I’ve been playing games for a long time. With over 1200 games under my belt, they start to blend together a bit.
They use the same mechanics, the stories start feeling repetitive, and it feels like modern gaming is becoming one note.
Naturally, that means it’s time to hunt down the weirdest, wackiest, and most non-standard games I can find.
This list may not be the best games you’ll ever play, but each game is definitely its own thing.
Without further ado, here is my list of the top ten weirdest games you can play in 2023.
If none of these games sound interesting, make sure to also check out my list of the top 10 most unique games in 2023.
10. Graveyard Keeper
The first game we found, and the lowest on the weird list, is Graveyard Keeper.
On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward. You harvest, craft, upgrade, fight, sell, repeat. Normal farm gameplay, ala Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon.
That said, the normal elements slowly get dragged into the dirt by the dark undertones and what you’re mainly doing during the game… cutting up bodies and selling their parts for money. Or just burying them. Your choice.
Your character starts out as a down-on-his-luck retail worker who, apparently, doesn’t like to look around while walking across the parking lot. After your inevitable death at the bumper of a moving car, you’re whisked away to a strange new land and take on the role of gravekeeper.
The best way to illustrate how weird the gameplay is is to talk about how you manage your graveyard. The village gives you a body regularly, and you take it to your autopsy table.
Then you take a look at its quality. Oof! This body is ugly! Well, better harvest all I can off of it and throw it down the river!
Another body arrives. Ah, this one is a real beauty. Better suck out its fat and liquids and bury it! No plots open? No big deal. Just gotta dig up this uggo over here and bury this beauty instead.
If you are a fan of task-oriented games and like to enjoy a good story and characters, Graveyard Keeper is sure to please your weirder side.
9. High on Life
High on Life is what you’d expect from a game made by Justin Roiland. It’s unexpected, crude, violent, and thoroughly hilarious at times.
From your named talking guns to what you’re doing in each level, there aren’t many games that intentionally dive into weirdness like this. Whether that’s a positive or not depends on whether you enjoy this variety of humor, and it’s not for everyone.
As a quick illustration of what I mean, consider whether you’d laugh about carrying an oddly-heavy tub of alien c*m.
If you would, you’ll love this game. If you find that too crude, or your kids are too young, look elsewhere.
Still, weird is weird: and this game is weird. Not everyone will find High On Life their cup of tea, but it’s worth looking into if you want another unusual game in your collection.
Cuphead is a game about shooting finger bullets at vegetables and forest creatures that sold their souls to the devil so you and your brother can avoid being enslaved for your gambling debts. Not a normal story, for sure.
That said, the majority of the weirdness comes from the gameplay. Your characters dance and smile while dodging blasts from a medusa, frogs, slot machines, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
This popular indie game was well-reviewed and popular with so many, it even funded its own delightfully weird Netflix show.
From its old-school animation style to the difficulty of its levels, it can keep you busy for a long long time. Well, unless you give up in a rage, as that happens a lot as well.
7. Oddworld: Soulstorm
All the Oddworld games have had a weird vibe, and the latest one is no different. The contrast between the evil corporation and the normal everyday aliens trying to get out alive is just as strong as in the previous games.
The opening of the game starts with a series of spoof newspapers (The Mudos Misinformer, The Daily Deception, M.O.M News) posting propaganda denying how our tasty alien protaganists escaped and then cuts to Abe and his buddies getting shot up in a train and that’s just the first couple minutes.
From there, the game takes the psychic powers of the original games and expands them with a mild crafting system, weapon use, and the puzzling levels people have come to expect from Oddworld.
Most of the weirdness is found in the environment and story, so I won’t spoil much of what happens in the game.
The feeling of the game comes from just how hard you’re willing to work to save your alien brothers, so Soulstorm is a game you should play, not watch.
6. Psychonauts & Psychonauts 2
Both games of the Psychonauts series share a place at number six. The cartoonish imagery and the game’s exaggerated violence highlight the weirdness of the characters and plots in a way that no other game has managed to imitate since.
The first game kicks off with the player character, Razputin, running away from the circus to become a psychic spy (Psychonaut) and entering a camp filled with bizarre characters with equally bizarre abilities.
