10 Hardest Video Games: List of Challenges Included

As a passionate gamer, I love finding new games, trying them out, and moving to another one. But what I love even more are games that can be challenging to beat. And there are some games that are notoriously difficult to win. These can test even the highest earning skilled players, and believe me when I say it’s not uncommon to spend hours or even days trying to overcome only a single challenge. If you like challenges as much as I do, check some of the hardest video games and see if you can conquer them like a pro.

Table of Contents

Dark Souls

Dark Souls is a challenging role-playing video game developed and released by FromSoftware in 2011. The game is famous for its difficulty and challenging gameplay, which require players to be patient and learn from previous mistakes in order to progress.

The game is set in the kingdom of Lordran, where the player must travel through hostile worlds filled with dangerous enemies and deadly traps. In order to succeed, you need to carefully calculate your timing and positioning and focus on stamina management and resource conservation.

The main attractiveness of the game is its difficulty; when after beating each level, it gives the player a sense of accomplishment and closure. But I must warn you that this can be a huge disappointment for novices. Also, if you are looking for a casual game to relax after a busy day, this is definitely not for you, as you will get more agitated.)

The game has dark but luring graphics and enchanting storytelling where players must piece together the hints and clues scattered throughout the game world.

So, what are the main challenges?

  • Boss Fights: Dark Souls is famous for its challenging and very difficult boss fights. Many players consider defeating these bosses to be the ultimate challenge in the game. If you decide to play the game, be aware that the toughest bosses are Ornstein and Smough, Manus, and Kalameet.
  • Limited healing items: Minimal objects can be used to restore your health. This means that you have to be careful when using your resources.
  • Environmental hazards and obstacles: Dark Souls worlds are very dangerous and full of hazards, like bottomless pits, trap doors, and poisonous swamps, that can kill you in an instant.
  • Lack of direction and instructions: The game doesn’t instruct you where to go or what to do, so you need to figure things out for yourself. Based on your expectations, this can be frustrating or rewarding, as you are free to discover its secrets.
  • Limited resources: Apart from limited healing items, Dark Souls also has a limited number of other resources, such as ammunition for ranged weapons and repair powder.
  • Game Plus: After you win the game once, you can start a new game plus with increased difficulty and stronger enemies. So, winning doesn’t mean you are done; there are still a lot of challenges left to experience.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a 2D video game developed and released by Team Meat in 2010. The main character is amusing – it’s a small, skinless, cube-shaped creature who wants to rescue its girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the hands of evil Dr. Fetus. The colors and overall vibe of the game are very funny, so you may think, okay, hold my beer:)

But it’s not as easy as it seems. During the gameplay, Meat Boy must overcome a series of increasingly tricky levels filled with hazards and obstacles, such as saw blades, spikes, and lava pits. The main goal is to reach the end of each level in order to rescue Bandage Girl.

The stats show that the game has a high level of replayability, as players try to beat their own best times or compete with other players.

The game is a beloved classic among gamers who enjoy challenges and tough gameplay requiring high concentration and time management. 

So, below are the main challenges. Check them to see if you dare to play:

  • Precise timing and movements: The game requires accurate jumps and movements to beat the levels.
  • Fast-paced gameplay and high concentration: You must be very focused and act quickly to avoid potential obstacles and enemies.
  • Limited resources: You only have a certain number of lives.
  • Timing: Honed time management skill is crucial to avoid obstacles and reaching the end of each level.



Battletoads is a retro video game series that was first released in 1991 by Rare. The game’s main protagonists are three anthropomorphic toads named Rash, Zitz, and Pimple, who embark on various adventures and missions to save the galaxy from evil forces.

Battletoads is notorious for its challenging levels that are hard to overcome. Although it’s a beloved game, there are some flaws as well, such as its occasional unfairness and somewhat frustrating gameplay.

