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Top 5 Most Challenging Games


Jun 12, 2019
Monster Hunter World Iceborne is no walk in the park. The tempered monsters and late game monsters seem almost impossible to solo, and even grouping is no guarantee of success.
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Neo Member
Aug 15, 2020
1. Mushihimesama Futari 1.0 (ultra)
2. The rest of Cave library of shmups


50. Bloodbourne, Dark Souls and other casual friendly "hard" games.

In all honestly, these games are not easy (Ninja Gaiden, DMC, Demon Souls etc) but the shmups made by Cave (eapecially between 2004 - 2010) are in a completely different league. They literally push the limits of human reflexes and concentration.

Harry Tung

Jun 1, 2018
1. The Evil Within (Akumu mode)

This is the most difficult shit I've ever endured. Don't know how I completed it, but I persevered somehow. It's complete bullshit from start to finish and I don't recommend it to anyone except bonafide masochists.

2. Cuphead

Very difficult but manageable if you take your time to learn boss pattern. But the final stage was to much to handle. The casino level is so brutal I had to give up. Gonna do it someday one way or the other.

3. Sekiro

Very different and very difficult compared to Miyazakis past games. Loved the combat with the parrying mechanics and some bosses were incredibly challenging.

4. La-Mulana 2 EX

Played it on Vita and this game is not only confusing as hell, it's also extremely brutal and unforgiving. Had to resort to a walk through and even then I had a very tough time finishing this. Want to give it a new go on Switch. Game was really good despite the hard difficulty.

5. Zelda 2

Probably the only difficult Zelda but it gives the fame a different flavor which is why I return to it repeatedly. The last stretch up to the great palace is some absolute bullshite and to think you went trough that nightmare as a 10-year old boy is quite the achievement given today's gaming climate.


Patient MembeR
Apr 18, 2018
Rhythm games, puzzle games, and shmups would be my personal "most challenging genres", broadly speaking.

various rhythm gamems like Dance Dance Revolution series and Theatrhythm: Curtain Call
various shmups like DoDonpachi Daioujou
various puzzle games like Magical Drop 3 and Columns 3
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Mar 26, 2007
Abadox (NES)
Punch Out (NES) Try beating Tyson.
Sekiro (PS4, XBONE)
Ninja Gaiden (XBOX)
Yoshi Island DS (NDS)

Finished all except for YI. Misplaced the cartridge.
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Jan 14, 2018
XCOM on impossible difficulty, iron man mode. While XCOM is quite relaxed on easy or normal difficulty, impossible turns it into a survival horror game. Visual representation of XCOM difficulty levels, if this is easy:
then this is impossible:
and this is impossible ironman:

Just beating the first mission took me hours. If you survive the first encounter with the Cryssalids you're usually golden, but getting there is ridiculous.

Sekiro - makes the souls games appear easy. While Souls games allow you to just find various overpowered means to blast your way through most of the bosses (there's builds that allow you to 1-hit-kill most of the early bosses in Dark Souls for example), Sekiro has effectively one way or the highway.

Contra (NES) without Konami code - this game is already difficult enough to get through with countless continues, if you play it the "way it's meant to be" it makes clear it's from the era of quarter-munching arcade games.

Starcraft 2 - Online in anything of Gold league and above. I haven't played much since the expansions came out (i.e. years ago), but playing this online versus other starcraft nerds, requires dedication to the craft beyond what one can do who still tries to keep a full-time job. Eventually I dropped out, because I didn't have enough hours in the day to practice and keep up with the meta.

Ninja Gaiden (NES) - I'm still not sure if this game was just punishingly difficult, or just impossible to beat. But every time I saw that amazing intro I was pumped and tried to be the cool ninja I clearly wasn't.


May 18, 2009
Any adventure game where I promise myself at the start that I won't look up the solutions online.

For 10 minutes.

Then I look the solutions up online.
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Neo Member
Jan 23, 2009
Battletoads - Gameboy
Ikari Warriors - Nes
Megaman - Nes
Eternal Champions - Megadrive
Wipeout 1 - Playstation

All of them have cost me at least one controller (Gameboy was too expensive to throw at the wall). And they were all pretty shit games too. That's one common factor, older shit games usually had a right miserable bastard of a difficulty level.
Didn’t Ikari Warriors have an unlimited life cheat? I remember beating it multiple times back in the day. Took forever, but wasn’t difficult imo
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Aug 30, 2019
Sekiro is just a game that will never click with me. I want to be good at it but just can't cut it.

DMC3, Ninja Gaiden, the original NES TMNT game, and Riven are all honorable mentions for me.
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Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
May 4, 2005
Really Yoshi's Island DS? I'm not disagreeing because I've never played it but I'm surprised to see that's its difficult
It is really surprisingly challenging:
And in particular this detailled posting by the magnificient maxcriden:

100%ing it is more challenging than Rayman. Out of all (good) 2D platformers, disregarding time attack, it is the most difficult game I have ever played.

