Whilst it is customary for any games website worth its salt to run down its nominations for Game of the Year every December, we also like to have a little bit of fun, reminiscing on the worst games to offend our eyes from the last twelve months. So we’ve picked out ten of the worst Xbox games to launch in 2022; eight of these titles receiving an abominable 1/5 score, whilst the top two are sharing the coveted 0.5/5 review score – something only a handful of developers have managed to achieve. Stick that one on your box!
So, grab a mug of warm cocoa and settle down as we run through the ten worst Xbox games that we have had the displeasure of reviewing in 2022. Steer your cash well clear of these ones, otherwise you might as well throw it into a fire.
10) Mozart Requiem
For all the criminal behaviour in Mozart Requiem, the biggest crime here is charging more than thirty pounds for what is a poor attempt at a point and click adventure.
I’m no historian, but I don’t think Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the biggest of gamers, however Mozart Requiem – a revamped version of 2009’s Mozart: The Conspirator’s of Prague – will certainly have the revered musician rhythmically turning in his grave.
We sentence Mozart Requiem to a life sentence, guilty of terrible point-and-click gameplay, downright offensive visuals, and enough glitches to make you think this was developed back in the 18th Century.
You’ll be stepping into the shoes of our titular hero, in 1788 as he attempts to clear his name from a coup against Emperor Joseph II. The way you must go about solving this murderous mystery is by pointing and clicking to victory. The only problem is that the puzzles afoot scarcely have any logic to them whatsoever, and any attempt to solve said riddles is usually met with a host of bugs and glitches.
Getting across the eighteen levels is equally a nightmare, as the bizarre decision to put a 3D model into 2D environments is laughable, as are the inconsistent attempts at subtitling.
The music choices are bangers though, but a few months of Spotify Premium costs less than the £31.99 (!!!) that is the current asking price of Mozart Requiem (or is it Mozart’s Requiem, for they seemingly can’t even get the game name right) on the Xbox Store.
9) Retro Pixel Racers
In the past few months, we’ve experienced a traffic jam of top-down racers. And right at the back, way behind the rest of them, is Retro Pixel Racers. It offers no excuses: it flicks the bird as it passes, with no multiplayer, no game modes, no track variation and a top-speed just north of a shopping trolley. This is an aggressively bad racer that doesn’t even offer the courtesy of an easy 1000G.
Yet another top-down racer that has come on to saturate the Xbox market. It’s by no means a bad thing to have so many choices when it comes to action-packed, exhilarating arcade racing that we can enjoy over the winter months, however Retro Pixel Racers brings as much enjoyment as going down the M25 in a 1982 Ford Fiesta.
The main reason for such an elaborate simile? Well, JanduSoft and developer Josep Monzonis Hernandez have made the bizarre decision to forgo online leaderboards, competitive multiplayer or anything else that makes this genre so addictive, and go completely single player. That’s right, the only racing on offer here is of the solo variety, against a lacklustre AI.
Another decision which makes us think that they were deliberately trying to make a bad game regards the hit detection. Smack against the wall of a track and you’ll be stuck to it, only able to very slowly reverse out, firmly in the wake of your competitors. Any contact with the race wall and you can kiss any chance of victory goodbye. But you did already remove the opportunity for fun when booting up Retro Pixel Racers, so you can’t exactly be surprised.
If you want a fun top-down racer to whittle the hours away with, check out the likes of Bloody Rally Show, and avoid this tyre fire of a game like the plague.
8) Hunt Ducks II
Hunt Ducks II is Duck Hunt. It’s Duck Hunt to the point of a cease-and-desist. But you can imagine the lawyers for the defence making their case: look, this one doesn’t have a gun peripheral. It doesn’t have any game modes. It doesn’t even have the chuckly charm from the dog. You can’t possibly sue Hunt Ducks II for copyright infringement, because it is clearly so much less than Duck Hunt.
When your half-assed attempt at a clone of a game from 1980’s is so bad that copyright lawyers probably can’t be bothered to sue, that’s almost more embarrassing than May’s Hunt Ducks II itself.
For the low, low price of £0.79, you too can enjoy the captivating gameplay on offer here – at least you could if the Xbox Store page hadn’t been pulled. With revolutionary mechanics such as ‘point the cursor here and pull the trigger’, and ‘shoot more ducks for a higher score’, perhaps it’s that we are just too unintelligent to appreciate the gameplay on offer here. Who are we kidding? This is somehow a worse arcade offering, in 2022, with the power of the Xbox Series X, than the original that kicked it all off on the NES.
To give Hunt Ducks II credit, you can play this one with a buddy (take that, Retro Pixel Racers!), however after ten minutes they’ll probably be wondering what kind of friend you are.