In 2020, Rare released a new Battletoads game for Xbox One and PC, with updated graphics, new characters, and gameplay. The new game received mixed reviews from Some common challenges are:

  1. Sudden difficulty spikes: You can encounter sudden spikes in gameplay difficulty. For instance, one moment, you could be progressing through the game, and the next moment you’ll encounter an enemy that is incredibly difficult to beat.
  2. Mastering controls use: The controls can take some time to get used, and bringing into an encounter that the timing of movements must be precise, it can be difficult to achieve.
  3. Starting over: If you have made a lot of progress but keep dying in a particularly difficult section, you will be forced to start from the beginning, losing your achievement.
  4. Unpredictable enemies: Some enemies can be unexpected in their movements and attacks, making it quite difficult to beat them.

I Wanna Be The Guy

I Wanna Be The Guy is a free-to-play video game released in 2007. It’s notorious for its difficult and challenging gameplay.

The game is about a personage named The Kid, whose purpose is to become The Guy. The levels contain hidden traps, obstacles, and strong enemies.

The game has many followers and fans due because of its extreme difficulty, which requires the player to memorize complex moves and precise timing to progress. The game got positive reviews for its clever design, good humor, retro-inspired graphics, and game soundtracks.

The main challenges to overcome are:

  • Unpredictable gameplay: The game is famous for its random and unexpected obstacles and traps that are impossible to avoid and can kill the player in no time.
  • Extremely difficult levels: I Wanna Be The Guy is considered one of the most complicated video games ever created, where some levels may even require hundreds of attempts to complete.
  • Limited saves and checkpoints: It only allows a limited number of saves and checkpoints, meaning that if failed, players must replay difficult levels from the start if they die.
  • Brutal boss fights: The game’s boss fights are tricky and require precise timing and a well-thought strategy to defeat them. Be aware that some bosses have multiple phases, and it may take hours to beat them.
  • Permadeath: One of the game’s main features is permanent death, meaning that if the player dies, the game will start from the beginning.
  • Lack of instructions or tutorials: The game provides almost no guidance or tutorials, leaving players to figure out the gameplay on their own.
  • Mind-bending puzzles: To solve puzzles, the player will need outside-the-box thinking.

Ghosts' n Goblins

Ghosts' n Goblins

Ghosts’ n Goblins is a classic action game initially released in 1985 by Capcom. The game is about the adventures of a knight named Arthur as he lays his way through different levels filled with ghosts, goblins, and other monsters to rescue Princess Prin Prin, who is held a prisoner by the demon king Astaroth.

The game has a unique visual style combining medieval scenery with horror elements. 

In Ghosts’ n Goblins, players must navigate through dangerous environments, dodge enemy attacks, and defeat bosses to progress through the game’s six levels. Be aware that the game requires players to beat the game twice to get to the true ending.

The challenges to be aware of are:

  • Extremely difficult gameplay: The game is famous for its difficult levels that may be almost impossible to beat for players who don’t have experience with such challenging games.
  • Limited lives: Players have only three lives, so if you lose all your lives, you will need to start from the beginning. So, you can see how frustrating it can get.
  • Rapidly increasing difficulty: As the player progresses through levels, the game difficulty increases.
  • Precise movements: Players must have honed skills to avoid obstacles, jump over enemies, and navigate through the game’s challenging environments.
  • Limited weapons: The primary weapon, a lance, has a short range, and there are limited opportunities to get additional weapons or power-ups throughout the game.
  • Permanent death: Once you run out of lives, you will need to start from the beginning.

Contra III: The Alien Wars

Contra III The Alien Wars

Contra III: The Alien Wars is a classic video game created by Konami in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

In the game, the player can control either Bill Rizer or Lance Bean. The two soldiers must beat levels filled with different alien enemies and obstacles. The game offers various weapons and power-ups, including the spread gun and the ability to drive vehicles like motorcycles and tanks.

Contra III is considered one of the best on the SNES. Even after so many years, the game’s intense action, graphics, and music still hold up the test of time. That’s why many players can come back again and again. 

