Posted 7 February

Weekend Debate: Your favourite ‘hidden gem’ (Update)

The Weekend Debate

UPDATE: Many thanks to all those who jumped in with a suggestion this week. Some great calls – and some surprising ones too. Without further ado, here are the winners of the PS Vita Dustforce codes: graybot, Alvena123, RedMustang72, Lcslick and Plumpegasus. Congratulations – keep an eye on your PMs in your ID on the official forums. We’ll be in touch later this week with your prize.

ORIGINAL POST: With the Christmas backlog still all but untouched, and a clutch of great new releases already in the wild for 2014, I’m not short of things to play right now. However, my latest gaming obsession is an unexpected find.

Off the back of some quiet Twitter buzz following its launch in May 2013, I downloaded Rymdkapsel onto my PS Vita when it showed up in a promotion late last year. And there it sat, unplayed, ever since. However, following a recent temper tantrum on my morning commute over a particularly tough OlliOlli stage, I booted it up for a quick look. 10 days later and I can’t put it down.

Never heard of it? It’s a wonderfully elegant and quirky strategy title that sees you trying to build a research station in deep space while being harassed by a mysterious (and relentless) foe. Check it out.

And that, rather clumsily, brings us onto this week’s debate topic. Do you have a favourite hidden obscurity that you love dearly but very few others might have come across? If so, let us know below and explain why we should all go and seek it out.

The prize for the five most thoughtful or entertaining responses? A PS Vita download code for Capcom’s acclaimed platformer Dustforce, which launched on PlayStation Store this week.

Dustforce, 06

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It was really early in the PS3 cycle, but I totally dug Enchanted Arms. I don’t think many people played it, or at least if they did no one would ever admit it.

 

Back in the days when the Official PlayStation Magazine used to do playable PS2 demos, there was a Net Yaroze title included on one month’s cover disc called ‘Gravitation’ – kind of like an amateur Asteroids/Thrust-type multi-player shooter. My friends and I spent more time playing Gravitation than we did any other official PS2 title, until I lost the disc. Sad face. But it was brilliant, and we still speak of it now.

 
smashing1234 7 February, 2014 @ 5:06 pm   3

If it’s still counted as underrated, the Sly Cooper series. Some of the best 3D platformers ever created, other than that SpongeBob SquarePants Battle for Bikini Bottom and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie are incredible and Brutal Legend was fantastic.

 

I remember playing a game that my friend brought back from america, it was called Thousand arms. A dating sim/rpg for the ps1. Every update I hope itll be in the classics section but.. it never is. I know its cheating, picking a game that wasnt released in europe….

 

My hidden gem would be DJ Max Technika Tune for the PS Vita.

It’s a rhythm game and needed to import it, it didn’t release in EU afaik. The game features really great K-pop songs and a very addictive gameplay. It uses the touchscreen but also the rear touchscreen for an extra dimension. Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7dQuGlM8hw

I love it, most people I show it too have no idea it exists and they often want to try =D

 

There was a game called Rollcage on the PSOne that was one the best action/racing games i have ever played. I dont think it was a huge hit but it was so much fun. I really hope someone makes a new version of it someday :)

 
DanielMeier 7 February, 2014 @ 5:12 pm   7

It might not be a hidden gem, but it does seem overlooked. But i really enjoyed Siren: Blood Curse, it was my first purchase on PSN when i got my PS3. Sure it might be a bit clunky and the frame rate is on the low end, but it did some interesting things, and i think it was genuinely a disturbing game.

One of the better survival horror games of last generation.

 

I’m not interested in the prize this week, just wanted to join in on the article.

“Incredible Crisis” – A game many wont of heard of but It’s a wacky game split into mini-games centred about a Japanese family having a very bad day.

Constant craziness ensues just by Father Taneo on the way to work for example. It’s a must play, if one ever gets the chance :-)

 

Bloody roar was a game that I loved that not many others seemed to play.

A fighter where you could transform into a giant fluffy rabbit to lay the beat down on your foes deserved more respect!

Also loved secret of evermore on the SNES which is often over looked because of squares other classic RPGs at that time.

 

Arkham Asylum has a secret room in the Wardens Office which you can blow up with explosive gel. The room contains plans to build Arkham City. The wall can not be seen with detective vision, so you will have to youtube it. It’s my favorite secret area because nobody discovered it for over a year.

