Sony’s PlayStation 4 is in an envious position right now. It not only has a healthy library filled with must-have exclusives and third party software, but has already surpassed lifetime sales of the Super Nintendo and will likely finish ahead of the likes of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 when all is said and done. With so many consoles and games out in the wild, it’s only natural that a fair number of deserving titles have either been left in the dust or don’t get the recognition they arguably deserve.
Those are the titles I’d like to highlight today: the PS4’s hidden gems, the games that seem to get the short end of the stick whether in terms of sales, critical reception, or just popularity in general. If you’ve exhausted all of the PS4’s “best” games and are looking for something new to play, you could do a lot worse than the following undervalued games.
30. Nex Machina
Housemarque is one of the most talented indie developers in the world and have been with the PS4 from the start, having released the side-scrolling shooter Resogun to critical claim alongside the console’s launch in 2013. The studio’s commitment to twin stick shooters inspired by retro arcade coin-ops culminated in 2017 with Nex Machina, a top-down shooter made in collaboration with Eugene Jarvis, the legend behind arcade classics such as Defender, Robotron 2084, and Smash TV. Fittingly, the game mixes elements of all those games and even brings back the hostage rescuing mechanics from Resogun, only this time you’re defending humanity from waves of robotic enemies. A variety of power-ups can be attained in random order in each level and the game provides a nice sense of empowerment as you stack these power-ups on top of each other, though you’ll lose a power-up each time you die.
Much like the best arcade shoot-em-ups, Nex Machina has a high skill ceiling and the “real” game opens up after you complete the arcade mode once through, as there are a variety of challenges available to put your skills to the test. Sadly, poor sales of Nex Machina led to Housemarque releasing a statement in 2017 declaring that “Arcade is Dead,” and that they would be moving on to different types of game development. If Nex Machina really is the last arcade shooter we ever get from Housemarque, as least the studio went out with a hell of a swan song.