Popular video game genres, such as platformers and shooters, are self-explanatory. But there are many genres of video games that aren’t that popular.
In this article we look at some of the more niche video game genres, explaining what they are and recommending the best games in each genre.
video games genres List In 2021
1. Visual Novel
The visual novel genre blurs the line between literature and video games. These interactive fiction works are text-heavy and don’t feature a lot of action. Typically, they are played from a first-person perspective and feature a deep story and memorable characters.
Unlike many video games, the “gameplay” elements in a visual novel are quite minimal. Most of the time, game interaction is limited to progressing through text boxes, making dialogue choices, and occasionally solving light puzzles. This genre focuses more on building an interesting world than revolutionary gameplay. Often your choices in conversations have direct effects on the story.
Visual novels are very popular in Japan, so anime-style art is common in these games. They have recently become more popular outside of Japan thanks to a few key series, many of which are available right now.
A great visual novel to start is the Ace Attorney series. In it, you play as Phoenix Wright and other lawyers who have to defend their wrongfully accused clients. Other than that, we’ve looked at some other visual novels you should play , like the Zero Escape series.
4X refers to a type of strategy game in which you have four objectives: explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. Unlike the relatively simple gameplay offered by other genres on this list, 4X games are incredibly deep and often take a long time to play.
In a 4X title, you control an empire and must manage important aspects such as battles with neighboring kingdoms, claim new territories and control resources. If you like complex gameplay, you will love what 4X games have to offer. You will have to take into account the cultural and political consequences of your choices, what if your government doesn’t like you declaring war on your neighboring region?
The classic example of a 4X title is the Civilization series. If you are looking for something more accessible, try these 4X strategy games for Android .
3. Walking Simulator
While “walking simulator” is sometimes used as a derogatory term, it is generally accepted as a name for a particular genre of adventure title. It refers to a narrative game that has few game elements other than walking and interacting with objects.
Typically, walking simulators catapult you into a world and allow you to discover details about it through the audio logs, documents and similar items you find. Because there is no fighting and minimal puzzle solving, the plot is the goal.
You’ll love walking simulators if you like the mystery of uncovering a story through game data instead of cutscenes. Do walking simulators count as video games? It depends on how interactive the games are, but a lot of people enjoy them regardless.
If you want to try a walking simulator, The Stanley Parable is a fun example of this genre, as it’s pretty meta. Firewatch is another popular walking simulator, where it sounds like a forest fire.
The term “Metroidvania” is a combination of two game series: Metroid and Castlevania. Since 1997 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, both series have featured similar gameplay styles, giving birth to this genre.
A Metroidvania game features a large and complex map that cannot be accessed right from the start. Instead, you need to explore and find updates that provide access to new areas. While the new skills allow you to access more of the map, they also serve as combat buffs.
Many Metroidvania games feature epic boss battles, which often protect updates. You can also find secret rooms that offer even more optional goodies. Thanks to the design of the non-linear world, we often travel back to previous areas to discover new paths that could not be reached before.
Most Metroidvania games are 2D, although not all are. While both series are obviously a great place to experience the genre, Metroidvania is also a popular genre for modern indie titles. Hollow Knight is a great example because it doesn’t hold your hand as you explore. For something less intense, Ori and the Blind Forest are a great introduction to the genre.
MOBA stands for “multiplayer online battle arena”. It is a combination of strategy and real-time action where two teams compete in a small arena, each trying to destroy the other’s base. Most MOBA maps feature three “lanes” that allow teams to move between bases.
In a MOBA, each player usually chooses a hero for the entire game. These heroes are divided into classes based on their purpose, while each also has various unique abilities. During the course of a MOBA match, players defeat weak computer-controlled characters known as “banners” to gain experience and make their characters more powerful.
Two well-known MOBAs are League of Legends and Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients). Both are free-to-play and have loads of characters for you to try out. Read our introduction to League of Legends to help you get started.
6. Clicker / idle game
A clicker game (also known as an idle or incremental game) refers to a title in which gameplay is limited to extremely basic interactions, such as
on-screen c lic. Typically, you earn points every time you click. As you keep clicking, the game provides upgrades that allow you to earn more points faster.
After some time, these updates will start accumulating points for you, even if you are not actively “playing” them. Hence the term “idle”. Many of them have no end, even if they include milestones you can reach.
Cookie Clicker is one of the most popular free games that you can win by clicking . Each click earns you a cookie, and in the end you can buy factories and grannies to make even more cookies. AdVenture Capitalist is another clicker game where you start with a lemonade stand and work to make as much money as possible.
This RPG subgenre is named after the classic 1980s computer game Rogue. One of its hallmarks is the scanning of the dungeon through procedurally generated areas, which means the game is different every time you play. Additionally, they feature permadeath, a mechanic that completely resets your progress once you die. Even the “real” roguelikes use tile-based movements and prioritize resource management.
Classic roguelikes are turn-based, but not all modern instances of the genre follow this rule. A close example is Darkest Dungeon, which is a procedurally generated turn-based RPG where character management is essential.
One such subdivision is roguelite. This term refers to games that have some aspects of a roguelike but lack others. A well known and accessible roguelite is The Binding of Isaac. It features permadeath, but you can earn some persistent upgrades through games. The game is also not turn-based.
8. Defense of the towers
Another subdivision of the strategy genre, tower defense games focus on protecting a base or territory. Typically in these types of games, strategically place defenses and obstacles and have to survive the oncoming waves of enemies.
As you’d expect from the name, what sets these elements apart from other real-time strategy games is that you are always on the defensive. If the enemy destroys your base, you lose.
Plants vs. Zombies is an example of a fairly casual tower defense game. Kingdom Rush is another popular title in the genre.
What kind of video game will you play?
We’ve taken a look at many video game genres that you might not know much about. You may have heard the names before, but you didn’t know what each gender entailed. Now that you do, you should play each one to expand your gaming horizons.
If you are a gamer looking for new things related to your hobby, here are some music genres that all gamers should love .