I’ve already shared a list with what I believe are some of the worst video game spin-offs ever made. Naturally, the follow-up to that article should be a list with some of the best, so that’s exactly what I’ going to do. It’s great to know that there are dozens of great video game spin-offs, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all them. Hopefully, this list will help you decide which spin-off you should play next.
Since there are dozens and dozens of video game spin-offs, chances are you’re going to disagree with my list. As usual feel free to tell me how wrong I am or even share your own list in the comments down below.
10. Unreal Championship (Xbox)
Main series: Unreal Tournament
Basically, Unreal Championship is the console version of Unreal Tournament, but if we take into account that the former was released when most console shooters weren’t that good, Unreal Championship stands out as one of the best in the genre. The melee combat mechanics might be new, but the pretty visuals, fast-paced nature and solid gameplay so characteristic of the Unreal Tournament series are still a very important part of Unreal Championship. In conclusion, this Xbox shooter is the best of both worlds.
9. The Typing of the Dead (Arcade, Dreamcast, PC, PlayStation 2, iOS)
Main series: The House of the Dead
Say what you will about The Typing of the Dead, but this is simply one of the most inventive spin-offs ever made. Here’s the premise: type the letters that appear on the screen and zombies will die. Typing of the Dead has it all: great gameplay, a ludicrous narrative and it deviates from the light gun genre in a humorous and creative way. It’s a shame that this is one of the most overlooked titles in the genre.
8. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3)
Main series: Resident Evil
Rail shooters were never as popular as other genres. But every once in a while, a company willing to take risks creates a love letter to the genre that’s easy to recommend. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is one of those titles. Released for the Nintendo Wii (and later on the PS3,) The Umbrella Chronicles is a satisfying rail shooter that has tons of unlockable secrets and an eminently satisfying gameplay. Its sequel Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles was also praised for its music, visuals, gameplay and replayability.
7. Metal Gear Acid (PlayStation Portable)
Main series: Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Acid is a portable turn-based collectible card game set in the Metal Gear Solid universe. The gameplay mixes concepts from the main series, but applies those concepts to a collectible card template. Its convoluted plot, solid gameplay and collectible card elements make Metal Gear Acid a title that even those players who don’t like Metal Gear Solid can appreciate.
6. Pokémon Snap (Nintendo 64)
Main series: Pokémon
If you think about Pokémon games, the critically acclaimed RPG series will probably come to mind, but that doesn’t mean than Nintendo didn’t try to capitalize on the success of the franchise by releasing multiple spin-offs. One of those was Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64, a first-person rail shooter that let’s you take pictures of Pokémon so that you can help Professor Oak work on a report. When the game came out, many criticized some aspects of Pokémon Snap, such as the limited number of critters and its bizarre ideas, but I think those people are overlooking the fact that this was a refreshingly unique title. Not to mention extremely entertaining.
5. Street Fighter EX (Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation Network)
Main series: Street Fighter
Street Fighter EX series adopts some ideas from the main series, but also introduces some new elements. EX borrows the fighting game system from the Street Fighter and Street Fighter Alpha series, but the 3D backgrounds, Guard Break and Super Canceling make EX feel old-fashioned, yet fresh and original.
4. Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation)
Main series: Final Fantasy
As its name suggests, Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical role-playing game based on the Final Fantasy series. Although universally acclaimed, Final Fantasy Tactics is considered a cult classic that not many people played back in the day. So why is it so good? Its unique atmosphere, deep story, unique character design and battles that require you to carefully plan strategies make Final Fantasy Tactics easy to recommend.
3. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (Nintendo DS)
Main series: Ninja Gaiden
A portable Ninja Gaiden whose gameplay depends entirely on the stylus shouldn’t work. But developer Team Ninja managed to create a visually appealing and, more importantly, highly intuitive Ninja Gaiden on the Nintendo DS. It may be short and not as challenging as other titles in the main series, but Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is simply one of the best Ninja Gaiden games ever made.
2. Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Main series: Super Mario Bros.
When the original Mario Kart came out, the racing game felt refreshingly unique. Not only did players have the ability to race against opponents, but they could also attack them with some silly power ups. Mario Kart eventually became a series on its own and if ask a few people what their favorite title is, you’ll probably get different answers. Nevertheless, Super Mario Kart stands out as one of the best and most innovative go-kart games ever made. He might throw parties and play Tennis every once in a while, but go-karting is what Mario does best.
1. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
Main series: Super Mario Bros.
Developed by Square (now Square Enix) for the SNES, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a fantastic title that combines elements from Super Mario and Final Fantasy franchises. Its high quality graphics, humorous story and simple battle mechanics make Super Mario RPG recommendable to pretty much everyone. A few years ago, the game was released on the Virtual Console, so buying a SNES and the cartridge isn’t necessary.
These are some of the titles that were considered, but for multiple reasons didn’t make it to the final cut: Maximo Ghosts to Glory, Wario Ware, Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, Demon’s Crest, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, Mario Tennis, Super Smash Bros. and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.