At this point, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that, here at Indie Ranger, we love video games. However, there comes a time in every gamer’s life when we come across games that are so utterly horrid that we cannot stand to defend it for the sake of our sanity. Each member of our team has picked what are, in their opinion, the worst games they’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing.
The Atomy (PC)
I stumbled across The Atomy while going through my Steam queue on an uneventful Saturday afternoon. I was intrigued by the concept and the low price tag (it was on sale), however, the ratings for The Atomy were “Mostly Negative.” That should have been an obvious red flag, but being the optimistic and irresponsible spender that I tend to be, I bought it.
In short, I should have taken the reviews into account.
This game is a friggin’ nightmare, and not because of the skeleton characters. It’s a top-down shooter that can barely shoot properly and it tries to integrate a first person perspective by holding down the right click on your mouse. The Atomy barely works as an FPS, which is a shame because the FPS aspect is where The Atomy’s biggest strength lies. The game attempts to look something like a graphic novel by splitting into multiple cameras at different angles when you hold down the proper keys. One such angle keeps a close eye on the bandoleer that’s strapped to your character because once you run out of ammo on your rifle, you have to resort to your revolver, which is arguably a much better weapon anyway. Walking around is disastrous and the developer apparently can’t spell to save their life.
Chosen by Travis LeFevre
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
I never really got into the Call of Duty series until the first Modern Warfare. In the genre of military shooters, it was a polished breath of fresh air which I came to appreciate more as the years passed.
When the third entry in the Modern Warfare series was released, I was excited to dive into another exciting campaign — yes, I am not huge into multiplayer. We had this on Xbox 360 and I was not able to pay for gold, so my time was spent solely with the singleplayer and occasional local multiplayer. While it played well, I could not help but be bored during my playthrough. Much like that of action movies, I hold that the one thing an action video game shouldn’t do is bore the player. Nonetheless, no amount of epic shootouts and giant setpieces could keep me from feeling like this was made solely to make money.
It was this game that made me realize how similar AAA series are to Hollywood franchises, and it left me more cynical than I already was. I haven’t played an entry since, with the exception of a few rounds of local multiplayer with my cousins if they had the game. What a shame.
Chosen by Colton Butler
CastleMiner Z (PC, Xbox 360)
In the days when Minecraft was only available on the PC, eager middle schoolers were foaming at the mouth for such a game on consoles. I wasn’t one of those kids, but my friends were. They convinced me to scrape together the $15 to play CastleMiner Z with them on Xbox Live.
What I got was the sorriest excuse for a $15 game to ever grace this earth — I truly think this may be the worst game purchase I’ve ever made. The gameplay consists of running around a dark, much duller looking world than Minecraft’s and searching for ores that you could craft AK-47s and RPGs to shoot down dragons and kill zombies with. It sounds like satire reading that last sentence back to myself. In reality, the game was exactly that, and the only joy possibly derived from it would be upgrading your weapon tiers.
Creativity through building, something which made Minecraft so successful, was absent — there were few building materials and no incentive to build anything. CastleMiner Z is a sad, sad game.
Chosen by Brigham Pratt
Chicken Shoot (Wii)
For the life of me, I can’t explain why my friend’s family owned Chicken Shoot, or where the game even came from. A port of a game originally released online for Windows in 2000, the game managed to make its way to the Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, and most notably, the Nintendo Wii.
A poor man’s version of Duck Hunt, Chicken Shoot tasks its players to use the Wiimote to target chickens flying across the screen. The controls feel terrible, the sound design is atrocious and the game’s original graphics from its 2000 Windows release remain apparent, despite coming out for the Wii seven years later.
Chicken Shoot is a perfect example of shovelware, released solely due to the popularity of Nintendo’s console. In retrospect, it’s the perfect example of what would plague the Wii throughout its lifespan: terrible cash-in titles designed to trick parents into purchasing a cheap game off the shelf at Walmart.
Chosen by Will Sattelberg
I’ll give it to Chimpology, the premise is hilarious. You are put into the character of a monkey behind the keyboard of a computer from 1999 and the objective is simple: generate photos one block at a time by hitting a pattern of zeros and ones. If the timer runs out of if you mistakenly hit the wrong key, you lose.
That’s all fine and dandy, but that’s basically the entirety of the game. That’s it. Nothing else happens besides you hitting the same two keys over and over again. After about five minutes of just sitting there and playing Chimpology, I was exhausted from boredom. There’s no real incentive except for beating a high score. Nothing about this game keeps you drawn in. There is so little to do in Chimpology that I’m struggling to even reach the 150 minimum word count. That’s how much “nothing” we’re talking about here.