Despite initially being a commercial failure, its weird appeal has since won it multiple awards and a cult following. Naturally, its cult following demanded a sequel, and they definitely weren’t disappointed.
In Psychonauts 2, Raz’s powers are expanded, a new group of characters are introduced to complement the old ones, and the levels go even further than the first game.
The game jumps right into the weirdness with psychic interrogations and an internal conflict within the psychonaut organization itself and doesn’t slow down until the finale.
5. Slime Rancher
If you like farming games but feel a greater connection to an exercise ball than a cow… this game is for you.
The goal of Slime Rancher is to raise and care for slime-based creatures. The game is self-guided and explorative, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the game at their own pace.
You are helped by robotic companions, both of which sport “kawaii” designs. Of course, their cuteness is based on an alien concept of life on an equally alien planet while enjoying an alien approach to commerce.
In order to spice up the experience between harvesting Newbucks and finding new slimes, the game has a small mystery to solve around the previous owner. Clues about what happened are found as you explore and upgrade your ranch, and the story isn’t entirely what you’d expect.
That said, if you don’t want to start at the beginning, Slime Rancher 2 is in early access.
4. Worms Series
Worms have always been weird. From the first game to the last, watching earthworms use heavy military ordinance to knock each other off precarious perches has been a real blast.
The quirky voices, a wide variety of unusual weapons, and the ability to put in your own custom content (for specific Worms games over the years) keep it a good laugh with friends.
It doesn’t have a plot, it doesn’t have a real reason to fight, it’s just entertaining and weird fun with friends.
3. Star Control 2 – Ur-Quan Masters
Star Control 2 is old. Really old. That said, it was so beloved by fans that they created a remaster for modern systems called The Ur-Quan Masters.
You play an Earth expedition sent to find ancient technology that ends up cut off from Earth when the big baddies, the Ur-Quan, conquered Earth and its allied planets.
After twenty long years, you use the technology on the planet to make an incomplete spaceship and fly back to find out what happened to Earth and restart the intergalactic alliance to defeat the Ur-Quan once and for all!
The story itself is pretty straightforward, but the alien races and characters you encounter are extremely weird. There are horny suicide bombers, cowardly thralls who would just love to learn about the impenetrable shield around Earth, gas creatures who just want friends, and interdimensional beings that are really friendly… unless you ask them too many questions.
That’s just a few of the many species you meet during the game, and most are just as weird.
If you enjoy a fun adventure game with a bit of ship combat, The Ur-Quan Masters is a great place to start.
2. BattleBlock Theater
BattleBlock Theater is another game that’s trying extremely hard to be quirky and weird. That said, the game definitely succeeds.
Between its manic cutscenes, its intense levels, and its musical numbers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something weirder than this.
The plot is carefully crafted to sound like it’s being made up as you go along, which makes it both unpredictable and utterly insane.
I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice to say you should play the game with friends and not be drinking any liquids when the cutscenes start.
If you must, be sure to have a towel or two handy.
1. Disco Elysium
You’re a world-beaten cop down on his luck. Your relationship with lady liquor is troubling and alluring at the same time, but it definitely isn’t affecting the quality of your work. Your whisky said so, and it also said it could be trusted.
Will you listen to it, or has your necktie caught your attention? Both are valid ways to spend your time in Disco Elysium.
This is one of the most insane adventure games you’ll ever play. It doesn’t follow adventure game conventions outside of the talk, grab, explore mechanics that are at the genre’s center.
The characters you encounter are actually pretty normal, but your main character most definitely is not. You’re a recovering (or indulging) alcoholic, you’re an amateur philosopher, and you’re sure you’re a crack marksman!
Or you may be totally deluded and die due to a mental breakdown. Depends a lot on what you roll and what you set during your character design at the start.
I could tell more, but this is a game you should experience for yourself. The main thing I can promise is that the game will be weird, and it’s the best kind of weird.
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There you have it, my selections for the top ten weirdest games you can play in 2023.
Is there a weirder game I missed? Which game are you going to try?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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