Unity has proven time after time that it’s here to stay. Countless of games have been made with Unity and some of them became instant classics.
Unity has gotten a reputation that it’s only for making 2D games. While Unity is in fact superb when it comes to 2D, it has some serious potential for making stunning looking 3D games as well.
Today we will take a look at some of my all time favorite games made with Unity and some bonus ones that I am excited to play.
🏆 Best Visuals
| Developer: Playdead
| Released: 2016
A 3 – 4 hour adventure taking you through some of the most gorgeous visuals you’ve ever seen in video game history to date. It looks perfect. Usually in games there is always something that looks off, some stutter, jitter, jagged edges, strange lighting. Not in Inside, it all looks… perfect.
It’s a simple art style, not photo realistic, but it works so well. Beautiful.
As far as gameplay goes, it feels OK, it’s a little sluggish and not very challenging. If you are expecting something like Super Mario then this is not it.
The story is abstract and hard to understand. It feels like the typical art project “open to interpretation” style.
Nevertheless, Inside is one of those few games that really left an impression on me and a game I will keep coming back to over the coming years.
If you are looking for something to play through an evening that doesn’t require too much of you but takes you on a gorgeous journey, do yourself a favor and get this game.
Inside was made in a custom version of Unity which allowed Playdead some extra freedom. A completely custom render pipeline was built specifically for this game which partially explains why the visuals are so amazing.
If you understand a bit about how Unity works and have a technical interest, I cannot recommend the GDC videos featuring the developers talking about how they made Inside enough. They are splendid!
Making the Huddle (Spoiler warning! This video contains end game spoilers)
Kerbal Space Program
🏆 Technological Feat
You might have seen some screen grabs of this game and thought “this looks like…. sh*t”. Yes you would be right, I won’t argue with that.
BUT, if you have any interest in space travel, engineering.. Lego? In fact, if you have any interests at all, play Kerbal Space Program (KSP)!!!
Once you get past the questionable visuals an amazing world unfolds that you had no idea existed in this odd looking game. Once you have done a few of their super in depth tutorials about the game, you will feel like a real rocket engineer. I’m not joking, you will apply to SpaceX as CEO right away.
Ok I’m joking but it’s amazing how it truly feels real, you actually feel like you are building a rocket and going to the moon. Because it is so difficult! But once you make it there, oh my what a wonderful feeling it is. And then you realize you have to get back to earth… Yikes.
The world features our entire solar system. You can make satellites, rovers, airplanes and whatever else you can come up with in your facility.
The career mode missions aren’t great to be honest, the best part is just exploring and making your way further out into the distant places of our solar system.
Kerbal Space Program truly proves just how powerful Unity can be when used right. The scale of this game is insane. It isn’t without flaws, but it truly deserves a place in Unity history.
|Developer: Campo Santo
We take control of Henry who has taken on a summer job out in the Wyoming wilderness. You have your guard tower, you are alone, your job: Watch for forest fires. Your only companion is Delilah whom you communicate with through a walkie talkie. She is in the next guard tower faintly visible in the horizon.
Firewatch was one of the first walking simulators I played. The acting in this game is brilliant, it’s what holds this game up to stand out above the rest.
I really love the saturated visuals as well which made this even better for me. The color palette and lighting look superb!
While not revolutionary in gameplay nor tech, the narrative is what shines here. It’s more like watching a movie that you feel deeply a part of.
It’s a fairly short game you can finish in one evening. This is an excellent title to play in the fall when it’s cold outside and you just want something cozy.
Campo Santo attended GDC in 2016 bringing an excellent talk on how they created Firewatch. If you are interested, I would highly recommend watching it. They give some pretty straightforward tips & tricks you can directly apply when making your own games. They also talk in depth about how they achieved the unique visuals in the game and how art director Olly Moss was involved in the process.
🏆 Open World
|Developer: Unknown Worlds
Subnautica brings something new to the table of survival games: Open world under water.
This might seem like a concept which would require it’s own custom built game engine. Yet again, Unity has proven to be up to the task.
