Management games, strategy games, hack n’ slash, rogue-like: here are ten video games with low performance that will allow any PC gamer to make the most of their confinement.
Although confined to your home, you don’t have a PC powerful enough to run the latest Triple-A video games featured like the latest Doom: Eternal. You may be more of a console gamer, but you’ve already had time to browse through your library, which you now know by heart. Or, while you’re armed with the right graphics card and processor on your desktop “gaming” computer, you don’t live alone, so you need to share it with the rest of your loved ones. You can no longer access it freely and are forced to rely only on that good old laptop. To make matters worse, your connection doesn’t allow you to take advantage of a cloud gaming service like Google Stadia or NVIDIA GeForce Now. And, unfortunately, you haven’t been able to take advantage of the extraordinary but ephemeral Humble Bundle “special COVID-19” to try out some less greedy games.
Anyway, don’t worry, Geek Diary is here to recommend 10 games that are not very demanding in terms of performance, but are varied, reputable and time-consuming enough to face the boredom of confinement or the lack of state-of-the-art equipment. Of course, we encourage you to offer your own recommendations in the comments and on social networks.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Winner of the Best Independent Game Award at the 2014 Game Awards, Shovel Knight is such a perfect tribute to old platform games that it might even dethrone some of them and discourage you from emulating them. As proof, its eponymous protagonist even appears on the list of trophies to be won in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! Between the music and the gameplay, everything is there to plunge back into the wonderful world of the “platformers” of the 1980-1990s with today’s finesse and precision. What’s more, Shovel Knight magnifies everything with a good dose of absurd humour (after all, the main character fights well with a shovel!). Enough to wait for the release of another retro tribute, this time made in France, with Streets of Rage 4?
In the same genre, we also recommend: Celeste, Bro Force or Super Meat Boy.
Speaking of references, if there is one game that is not stingy, it is Punch Club. Ninja Turtles, Snatch, Fight Club without counting on the Rocky saga or Kickboxer : Punch Club is full of more or less subtle and comic inspirations to pop-culture institutions. But that’s not all, it’s not even the heart of this game. The goal is to manage a shabby boxing career and master the noble art as completely as possible in order to become the best. The player should never let his guard down or underestimate the adversity of the situation – and not only in the ring. It’s a very long, but rewarding job waiting for him to manage the funds, training, meals and love life of his fighting avatar. If you’re looking for a game that’s time-consuming, but rich and evolving, join the Punch Club.
Into The Breach
If you prefer strategy to management and Neon Genesis Evangelion to Karate Kid, trust Into The Breach. This tactical game with an isometric view, by the creators of Faster Than Light, plunges you into a post-apocalyptic future where the Earth has been invaded by gigantic alien insectoids. Luckily, humanity has mastered time travel and can send teams of robots and humans, armed with meches or tanks, back into the past to defeat them during their initial invasion. Once again, the player should never underestimate the difficulty of certain configurations and must learn not only to make sacrifices, but to accept defeat. Only, far from being a tireless repetitive work, the game allows him to benefit from each of his mistakes and optimize his strategy. Another time-consuming and 100% science fiction gem.
From StarCraft to Lovecraft. If forced isolation makes you sleepy, but you’re not afraid of the dark, head to Darkest Dungeon. In a universe strongly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, this game plunges you into the surroundings of a medieval Carpathian mansion polluted by monstrous corrupting entities. At the helm of a team of warriors and demon hunters, the player will have to penetrate and exterminate them. However, the gory and deeply disturbing nature of this evil infestation won’t make his task easy, as it will drive his team to lose their minds and force the player to change his mind. So much so that the tension and madness sometimes comes close to taking hold of the player himself…
— Darkest Dungeon (@DarkestDungeon) February 19, 2019
What better than the light of knowledge to deliver us from darkness? While waiting for a promising second version, improved in every way, nothing like playing Curious Expedition, the first of its kind, to find out… though. In this narrative game of exploration in pixel-art, the player plays a famous character of his choice who goes off to explore unexplored regions of the planet to become the most famous explorer. He will have to brave a thousand dangers to discover the wonderful golden temples hidden all over the world … before he dies of thirst and hunger or before his fellow travelers turn against each other or succumb to the bad decisions of the leader.
The Red Strings Club
If the postponed release of Cyberpunk 2077 is still a hindrance to you, another game with a cyberpunk universe should delight you. Designed by Deconstructeam, the Spanish studio behind Gods will be watching, The Red Strings Club is a narrative game – also very pixelated – with a bewitching atmosphere. Immersed in the skin of a bartender capable of making cocktails that loosen tongues and psyches, the player will try to find out and prevent the plans of Supercontinent, a corporation ready to suppress depression and anger in the minds of all humans with cybernetic implants. The player will therefore have to juggle between beautifully written dialogue sequences and cocktail proofs and also pottery (if any) – the method by which androids make the famous implants. Just for that alone, the cliché holds true: a unique videogame experience.
In the same genre, we also recommend: Papers please or The Return of the Obra Dinn.
If pottery has never been your cup of tea, and talking annoys you, but you need a nervous, hard-core game to unwind, there’s no need to be stubborn and finish downloading Call of Duty: Warzone. In Nuclear Throne, the player chooses a mutant armed with a few guns and then goes on to a series of levels where the only objective is to kill anything that moves. The mission is not necessarily easy, but fun and adrenaline are guaranteed. In addition, in parallel to a growing difficulty (necessarily, for a rogue-like), the player will take advantage of many mutations to acquire bonuses or liabilities. Enough to unload some mental energy while challenging yourself.
In the same genre, we also advise you: The Binding of Isaac.
Slay The Spire
Still in the rogue-like genre but with an extra dose of strategy, Slay The Spire brilliantly mixes the basics of dungeon-crawler RPG with deck-building. In other words, in this game, you embody a warrior determined to climb a huge dungeon populated by evil beings (some of which are very original) to be defeated. To do this, the player will be armed with powers and abilities delivered by cards from a deck that he will build up along his journey. While the gameplay remains fundamentally the same, the method of play comes in three forms depending on the character chosen at the start: with the robot, for example, the player will have to juggle energy spheres to defeat his enemies. The cards he will have at his disposal will thus be completely different from those available to the warrior. An original idea that allows you to really vary the games.
Children of Morta
Probably the most recent elected official on this list, Children of Morta is perhaps the one that most closely resembles a traditional RPG. The player embodies the individuals of a valiant family determined to rid their fantasy-inspired world of corruption. So far nothing very original, but Children of Morta differs from other titles of the genre by its rogue-lite side, in the form of a hack n’ slash gameplay, supported by a bushy narrative between the different members of the Bergson family. Above all, Children of Morta impresses with the pictorial beauty of its sets, all of which would deserve to be exhibited in an art gallery.
Game Dev Tycoon
And then, because we’re talking about video games, there’s nothing like a time-consuming management game about video game creation to pass the time. In Game Dev Tycoon, the player embodies a developer starting his career in his garage at the beginning of the (admittedly, slightly alternative) video game story. You’ll have to design the best possible games with your starting hand (including videogame genres and styles) to build your own empire. You’ll need to assimilate new technologies, balance your work, or even move on to E3 to be recognized in your field. While it’s already well known in the independent gaming world, it’s still valuable as narrative events regularly adapt to the actual progress and evolution of the video game industry.
In the same genre, we also recommend: Parksaurus.