opine on which platforms the game would be best suited.
Of course this was going to be the first game on my list. I’ve been following the game’s development from its Kickstarter and it’s definitely made the (admittedly short) list of turn-based RPGs I enjoyed playing, just as I predicted way back when. It’s a game with a unique battle system, memorable characters, a good sense of humor and oddly enough, it’s the only example of a non-monster collection RPG where random battles don’t fill me with the uncontrollable rage of a thousand suns.
Best Console: I definitely think that if Undertale hits any console, it has to be Wii U and/or 3DS. The game clearly draws a lot of inspiration from the Mother/Earthbound series: Toby Fox (the game’s creator) even worked on some Earthbound hacks. Likewise, the game’s tone doesn’t seem to mesh very well with companies besides Nintendo, it would be a hard sell for Sony and especially for the Xbox.
The funny thing about this is that, from all appearances, it looks like my ideal choice for this one is already attempting to get a port of Undertale. A Nintendo of America team member contacted Toby Fox via Twitter. In the past, Toby Fox did say that he was interested in having the game appear on Nintendo consoles, but due to the fact that Undertale was programmed in GameMaker, console ports seemed unlikely at first. However, since then, Toby Fox has decided that it’s worth trying to make console ports and Broken Rules (who previously handled Wii U ports of Guacamelee and Electronic Super Joy) have offered to help. So let’s stay determined!
Lethal League is effectively what would happen if Super Smash Bros., Windjammers, Pong and Tekken 3’s Tekken Ball mode had a child. It’s not quite a fighting game, but close enough to have made appearances at EVO in the past. Basically, the game involves smacking a ball that ricochets around the stage – if you were the last one to hit it, it turns the color associated with you (P1 is Red, etc.) and you’re immune to any collisions with it. If the ball hits you while a different color, you lose the round. Last player standing wins.
Best Console: As much as I loathe to admit it, the ideal choice for this one would be PlayStation 4, hands down. I’m actually surprised that Sony didn’t try to get their grubby little paws on it, considering the indie acquisition spree they’ve been going on for the past few years. Ideally, if Sony were to get ahold of it, crossplay with the PC version is a must.
The latest game from one-man doujin game developer Studio Pixel (creator of Cave Story), Kero Blaster is a 2D side scroller run ‘n gun that evokes games like Contra. In Kero Blaster, you play as an amphibious employee of Cat and Frog Inc., a company specializing in teleporters. Armed with a back-mounted laser cannon, you’re tasked with cleaning your employer’s teleporters of strange black monsters. This game was also unique in the sense that it had two free demos/sidestories, Pink Hour and Pink Heaven, starring a minor character from Kero Blaster.
Best Console: It’s really tough to say. On one hand, Kero Blaster is being published by PLAYISM, who as of yet, have only published games on PC and PlayStation systems. However, the only consoles Cave Story appeared on were Nintendo platforms. Having said that, I think Kero Blaster would probably be a better fit on Wii U and/or 3DS. The PlayStation 4 and Vita would also be good choices, but Nintendo just seems like a better fit to me, given its history with the game’s developer.
Now this one is a treat. The last of the traditional 2D Ys games and the only one exclusive to PC, Ys Origin took what people loved about The Oath in Felghana and improved upon it. Taking place hundreds of years before even the first two Ys games, Ys Origin (or Ys 0, as I prefer to call it) allows players to take on the role of one of three characters: Yunica Tovah, who wields melee weapons; Hugo Fact, who wields magic and the unlockable character, The Claw. Developed as a budget title, Ys Origin is the latest of the Ys games currently available on Steam. Admittedly, if Origin were to hit consoles, I’d like to see Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta hit PC (outside of China).
Best Console: My answer is obvious, but still somewhat depressing: PlayStation Vita. Ys Origin is a 2D title and even back when it was first developed, it was considered a budget title. It seems unlikely that gamers would accept such an old title on PS4, the PS3 is pretty much at the end of its life cycle and the PlayStation brand has become the de facto home for the Ys series as of late, specifically on Vita which has even managed to secure a version of the upcoming Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA.
Well, I guess this one is technically a misnomer: it’s not 1 game, it’s seven! Retro Game Crunch was a collection of 7 NES-inspired games created by a three-man team (who referred to themselves, fittingly enough, as Retro Game Crunch) – one was developed in 72 hours as a part of the Ludum Dare game jam and the other 6 were developed over 6 months. The first game was Super Clew Land, a simple exploratory platformer where its survival of the fittest, taking cues from games like Kirby and E.V.O.: Search for Eden. End of Line is a puzzle game where you take control of a suicidal robot; GAIAttack! Is a unique game that couples vertical platforming with beat-‘em-up gameplay; Paradox Lost is a Metroid-like that revolves around time travel; Wub-Wub Wescue is a game about a dog saving his owner; Brains & Hearts is a unique card game & Shūten is a shmup that takes place in ancient Japan.
Best Console: Just due to the artstyle and the fact that it clearly uses the NES as a template, I’d have to give this one to Wii U and/or 3DS. The fact that bite-sized games seem to perform better on Nintendo consoles is also a good sign the RGC should make its way to the Big N.
