While it's no easy to sell to recommend these games solely on the basis of their single compelling gameplay mechanic, it does still make them worth playing for at least half an hour, to savour the clear ingenuity on display even if it couldn't prop up a game that was otherwise flagrantly unoriginal, messy or simply not worthy of that one great idea.
Some of these games arrived on a tidal wave of hype while others came and went with barely a peep, but each remains a monument to failed promise, and sure proof that even awful games can have their redeeming qualities...
9. Brink - Parkour
The Awesome Mechanic: Brink is a first-person shooter driven by its SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system, which allows players to perform parkour-style moves at the press of a button, automatically scaling obstacles and navigating the map in stunningly stylish fashion.
The Terrible Game: Unfortunately, outside of this mechanic Brink is a surprisingly familiar, formulaic first-person shooter that ultimately lacked polish and felt rushed out of the oven long before it was done cooking.
There's just not enough here to keep all but the most hardcore players coming back, because as fluid as the locomotion is, the shooting is utterly generic fare. It's exactly the sort of game that should've been a budget title, but dared to ask players for more.
Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes).
General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.