You are free to explore this vast underwater world, collecting materials and blueprints allowing you to craft vehicles, weapons etc while keeping track of your oxygen levels.
Crafting better vehicles will allow you to venture deeper into the ocean and explore new territory.
Oh, and the game is frightening.. Being deep under water listening to huge alien monsters making their way closer to you is… Stressful and horrifying. And for some reason, I love it.
Subnautica reminds me a bit of No Man’s Sky (in a good way), except you are underwater. The concept is similar and the art style is similar as well. But the game is actually fun…
|Developer: Team Cherry
An instant classic in true metroidvania fashion.
When you play games like Hollow Knight it becomes clear why Unity has a reputation for being best at 2D games. It’s not about Unity producing bad 3D games, but the fact that we’ve seen a lot of SUPER polished 2D games come out of Unity.
We are yet to see something of this caliber in 3D from Unity, but I believe it’s possible, and we’ll just have to wait and see.
Hollow Knight is fantastic, if you like metroidvania type games, just play it.
And somehow it was made by only 3 people… Hats off.
|Developer: Jaywalkers Interactive, Vertigo Games
As a wimp already with normal horror games, this game almost gave me a heart attack. Heads up though, there are no direct jump scares in this game which I really appreciated.
Arizona sunshine is the best VR experience I have had so far (playing on the Vive). You are taken on an adventure through the Arizona country side fighting through zombies trying to reach a safe haven.
What’s great is that you actually travel through the game world in your attempt to reach safety. Most other VR titles keep the player confined in arena battles etc.
If you are not a hardcore horror fan, I highly recommend playing this in multiplayer with a friend. You feel so much safer having a friend in there with you and it makes the experience way better as well.
Gunplay feels great and considering that this is one of the earlier VR titles, it’s top notch. The biggest draw back for me was that you can not attack with melee weapons. You have to shoot, so when you are out of bullets, you are screwed if the zombies see you.
While it brings me joy to see such a great title coming to VR proving that it’s here to stay (hopefully). It saddens me that this is still to date the best VR experience I’ve had, three years later 🙁
I really hope we get to see something even better coming out of VR soon.
|Developer: Studio MDHR
You know Cuphead, everyone knows Cuphead! As simple as it gets, 2D, sprite animations, run through levels, this is Cuphead.
While we are talking about VR, impressive visuals, technical achievements, let’s not forget about pure fun, polished gameplay at it’s core.
Cupehead is a true homage to the 16-bit era offering a very challenging, frustrating refreshment to the genre.
The visuals are also great in this game, they went for a vintage cartoon look instead of the usual pixel art style. Very nice and clever! You truly feel like you are inside an old Disney cartoon!
This game doesn’t push any boundaries, but it proves that there is still room for games based on fundamentally good core gameplay. I like that.
If you would like to know more about the development process of Cuphead I can recommend this 20 minute video from Gamespot:
Ori And The Blind Forest
|Developer: Moon Studios
A 2D platformer with amazing visuals as well. It’s easy to assume that because of the pretty visuals and astonishing soundtrack, Ori is more of a 2D walking simulator than a proper game. NOPE!
It’s another metroidvania style platformer. It’s challenging, requiring expert timing and quick reflexes. This game is hard.
It’s been quite a few years since I played Ori and the Blind Forest now that I am writing this and I feel like I need to replay it to get warmed up for the upcoming Ori and the Will of the Whisps.
If you haven’t played this game yet and enjoy metroidvania platformers, pick it up, it plays great, it looks great. But beware, it’s difficult!!
The fluid animation seen in Ori is part of what makes the game such a seamless experience. James Benson gave a great talk at GDC 2015 about how they tackled animation during development and offers some great generic tips and tricks as well.
|Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Well OK, I admit it, I tried Hearthstone and I didn’t like it very much. It felt like a corporate attempt to make some quick cash on their well established IP with the rise of mobile gaming.
As a mega fan of Warcraft I just couldn’t get on board with Heathstone.
