Many will tell you that no perfect video game exists, and for the most part those people are right; there are always niggling issues that keep such a thing from properly existing.
When you break a game down to its nuts and bolts, though — free of its story, presentation, and anything else that isn’t part of the actual gameplay — it becomes a bit easier to quantify that. Not by much, mind you, but a bit easier nonetheless. And isn’t gameplay ultimately what matters?
With that in mind, here are five games with pitch perfect mechanics.
The oldest game on this list is also the one that arguably holds up the best, possibly due to the fact that there’s nothing there besides the core game. It’s gets right down to brass tacks, and it’s better for it.
With nothing more than seven tetriminos and catchy tunes, Tetris introduced gameplay that could be played in short spurts of 15 minutes or — much more likely — hours at a time. Clearing four lines of blocks at a time remains one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming, and high-level Tetris players are some of the most impressive you’ll ever see.
With just two games, Portal has established itself as one of the best game franchises ever. It’s not just its grasp on dark humor, either — it’s as finely-tuned a video game as you’ll find anywhere.
The controls are made up of just a few buttons — jump, interact, blue portal, and orange portal. It’s more than enough to get through the complex physics puzzles that you encounter in both games, and figuring out how everything works feels like second nature. Despite its clinical setting, Portal is an organic experience.
Batman: Arkham City
The Batman Arkham games by Rocksteady are easily the best licensed superhero games ever, with every aspect of the two games firing on all cylinders. They tell some of the best Batman stories in any medium, and slinking around in Predator mode makes everyone feel like a badass.
The real triumph, though, is in the flawless Freeflow combat. The controls are simple, yet deep enough to allow for lengthy, varied combos. With Batman’s gadgets thrown into the mix, no combat system is better suited to making you feel like you own a room. If there’s ever a misstep, it’s probably your fault and your fault alone.