 

Stealth Inc.
It was free via Plus any yet almost nobody played it. Only about 5 or 6% of my friends list really played the game.
Imho this game was vastly underrated, its combination of skilled movement and smart foresight was quite unique.

If we’re looking at the PS3 era, guess I’ll have to go with Dead to Rights: Retribution. A popular series on the PS2, which I never have played. But this is a reboot, so no problem. It is one of the most fun games I have played this generation. The combination between shooting en melee combat, togehter with brutal finishers made the game very enjoyable. I did recommend it to my friends and most of them borrowed my copy of the game and they all loved it.

The critics didn’t praise the game as much as I did. But I was happy I came across this game after I won it during a prize contest. And all my friends enjoyed it as well. We all got the platinum for it.

 
toxic-inferno 7 February, 2014 @ 5:17 pm   13

Not sure it really counts as a hidden gem, but one of the greatest, yet least-known games I have ever played is the original Italian Job game for the PSOne, made by Rockstar games. It’s very rare that I come across people who have played it, and yet I love it so much that I’ve bought at least three copies of it over the course of my gaming life. Really strange! Would be a great little game to be added to the PS Classics part of the store!!

 

Plenty of my favourate “hidden” gems of the PlayStation One generation have been re-released digitally – Alundra, Wild Arms, Grandia, etc. however I still await one Hidden RPG gem to be released.

The Legend of Legaia

A turn-based RPG system where you create your own combos called “Tactical Arts” to work against the weaknesses of your foes and possibly triggering “Arts” that can obliterate your target.

The PS2 sequel was pretty good, but the PS One original is the true Hidden Gem :D

 

It’s not really an unknown game but my pick is Spec Ops: The Line.

Lots of people thought that this was a generic shooter, but they didn’t give it a chance. Never before has a shooter made me think about the enemies I was killing and to think about the horrors of war.

Eveytime you watch an analysis of this game there’s always something new to learn from it. The game has a brilliant ending and very good plot twist.

I try to recommend it to my friends but it’s so hard to do so without spoiling anything. So all I can say is give it a chance.

 

Hm, all my contributions to the weekend debate lately start “awaiting” moderation. I can’t really register any even slightly “bad” word in my short comment.

P.S.
Got Dustforce already on PC, thus not interested in winning.

 
mikey_b_89 7 February, 2014 @ 5:23 pm   17

Fans of couch Co-op should defiantly check out “Mount your friends”.
Mount Your Friends is a stacking game, where players climb atop one another to become the highest point with QWOP-like controls and dangly man bits flipping and flopping all over the place. The absurdest nature of this game still provides floods of laughter among friends and the way it provokes our competitive nature keeps us coming back for more.

 
StarsInMyCoffee 7 February, 2014 @ 5:25 pm   18

“Skullmonkeys” – the PS1 sequel to the classic PC claymation game “The Neverhood” Design by Doug TenNapel of Earthworm Jim fame, and a brilliant, surreal, hilarious soundtrack by Terry Scott Taylor of Daniel Amos, The Lost Dogs and The Swirling Eddies. Lent the disc to a friend years ago and never got it back. Would love for it to be re-released as a PS1 classic!

 
doomsday619 7 February, 2014 @ 5:25 pm   19

supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-cars one of the longest game names in history lol but such an addictive game, if you have not tried it yet i highly suggest playing.
Please say a sequel will be released for the PS4.

 
Captain8bit 7 February, 2014 @ 5:32 pm   20

“50 cent: blood on the sand” is a hidden gem from the early ps3 days. It’s a fun third-person shooter with tight mechanics. A entertaining mindless shooter with a silly plot. A most have considering its low price point.

 
frimo_online 7 February, 2014 @ 5:32 pm   21

My favourite hidden jem (maybe of all time) came from the PS1 – Jade Cocoon. Never was much of a Pokemon fan, not sure if it was the mechanics or just that it was everywhere in the late 90s, but JC is probably the reason that I got in to the whole monster-collection genre. Which lead me to Shin Megami Tensei: Digita Devil Saga, which in turn lead me to explore the entire SMT seires, which then lead me to fall in love with JRPGs in general.

