15 Worst Games of 2021

In a year full of highs, these were lows that we'd rather forget.

Posted By | On 06th, Dec. 2021

15 Worst Games of 2021

With the year winding down, we’re beginning our yearly process of taking a look back at the last twelve months and talking about the best games we played in that period. But there’s also always room for some dubious honours. We never quite like handing these out, but sometimes games make such a bad impression that in these year-end conversations, it becomes impossible not to acknowledge the misery they put us through in some way, shape, or form. So here, we’ll be talking about what we felt were the fifteen worst games of 2021, before picking one of them as the winner – or the loser – of the category.

NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.

THE NOMINEES:

REDOUT: SPACE ASSAULT

redout space assault

Following up on a futuristic arcade racer with a space shooter spinoff might sound like a weird turn- and you know what? It is. The problem is, Redout: Space Assault isn’t even good at what it does, because if it had been, people wouldn’t be bothered about that turn. With frustrating difficulty spikes, clunky controls, significant technical shortcomings, and a bevy of other issues, this is a game that isn’t easy to recommend to anyone.

RECOMPILE

Recompile

Recompile turned more than a few heads when it was first revealed, and while its visual style and premise are certainly intriguing on paper, the actual playing experience here is extremely uneven. The three things that any good Metroidvania game needs to succeed at are exploration, platforming, and combat, and Recompile fumbles to varying degrees in all three areas. Though not completely without merit, ultimately, this is a game that doesn’t even come close to living up to its potential.

THE GAME OF LIFE 2

the game of life 2

For those looking for a faithful adaptation of the popular board game, The Game of Life 2 is not without its merits. But there’s only so much you can get out of an experience like that. You’ll enjoy it for a couple of games and then probably not come back to it for a while, if ever, and while that would be fine in and of itself, the ridiculously high price the game was sold for at launch just completely soured the experience. At that point, why not just get the actual board game and play that instead?

AWAY: THE SURVIVAL SERIES

away the survival series

Like many other games on this list, Away: The Survival Series has a fascinating premise, but also like many other games on this list, that premise almost completely fails in its execution. It deserves credit for making good on the premise of a playable documentary about animals, but the actual playing part of the experience just isn’t any good. When the broken controls aren’t getting in your way, frequent technical issues and crashes are hampering the experience, and even when none of those issues crop up, there just isn’t an awful lot of interesting stuff to do.

BUILDINGS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!

Buildings Have Feelings Too

A city management game where you’re managing the buildings rather than the people sounds like an interesting concept on paper, but again, Buildings Have Feelings Too! doesn’t do justice to that premise. Rather than choosing to keep it simple and let players have fun with a novel idea, the game just takes things too far, becoming needlessly complicated and, ultimately, extremely frustrating. Add to that clunky controls and more than a few technical issues, and you have a game that ends up outstaying its welcome rather quickly.

SKATEBIRD

skatebird

SkateBIRD shows flashes of being a decent game when its focusing on the titular adorable birds and enjoyable customization mechanics. The problem is that in basically every other way that matters, the game falters- boring stages, unbalanced physics, a camera that just can’t stop getting in our way. Ultimately, this game is proof (not that it was ever really needed) that a cute veneer can’t mask an underwhelming gameplay experience.

GRAND THEFT AUTO: THE TRILOGY – THE DEFINITIVE EDITION

Grand Theft Auto 3 - The Definitive Edition

You might think that calling the disastrous GTA trilogy one of the worst games of 2021 is a bit extreme, especially given the fact that at their core, the three games on offer here are still a blast to play. But the context cannot be ignored here. For games as legendary and beloved as this one, Rockstar should have gone all-out with remasters. GTA: The Trilogy, however, feels like something that’s been forced out to meet commercial demands rather than something that’s been crafted with love and respect. It’s far, far from definitive.

FORECLOSED

foreclosed

The cyberpunk genre has become quite popular in the games industry over the last few years, for very obvious reasons, but like a certain high-profile example in the same space, Foreclosed is a major letdown. Its unique comic book aesthetic and interesting setup might draw you in, but spend any meaningful amount of time with the game and everything will quickly fall apart. At best, it’s forgettable and generic, and at worst, it’s downright broken and laughably unplayable.

