Indie Games That Are A Nightmare To 100%

If you’re a developer who is making a video game, unless you are a maniacal and sadistic type, you probably want potential players of your game to see everything that your game has to offer and, at the very least, finish the game to the point that the credits roll.

Completing a game tends to be a right of passage that allows you to pass judgment and say, I’ve seen all it has to offer, and I can now say categorically that I did or didn’t like it. But, a lot of games have a pretty chill main game, and then really ramp up the difficulty in the optional end-game, ensuring that if you want all of those achievements, you’re going to have to work your little butt off.

So, with that in mind, I have put together a list of ten indie games that are reasonably easy to finish but an absolute nightmare to complete in their entirety. This is Indie Game Culture’s List of 10 Indie Games That Are a Nightmare to 100%.

Selection Criteria

Just before we start jotting down the games that are sure to give you a hard time if you go achievement hunting, here are the criteria that we used to formulate this list:

  • All games must be indie games
  • All games must offer a reasonably manageable core game experience
  • All games must have one, or a series of deadly challenges that make 100% completion seriously tough
  • We may also consider games that are a ridiculous grind

Okay, enough babbling; let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this thing!

Indie Games That Are A Nightmare To 100%

#1 – Hollow Knight

Neon Necromancer — Yenenda's (mostly) complete guide & tips for...

First up, we have Hollow Knight, a game that I have recently fallen in love with despite my general disdain for metroidvanias.

I had a blast playing through the main campaign, beating bosses, upgrading my Dream Nail, and mastering the various tough platforming challenges the game had to offer. But now, after completing the game, there is still a mountain of additional content before me, and daunting doesn’t begin to cover it. 

To beat the game 100% you’ll need to beat the Trail of Fools, which is a true test of aerial combat mastery. You’ll need to defeat Nightmare Grimm, and he ain’t no pushover, and you’ll need to ascend White Palace. However, nothing prepares you for the Boss Gauntlet runs within the Pantheons of Godhome. 

You’ll need to beat a series of Hollow Knight bosses back to back, often with fights remixed to make them even harder, or with completely new bosses altogether. These final challenges are the difference between completion and mastery, so if you are quick to rage, this one will have you red in the face time and time again. 

#2 – SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT VR' Getting New Challenge Modes in February Update

Here’s one that I did manage to complete 100% myself, but man, was it a task and a half. 

SUPERHOT’s main campaign is laughably short. If you really hustle, you can beat the game in about an hour, but it’s only when you begin to take on the end-game challenges that the game begins to show its worth. Thanks to these challenges, you’ll get to know every single level like the back of your hand and play each one in a refined and choreographed manner. 

However, one challenge will put this mastery to the test, and will undoubtedly be the achievement that will make or break you. This challenge sees you take on every single level of the campaign, and the rules are simple. You can’t die once. Meaning you need to get through 25 levels flawlessly, and bend time to your will. 

To do this, you’ll need patience, planning, and nerves of steel. I wish you luck if you take this on. 

#3 – Neon White

Neon White and designing for player creativity

Neon White is a game that speedruns speedrunning, allowing players to start as novice runners and gradually grow in competence to become an FPS platformer extraordinaire, capable of pinpointing shortcuts mere mortals could never perceive. 

However, even those who complete Neon White’s main campaign, which is no easy task, by the way, will still have a lot of work to do if they want to break through and beat the game 100%. 

You’ll need to get an ACE on every single level, collect all the hidden gifts, complete all relationships, and most difficult of all, you’ll need to complete each core character’s Heaven and Hell Rushes, with White’s being the most testing of all. 

These are essentially Neon White’s version of Hollow Knight’s Godhome, where players will play through several levels back to back, and you’ll need to get through with a fast time, with one life and no restarts in some cases. These are brutal, and only a true angel of the realm will be able to master these challenges and claim all achievements in Neon White. 

#4 – Celeste

Celeste is a Game of Many Ups and Some Downs - Game Wisdom

Next up, we have Celeste, a game that will test your platforming prowess to its absolute limit. 

Celeste’s main campaign is one that doesn’t hold your hand and expects a lot from the player where platforming skill is concerned, but provided you are willing to become a student of the mechanics, you should be able to ascend Celeste Mountain without too much issue. 

However, to truly stick your flag at the top of the mountain and say that you have conquered all that you surveyed, you’ll need to complete the additional and optional tasks that Celeste has to offer.

This includes the B-Sides and dreaded C-sides that offer a much tougher version of each chapter, and you’ll also need to get your hands on all 175 Strawberries within the game, which is about as tough of a collect-a-thon that you’ll ever encounter in gaming. 

So, in short, you have difficulty in abundance mixed with the grind of collectible hunting. What’s not to love? 

#5 – Stardew Valley

Finally discovered a strategy for the Journey of the Prairie King  minigame... Corners + Camping = This overwhelming nonsense. :  r/StardewValley

You may be surprised to see this adorable farming simulator on this list of notoriously tough indie games because, for the most part, Stardew Valley is about as cozy as it gets, allowing you to build relationships, automate your farm, and explore at your leisure. However, there are some tasks in this game that are hand-made to kick your ass. 

Based on achievements alone, you’ll need to craft every item, catch every fish, cook every recipe, and generally just do everything the game has to offer.

However, to earn all achievements, you’ll need to beat Journey of the Prairie King without dying once, and having beaten it myself, I can tell you now that doing that and not dying once is complete lunacy. 

Then, if you want to achieve the optional 100% perfection achievement, you’ll need to collect all the Obelisks, build a Gold Clock, Find all the Walnuts on Ginger Island, and more. 