The sequel on the PS2 was ok, but to me never seemed to hold up to what I thought a sequel could be… But one day I hope to bring those expectations in to a project of my own.

 
speedwago 7 February, 2014 @ 5:34 pm   22

May I suggest Chronovolt for PSVita? I really enjoyed the game while it seems a lot of people did not get into it.

 
Yasir_Said 7 February, 2014 @ 5:36 pm   23

Eufloria is my hidden gem recommendation and, Fred, if you like Rymdkapsel, you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Build an army of plant seeds and conquer all the planets!

Mechanics are introduced at a good pace, and the game can be beautiful to watch. It’s sort of tense but relaxing at the same time.

Becareful though, each stage can last like half an hour when you’re starting out. Great game to zone out with though, keeping your attention won’t be a problem and you can speed up the gameplay easily if you’re impatient.

AeonTheGentleman 7 February, 2014 @ 5:38 pm   24

Resonance of Fate fits that pretty well, mostly because it came around the same time as Final Fantasy XIII and the game was received a bit harsh because of the difficulty spikes and “strange” combat system. Yet, it’s a great experience for those who have time for it, if not only for the great over-the-top action battles it offers.

My hidden gem is back on the playstation 1, its a game that’s completely different to the games you see these days, it’s called Harvest Moon: Back To Nature. I spent hours and hours almost as much as I did on FF7! The game it self is a farming game in which you take on a farm and have to bring it back to its glory while befriending the locals!

It’s such a rare and underrated game, if it ever came back on the playstation store as it was or in hd with trophies I would pay full retail price!

I still have the original game in the loft and the memory card with all my save data!

Sony, come on, sort me this game out.

 
A_Nonny_Moose 7 February, 2014 @ 5:45 pm   26

Retro/Grade. A space shooter played out in reverse so it because a rhythm game. And the hero started with the hardest alien ship first so that in reverse you still have a upward difficulty curve.

I really loved the premise and it was fun to play, especially the challenge mode. Although I never finished it because it got too hard, and I don’t have any guitar controllers for the PS3. One of my favourite little touches is that after playing through a level you see it playing forwards.

Nazar_Ops 7 February, 2014 @ 5:53 pm   27

My hidden gem is got to be MAG by Zipper Interactive (which unfortunately closed down). The Reviews for MAG weren’t that great. The idea was cool, but when it got released, the reviewers were not pleased with it. And everyone bashed it along the reviewers.

But I thought it was a pretty fun game. Sure it wasn’t what we really expected. But the game is still enjoyable. With its big battles and 3 factions against each other in a 256 multiplayer battle, it is a great game.

Shame Zipper had to close down and the servers are now offline for MAG. It was a fun experience.

 
BigBoyBanksy 7 February, 2014 @ 5:59 pm   28

A really good hidden gem for me is the PS1 classic, Hogs of War. Played it the other day with 3 flatmates via local multiplayer and we had hours of fun playing that and Crash Bash. I’m really hoping for more multiplayer games on the PS4 where more than 2 people can play on the same screen. The best bet looks like either Tiny Brains or Basement Crawl.

 
Frontbumz 7 February, 2014 @ 6:02 pm   29

I’ve never met a person who has heard of soundshapes, so I make a point of thrusting my soundshapes love onto them with relentless ferocity.
On the surface it’s a basic looking platformer with a blob as a character, but after playing a few levels and understanding how the environment effects the soundtrack it soon becomes apparent how charismatic and charming the game really is. And death mode is addictivly cruel.

European_Gamer 7 February, 2014 @ 6:04 pm   30

Escape Plan for PS Vita is my hidden gem, it’s a puzzle game that works perfectly withe Vita and now also PS4.

 

I used to love a game from the original Playstation times called Dino crisis and one called alien trilogy. Brilliant games…

 
wanderer_nsk 7 February, 2014 @ 6:06 pm   32

My hidden gem is Jacob jones and the bigfoot mystery. When I bought Vita, I bought this game for 2 euros left in my purse. Small price, but this game gave me many positive emotions and I still waiting episode two. If you dont played this game – you must go to PS store and buy this gem immediately.

 

Everyday Shooter! Fantastic game and the guy who made it went on to co-create Sound Shapes. It seems ideal for a Vita version, but got a horrible feeling that would never happen.

