Games are one of the most unique forms of entertainment available. Interactive and dynamic, the hands-on nature of video games allows developers to focus on crafting the most enjoyable experience possible. This includes blending elements and ideas from other places, to form something that feels truly special.
Some developers do this by combining multiple genres of games, melding their end product into a game that feels like nothing we've ever seen before. Like chocolate and peanut butter, some tastes just go great together, despite how unexpected those combinations may be. Here are some examples of great games that blend multiple genres together.
10 Valkyria Chronicles
Sega's Valkyria Chronicles series has developed a cult following since its original introduction on the PS3. The game's gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and enthralling story of a fictional war go a long way in adding to the charm of these games, but it's the unique gameplay systems that make the series stand out.
Valkyria Chronicles is a turn-based strategy game with elements of a third-person shooter. You'll select each individual soldier in your platoon, taking control of them one at a time to move them as far as their range of movement will allow — a staple of strategy games. Once you've set yourself into position, however, you'll take aim in third person, commanding your soldier to fire off at nearby enemies and hazards. The depth of this combination is truly remarkable, with battles becoming increasingly intense as new elements are introduced.
9 Golf story
Golf Story is a charming RPG about a young golfer attempting to recapture his passion for the sport. It may seem like a small-scale game with a niche concept, but don't let the stylized retro graphics fool you. There's a surprising amount of content to be found across the game's eight areas.
In Golf Story, you'll attempt to rise in the ranks as a golfer, building connections with the various members of your golf club and participating in a range of activities in between competing on the course. Golfing is quite fun, but the surprising variety of adventures you'll take part in during the game take it to a whole new level.
8th Cult of the Lamb
Cult of the Lamb is a truly one-of-a-kind video game. In this dark and ominous roguelike, you'll control a former sacrificial lamb, resurrected by your dark ruler in an attempt to defeat the four heretics trying to banish him. You'll hack and slash your way through legions of enemies in four different environments, as you make your way to your four targets.
You'll also rescue and recruit followers along the way, allowing you to build up a cult of your own in order to worship your master. There is an involved management sim at play in Cult of the Lamb — you'll build your base, hold sermons, perform rituals and even farm resources to feed your followers. Who knew running a cult was such hard work?
7 Neon White
At first glance, you may think that Neon White is just another high-octane first-person shooter with an unusually colorful art style. And while you will be shooting at a variety of monsters, the real fun comes when you discard your weapons.
Your guns in Neon White are presented as cards, and running out of ammo causes you to lose that particular card. If you choose to discard your card early, however, you'll instead use each weapon's special ability — the pistol gives you a double jump, the rifle allows you to dash forward through foes, et cetera. The one-of-a-kind mechanics give this shooter the feel of an action-packed platformer, and that's before you delve into the game's optional visual novel-inspired mechanics.
6 Loot River
One of the more unique concepts for a roguelike, Loot River is a title that blends puzzle solving with violent and fast-paced action. As you slaughter your way through the procedurally generated ruins, you'll also control the platforms you stand on, sliding each Tetris block-shaped platform in order to progress further or fight strategically.
Is the platform next to you full of enemies? Allow a few of them over to your block, then move it away to spread them out. Stuck in a corridor that's too small for your platform? Adjust the set of shifting blocks until you can gain control of a smaller one that'll fit. Puzzling out your way through each area, as you acquire increasingly powerful weapons and abilities, makes this one of the more intriguing combinations of game genres we've seen.
At times, Moonlighter feels like playing two games at once. In the first, you'll journey into a dangerous dungeon, cutting down monstrous opponents and collecting resources and materials. The game's combat is fun, fluid, and can present quite a challenge at times.
The second half of the game, however, starts when you exit the dungeon and return to your hometown. Here, you run and manage a shop, selling the materials that you've gathered on your quest. You'll set prices, hold sales, and even deal with thieves, as you try to turn a profit before returning to your more adventurous ways.
The pitch for Rollerdrome is immediately evident when you boot the game up - what if Tony Hawk, but with guns? In this skating shooter, you'll rollerblade around various arenas, performing tricks to reload your weapons and gunning down enemies as you skate.
What seems like a surprising idea will quickly leave you coming back for more, as you try to power through each of the games' challenges. You'll also begin to unravel the secrets behind this dark and dangerous sport, with subtle hints as to the nature of the competition popping up as you make progress.
3 Crypt Of The Necrodancer
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more original idea than Crypt of the Necrodancer. A rhythm-based roguelike, the game tasks you with trekking your way through its dungeons and defeating the boss, or simply surviving until the end of each song.
Every action you take in this roguelike adventure will be taken to the beat of its background music. You control the entire game simply by moving in one of four directions, lending the game a sense of simplicity that compliments it's timing and rhythm-heavy gameplay. If you're into this particular blend of dungeons and dance moves, be sure to also check out Cadence of Hyrule, the game's Zelda-based spinoff.
2 Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
The original Ni No Kuni is a good example of blending genres in its own right, with it's melding of traditional RPG gameplay and the capturing of Familiars — much in the style of games like Pokemon. Ni No Kuni II expands on this formula even further, adding in a town building element to the mix.
You'll play as Evan, a tiny king who's attempting to rebuild the kingdom of Evermore from the ground up. In between journeying into the world, doing battle with both your weapons and your element-based Higgledies, you'll return to your base of operations, steadily building up the camp into a realm fit for a ruler.
1 Nier Automata
Summarizing Nier Automata is an incredibly complicated task. The game opens in a shoot-em-up style, placing you into the cockpit of a mech suit that glides along a set path, shooting down enemies as they appear. Eventually, you'll find yourself on foot, where you'll be able to hack through foes with melee attacks and combos, while still retaining the ability to gun down anything in your path.
Of course, this is only scratching the surface of what Nier Automata actually is. The game is worth experiencing as blindly as possible, but its various gameplay systems, characters, story beats, and mind-blowing twists are sure to keep you engaged. Just make sure you play through it more than once.
NEXT: Weirdest Video Game Genres, Ranked