It may be arguably the most popular casual and cozy game on the planet, but when it comes to beating this game 100%, it pulls no punches. 

#6 – Slay The Spire

nerds of a feather, flock together: Microreview [Video Game]: Slay the  Spire by Mega Crit

Card-Based Roguelikes are the bane of my existence, as I know the moment one sinks its hook in, I’ll be playing it until the end of time, and the kicker of it all is, after all this time, I still haven’t completed Slay the Spire 100%. 

Thanks to the amount of hyper-specific achievements such as beating the game with one single relic, beating the game with a deck of five cards or smaller, or beating a boss in a single turn. Alongside all of the achievements linked to Ascension, it’s an accolade that I know will forever elude me, as the mountainous task is just to steep. 

Based on the Playstation Trophies app, a whopping seventeen of the achievements for this game have been earned by less than 5% of players, which perhaps paints a picture as to how daunting this game is for completionists. 

You might be able to get one or two rare achievements here, but if you want them all, you’ll need to eat, sleep, and breathe Slay the Spire. 

#7 – Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge Standard Edition (Nintendo Switch) : Amazon.co.uk: PC & Video  Games

If Hollow Knight didn’t sate your appetite for hard Metroidvania games, then Axiom Verge absolutely will.

Axiom Verge is perhaps the toughest Metroidvania around, offering an experience along the same lines as classic Metroid titles, but with the difficulty turned up to eleven. 

To earn all the achievements to consider yourself an Axiom Verge master, you’ll need to beat the game in under four hours, you’ll need to collect absolutely everything in the game, you’ll need to beat the game without dying once, complete the game with less than 40% of items, and you’ll need to beat the game on Hard Mode, which makes enemies spongier, and stronger. 

There are some save-point manipulation tricks to get around the no-death run, but even with this in your back pocket, this serves as one of the hardest indies ever, and a game that is a nightmare to 100%

#8 – Disco Elysium

spoiler] My mercenary tribunal went horribly. Theo broke his hip, fat Angus  had an asthma attack and I failed to warn Kim and now he's in the hospital  for a sprained ankle.

Disco Elysium, unlike a lot of games on this list, is not a hard game. Yet despite this, it’s the rarest of all the 100% completion challenges listed here. Why you ask? Well, because you’ll have to play this game over and over again in very specific ways if you want to earn it. 

It is possible to use a lot of clever and precise save-mapping to earn this one in just two full playthroughs, but even with this rigid approach, you’ll still be staring down the barrel of a 100-hour challenge which is fully dependent on tough skill checks, and a deep understanding of the game’s story and systems. 

You’ll need to align with all political schools of thought, earn all copotypes, complete a series of very easily missable tasks and side-quests, beat the game on Hardcore mode, and honestly, this only really scratches the surface as this game is so damn dense. 

If you do take this on, please consult a guide for your sanity. Otherwise, your head will end up as scrambled as Harry’s by the time you’re done! 

#9 – Inscryption

Got my first ever Ouroboros break in Kaycee's mod, it wasnt exactly  infinite, but I think it's safe to say Leshy didn't know what hit 'im. :  r/inscryption

Our penultimate entry takes us into a cabin in the woods, as we aim to escape from Leshy in the card-based roguelike Inscryption.

Inscryption really is a game of two halves where you’ll have the typical roguelike card-builder in the beginning that is very reminiscent of Slay The Spire, and then you’ll have the top-down card-builder RPG in the backend. Both of these are pretty straightforward, but to 100% the game, you’ll need to become a master of the game’s initial card system. 

After you beat the game, you’ll unlock Kaycee’s Mod, which is essentially an endless runner of the first half of the game, and you’ll need to complete some pretty specific tasks to complete all there is on offer, such as defeating Leshy without destroying the moon, unlock all three items from the Oil Painting, and you’ll need to beat Kaycee’s Mod with all Challenges active. 

Kaycee’s mod is the proving ground for true roguelike card-building veterans, and if you see yourself as one, then this is what you’ll need to tackle next!

#10 – Session: Skate Sim

Getting started in Session: Skate Sim: How to guide

Then lastly, on our list of nightmare games to 100%, we have Session: Skate Sim, another one that I forced myself to complete in full, and I can attest to the fact that this was a true test of mettle. 

For the most part, a lot of the achievements in the game are, pardon the pun, quite grindy, as you’ll need to perform different grinds, manual for miles, and do thousands of flip tricks. However, the challenges that separate the posers from the sponsored pros, are the Historical Challenges in the game. 

These are lines and tricks from true-to-life video parts down the years, and you’ll need to perform them inch-perfect in the right spots to complete them. They aren’t signposted, they are often very complex, and there are a total of 335 of them in total. 

Then, to top it all off, you’ll need to complete the full game with manual catch on too, which makes the already ridiculously realistic controls even more punishing.

Much like getting on a real board, this one will see you fall again and again before rolling away the victor, but as any skater will know, that feeling when you do will make it all worthwhile. 

Honorable Mentions

Then, to wrap things up, here are some more honorable mentions, showcasing even more games that are a pain to platinum due to difficulty, grind, and various other reasons: 

  • Rain World
  • Bramble The Mountain King
  • Tchia
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Terraria
  • Enter The Gungeon
  • Skater XL
  • Rollerdrome
  • Hades
  • The Witness
  • Pathologic 2
  • Super Meat Boy
  • The Binding of Issac
  • I Am Bread
  • Bread and Fred

Gruelling Challenges

So there you have it, folks, ten Indie games that are undoubtedly amazing games but are an absolute pain to complete 100%.

I hope that this allows you to make an informed decision before you start climbing these metaphorical gaming mountains, and as always, thanks for reading Indie Game Culture. 

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