 
Asperamis 7 February, 2014 @ 6:09 pm   34

My favourite hidden gem was a game I got via PS+ on the PS Vita. It’s called “Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward”. Great story, awesome puzzles! Totally worth playing!

 
Xenovance 7 February, 2014 @ 6:18 pm   35

“Raw Danger” on the PS2 stands out as a very original game that did not receive much attention at the time. I loved the setting and how the dangers of the environment took center stage, and things like keeping warm and dry were just as important as dealing with human opponents. It also had a rather large cast of playable characters, each with their own objective and storyline but also intersecting at points so that earlier choices by one character could complicate things or help another character. Player choices were actually meaningful in many cases, changing the outcome of the story in significant ways and affecting what parts of the game you got to play. There was enough intriguing details in the plot that kept you interested right until the end.

 
Random127 7 February, 2014 @ 6:19 pm   36

The Saboteur was a really good game that has been overlooked by most people I talk to. The game had some cool features like the occupied parts of the city been in back and white until you liberated them and the the colour returned. Even the ‘Allo Allo’ esque acting added to the charm of the game.

PixelJunk Eden, people always talk about PJ Monsters and Shooter but a lot of people seem to overlooked the strange little game in which you control a ‘grimp’ jumping and climbing around ‘gardens’ trying to collect ‘spectras. It is easily my favourite PJ game and my second favourite PSN game after Super Stardust HD.

Alpha Protocol, this is a game with a reputation for been poor and on the face of it it is. The game is riddled with problems but if you can look past those there is a really good spy themed RPG underneath. I would love to see a sequel that iron out all the problems and built on the awesome underlying themes and ideas of AP.

 
Pug-zilla 7 February, 2014 @ 6:20 pm   37

My most cherished hidden gem is Gregory Horror Show, i loved the style of it at the time and the absolute sheer bizarreness of it all. Gregory the inn keeper was so creepy, this should get an HD remake.

ezza_tyler_1985 7 February, 2014 @ 6:21 pm   38

To comment number 6. I remember roll cage for ps1 it was a great game the graphics when you think back were great for what it was brought back a few memories that has tempted to get a ps1 and see if I can find that game again it was the game that really converted me with racing car games.

 
supersmith2500 7 February, 2014 @ 6:26 pm   39

Mine would have to be Wolfenstein for PS3. Back then in 2008 I was fan of Id Software’s games and bought several of their games for my PlayStation systems.

Now don’t get me wrong, Wolfenstein’s campaign was really fun to play especially the final boss but the reason I found this as a hidden gem is it’s very underrated. And the multiplayer mode was also fun but sometime’s I can’t find a game because most people were busy with Call of Duty at the time.

So now it’s sits in my shelf collecting dust. You should give Wolfenstein a go even if you’re a fan of the franchise and trust me, it’s way better than these Call of Duty Modern shooters. Man do I miss WWII FPS games.

 
Bgjknpqswvyu 7 February, 2014 @ 6:26 pm   40

I want to shed some light on From Dust, which was designed by Eric Chalis (the creator of the Classic Another World) a godsim game where a lot of the complexities (that Bullfrog studios pioneered with Populous) have been stripped back. So it’s a good enter level to people new to the genre. The game is still available on PSN.

 

My hidden gem has to be DYAD.

A game I love but no-one I show (or even buy for, Anarcree) seems to ‘get’.

The idea is so simple, yet mechanics and strategy of the game make it a real challenge to master. Sure, you can probably button mash your way to the end – but you won’t get a 3 star rating doing that.

And that’s my next point of interest in the game – unlocking trophies. No trophies during normal play but completing a level with a 3 star rating unlocks a ‘Trophy level’ for that stage, an extra tough version of the stage which must me completed to earn the reward. All trophies in the game are unlocked in this unusual bet very simple way.

Influenced by Tempest – the Jaguar version (Tempest 2000) was one of my favourites of the 90′s, DYAD brought the classic idea of simple but playable to the modern day.

I look forward to the next game by Shawn McGrath (N++ on PS4?), as well as TxK by Jeff Minter on the Vita soon.

 

Alpha Protocol on PS3, it got middling reviews and got missed by so many, but is a great RPG. Think a mix of Mass Effect crossed with Duex Ex. Great story, fun mechanics but bad boss fights.