Enemy Mind is a unique shmup that’s somewhat difficult without resorting to the tactics you usually find in most bullet-hells. You take on the role of a being made of pure psychic energy caught in the middle of a conflict between humanity and an alien race known as the Aratus. In order to survive in Enemy Mind, you take over the minds of enemy ships, each with their own unique attacks and defense. However, each ship also has a limited amount of ammo, so you have to continually switch from ship to ship in order to stay alive.
Best Console: This one’s hard, honestly. Last generation, the system for shmups was clearly the Xbox 360, which had an amazing array of shmups. This generation, however, it seems like if there’s any platform with complete dominance over the genre, it would be PC. Furthermore, Schell Games (Enemy Mind’s developer and publisher) appears to have experience with only PC and mobile games and has a specific lean towards educational games. Having said all of that, I’d probably give this one to Xbox One, just due to the fact that Microsoft has been their client in the past and they’re familiar with both PC and Xbox 360 hardware.
Joymasher is a small indie developer based in Brazil that I’ve fallen in love with. Their first major release was Oniken, which was originally released on the ill-fated Desura indie platform in 2012, not hitting Steam until 2014 with additional content. Oniken is a love letter to NES action games, playing like a hybrid between Ninja Gaiden, Strider and Shatterhand. Players take on the role of Zaku, a legendary ninja mercenary and the only person capable of stopping the Oniken, an evil military organization bent on the extermination of humanity.
Best Console: Another difficult choice – the graphical style and clear references to NES games would make Wii U or 3DS a prime choice, but the hardcore difficulty could lead the game to sell even better on PS4 or Vita.
I don’t know why, but lately we’ve been seeing something of a new trend of good single-player first-person shooters. 2013’s revamp of the classic IP Shadow Warrior, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Hard Reset have all made the jump to eighth-gen consoles, but there’s another revamp that has remained exclusive to PC. Rise of the Triad was similarly revived by Interceptor Software – the current owner of 3D Realms’ intellectual properties – and it too managed to bring classic 90s FPS gameplay into the 21st century.
Best Console: Xbox One would probably be the best choice for Rise of the Triad, just due to the audience’s preference for first-person shooters compared to other platforms. However, at this point, it might be a hard sell due to the age of the game.
Best described as a rogue-like crossed with a classic arcade-era platformer, Super House of Dead Ninjas was one of Adult Swim’s earliest forays into game publishing. It’s also a damn fun game, where you take on the role of a lone kunoichi. By completing various tasks in-game, you can unlock new weapons, ninja suits, upgrades and special attacks and customize your character to your heart’s content in order to best tackle the eponymous house.
Best Console: Compared to other games on the list, just due to the length of the average play session, I feel like SHoDN is best suited for a portable console. Whether it’s the 3DS or the PlayStation Vita, I can’t really say. On one hand, the 3DS is definitely more alive than the Vita, but the only console Adult Swim has a working relationship with is PlayStation 4.
The original Evoland is a love letter to Japanese RPGs as a whole. As players progress through the game, it evolves, going from a pseudo-Game Boy monochrome artstyle all the way to a more modern chibi 3D look. It borrows from many games considered RPGs, most strikingly Final Fantasy and Zelda, allowing for both real-time action-oriented and more traditional turn-based combat, as well as solving puzzles in order to progress through dungeons. Evoland 2, on the other hand, throwing in references and gameplay from several other genres.
Best Console: Honestly, I see these games working best on PlayStation 4 or possibly the Vita, just due to the fact that those are the “RPG” platforms. There’s a chance that they would probably succeed better on Wii U or 3DS, just due to a general lack of third-party RPGs compared to the PlayStation platforms.
NEO AQUARIUM -The King of Crustaceans-: By far, the greatest fighting game exclusively dealing in sea creatures I’ve ever encountered, NEO AQUARIUM is a truly unique game that could function properly on consoles, but just due to the strangeness of the game in general, it probably wouldn’t be much of a success, which is why it didn’t make the list.
Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe: When I was coming up with this list, I was honestly torn between this game and Super House of Dead Ninjas. In the end, it all came down to that, at least in my experience, SHoDN has longer play sessions and by extension, more replay value.
Viscera Cleanup Detail: Admittedly, this one was originally on my list. However, I decided to omit it for one simple reason: the gameplay’s reliance on exact movements with inexact controls, not unlike most modern jokey simulator games. It may be possible to play this game with a controller, but it’s objectively inferior to the keyboard and mouse control set-up that the game seemingly expects by default.
This was definitely a fun article to write. Maybe that was because it came off as more of a “humblebrag” regarding the current state of PC gaming, that I could cite, at minimum, 10 games exclusive to the PC platform (or at least, not present on any consoles) that are great experiences worth sharing. Maybe it was because this time around, there wasn’t really anything at stake for me – I already own pretty much every game on the list: the only exception being Kero Blaster, I’ve only managed to play the two free demo games: Pink Hour and Pink Heaven. I can’t really say whether or not I’d like to write another article like this next year – it was fun, but I guess in the true spirit of the article, I should be hoping that there aren’t 10 PC exclusives to write about a year from now as much as I’m hoping there is never a distinct set of 10 console exclusives I want to hit PC down the line.