There are no Oscars in this trash can.
It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. 2021 was another year where we flocked to our gaming consoles and computers for shelter from the virus-ridden world outside. While there were plenty of good games to play this year, there were also those so bad that they made everything more horrible. Let’s scrape the bottom of the Metacritic barrel and see what we dredge up.
Stealing a mantra from one of my favorite movie podcasts, it’s OK to like a video game. Just because at least seven outlets deemed worthy of note by a popular review aggregation website decided these games bad does not mean you cannot enjoy them. It only means that if you do, your friends and family will hate you, you’ll never find love, and you will die alone.
Without further ado, here are the five games with the lowest average Metacritic ratings of 2021.
5. Of Bird and Cage | Score: 44 (PC)“Imagine music brought to life,” begins the trailer for Of Bird and Cage. According to Metacritic, you should probably just stop there instead of playing this weird two-hour metal album in the form of a narrative adventure. As Screen Rant put it, “just because a game is unique doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worth playing.”
4. Taxi Chaos | Score: 42 (PS4)In the immortal words of our own Zack Zweizen, “Sorry Crazy Taxi fans, Taxi Chaos ain’t it.” Developer Lion Castle tried, but no amount of using the word “crazy” in your marketing is going to connect this flop with the Sega classic.
3. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood | Score: 42 (PS4)Oh come on, the first major game based on the World of Darkness RPG’s Werewolf: The Apocalypse setting couldn’t be that bad. I heard one guy call it dumb fun. Well, that guy was an idiot. The best thing this game had going for it was letting players become a dog. Otherwise, the entire game was a dog.
2. Balan Wonderworld | Score: 36 (Switch)Now this one hurt. I had such high hopes for this whimsical project from Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights Into Dreams. Instead of the fanciful adventure early trailers seemed to indicate, we got a simplistic collect-a-thon platformer filled with neat ideas that fell completely flat. Shortly after Balan Wonderworld was released, Naka quit Square Enix and started pondering his retirement.
1. eFootball 2022 | Score: 25 (PC)Man, I have never seen a new installment of a long-running series so hated by fans and critics alike as Konami’s eFootball 2022. Our resident footy expert Luke Plunkett wrote an article all about why this renamed Pro Evolution Soccer sequel is so bad, and just how bad it is. This is the third Kotaku 2021 Year in Review post to feature eFootball 2022, following The Most Broken Games of 2021 and The Year in Gaming Apologies.
There you have it, 2021’s most poorly-reviewed-on-Metacritic games. Were you a big fan of any of them? Did you by chance think that Werewolf one was just a little fun in a stupid sort of way? Asking for a friend. Feel free to answer in the comments.