Have you ever been so bewildered during a video game that you’ve had to force yourself to stop playing altogether, just to wrap your head around the recent events that led you to your perplexed frame of mind? Well, us too. And although we’re all for unique works of art and psychedelic visuals and whatnot, we do have to draw a line from time to time, just to halt us from taking a one-way ticket to loopyville with no return passage. And even then, we can’t help but embrace the unusual antics that sprout from these weirdest adventures.
2021 has graced us with all sorts of games so far, with far more unorthodox creations than in previous years. And Psychonauts 2, being one of the biggest names to drop this year, is perhaps the perfect example of being a somewhat irregular experience. But it doesn’t just stop there, either. In fact, there’s quite the library of wild and eccentric games that have launched this year, and Raz and the Psychonauts team really are just the tip of the iceberg, to be fair. The rest, however — we’ll just have to let you see for yourself.
5. What The Duck
Before you think it — no, that isn’t Nathan Drake clutching a duckling. Why it’s Illy, of course. And yes, that little yellow duckling is his spirit animal, which for some reason bursts out of his chest in a spit of sparks like a faulty Pokemon. The reason for the duckling, you ask? Well, that’s where you’ve got us. The truth is, with no pinned release date within the 2021 window, we’re sort of lost when it comes to putting context into the picture. But then, the trailer alone pretty much gives us a reason to embed it on this specific list.
What The Duck puts you in an enchanting world where its folk go hand in hand with their all-powerful spirit animals. Through companionship, both fellow humans and creatures work towards crafting a name for themselves across the region through battles and brawn. For you, however, a tiny duckling is all you have to aid you in your time of need — meaning you’ll have to work twice as hard to outlive your rivals and secure any sort of legacy. So, good luck with that.
I know this is a strange way to engage with potential players but — do you love squirrels? Like, enough to fork out enough money to play a video game based entirely on them? Because if you do, then NUTS is perhaps the perfect homage to such a thing. And even if you aren’t overly keen on the furry so-and-sos, then the visual art style that NUTS envelopes should still keep you on tenterhooks at least. The rest may just come naturally, of course.
NUTS puts you behind the lens as a surveillance expert, bound to one job and one job only: to unravel the secrets behind the everyday squirrel. And while that may seem like a total walk in the park to any outsider, it just so happens that there’s a whole lot more to it than snapping a few shots and faxing them over to the powers that be. In fact, with the squirrels themselves hiding a certain secret, it’s up to you to go above the job description in order to crack the case. Or nut. Whichever you’d prefer.
3. Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance
Remove the enormous amount of raptors and fairytale creatures and what do you have? That’s right, a generic dating simulator with all the bells and whistles to compile a cliche Japanese rom-com. Keep them in, however, and you’ve quite literally got yourself one of the weirdest sim games on the current market. And you can pretty much tell that just from glossing over the thumbnail on the trailer, can’t you? Can’t you?
It goes like this: a socially awkward girl goes to high school. She finds herself torn between three potential love interests — one being a skateboarding velociraptor named Robert, a reserved Bigfoot named Taylor, and of course, a conflicted magical fairy named Day. Through a spool of choices and unusual scenarios, you must navigate the day to day student lifestyle and build on several relationships, locked to an outcome of your own making. Getting to that conclusion, however, will mean shovelling through some pretty ludicrous situations. But you probably guessed that after watching the trailer, right?
2. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
To be honest, after reading the title of the game, you don’t really need to go any further into detail. With just five simple words, you’re able to paint the picture of what the game entails. A turnip (boy) committing tax evasion. And if that alone doesn’t make you want to unload the funds and tuck into its oddities, then allow me to add a few splashes of colour to the weird yet wonderful world that is Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion.
“Tear down a corrupt vegetable government,” the official Steam description reads. In order to do that, you, the unlikely antihero, will have to battle against other creatures and crops, thrash it out with some of the greedy government officials, and, of course — commit felony tax evasion. A whole lot of it. Do so, and you might just walk away scot-free. And yes, this is one of the weirdest games we’ve played in the last year.
1. Psychonauts 2
Of course, it’s Psychonauts 2. After years and years of gnashing at the dev’s ankles for a sequel, it finally hit the shelves. And as expected — it was out of this world. In fact, it was out of this galaxy, practically in line for a Game of the Year award. And that’s quite the commendation, considering the original game first launched as a total box office blowout, with far more hate than praise to boot. But alas, Psychonauts 2 redeemed the brand name and evolved it into something truly remarkable with one of the weirdest games to date.
Filling the shoes of Raz, you’re enrolled in the Psychonauts HQ as an intern, forced to work the mailroom and climb your way up the ranks. However, when the world takes a turn and soon becomes threatened by the return of a great evil, you’re soon asked to go deep undercover and unravel the heinous plot and put a stop to it once and for all. Along the way, however, you’ll have to enter the minds of your fellow accomplices, take part in wacky games, form a band, and even win a baby for a wealthy couple made of poker chips. And that’s just a smidgen of a rough twelve-hour campaign, believe it or not.
So, what is the weirdest game you’ve played this year? Let us know over on our socials here.