10 Worst Free Games (According To Metacritic)

It’s pretty easy to find highly rated games on Metacritic; however, finding the really bad games is a lot more of a challenge. Many of the worst games have no critic or user reviews at all, despite having been created years ago. Critics probably don’t want to waste time writing a review for a game that nobody is going to play, even for free. So for this article the game only needs to have either a critic rating or user score – most entries have both though. When the Metacritic data is somewhat lacking for an entry, the game’s rating on Steam will also be given. These games challenge the notion that one can’t complain about the price of something when it’s free.

10 Defiance 2050 – 48 Rating, 2.6 User Score

Defiance 2050 was released in July of 2018 by Trion Worlds. The game takes place in the world created by the Defiance show on the Syfy channel that ran for three seasons. In the Defiance universe, a group of various alien refugees have arrived on earth, and their arrival eventually sparked a war with humans that altered the landscape of Earth. Defiance 2050 is an expansion to the original companion game. The problem most critics and users had with this game is that for an expansion there wasn’t much added – and the game it was expanding on wasn’t highly rated, to begin with.

9 Catan Universe – No Critic Score Yet, 3.0 User Score

Catan Universe is based on the Settlers of Catan board game but is not nearly as beloved. This game is well over two years old and has an extensive Wikipedia entry, yet it does not have a single critic review on Metacritic. This seems odd considering how popular the Catan games generally are –whether in tabletop or video game format.

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The user score is 3.0, but there are only two reviews. There are 1,647 reviews on Steam however, and the aggregate score from those reviews is 42%. The biggest complaint is the rubber-banding; the game will help players falling behind during a game and hinder players that get off to an early lead.

8 Gasp – No Critic Rating, 4.0 User Score

A quick search for really awful games usually has a few top results that mention Gasp. This game is well known for being bad. Despite the game being over four years old, there are no critic reviews for this game yet. On Steam, Gasp has 1,483 reviews and a rating of 21% - making it one of the lowest-rated games on the platform. The game has a decent premise; the player is an astronaut stranded on a planet quite a distance from their fellow astronauts and must make it back to them safely. The players’ largest complaint are the poor controls and the invisible walls scattered across the planet.

7 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – 43 Rating, 1.5 User Score

Technically this game is free, but there are many microtransactions inserted into Hogwarts Mystery that make the game a very negative experience if not purchased. In 2018 it was calculated that to play this game for one hour uninterrupted would cost $51. This is what the vast majority of the complaints are about – the game's pay-to-win model. Unless more time is purchased the game forces players to wait about twenty minutes until they can continue until their character "recharges". Many free-to-play games do this, but Hogwarts Mystery also has missions that are time-sensitive.

6 Brick-Force – 52 Rating, 2.6 User Score

Brick-Force is a sandbox-style Minecraft type game that attempts to incorporate shooter elements into the mix. There are far more reviews for this game on Steam (4,327 to be exact), and there the game has a 40% rating. Among the complaints are the game’s frame-rate issues and music.

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Many reviews simply state that the game is broken, some do this by stating “at least the uninstall button works”. Don’t try searching for this game on Steam – it’s there but it is unlisted at the publisher’s request. Instead, look for it on Steam’s Hall of Shame list.

5 Sniper Fury – 53 Rating, 6.5 User Score

As the title suggests Sniper Fury is a game that puts the player in control of a sniper as he goes on missions. This game began on iOS, but was later ported to PC and android – the reviews are not good on any platform though. Many of the reviews complain about missions that are too similar, making the game repetitious and boring. The game was also criticized for the large number of microtransactions in many reviews. Still other reviews complain about the game’s graphics and the inability to move during missions (making it more of a turret game).

4 Warmachine: Tactics – 73 Rating, 5.6 User Score

Warmachine: Tactics is a turn-based, squad-based tactical game set in the Iron Kingdoms world. The premise of the game is solid – squad-based combat that includes steam-powered mechs and magic. The graphics are also not that bad either. The problem with this game, according to the reviews, is that it seems unfinished and is a poor translation of the tabletop version. There are also many complaints regarding the user interface. The critic rating is actually only the average of two critic reviews, but there are enough user reviews that the user score can be trusted. On Steam this has a 44% rating with over a thousand reviews.

3 The Settlers Online – No Critic Rating, 5.2 User Score

This game is based on the Settlers series of games that began in 1993. The series was revolutionary at the time; including great graphics, tactical combat, and city building (including a robust economic system). There are nine user reviews on Metacritic for The Settlers Online, but only one left a comment.

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The Settlers Online is an attempt to cash in on the Settlers name – at least that’s what several reviews state on Steam; where the game has a 37% rating with almost a thousand reviews. However, most of the reviews are that the game doesn’t work at all, asking for requirements of the computer it's installed on that have already been met.

2 StarForge – 25 Rating, 2.3 User Score

In Starforge the Earth is dying, and the player controls a member of the colony mission on another planet meant to be humanity’s last hope. The game was not originally free, but after numerous user complaints about the developers not supporting the game it was removed from Steam. It is now available as a free download on its own dedicated website. The biggest complaints are regarding the game’s stability – apparently the game is plagued by many bugs. Many reviews also remark that there is a severe lack of gameplay as a result of the vast amount of open terrain.

1 Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing – Rating 8, 3.9 User Score

This game is notoriously bad. It has an 8 (out of 100) critic rating; which is the lowest of any game on Metacritic. The user score is artificially high due to people giving the game a 10 as a joke. Big Rigs was released before it was finished, long before it was finished actually, and it shows. The opposing rig doesn’t move, and most of the objects and terrain don’t have any collision detection. Without collision detection, the rigs pass through objects and up vertical walls. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing can be found as a free download on sites such as MyAbandonWare.

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Jeff Drake (72 Articles Published)

Graduate of Sam Houston State University -- Class of 2011 B.A. in History, minored in Political Science I have lived in the Houston TX area my whole life; love the winters...hate the summers. I have conducted scholarly research on, and written about, the use of ballooning for reconnaissance purposes during the U.S. Civil War, tort reform, voter initiatives and referendums, the formation of civilization, Ancient Rome, Mesopotamia, and the major religions. I am also an avid gamer and have researched the history of electronic entertainment extensively.

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