There are some games that bend the rules and take the gameplay and the story into new and innovative directions. Their uniqueness makes them stand out from the crowd and the developers earned their right to be praised for being so brave as to not follow the trends. Because these video games are so exceptional and offer such an extraordinarily distinctive experience they surely deserve to be put in our list about the 10 most unique game concepts.
We’re going to bend the rules ourselves and give the first spot to a developer who has made a bevy of innovative titles. Games such as Batman, The Walking Dead, The Wolf among Us or Game of Thrones are just some of the titles that made Telltale popular. The one of a kind type of gameplay that spreads across multiple episodes makes the player feel as if he or she is part of a graphic novel that unfolds as the game is moving forward. The dialogue based actions that have the power to change the course of the gameplay as well as the distinct visual design are some of the traits that make the Telltale games unique.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is considered a significant example of video games as art due to its uncluttered scenery designs, immersive gameplay and dramatic journey. It is one of the most influential gaming titles of the industry and it won several awards for its audio and visual design. The progression through the game is circular, the player starting from the central point, defeating the first Colossus and returning back to the center to start all over and defeat the next one.
The Stanley Parable
What started in 2011 as a free modification for Half-Life 2 became what is now known today as The Stanley Parable. It is an interactive fiction video game where the player guides Stanley, the game’s main character, through a surreal environment while a voice actor narrates the exposition. The player has the option to follow the instructions given by the narrator or to make his own decisions, either way the gameplay has different outcomes each time. The fourth wall is often broken, making The Stanley Parable a true meta-game.
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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
The controls of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons offer the best immersion in a story ever encountered in a video game. The fact that the player has to use one of the two thumbsticks to control each of the brothers is a unique means of interaction that can only be found in this game and because of this trait it has been highly appreciated by critics and won numerous awards. Besides the gameplay and interaction traits it features, Brothers also has a very emotional story that really brings together all its qualities and binds them together into an inimitable game.
Portal was originally released in a bundle named The Orange Box and it was so good it became an immediate sensation. It has been considered one of the most original games of 2007 despite its short duration and somehow limited story. Its dark humor, unique gameplay and innovative puzzles are some of the traits that make Portal a highly appreciated gaming title, GLaDOS being one of the most easily recognizable characters and voices in the industry. The fact that you’re armed only with a portal gun makes the entire gameplay ever so challenging.
Don’t Starve is a survival game at its core but it also includes rogue-like elements, this mix manages to transform it into a quite unique combination and unlike other survival games of the time, it featured an isometric perspective and a Tim Burton inspired visual design. The fact that its graphics don’t rely on a life-like approach but rather on a cartoonish one makes Don’t Starve a highly distinct title on the market. Not only its gameplay, which some people say is inspired by Minecraft, make it a great game but also its overall look that emanates a certain vibe which no other game has.
In Papers Please the player takes the role of a border crossing immigration officer who has to check the passports of the travelers and decide if they are not a threat and can enter the fictional country of Arstotzka. Even though this game is not big on action, the mechanics and the emotional reactions that emerge from the story are some of the elements that make Papers Please a truly unique game. The fact that you have to interact with the characters and decide if their emotional story is to be trusted or not gives you a never before felt kind of power.
Something in the concept of Minecraft made it one of the most popular games in the world, immediately becoming a beloved sandbox title played and enjoyed by numerous people. The 3D procedurally generated world and the building cubes available allowed players to recreate all kinds of famous real-life buildings or even entire sceneries from movies. The liberty to build whatever you want is probably the best gift a gamer could get from the developers. What is most curious is the fact that Minecraft managed to sell over 1 million copies in just one month from its beta release without having a publisher and being advertised exclusively through word of mouth.
Scribblenauts is an emergent puzzle video game where the player interacts with the medium by writing words that transform into objects. It draws its existence from the creativity each player has and the way he or she chooses to use words to complete the complex puzzles available. The fact that you can summon virtually any object on the face of the Earth is a very big achievement and gives a sense of greatness to this game. Scribblenauts is unique in its attempt to connect the player with the story through writing and even though some of the puzzles are quite hard, the result always pays off.
Elegy for a Dead World
In Elegy for a Dead World the player writes in a diary that is visible to other players. The three worlds that can be explored in this side-scrolling exploration game are inspired by British Romantic poets’ Shelley, Byron, and Keats works. The player is able to read the writings of others via Steam Workshop thus becoming part of a larger literary community of sorts. Some of the exercises available offer you the chance to freely write while for others you simply need to fill in the blank spaces. Either way, Elegy for a Dead World is a very innovative experimental project that deserves to be respected for its courage to be something totally different in the gaming market.