Well worth searching out and its easy to find cheap.

Plus who doesn’t like the dodgy haircuts from the game!

 
fishi-1984 7 February, 2014 @ 6:41 pm   43

A game called return fire on pc nice little 2 player base defence game it was only a demo never saw the full game but me and my mate where up until the early hours playing this gem

 
squiddycr4 7 February, 2014 @ 6:42 pm   44

The fabulous, criminally neglected UmJammer Lammy. I don’t quite understand any of it but it taps into my love of guitar playing and absolute devotion to Parappa The Rapper. The story, some nonsense about a guitarist trying to play a show with her band sees her becoming a childminder, pilot and fire fighter. None of it makes much sense but that is the game’s charm. This is the sort of thing you only get on a Sony console. Baffling but brilliant.

 
imjustcheese 7 February, 2014 @ 6:44 pm   45

hidden gem has to be Folklore, an old ps3 game i had never heard of but bought it off a friend when he sold his system. beautifully colourful game that got me hooked right from the start… go buy it & see for yourself

 

Back in the days of the ps2 I came across a game called Legaia Duel Saga. None of my friends had ever heard of it and I’d found it in a bargain bin in a local small games store.

When I got home I sat down to play it and ended up putting so many hours into exploring this amazing old school rpg. Tonnes of side quests, mini games alongside the main story. This game stole my time! Any fans of old school turn based rpgs will love this game.

 
loonyspoony 7 February, 2014 @ 6:54 pm   47

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD is a PS mini game with only about a 2hr playtime, but it’s also one of the best. The gameplay is extremely well-designed, the music is well worth a soundtrack of its own and the artwork is a joy in a curtsie design, to cap it all for such a small game ts just a whole lot of fun. The controls are simple, making the game so easy to get into but still difficult to master. £2.50 what are you thinking, it’s worth a lot more.

 
HitmanSB07 7 February, 2014 @ 7:01 pm   48

For me, all the more empowered by the recent announcement that Drakengard 3 is coming to the West, it has to be NieR.

I got the game on a whim for extremely cheap brand new a couple of years back. I hardly new anything about it but it was around 6 Pounds and I wanted to pick up something so I went for it. Nothing could prepare me for that game :)

I played through it three times, getting all endings. The story, for a jrpg, is an absolute classic with some of my favourite characters to boot. The music is glorious, some of the best I’ve ever heard in a video game. The gameplay was fun also, never being boring after so much time being put into it.

It revitalised my love for the jrpgs(though it’s more of an action rpg than a traditional jrpg I suppose) and I cannot wait for Drakengard 3 to come.

 
DoYouLikeMyID 7 February, 2014 @ 7:11 pm   49

The original PlayStation had this game called “Micro Maniacs”, which was an absolutely amazing racing game in my opinion.

The game’s plot is that the world is going low on resources, and for that reason Dr. Minimizer invents a shrink ray, to make the world’s population smaller, so there will be enough resources for everyone. However, he needs a minimized super-soldier to prepare the world for that transition, and he inlists 8 volunteers, who must compete against each other to prove themselves.

The volunteers (characters) are all very varied in both design and gameplay. My personal favorites among them are Twister and Maw-Maw. Twister looks like a weird clown and has a special spinning attack, and Maw-Maw looks like som weird kind of dog-thing, and has a special attack where he sticks his tongue out and eats one of his opponents.

The stages are also just brilliant. I really love the bee-stage, the skateboard-stage, and that stage where you go into a videogame.

I have some really fond memories of that game, and I’d love to see a reboot of the series (or even just the original game released on PSN), because it’s still, to this date, one of the most fun multiplayer games ever made.

 

It’s a PS3 oldie, but a goodie: 3D Dot Game Heroes. A very old school adventure RPG, with a wonderous visual style

From the moment I first saw the graphical style I was sold. In stead of just mimicking 16 bit graphics, they made every pixel a 3D-cube to awesome effect. The gameplay is pure classic Zelda, with dungeons to raid and puzzles to solve with new abilities you learn on the road.

O yeah, I lost many hours in the character editor, where you could build you’re character brick for brick.

(And I’ll say this quiet: I still think Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson had a very good look at this game when he made Minecraft.)

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