Edit: By the way most Yoshi games are challenging, only Story and Crafted World are easy, with Crafted World still offering a number of challenging levels, but less so than the Island games and Woolly World. I wouldn't like Yoshi that much otherwise ;).
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The Silverlord

Neo Member
Nov 25, 2014
Trials Fusion - Really, really challenging to try and scrape through those extreme levels after suffering hundreds of faults
Super Meat Boy - The main game isn't too bad when you get the physics down. However, some of the harder trophies require you to beat entire worlds without losing a life. The initial worlds are doable but difficulty (and the dark worlds) quickly scales up into an almost impossible challenge.
Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours - CS mode requires completion of about 220 missions (of increasing length and difficulty) and takes an estimated 50-60 hours to complete. Platinum trophy also requires a one-hit clear of the hardest arcade route QUZ (there's also a 1LC which is similarly near-impossible). The mechanics of the ship's burst counter is very difficult to master and requires excellent timing.
Celeste: extremely tough challenge to complete the B and C side courses without Assist Mode.
Other: Any arcade game where the dip switch/difficulty has been ramped up. I'm sure I played an SF2 Championship Edition which felt nearly unplayable. Also shoutout for Gradius games where a death mid-level often spelled disaster due to slow speed and reset of powerups.
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Patient MembeR
Apr 18, 2018


May 2, 2019
Tomcat : The F-14 Flight simulator on Atari 2600

As a kid I never succeed to make a correct take off. So I never actually succeed to fly xD But I liked it. I remember you had to switch some buttons on the console itself during the procedure and find it cool.

Top gun on the Nintendo (I think) I was never able to make a successful landing... And only a couple times successfully refilled mid air...
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Jun 1, 2016
I gave up on Super Meat Boy after playing for an hour and reading the trophy list.

That’s the only ‘difficult’ game I’ve ever given up on. It was more a preemptive thing, as I like to go for Plat.

Not sure about top 5. I’ve platted every From game except Sekiro as I’m yet to start it. They aren’t really difficult once you get used to the gameplay. Bizarrely Halo and Gears are insanely difficult on their highest difficulties on Solo.
My kid 100% that on 360 when he was 10 I'm pretty sure.


Oct 19, 2019
Ikaruga on Dreamcast for places 1-5 it was at nightmare difficulty from the beginning and got to Chuck Norris difficulty in no time...


We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
May 31, 2018
Leeds, UK
I barely play any NES era games because they're bullshit hard in a not-fun way. So, I guess anything I've started on NES and never finished. I savescummed my way through Zelda 2 because fuck doing that game normally, I'm good, life's short. I'll stick to Souls games, Cuphead etc. as my difficult ones.

Boring WoW player answer is WoW. I think the Lich King probably took the most attempts for my guild at the time when it was current content. So, technically that game, at certain times.
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Sep 30, 2020
No particular order:

1. Celeste is the most hard-core platforming I've ever encountered.

2. The original Xenon was hard as nails shooter if memory serves (or was it xenon 2)

3. The Last Ninja- puzzles movement and fighting all hard for a young un.

4.Arms : i think I just suck at it.

5. Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands...
..could never beat them. The frame rate slowdown as they got more enemies on screen didn't help.

Special mention for the original Battletoads which was a complete bastard.
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Feb 15, 2016
-The Adventures of Bayou Billy: I remember how excited I was to play this game, the cover was great, the Crocodile Dundee in Louisiana theme made my imagination race and it was a Konami game which was one of my favorite developpers back then after I played and beat Contra (Probotector in Yurop). Turns out Bayou Billy is absolute bullshit I never managed to finish, I think I made it to the shooting section before giving up.

-Baba is You: I'm not a huge fan of puzzle games but I bought and played this game for dozens of hours because of how brilliant I found the concept. It's by far the game that makes me feel the most like a brainlet. I got filtered like kids say nowadays.

-Kid Icarus Uprising: Once you start cranking up the difficulty this game is brutal. At intensity 9.0 some missions and bosses are legitimately nightmarish (Pit's body, Hades Heart) due to the damage output of enemies, the need to properly execute dodges with left stick flicks and quickly spin the camera around (not helped by the control scheme) and the ridiculously punitive result of a single death.

-Contra III: After playing and beating Cuphead in about 6 hours without too much struggle I decided to go back to one of its obvious inspirations to see if I somehow got much better at run and guns or if the journos and general gaming populace of the late 2010s were a gaggle of inept mouthbreathing clods and no surprise it's the latter. The Alien Wars is ruthless especially if you want to see the real ending. I was incapable of beating the game in hard mode in my old age, something I managed to do as a kid.

-Skybolt Zack: This one is fresh in my memory because I played it recently and got destroyed by the final boss. High paced intense beat em up/platformer hybrid that requires sharp reactions, precise dpad inputs and good muscle memory. Lots of fun, but oldschool arcade gameplay that will test you even if you just want to beat the level, let alone go for highscores.