The post-apocalyptic motif is rife with imaginative settings, grand concepts, and plenty of gritty, dark flair to distinguish it. These traits make it a fine complement for the creative, immersive medium of gaming. Still, just like in film and TV - the prominent grey hues and various tropes make it susceptible to feeling cliche or bland.

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It's tough to take the idea in new directions or explore terrain not already covered by the likes of say, Fallout, Gears of War, or Mad Max. And yet, there are still plenty of efforts that manage to reinvigorate with this style, thanks to their refreshing concepts and gripping gameplay. These often tend to be efforts that are largely overlooked or overshadowed by the heavy hitters. With that said, here are 10 of the most awesome post-apocalyptic games you haven't played.

10 AER: Memories Of Old (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC)

Post-apocalyptic romps are often known for their thick atmosphere, and Forgotten Key's AER definitely stays true to this. Players take control of a rare Shapeshifter in a vast, vacant world - as they fly and leap across a slew of fractured islands and deep caverns.

The game feels akin to playing through a dream, with its surreal settings and eerie emptiness throughout this 5-hour journey. The game fuses 3D platforming with flying and puzzle elements, as players explore this vast, wondrous ruin, and uncover secrets left behind by the gods of old.


9 Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins Of The Moon (Wii)

Outside of Xenoblade and perhaps The Last Story, one doesn't often think of rich, captivating RPGs when it comes to the Wii. Yet, there are certainly some overlooked and underrated entries on this front. Case in point? Tri-Crescendo's Fragile, a cerebral ARPG that's drifted as silently under the radar as the ghoulish baddies in the game.

Players take on the role of Seto, who must traverse the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo populated by spirits. The game stresses exploration and puzzle-solving rather than a bombardment of action. With naught but a flashlight and a few basic weapons, gameplay as a whole proves more passive. Rather, the silent, atmospheric moments and lush set pieces tend to take center stage here.

8 ReCore (Xbox One/PC)

This action romp isn't without its technical blemishes. Regardless, the "core" experience is one wrought with fun, exciting gameplay that brings an arcade-style vibe to home consoles. As a volunteer of the newly-settled planet of Far Eden, players awaken from cryo-sleep only to find a crucial mission has failed.

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Along with the help of robotic companions, players must explore and pick up the pieces in this hostile land. They'll solve puzzles, blast foes, and unearth what went wrong with their mission. ReCore is an enjoyable blend of action, exploration, and puzzle-tinged platforming.

7 Earth Seeker (Wii)

It's understandable that this one was so overlooked since it never saw the light of day outside Japan - beyond a Western fan-made translation. This lush, vibrant RPG has shades of Xenoblade Chronicles, with majestic landscapes and open-world sensibilities.

Yet, its plot is more akin to the lesser-known Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U. It's centered around the remnants of humanity gathering their remaining resources and venturing to a new planet. Like the game's isolated colony, Earth Seeker itself remains confined in terms of accessibility for now. Still, studio Xseed has expressed interest in an official localization - so here's hoping!

6 Daemon X Machina (Switch)

It's odd that this one never quite took off, being a rare Switch exclusive, and one that's been relatively favored among critics. In fairness, its prototypical mech-shooting gameplay might deter some.

Regardless, Daemon X Machina stands as a delightful, action-packed romp from studio Marvelous. The vast, post-apocalyptic settings coax the player to explore and plunder while gunning down rival mechs. The game pummels with thrilling action while adding depth with customizable mechs and swappable loadouts.

5 Inside (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC)

It's no easy feat to craft such an interesting game that's also so passive and minimalistic. Yet, studio Playdead certainly achieves this, with this highly somber, atmospheric trip.

This sidescroller conveys its dark, twisted narrative through bold silhouetted imagery, keeping players enticed with each shocking twist and turn. Each of the fairly challenging puzzles is unique and cleverly interwoven into INSIDE's grim story. This resides deeper in the realm of "dark dystopia" rather than "Armageddon." Still, the game contains a palpable feeling of isolation and glumness that certainly feels post-apocalyptic.

4 Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC)

It makes sense that a tactical RPG based on an established tabletop franchise would have rich lore and interesting gameplay elements. It's certainly the case for Mutant Year Zero, a game whose heroes seem like outcasts from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.

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In a post-nuclear war era that sees most of mankind wiped out, players are tasked with venturing through ruins crawling with Ghouls and crazed human survivors. The combat is a satisfying blend of turn-based combat and stealth, proving in-depth while being fairly easy to handle.

3 Draw Chilly (PC/Switch)

This charming, retro-style action game pushes boundaries - not just with its array of bizarre baddies, but also its unique setting. Instead of a straight-up post-apocalyptic premise, Draw Chilly has players fighting in the depths of endless purgatory.

Not only this but the famed "four horsemen of the apocalypse" play a role in this rapid-fire survival romp. HYPETRAIN DIGITAL offers a bombardment of thrilling, addictive gameplay, which is simply a steal at just 3USD.

2 RAD (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC)

The only thing more epic than one bout of Armageddon is two of them. That's right - studio Double Fine lives up to their name here by doubling up on post-apocalyptic events that set the stage for this chaotic action game.

As one might expect with a world hit with two bouts of devastation, RAD's procedurally generated worlds are (literally) radiant with toxic waste and monstrous mutations. These hostile conditions provide tons of grind-it-out hazards for players. The game avoids feeling like a bland or cliched effort, despite its prominent wasteland theme. Double Fine achieves this with some delightful 80s flair and heavy roguelike elements. The crux of the fun, though, lies in the slew of mutation attacks and abilities obtained during this wild journey.

1 Resonance Of Fate (PS4/PS3/Xbox 360)

Though this was overshadowed by heavy-hitters such as Final Fantasy, Resonance of Fate is a similarly memorable RPG with its own post-apocalyptic spin. The vibe feels akin to The Matrix both thematically and mechanically; and indeed, tri-Ace has made it known that this is an influence of the game.

2010's Resonance of Fate fuses JRPG elements with the pacing of Western action films, decorated with steampunk flair. As this 40-hour romp takes place on a huge tower - the last bastion of humanity - it holds a prominent "industrial" feel. This atmospheric journey is enhanced by its acrobatic combat, balancing tactical elements with action-based shooting.

NEXT: The 5 Best Post-Apocalyptic Games Of All Time (& The 5 Worst)

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