What are the toughest video games on the market?

With the growth of the video game industry, more AAA productions have been designed with the aim of offering a smooth experience and being accessible to the greatest number of players, thus pushing developers to lower the difficulty level. Indie games are still exceptions, but if you are looking for a real challenge in the most popular games, you will surely have to select the hard mode to add spice to the adventure by increasing the number of enemies or limiting your access to resources. intended to help you complete the game.

However, some games are still imagined to be genuinely difficult and require perseverance on the part of players to progress, whether it is the underwater level recognized to enrage players in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or reappear at the campfire every two minutes after being poisoned by a rat in Dark Souls.

Ninja Gaiden: Black throne from games more difficult to finish from the market

Even if Ghosts’n Goblins is widely regarded as the most difficult game in history, it does not make this ranking because this iconic title is an arcade game dating back to 1985. So we did not have access to all the data for some of the indicators used.

Our ranking takes into account the level of difficulty as well as the popularity and reviews of the games.

Game Final difficulty score on * Number of hours for the main story Number of hours for a complete player ** % of abandons before the end of the game How Long To Beat Score Final score
1 Ninja Gaiden: Black 343 16 48 6% 89% 7.30
2 Dark Souls 645 43 105 4% 93% 7.18
3 osu! 28 344 1600 31% 81% 7.03
4 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 346 29 70 4% 90% 6.97
5 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -133 33 230 10% 87% 6.85
6 Super Meat Boy 119 10 44 15% 80% 6.83
7 Kerbal Space Program -6 115 363 17% 85% 6.73
8 Bloodborne 222 34 75 3% 93% 6.72
9 Celestial 40 8 38 2% 88% 6.64
10 BioShock -153 12 22 7% 86% 6.61

The 10 best challenging games to surpass yourself

These extreme games are part of the “masochistic” video game trend (the contraction of “masochism” and “hardcore”). This growing trend refers to a type of game designed to frustrate gamers using complex mechanics and nearly impossible storylines. Dark Souls, Cuphead and Super Meat Boy are among the most significant examples of this trend in recent years.

If you want real headaches and want to inflict some level of pain on yourself, we challenge you to try this ranking of the most extreme games.

This ranking only takes into account the level of difficulty of the games.

Game Favorable votes on difficulty on Ranker Unfavorable votes on difficulty on Ranker Final score on difficulty on Ranker Difficulty score
Ghosts’ n Goblins 1,365 396 969 10.00
Dark Souls 1,114 469 645 7.45
Battletoads 1,038 404 634 7.36
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 691 319 372 5.30
Cuphead 586 236 350 5.12
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 468 122 346 5.09
Ninja Gaiden: Black 611 268 343 5.07
Super Ghouls’ n Ghosts 500 223 277 4.55
Mega man 590 315 275 4.53
Castlevania 541 268 273 4.51

If you haven’t had your batch of Castlevania while playing the game, be aware that Netflix recently completed the eponymous series which now has a total of 4 seasons.

The longest difficult games to complete

Among the more difficult games, we’ve also grouped the longest games to complete fully using data from How Long to Beat, which tracks the number of hours required to complete games.

Game Number of hours for the main story Number of hours for the main story Final score
osu! 344 1600.0 10.00
Kerbal Space Program 115 363.0 3.52
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 33.5 230 2.08
Dark Souls II 44 120 1.91
Dark Souls 43 105 1.85
Nioh 35.5 95.5 1.73
Enter the Gungeon 21.5 155 1.71
Dark Souls III 32 94 1.68
Bloodborne 34 75.5 1.65

The title at the top of our list requires 1600 hours or more than 66 full days if you want to complete all the challenges in the game! As indicated above, osu! is not designed to be finished, which explains the mind-blowing number of hours. But if you’re aiming to complete the main story, osu! asks you “only” 344 hours of your time.

We also notice that the toughest games aren’t necessarily the longest to complete, apart from osu! and Kerbal Space Program, because the games on our list take an average of 20 hours to complete.

As a benchmark, completing a game’s main story typically takes 40 to 60 hours at most.


We ranked a series of games based on the following metrics:

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