Like any year, 2014 saw its share of Call of Duty‘s and Assassin’s Creed‘s and such; but on the fringes of all that AAA nonsense were a couple of games that went for something a little bit… stranger.
Here are nine of the absolute weirdest games to come out this year.
1. Monster Monpiece
Just in case Hearthstone isn’t titillating enough for you, Monster Monpiece arrived this year in the US. A “sexy” card battler, the PS Vita game involves collecting cards illustrated with suggestive images of anime ladies, then literally rubbing your screen until their clothes fall off. I’m not kidding.
If that isn’t weird enough for you, it’s also worth noting that the developers had to cut 40 of the cards for the US release. Let’s just say that the women depicted on them were just a tad bit on the young side (and by a tad bit, I mean Chris Hansen might be paying you a visit if you import this game).
2. Hatoful Boyfriend
Hatoful Boyfriend is a dating simulator that was originally released for free in 2011, before getting a full-on remake this year. It’s pretty typical of the genre: text-based gameplay, branching storylines, multiple romantic options… oh, and all of the characters are birds. Except for you. You’re a human girl. The only human at St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for giant, talking birds. You can’t make this stuff up.
3. Goat Simulator
What list of weird games would be complete without good ol’ Goat Simulator? In case the title doesn’t make it clear, the game lets you play a goat… a goat whose tongue can be used to lasso objects and throw them around that is.
There’s also a scoring system that’s pretty reminiscent of the old Tony Hawk games, a castle that lets you become the Queen of all Goats, and random references to the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, just in case the Goat Simulator concept wasn’t random enough for you.
If Saul Bass and Blendo’s Brendon Chung had a baby, and that baby dropped a ton of acid while watching a 1960s James Bond movie, the result would be almost as weird as Jazzpunk. Defying almost any attempt at coherent explanation, the game begins with a spy being mailed in a human-shaped suitcase to an underground base in 1950s Japan, and somehow only gets stranger from there.
Expect to spend some time chasing a mechanical pig with a guitar, playing golf with a pool cue, stealing a cowboy’s artificial kidney, and helping a frog find a wi-fi signal. I didn’t make a single one of those up.
5. Among The Sleep
Have you ever been playing a game and thought to yourself, “yeah this is fine, but wouldn’t it be amazing if I was playing as a baby?”
If so, you’re in luck, because Among the Sleep puts you into the tiny shoes of a two-year old toddler. That sounds adorable, until you realize that Among the Sleep is a horror game, because who doesn’t like mixing small children and abject terror?
6. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
If one wacky Japanese high-school game wasn’t enough, get ready to go to school at Hope’s Peak Academy, where all of the students are killing each other under the orders of the school’s headmaster, who happens to be a robotic teddy bear.
Apparently, at this school, students can only leave if they manage to successfully kill a fellow classmate and get away with it. To stop these murders, you have to solve the grisly crimes, by literally piecing together the sequence of events into a comic strip. It’s rather insane stuff, but surprisingly, it all comes together as a pretty damn good game.
7. Rock Simulator 2014
If goats aren’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer to play as a… rock? In Rock Simulator, you play a rock. You sit on the ground, and I guess that’s about it. The last we heard, it had raised over $1000 on Kickstarter, and was making its way through Steam Greenlight, because why the hell not.
8. Monument Valley
Imagine if M.C. Escher designed a video game, and you’ve basically got MonumentValley. The indie puzzler, currently available on mobile devices, tasks players with guiding a princess through maze-like levels comprised of optical illusions and impossible geometry.
It’s all super trippy stuff, with a visual style inspired by classic Japanese woodblock prints; and it’s a testament to the game’s design that it’s actually fun, and not incredibly headache-inducing.
9. Ever, Jane
This game is technically still in development, but it’s playable, and way too nutty to leave off of this list. Ever, Jane was the result of a Kickstarter last year, and recently rolled into a public alpha. It’s pitch? An online virtual world inspired by the novels of Jane Austen.
It’s basically an MMO, but instead of grinding for weapons, you’re looking for the juiciest gossip. Forget raiding, you have dinner parties and grand balls to attend. That sounds insane, but man if it isn’t the most entertaining concept for an MMO I’ve heard in ages.
You can download a playable build from the official website, with a full version expected in 2016.
Have any more weird games released in 2014? Let us know in the comments section!