Veteran Dark Souls players united by the phrase “git gud” often forget that the souls series is not necessarily the pinnacle of difficult gaming. Sure, we have all bore witness to the phrase “You Died” far more times than we would care to admit, before championing the games multiple times over. But what if I told you there were many games which are sure to make even the most hardcore Souls-like fan throw in the towel? 

Let’s get into ten of them.

Bloodborne and Sekiro

As it goes, Dark Souls isn’t even the hardest franchise offered by Souls developer From Software. Their more recent forays into cosmic horror and feudal Japan have proved far more difficult—mainly due to their increased speed when compared to Dark Souls’ slow, methodical combat.

These frantic games will have you reading “You Died” and “DEATH” far more than you would think, even if you are a champion of the Souls saga.

Cuphead

Don’t let Cuphead’s old timey aesthetic throw you off. This is not a light-hearted romp. It’s a game which will see you die time and again as you attempt to master a variety of unique boss battles and run-and-gun levels. 

Playing it in a duo, with your side-kick Mugman, you’ll be able to experience the difficulty, frustration and triumph with a buddy. 

Super Meat Boy

Taking us back to the genesis of the modern indie game, Super Meat Boy is a classic that many will remember but few will have completed. This phrenetic jaunt takes Mario’s iconic narrative and turns it up to eleven, giving you control over the titular slab of meat who must save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, amid a hostile world of chainsaws. 

The speedy, responsive controls of Super Meat Boy make it a joy to play, despite its mounting difficulty which persists for over 300 levels.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Moving onto older hardware, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Also known simply as Punch-Out!! Has a longstanding reputation for being one thing. Incredibly difficult.

Based on careful timing which varies between each and every contestant, the game is punishingly difficult. But while that is the case, like Dark Souls it is a game which has secured its place in the annals of history as one of the greatest games of all time.

The game has also pushed a handful of players to playing the entire game blindfolded… And I know where I’ve heard of those kind of speed runs before…

Grim Fandango

Point and click isn’t a genre many modern gamers associate with difficulty. But if you’ve ever picked up an old instance of this genre, you’re sure to know the truth. These games brim with complex, obscure puzzles which have you wracking your brains and reaching for a walkthrough.

Grim Fandango is one of the most iconic games of this type, being both incredibly fun and complex.

Not to mention the game has a great score and features one of the most iconic characters in gaming history!

The Witness

If brain-scratching puzzles sound up your street, you need to look no further than The Witness.

Sharing a lot of DNA with Dark Souls, thanks to its implicit, environmental design and storytelling, the game sees you wander around a Myst-like island solving abstract puzzles.

From acclaimed designer Jonathan Blow, this is a game which will burn itself into your brain—not only due to its fantastic puzzles but also due to its deeper themes.

Getting Over It

Bennett Foddy’s Getting Over It has become a favourite among streamers, given its easy meme-worthiness. But behind this kitsch façade is an incredibly difficult and, dare I use the word again, punishing game.

You play as a man in a pot with a sledgehammer attempting to get up a seemingly insurmountable mountain, accompanied by a truly glorious voice over by Foddy himself. 

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve presents its main goal front and centre in its title. This survival horror game set in a cut-out world inspired by Tim Burton is totally uncompromising in its vision. Permadeath, a wealth of dangers and the eternal struggle to collect enough materials to stay alive make this 2013 classic still resonate today. Not to mention that the game’s many expansions, including a multiplayer add-on, have added to the variety and longevity of the game. 

So whether you’re a new or returning player, Don’t Starve is sure to fulfil your hopes for a difficult title.

Battletoads

Born in 1991 looking suspiciously like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the original Battletoads developed for the NES is known for being one of the most difficult games of all time. 

Seriously, this game is hard. While Souls veterans will attest to the series’ harsh but fair mentality, many lovers of Battletoads will fondly remember how totally brutal and unbalanced the game is. However this incredible difficulty is what has secured it such a beloved spot in gaming history.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

While this may strike many as a controversial pick, I think we can all agree that being the last-man standing in PUBG is far harder than finishing Dark Souls many times over. Not only is this down to the fact that you are playing with other experienced players, but also that those players are quick to punish any little mistake you may make in the way through a game.

Of course, we could choose from a variety of online games which we class as harder than Dark Souls, but, for us, PUBG takes the cake—especially as you can even get wrecked on the move through PUBG Mobile.

There are plenty of games on the market which are far harder than the Souls series. While these have been some of our favourites, do let us know if we’ve missed any of your favourites in the comments below.