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The hardest games in 2024

The hardest games on Switch and mobile pose an intense challenge, offering gruelling experiences from a range of genres such as roguelikes.

Hardest games - Zagreus from Hades stood in front of key art from Dark Souls

What are the hardest games? You either love or hate a challenging experience, and I happen to belong to the first category. So, to help out my fellow suckers for punishment, I jumped into the best hard games I could find, just so I can tell you if they’re worth your time or not.

If hard games aren’t your jam, perhaps our lists of the best Lego games, FNAF games, Horror games, FPS games, and Zelda games are more to your liking. Or, if these games aren’t hard enough, you can test your mettle with our picks for the best Soulslike games on Nintendo Switch and mobile.

Here are the hardest games on Switch and mobile:

Hard games: a chosen undead sat at a bonfire in Dark Souls

Dark Souls – Switch

When a game is responsible for an entire genre, it’s clearly doing something right, and for Dark Souls, there are a lot of things it nails. The SoulsBorne games are renowned for their difficulty, but if you’re a Switch user, you only have access to Dark Souls Remastered, for now, at least.

In Dark Souls, you’re the Chosen Undead, a nobody who wakes up in a long-forgotten asylum and must rise up and save this land your way – there are two distinct endings to the game, though it’s only your end choice that really makes a difference. During your time in Lordran, you encounter many enemies, explore various locations, and face some tough bosses. As this is an RPG, you get to adapt your character to your own playstyle through attributes, armor, and weapons. I enjoy using skill through dexterity and strength, though I can’t deny how much fun it is to use pyromancies and magic.

To get to grips with the story, which can be very convoluted, make sure you read our Dark Souls Gwyn, Dark Souls Gwyndolin, and Dark Souls Gwynevere guides to see how the royal family plays a part in the happenings of this world.

Dark Souls really is one of the hardest games you can play, so should you need assistance on your journey, our Dark Souls bosses guide is full of useful tips. We also have a games like Dark Souls list in case you’re after some similar experiences.

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Crash 4: It’s About Time – Switch

Were Crash games always this difficult? – Yes, this is a serious question. Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time is arguably one of the best Switch platformers out there, but that doesn’t mean it won’t leave you screaming into the void as you fall down holes, get blown up by crates, overjump, underjump, get hit by enemies, and more – the ways in which your journey can end are limitless.

However, the level design in Crash 4 is fantastic (good thing, too, considering how many times you need to replay them if you want to 100% the game, more on that in a bit), and there’s no denying how smooth the controls feel. Better yet, the game doesn’t limit you to playing as Crash and Coco, as you can complete levels as Neo Cortex, Tawna, and Dingodile – he’s not in the bayou no more. On top of that, the story is fantastic, and the levels and costumes have some great names, such as big horn energy and ship happens – indeed it does Crash, indeed it does.

There is one small caveat about Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time, however, and that’s the fact that it’s highly repetitive if you want to get the secret endings. What I mean by that is that you might be playing the same level ten times or more, depending on how often you die or miss crates. Then you need to do it all again in N-Verted mode, which is the same level, just with weird filters over the top. Some of these filters are infuriating, to say the least – go on; I dare you to try and speed through a level with water physics.

Hard games: Call of Duty Mobile soldiers walking through a desert

Call of Duty: Mobile – mobile

Okay, hear me out on this one. Truthfully, PUBG, Garena Free Fire, Fortnite, and all manner of mobile shooters could be on this list, and that’s for the simple reason that the difficulty is subjective to you as a player. CoD: Mobile could be one of the hardest games you’ll ever play if you’re against tough opposition and aren’t the best player yourself. It also comes down to your teammates. Perhaps you’re a Call of Duty god, but your pals aren’t fit for duty – this leaves you at a severe disadvantage.

You may also find an increase in difficulty depending on the game mode you’re in. Some may be easier for you than others, and some you might just think are tedious to the point where you just can’t get your head in the game. Personally, I thrive in domination, though I’m also able to hold my own in team deathmatch and hardpoint – anything beyond those three, and I can be a bit of a lost cause. Actually, I do like dropkick; it’s fun running around while listening to Benny Hill. Seriously, try it the next time you’re holding the briefcase.

Should the skill gods not be on your side, our Call of Duty: Mobile codes list can give you some pretty things that might soften the blow of defeat.