BALDO: THE GUARDIAN OWLS

baldo

Combining the Ghibli aesthetic with the dungeon-crawling structure of classic Zelda games, the long-in-development Baldo: The Guardian Owls sounded like a slam dunk on paper- but in reality, it’s a barely functional game that fails at almost everything it attempts. From frustrating controls and clunky movement to terribly designed combat and puzzles to downright boring exploration, this is a game that just completely misses the mark in all the ways that matter.

BIOMUTANT

Biomutant

Sadly, Biomutant is yet another case of wasted potential. Rather than embracing its uniqueness and going all-in on its intriguing premise, Biomutant chooses to rip off successful games from all genres in various ways, bringing together ideas wholesale but never really making them own, and not even implementing any of those ideas very well. It can be fun in bursts every now and then, but you have to get through a lot of really underwhelming stuff to get to the good parts- and honestly, it just isn’t worth it.

WEREWOLF: THE APOCALYPSE – EARTHBLOOD

werewolf the apocalypse earthblood

This is what happens when you take a seemingly interesting idea and then burden it with the most unimaginative gameplay mechanics and design choices. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood lets you turn into a werewolf and rip your enemies to shred, but the excitement that that idea can ignite is the best thing this game ever provides. Very early on, it shows its true colours as a boring, repetitive, dully designed mess with a bland story and embarrassing production values- and it only gets worse from there.

TAXI CHAOS

taxi chaos

You might now have heard of Taxi Chaos, and if you haven’t- well, you haven’t missed out on much. In fact, you should count yourself lucky. Rather than actually building on a tried-and-tested formula with interesting new ideas, Taxi Chaos comes across as little more than a cheap knockoff of Crazy Taxi. Bringing absolutely nothing new to the table is far from its worst crime though, because this game just isn’t any fun to play, and doesn’t hold a candle to the games it tries so desperately to imitate, all of which came out long, long ago, and did far, far more with much less.

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: DARK ALLIANCE

You’d have to do something really, really wrong to take a game with a concept as interesting as this and turn it into one of the worst gaming experiences of the year, if not the decade. Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance should have been a fun co-op dungeon crawling hack-and-slash game, but in reality, this is a collection of bad ideas, poor design decisions, and terrible optimization. Saying the game just isn’t fun to play would be a massive understatement- this is a game that spectacularly fails at almost everything that matters.

BALAN WONDERWORLD

balan wonderworld

Balan Wonderworld has become something of a meme at this point, and while a lot of times that can be attributed to things such as bandwagoning and internet meme culture, in this case, it’s not hard to see why this game became that. It’s because Balan Wonderworld is just a bad game by every metric. It fails as a platformer, it fails to do anything with its central ideas, it fails to flesh out any of its mechanics. It’s a shallow and underdeveloped experience that feels like it was made in a lab specifically to annoy and frustrate players.

EVIL INSIDE

evil inside

There’s been no shortage of horror games in the very specific “walking down a creepy dimly-lit corridor” space ever since the seminal P.T. launched in 2014. Some of them have actually been pretty good, but there are just as many (if not more) that… well, haven’t. Evil Inside is one such game. Many games on this list have at least a few redeeming qualities, but Evil Inside has almost none. It’s incredibly short, it’s not at all scary, it tells an uninteresting story, and it tells it very poorly. The ridiculously generic name is, as it turns out, perfectly representative of how much originality and quality you can expect from the experience- none whatsoever.

GAMINGBOLT’S LEAST FAVOURITE GAME OF 2021:

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: DARK ALLIANCE

What does anyone want from an action RPG? Good combat? Good quests? An engaging story? Varied level design? At least some of those qualities, right? Well, Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance has none of them. Every second of the game is a horrible experience, with everything from the embarrassingly bad storytelling and braindead and boring combat to baffling decisions like not having local co-op in a co-op focused game piling one major flaw on top of another. This isn’t a game. This is a collection of poor decisions and bad ideas- and even in a group that houses games that fit that description, Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is probably one of the worst of its kind.


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