8 Best Games That Don't Belong to a Specific Genre
When playing, it's very easy to notice how the media one enjoys neatly fits into different categories. Often, when games are announced, it becomes cle...
When playing, it's very easy to notice how the media one enjoys neatly fits into different categories. Often, when games are announced, it becomes clear which genre or style they belong to, and this is intended to appeal to fans of that genre. However, this doesn't apply to all games.
Occasionally, a game is released that is played in an incredibly unique way or has such a specific combination of styles that it doesn't fit into a particular genre category. If you feel like every game you play is becoming repetitive, playing such a game can be the perfect refreshment. So, which ones are the best?
One of the surprisingly popular games of the 2010s was Undertale. Part of the surprise about Undertale's success lies in the fact that the project was mostly developed by just one person, but also in how difficult it is to describe the game.
A common characteristic of games that exist outside conventional genres is that Undertale places a strong emphasis on storytelling. The story of Undertale introduces you to many charming characters whom you come to love throughout the course of the narrative. The gameplay is similar to Earthbound, but the combat system can be completely pacifistic by choosing dialogue options, akin to a dating sim, combined with dodging maneuvers in the style of a bullet hell game.
7 Death Stranding
Hideo Kojima is known for incorporating unique approaches in his games, and Death Stranding seems to be the epitome of that. This was his first game produced since his departure from Konami in the mid-2010s, and although it was successful, it also left critics and players puzzled, trying to figure out what the game is actually about.
Kojima clearly aimed for Death Stranding to deviate from genre norms, focusing on delivery-centric exploration gameplay that doesn't feel like anything previously released. Death Stranding was an enormous risk, as a significant investment was made in the high-profile cast of characters, but it paid off as it was very well received.
6 Kid Icarus Uprising
The Kid Icarus series is one of the shortest from Nintendo, with only three games, and while the first two were straightforward platformers, it is somewhat challenging to describe Kid Icarus Uprising on the 3DS to those who haven't played it.
In general, it could be described as an action game, but the action contained within is incredibly diverse, which is why this game is often referred to as a genre hybrid. The game was developed by Masahiro Sakurai, who is primarily known for his work on Super Smash Bros. This revival of Pit, the angel, divides its levels into sections where players find themselves in an aerial rail-based shooter mode, and upon landing, they begin exploring the ground in a third-person shooter perspective.
5 Luigi's Mansion
While games starring Mario tend to be quite easy to describe, the games featuring his brother Luigi are not as straightforward. The Luigi's Mansion games, where Luigi takes the lead role, experiment with different genres but also don't fit entirely into any one of them.
The Luigi's Mansion series emphasizes the cowardice of Mario's brother by immersing him in haunted mansions where he must solve puzzles and capture ghosts. This is achieved through exploring detailed environments, completing puzzles, and using his vacuum weapon in unique ways to ensure he avoids trouble.
A sign of a successful game that breaks genre conventions is one that spawns its own genre, and the best example of that is Minecraft. Minecraft started as a PC game but soon became available on every gaming platform due to its immense popularity.
As the name of the game suggests, the fundamental idea of survival in the game is to mine and craft. This basic concept does not do justice to the depth of the game, but it has since been adapted and copied by many similar games, resulting in the massive success of the sandbox genre. The game continues to receive regular updates to stay relevant.
3 Gravity Rush
One way to make your game stand out is to make the way you interact with the presented world completely unique. An often overlooked example of this is Gravity Rush. The core idea of Gravity Rush is easy to grasp: your player character gains the ability to manipulate gravity for themselves and the world around them in a unique way.
This means that essentially, you can fly, but instead of flying, you change the gravity in the direction you want to go and then fall in that direction. This results in an incredibly unique method of exploration, and you interact with the world in a way that has not been replicated since.
2 Super Monkey Ball
While the Super Monkey Ball games are extremely popular, it's not as easy to categorize them. This series doesn't put you in control of the player character but rather the world around them. You tilt the obstacle course-like stages in different directions, allowing the monkey ball character to roll around until it reaches its goal.
The focus on balance, precision, and timing makes the Monkey Ball games an experience that stands out from other games, and it's simple enough that anyone can jump in and play without explanation. Although various gimmicks have been added in different games, the core Monkey Ball gameplay has remained the same.
1 Katamari Damacy
Katamari Damacy is a series that seems to benefit from how unique it is. When first seeing footage of a Katamari game, the concept lingers in memory, immediately sparking the desire to try it out for oneself.
Your player character in Katamari has the task of starting small and rolling around a ball that captures objects smaller than itself. This gradually makes the ball larger and larger until you're sticking people, animals, and trees to your ball, causing chaos and destruction. The various settings and challenges that the games offer keep the core gameplay mechanics fresh and rewarding.