But, I seem to be wrong as usual. Blizzard reported over 100 Million players in 2018 so, what can I say? 😛 You all clearly love it! Maybe I need to give it another spin.
The good thing here is that Blizzard chose to develop this mega hit in Unity! That is a very nice compliment considering how huge Blizzard is.
It’s free so if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go!
|Developer: Beat Games
Another VR title. Similar to Audio Shield, but you use light sabers to slash up boxes speeding towards you while dodging obstacles.
Very simple, very entertaining, exhausting.
I won’t ramble on about this one, if you don’t own a VR kit, move on.
Beat Saber is one of those titles you can pick up for 20 minutes and get a nice work out while you are at it.
If you have a VR kit and want something new, definitely check Beat Saber out.
Also, you feel like you are Luke Skywalker 🙂
|Developer: Colossal Order
Cities Skylines gave us what Sim City has failed to deliver for many years now.
I love Cities Skylines, it’s one of those games where you start a new game, play for 50 hours, then start a new game to correct early mistakes you did in your last game and then do that over again.
If you liked Sim City then this is a no brainer.
Everything is fun in this game, building roads, planning out residential areas, water pipe systems, expanding your city.
The editor is really good as well allowing you to be a bit creative with how you build, something that I always felt Sim City was lacking.
My only problem with this game is that it stops being difficult at a certain point. In the beginning you will struggle with money, but after a while, you generate more money than you can possibly spend making it a little less satisfying to build a new suburb area or a massive land mark.
Nevertheless, Cities Skylines is another example of how powerful Unity is and that you can make REAL games with it. Not just phone games and 2D side scrollers as some will have you believe.
Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy
|Developer: Bennett Foddy
Ok here is the real nugget in this list. I love challenging games, especially the ones that bring on head throbbing rage. I don’t know why, but it’s the way I am.
Bennett did an amazing job with Getting Over It. It’s short, can be finished in under 10 minutes if you are really good at it.
But you will love it, hate it, love it, hate it. It will take you between 5-10 hours to finish the first time, if you ever finish it.
The game mechanics, while not original, are so different from any other game you’ve ever played.
And the best part, Bennett made it over a summer as a little side project for Humble Bundle.
This game is an excellent example of how a one man team project should be executed.
Due to the enraging nature of the game it became a huge hit among streamers and Youtubers.
Getting Over It takes inspiration from the until now fairly unknown B game “Sexy Hiking“. A game made by a withdrawn individual known as Jazzuo.
Sexy hiking is next to unplayable due to bad player controls and a lot of bugs. But a quick glance and it is immediately clear just how influenced Getting Over It is by this old gem.
Escape From Tarkov
|Developer: Battlestate Games
|Released: Beta available
Disclamer: I have not played this game.
But, it deserves a spot on this list as it is the only one of it’s kind when it comes to games made in Unity.
Escape From Tarkov is a super tactical military sim with a very steep learning curve. It’s clear the focus was on creating a realistic experience unlike any other game.
This is part of why I haven’t played it yet as from what I heard, it is just too in depth. I will pick it up at some point but I feel that I need to set aside some time for it to do it justice.
Escape From Tarcov is one of the few Unity games actually trying to achieve photorealistic graphics. While it’s not as successful as say, Battlefield, I still think they did a really great job.
This is an important game as it completely debunks the stigma that Unity is not meant for AAA graphics and shooters.
Risk Of Rain 2
|Developer: Hopoo Games
Disclamer: I have not played this game either.
But it’s on my list to play this week and I will update this as soon as I am finished with it.
Risk of Rain (1) was made in Game Maker and was a 2D game. This time around, it’s full 3D and of course, Unity was the engine of choice.
Risk of Rain 2 is a rogue like 3rd person shooter. I won’t say too much about this title as it is very new except play it!
Reviews are looking very promising, although I’m not sure I love the artstyle. Well, let me play it and I will let you know 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this list of games, if you have any nugget Unity games that are not on this list. Please be kind and leave a comment with it and I will play it and potentially add it to the list 🙂
We want mooore Unity games!
Up next: Best Indie Games You Must Play