The main difficulties of the game are:

  • Difficult levels: Contra III is a very difficult game to play, and many players struggle to progress even on the easiest levels.
  • Limited lives: The game gives players only a limited number of lives, and once those lives are gone, the game is over, and you will need to start over.
  • Tough bosses: Each boss has unique abilities and attack and defense patterns.
  • Co-op feature: Players can play co-op, but they can also accidentally kill each other during their attacks.
  • Limited number of weapons: Although Contra III offers various weapons, players can only carry one weapon at a time. This means you need to choose your weapons very carefully.
  • No checkpoints: The players need to complete each level in one go, making it even more challenging when combined with the limited lives and weapons.

Ninja Gaiden Black

Ninja Gaiden Black is an action-adventure video game created by Team Ninja and launched by Tecmo for the Xbox console in 2005.

A skilled ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, is on a mission to avenge his clan and find a stolen sword. 

According to many players, Ninja Gaiden Black is one of the best action games ever created. One of the most difficult features of the game is its boss battles. The game also has a variety of weapons and upgrades, allowing players to customize their playing style in combats.

Overall, the challenges of the game are listed below:

  • Time management skills: The game requires precise time management skills and quick reflexes, which can be challenging for many players.
  • Boss battles: The boss battles are very difficult and can require hours of playtime.
  • Limited health: The player’s health is limited, and enemies can cause a lot of damage, so be careful to avoid taking unnecessary damage.
  • Time limits: Ninja Gaiden Black has time limits, adding pressure and difficulty for players.



The game follows a young woman named Madeline, who climbs a mountain named Celeste. Be aware that the story explores mental health, anxiety, depression, and self-acceptance topics. During the gameplay, players will navigate through various obstacles and hazards.

Celeste has challenging gameplay and emotional storytelling accompanied by a great soundtrack and beautiful design. The game has received numerous awards and nominations.

Overall, Celeste is considered a standout title in the indie gaming scene and a must-play for fans of platformers and emotionally resonant storytelling.

  • Quick decision-making: The game requires quick decision-making and precise movements to succeed. Players must climb through various obstacles, such as spikes, pits, and moving platforms.
  • Time management: Timing is vital in this game, as one mistake can result in instant death.
  • Learning curve: Each level brings new challenges that require players to learn new skills.
  • Boss fights: Celeste has several challenging bosses fights that require players to use all their skills, precise timing, and quick reflexes.
  • Collectibles: Celeste has many collectibles that are hidden in its levels. Collecting all of these can be a challenging task, as players must take risks and explore hidden areas.



N++ is the third and final installment in the N series, following N and N+. Initially, the game was released for PlayStation 4 and later for Xbox One and PC.

The game has a minimalistic style and uses color combinations of black, white, and gray. The game’s goal is to navigate the ninja through a series of tricky levels and collect gold while avoiding obstacles and enemies. The game has over 2,000 fast-paced levels.

Some difficulties that you will encounter are:

  • Timing: The game is all about time management, good reflexes, and great focus.
  • Precision: To succeed in the game, players need high accuracy, as even the slightest mistake can result in death.
  • Patience: N++ is quite a complex game that requires patience to succeed, as you will fail a lot before succeeding.



Ikaruga is an arcade-style shoot ’em-all video game launched in 2001 by Treasure. The game is known for a polarity system where players can switch between two different polarities (black and white) to absorb or avoid their enemies’ attacks.

If you are an experienced game, you will enjoy the challenge Ikaruga offers.

Here is what you should know before starting:

  • Mastering polarity switching: One of the difficulties is mastering the game’s polarity switching, where the player should be very focused and quick.
  • Learning enemy’s attack patterns: Each level of the game is filled with different enemies with different fighting patterns that require different strategies to defeat them.
  • Dodging skills: Dodging enemy attacks and fire is a crucial part of the gameplay.
  • Memorizing levels: Like many classic arcade-style games, players must memorize enemies’ attacks and obstacles at every level to succeed.
  • Good balancing: You will need to balance offense and defense to stay alive.
  • Maintaining focus: The game is fast-paced and requires constant focus and attention to detail. You will quickly get overwhelmed and make mistakes.

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