7) Slap the Rocks
Slap the Rocks feels like a case of squandered potential. Thirty levels should have been more than enough to experiment with some interesting mechanics and offer up some truly challenging puzzles. Instead, we have a game that is overly repetitive, overly simplistic and much too short. Look elsewhere. Slap the Rocks can kick rocks.
Whilst achievement hunters may be up in arms at the decision to put Slap the Rocks up on this list, anyone else will soon tire of the repetitive puzzling on offer with Slap the Rocks.
The premise is simple: you’ll be quite literally slapping a grid of rocks around in order to carve out a path to the treasure, across a set of thirty incredibly samey levels. There’s very little innovation on offer here, making this one-and-done title one of the easiest competitions for a game out there. Seriously, this one will take up half your lunch break, before you can go out into the world and do something productive once again.
Add in the fact that this 20-minute experience currently sets you back £4.19 to purchase, and Slap the Rocks becomes a slap in the face.
6) Midnight School Walk
We’re still in shock, having finished Midnight School Walk more times than we’d care for. That’s not because it’s scary: oh no, this is about as horrific as watching scenes from Ringu out of order. We’re in shock because this is possibly the most insulting purchase we’ve made on the Xbox Store.
We’re not sure which should be more illegal: spending £11.99 from the Xbox Store to play Midnight School Walk, or actually walking around a school at midnight. With the fact that playing Midnight School Walk in English, with dev placeholder text littered around the place like a virus, we wager it would be the former.
Whilst the cutesy manga art style of this visual novel certainly isn’t the worst offender, it’s difficult to give Midnight School Walk anything higher than a 1/5 if you don’t fluently speak Japanese. This is because, in a move that has our heads being eternally scratched, the devs at Hautecouture Inc. decided to funnel the Japanese into English via an automated translate. The result is a piece of comedy that the finest sketch writers across the world would loved to have dreamt up. However, despite the bastardised language being funny at first, soon enough the game becomes incomprehensive – truly the scariest element of a game designed to be actually scary.
Perhaps the most unforgivable sin of Midnight School Walk, despite all this, is that each achievement grants you either 6G or 8G. Way to go, Midnight School Walk, now my Gamerscore counter looks all weird.
Oh, and you can’t save the game either. Good luck!
5) Ground War: Tank Battle
You could viably use Ground War: Tank Battle as a form of torture. Whisper “120 levels of tank-battling action” in our ear and we’ll spasm to the floor, the trauma of multiple hours with it still fresh in our memory.
Yet another piece of 79p Xbox Store shovelware that has left us tearing our hair out at the unacceptable garbage that lay before us.
Ground War: Tank Battle had one particular reviewer weeping at the prospect of laying down words for this abomination. Despite being able to bring a co-op partner along for the ride, rescuing some semblance of sanity, navigating 120 dull, mazey levels, in order to shoot volleys of cannonfire at fellow tanks is certainly not the ideal way to spend what precious time we have on this planet.
Each level is virtually identical, leaving us wondering how much of a missed opportunity Ground War: Tank Battle could have been – we could have been dashing across maps, taking pot-shots at enemy vehicles and protecting our own. We are always here for new ideas, Gamella Studios!
At best, Ground War: Tank Battle is an opportunity to let out the rage developed as a result of buying this game. At worst, it’s a dull, unenjoyable insult to Battle City, a 1990 Game Boy classic.
4) Blade Runner Enhanced Edition
All in all, Blade Runner Enhanced Edition is, and I want to choose my words carefully here, absolutely awful.
We wince whenever we hear that a classic game from the ’90s is being remade to suit 2022 hardware. A lot of work must go into touching up graphics, revitalising the controls, and ensuring there is an audience in the 21st Century. For Blade Runner Enhanced Edition, none of those boxes were ticked, leaving us with some of the worst controller integration we can remember, and a game only Harrison Ford could extract some molecule of enjoyment from.
Whilst developers Nightdive Studios – established figures in the remake space – brag of thirteen different endings for Blade Runner Enhanced Edition, we were glad to make it to one, and then called it a day. You see, whilst the draw of playing through a Blade Runner game nowadays seems exciting, and some of the detective work on offer here was fun for a bit, the graphics and controls had our heads more immersed in the toilet bowl than the game. They were sickening, is what we are getting at.
Especially with regards to the pointer, which is so small that we can hardly see it, making conversations or shooting impossible to carry out with any consistency, it’s a shame to say that the basics is where we were let down with Blade Runner Enhanced Edition. Maybe in the future we’ll get our perfect Blade Runner game, although we might be waiting until 2049 for that to come to fruition.
