With TGA done and the year coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the forgotten games that actually did come out in 2021, you just don’t remember.
Outriders flew high and sizzled out quickly. This game got so much attention for about two weeks and then totally disappeared from our consciousness. Launching on Gamepass day 1 definitely gave it an edge and while Outriders had fun combat, especially with friends, there were too many conceits to give it any staying power.
The story of Outriders was absolutely bonkers. I played the whole thing and have no idea what the game was about. It was also loaded with bugs at launch. Developer People Can Fly has a good reputation, working on some huge titles including the PC version of Gears of War and the single-player campaign in Fortnite. But this was kind of their break-out project, and it shows those growing pains.
Even for all those flaws, Outriders was a great time, even if it tried to do too much. Not every game has to be Destiny. It’s fine to play this game for two weeks and then relish it to the list of forgotten games.
Mario golf super rush
On paper, this was the answer to all of our prayers. Nintendo was making a new Mario golf! And it has a single-player story mode! And it will come with free DLC! Immediately people wanted this to be a spiritual successor to the Camelot-developed GameBoy Mario sports titles. What we got was less Mario golf advanced tour and more of what we’ve been seeing recently from Mario sports titles.
While not exactly a hole-in-one, Mario Golf Super Rush was a surprisingly fun game. It added the new speed golf and battle modes which were a real highlight. But it also let many people down with its measly 6 courses at launch and barebones adventure mode.
Nintendo has delivered, though, on their free DLC updates. Since its launch, Mario Golf Super Rush has added four new courses, almost doubling the number from its initial offering. The new courses are more varied than the original six and each update has also brought with it new characters. Here’s to hoping that Mario Golf Super Rush continues to be updated and goes from a forgotten game to the definitive Mario Golf title.
Little Nightmares 2
Little Nightmares 2 is a sequel to a game that many forgot. The first game created a spooky ambiance where you solved puzzles while running from a hideous monster. While the first was reviewed well, it certainly wasn’t a blockbuster success and a sequel seemed far from inevitable. However, Bandai Namco decided to create a sequel and the result was a critical darling that was easily forgotten after a week.
It’s a shame most people have forgotten this one as it improved upon almost every mechanic from the first game. Little Nightmares 2 serves as a prequel to the first game, having you play as a boy with a paper bag over his head this time. It’s a great game for anyone looking for a quick playthrough around Halloween, but don’t expect it to be a lasting experience. After the credits roll it will end up with the rest of this year’s forgotten games.
Super Mario 3D world + Bowser’s fury
Yes, there was something akin to a new mainline Mario game that came out this year. Super Mario 3D World is a port of a Wii U game, but the included Bowser’s Fury is a totally new 3D Mario adventure. While falling quite short of the scope of Mario Odyssey, Bowser’s Fury is still a 10-hour completionist Mario title. And it’s really good!
Launching at the beginning of the year, Bowser’s Fury made waves as an excellent add-on for a beloved game few played on its first go around. Bowser’s Fury has you teaming up with Bowser jr to stop his dad from terrorizing the mushroom kingdom. The story is shallow, like most Mario games, but the gameplay is surprisingly fresh and innovative.
Bowser’s Fury almost works as an in-between for Odyssey and 3D World. It takes place in a totally explorable 3D space with small archipelagoes placed throughout. Each one has its own set of challenges to accomplish but it’s the freedom to freely move about these levels without a hub world that truly makes Bowser’s Fury feel different. The time and giant Godzilla-like Bowser is a fun gimmick, but the true proof of concept seems to be the truly open-world Mario. I hope this isn’t forgotten by Nintendo and we can see a larger offering like this in the near future.
Knockout City is basically an EA Big game. If you forgot about them, EA Big was the offshoot of EA sports that would release sports titles with a more casual and arcade feel. This was the team behind NBA Street, the NFL Street series, and the SSX games.
Knockout City followed this fun forgotten format but brought it to this generation of consoles. With easy to learn dodgeball mechanics, a fun three-on-three dynamic, and quick matches that can mercifully end a stomp fest, Knockout City felt like NBA Jam in 2021. Knockout City isn’t totally forgotten. There is still a decent player base and a strong niche community around it. It’s just hard to keep a multiplayer game going in 2021. Especially when COD Warzone and Halo Infinite go free to play.
2021 wasn’t a disappointing year for gaming, but it won’t be the most remembered one either. Still, though, there should be some solace taken in these forgotten games. We used to find these titles in the 5 dollar bin at Gamestop. With digital media rapidly taking over, who knows where these games will end up.