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Another Crab’s Treasure

You won’t find a much greater challenge than that posed by a Soulslike, and Another Crab’s Treasure is the perfect example of this, for no matter how adorable it looks, it’s a grueling experience. As you can probably guess, you play as a crab who finds itself in a bit of a pinch.

You need to go on a journey that involves fighting all sorts of underwater creatures, though you have access to an assortment of gear that may make your adventure just that little bit easier. You can find various shells that act as your armor and discarded trash that you can use as weapons and items. It’s a hard game, but a bit of perseverance and you’ll get good in not time

Hard games: Hades key art showing Zagreus and Lenny in hell

Hades – Switch

Masterpiece, sublime, terrific, fan-bloody-tastic, and many more wonderful words can describe Hades. However, it’s also brutally difficult, at least to begin with. Hades is a narrative-driven roguelike set in the underworld of Ancient Greece. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades and Persephone, and he longs to find his mother, which means you need to fight through the stages of Hell – Tartrius, Asphodel, and Elysium.

Not only do you face many enemies, but each area ends with a boss fight, so you’d best prepare yourself to fight valkyries, a hydra, a Greek hero, and the big man himself, Hades. On your journey, your relatives on Mt Olympus help you, with gods such as Zeus, Athena, Artemis, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Ares, and more, lending you their strength, each giving you different abilities.

Death means you have to start over, to a certain extent. Yes, your current run is over, but you do get to keep your upgrades, and each failed attempt progresses numerous story arcs. Hades is a truly phenomenal game that deserves your attention. Don’t believe us? Check out our Hades review to see why we’re right, then head over to our list of games like Hades.

All we can do now is wait for the day we are told that Hades 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch when it leaves early access – please make it so, Supergiant Games, we’re all for playing yet another hard game.

Dead Cells – Switch and mobile

This roguevania poses a challenge to Switch and mobile players far and wide. When we say this is one of the hardest games out there, we mean it. It’s futile to attempt Dead Cells unless you’re willing to learn, change, and adapt through failure because you’ll die and die again during your time with this game. However, the good news is that combat is so satisfying. If you like difficult games, mastering fight sequences in Dead Cells is bound to appeal to you.

To give you a head start, we have a Dead Cells map guide to help you pick which rooms to go into. If you want to know more about this fantastic game and the Dead Cells Castlevania DLC, you can check out our Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC review.

Hard games: Cuphead screenshot showing in the middle of a fight with the evil clown in the theme park

Cuphead – Switch

Cuphead is a superb run-and-gun game that features unique bosses, all of which are a pain in the butt to defeat. Honestly, Cuphead is the ultimate hard game, and if it’s a challenge you want, it’s a grueling experience you get. You take on the role of Cupman, a poor little dude who owes the Devil his soul, as does Mugman, his brother. Luckily for you, Cuphead’s Devil is feeling generous – if you can call it that – as he makes a deal, one that sees you travel all over the Inkwell isles in search of those in debt to the devil.

Of course, none of the Cuphead characters want to give the devil their soul, so you have to run and gun your way through various levels, all while you avoid the numerous projectiles that the Cuphead bosses throw at you. Nevertheless, Cuphead is a fantastic game, and its classic cartoon art style makes you feel okay, even after 100 deaths.

To show your love for this game, check out our Cuphead plush and Cuphead Funko Pop guides.

Hard Games: Three different Lara Crofts stood next to each other with the game logo to the right of them

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered collection

Do we really need to say why the Tomb Raider I-III Remastered collection is worthy of a place on this list? We do? Okay, buckle up. As our Tomb Raider I-III Remastered review explains, these three games are notorious for their challenging controls, though you can make this argument for a lot of the hardest games from the 1990s.

However, the esteemed trilogy features challenging gameplay due to the puzzles, traps, and combat that you need to overcome in each adventure. There’s a learning curve to these Tomb Raider games, but when you overcome it, you get to discover why they’re regarded as one of the greatest trilogies of all time.

Included in the collection are Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, and Tomb Raider III, which were originally released in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Tomb Raider: The Last Revolution came out in 1999, but it didn’t make the cut for the remastered collection.

If you want to enjoy other franchises that got their start in the golden year of 1996, check out our Resident Evil games and Crash Bandicoot games lists. Or, if you can’t wait for a new Tomb Raider game, check out our guide diving into what we think you can expect from the next entry.

There you have it, some hard games on Switch and mobile – good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. If you want something a bit more magical to play, head over to our best Disney games list. Go one, make those games part of your world.