3) Happi Basudei
Happi Basudei didn’t even feel good to play. The controls are somehow borked, as there’s no ability to correct the direction of a jump after you’ve pressed it. Jump and, without fail, you will leap vertically upwards. You have to be pressing a direction with the jump if you want to be able to correct it. It might not seem like much, but when you’re playing for only fifteen minutes and the only thing you can do is jump, it becomes a fundamental element to get wrong.
At its core, success in Happi Basudei is defined by not picking up a coin, not touching an enemy, and not having fun.
Most of our time spent with what appeared to be a homage to games of decades gone by was away from the controller, usually doing something we much preferred to do in life – like play something that’s not called Happi Basudei. For reasons only made clear by the word ‘karma’ in the corner of the screen, the whole point of Happi Basudei is not to pick up any items or kill enemies, for those who chase wealth or violence will live an unhappy life, or something.
Seriously, what were the developers thinking? A game in which you don’t move is a game you don’t actually have to play. At least in later levels some human input is required, with projectiles coming your way that must be dodged, but even then did we find the jumping mechanics butchered.
At the end of the day, 15 minutes of our life for 1000G is the only redeeming factor making Happi Basudei a cut above the next two stinkers on this list.
2) Cazzarion: Demon Hunting
Honestly, there are absolutely no redeeming features to Cazzarion: Demon Hunting and the last straw for me and my playthrough came on the house map: I’d painstakingly cleared the upstairs floor of the house, then positioned myself at the top of the stairs, surmising that demons would have to come up the stairs to get me, giving me sufficient time to shoot them all. But no, they spawned from behind me, in an empty bathroom, and I was killed. At this point I walked away.
To get half a mark on your review score, all your game has to do is be able to run on an Xbox. Thankfully, Cazzarion: Demon Hunting can overcome this hurdle, albeit not with flying colours. Anything extra and you are simply asking too much of this bizarre third-person shooter – an ambitious genre to tackle when it appears the development team are still living on the Xbox 360.
Stay alive, and slay demons. That’s the aim of Cazzarion: Demon Hunting, and for all of about five minutes it can be fun to see little pieces of demon adorning the hellish landscape you find yourself in. Then you realise that you could just play DOOM Eternal on Game Pass, and soon enjoyment turns to horror, as the ugliness of Cazzarion comes to the fore.
With little in the way of story, weapon diversity, or exciting maps to discover, soon enough you’ll be trapped in the same loop of shooting up some demons for a while, before one unfairly spawns behind you and ends your life. Before, oh joy, we get to do it all over again. The presence of weird shark enemies and a ‘tranfeminine lesbian werepig’ breathes some emotion back into the game, although that emotion is disgust at playing Cazzarion: Demon Hunting.
1) Mini Hockey Battle – 0.5/5
I have, in my time at TheXboxHub, reviewed close to four-hundred games. Mini Hockey Battle is, by some clear distance, the worst game of that four-hundred. While jotting down my sheer dislike and bewilderment at Mini Hockey Battle, I’ve twice misspelled it as Mini Hickey Battle, and I would play that game thirty times over instead of one more game of this. I can’t think of something worse you could do for 79p.
Four-hundred games, and this is the worst that our Dave has played?! Well, Mini Hockey Battle can sit nowhere else than top of this list, and is crowned TheXboxHub’s Worst Game of the Year 2022.
The interpretation of NHL that would have been made if all the EA employees were replaced by their own children, Mini Hockey Battle is pretty much a clone of those ‘head football’ games that adorn the mobile market, seeing two players flick footballs over each other’s head into a net.
However, this is ice hockey, a sport in which the puck typically stays on the ground. The reason why the aim of the game is to rush to your opponent, lob the puck up and into the goal, repeating until victory, is beyond us. It quickly becomes clear that the developers wished only to carve out a very particular niche in the hockey market, although they seemed to fail at this too.
Without the draw of any form of multiplayer, leaving you to sit back and lob the computer, over and over again, we genuinely can’t see fun in Mini Hockey Battle for more than five minutes.
For £0.79 from the Xbox Store (at least it was until it was seemingly pulled off the market), picking up a copy of Mini Hockey Battle isn’t going to break the bank, and might be a nice gift for your mortal enemies, for example. Otherwise, do not go anywhere near this game – it is quite literally the worst Xbox game of 2022.
Congratulations to Mini Hockey Battle! You have been such an atrocious game that you still have us talking nearly a year after release.
Is there any game that you have checked out in 2022 that just has to be laughed at on this list? Let us know down in the comments below and on our social media channels. Here’s to hoping that 2023 doesn’t bless us with any more 0.5/5 scores.