Updated at: 09-06-2023 - By: Leo Hall
Not every sequel or prequel is a bad game. There are, in fact, some excellent offshoots available. Here are some of the best sequels to video games that are also excellent in their own right.

Spin-offs can be created for a number of reasons, the most common being the creators’ desire to experiment with new ideas or the need to reach an audience beyond the series’ core followers.

Some spin-offs go on to greater fame and fortune than the original series from which they were spawned.

We’re going to be highlighting the best sequels and prequels to video games here.

Super Mario Bros.

The platforming plumber we now know as Mario made his debut in the classic arcade game Donkey Kong in 1981. The player takes control of Jumpman, an overalls-clad hero on a mission to save a damsel in distress from the clutches of Donkey Kong, an enraged ape.

A Newly Discovered 'Super Mario Bros.' Hack Will Have You Reevaluating Your  Childhood

Nintendo’s announcement of Mario Bros., a 2D platformer featuring Jumpman, as a spin-off arcade game came as a surprise, despite the series’ enormous success and popularity. Although he still wears overalls and can jump high, the name was changed to Mario and he was given a younger brother named Luigi.

The success of Mario Bros. led to the creation of Super Mario Bros., and the rest is gaming history. There were many follow-ups to Donkey Kong, but they were no match for Mario’s meteoric rise to fame. Fortunately, the Donkey Kong franchise is still going strong today, albeit with a less vengeful protagonist who no longer kidnaps women for fun.

The Sims

The Sims franchise is largely responsible for the widespread acceptance of the genre of social/lifestyle simulation games and has left an indelible mark on the video game industry. It was the first of its kind, and it aimed at people who hadn’t shown much interest in video games before.

Although the first game in the series didn’t come out until 2000, the SimCity video game from 1989 is considered the series’ true beginning. Maxis’ SimCity was a 2D city-builder with an overhead view, in contrast to the modern The Sims.

There are some conceptual parallels despite the significant visual and gameplay differences. While The Sims focuses on a small group of playable characters, SimCity has players taking charge of an entire city. Despite SimCity’s enduring popularity among retrogamers, it can’t compare to the likes of The Sims.

World Of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is, perhaps surprisingly, a spin-off of the original Warcraft series of real-time strategies. Blizzard was able to further immerse players in the world of Warcraft by shifting the series from a real-time strategy format to that of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

Since its release in 2004, the online game has added new characters, events, and storylines to the series’ lore and mythology. As of the year 2022, World of Warcraft is still widely played and has reaped the benefits of a plethora of patches and additions.

Where do we stand with the first Warcraft books? Okay, so it’s not that simple. The question of whether or not fans will get to play a Warcraft 4 is warranted by the fact that Blizzard hasn’t released a new mainline Warcraft game in nearly two decades, as evidenced by 2017’s StarCraft: Remastered and 2020’s Warcraft III: Reforged.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

The Far Cry series is well-known for its likable villains, interesting settings, and exciting first-person shooter gameplay. However, Ubisoft and the Far Cry series are often criticized for becoming too formulaic in recent games.

It’s as if Ubisoft keeps piling on more and more ridiculous plot points, characters, and environments in an attempt to re-create the success of Far Cry 3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was an expansion that played more like a spin-off, proving that it can be profitable to try something new instead of constantly iterating on a successful formula.

Players must explore a neon-lit island full of dangerous dinosaurs and robots with laser cannons in order to “get the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the world.” Blood Dragon is a ridiculous and entertaining take on the Far Cry formula that serves as a parody of both 1980s action movies and video games in general.


Despite Persona’s prominence, it is a spinoff of Atlus’s much older Shin Megami Tensei role-playing game series. Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, the first installment, was released in 1987 for the Famicom (NES) in Japan.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1996 release of Revelations: Persona that the series was brought to the West. Persona aims to provide striking visuals and relatively low-stakes plots revolving around high school drama and romance, in contrast to mainline SMT games which prioritize challenging gameplay and thematically darker storylines. It’s important to note that Persona is just one of many SMT spinoff series; others include Devil Summoner, Devil Survivor, Devil Children, Lost Bible, and many more. Even though Atlus is still regularly releasing new mainline SMT games, the Persona franchise has achieved greater success and is better known internationally.

Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors, developed by Koei Tecmo and published by Nintendo in 2014, is an action game in the hack-and-slash style of the Dynasty Warriors series, but featuring characters, settings, and events from The Legend of Zelda series.

Before the game came out, many Zelda fans were worried that Hyrule Warriors would either botch the Zelda license or have repetitive gameplay, two common complaints leveled against Dynasty Warriors. Fortunately, neither of these things happened, and Hyrule Warriors was a huge success for Nintendo, Nintendo of America, and everyone else involved.

Zelda’s unique lore, weapons, and characters were added to the familiar Dynasty Warriors gameplay, and the result was a huge success. Since the original Hyrule Warriors was such a hit on the Nintendo 64, a 3DS remake and a sequel, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, were released for the Nintendo Switch.

Forza Horizon

Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport was their response to Sony’s Gran Turismo series of racing simulation games. Motorsport, like the PlayStation exclusive, places an emphasis on accurate driving mechanics in order to simulate real-world racing as closely as possible.

While this was fantastic news for petrolheads and other racing simulator purists, it didn’t quite fit with players who are just looking for a fun time. To that end, Microsoft has released Forza Horizon, an arcade-style racing game that is significantly less punishing than the Motorsport series.

Players are thrust into a vast open world full of low-stakes racing challenges, rather than onto professional racetracks with pinpoint objectives. While both franchises are still going strong, Forza Horizon has far more fans than the original Forza.

Fallout: New Vegas

After the original developer, Interplay, ran into financial difficulties, it was Bethesda Softworks who stepped in to save the Fallout series. Keeping the same post-apocalyptic setting and RPG mechanics, but transitioning to 3D with real-time combat, Fallout 3 was Bethesda’s first attempt at using the property.

Fans of the series were overjoyed to see Fallout 3 usher in a new chapter. The vast open world, memorable characters, and endless gameplay options kept players engaged for countless hours.

It was unthinkable that another studio could top what Bethesda had accomplished, but then Obsidian decided to give the series a try. Fallout: New Vegas took many of Fallout 3’s goals and expanded upon them, all while exploring a more engaging plot in which your character investigates his or her own murder.

Metroid Prime

Along with Castlevania, Nintendo’s Metroid series was a major influence on the development of the Metroidvania subgenre. The development of games like Axiom Verge, Cave Story, and Dead Cells would have been impossible without Samus’ galactic explorations.

Metroid Prime Remastered available in a shadow drop of Nintendo's own |  Stevivor

Before Metroid Prime, all Metroid games were 2D affairs, despite their success at fusing action-based platforming with RPG mechanics and non-linear world exploration. Fans were already worried about Samus’ transition to 3D games, and with a new developer on board, it was easy to see why they were worried.

Thankfully, Metroid Prime turned out to be a worthwhile spin-off, improving upon the 2D games by featuring more expansive environments and more rewarding gameplay. And because old habits die hard, 3D Metroidvanias like Batman: Arkham and Darksiders can trace their inspiration back to Prime.


Whether you’re aware of it or not, the Portal series is connected to the wider Half-Life canon. You only need to look at all the references to Half-Life 1 and 2 in both Portal 1 and 2 to see that this is the case. Given the vastly different styles of both series’ gameplay, however, you could be forgiven for not knowing this in advance.

In stark contrast to Gordon Freeman’s crowbar-wielding antics, Portal focuses more on puzzle-solving and almost entirely lacks any combat. Even though die-hard fans will have their say, we have to say that one is better than the other when it comes to reliability.

In comparison to Half-Life, the gameplay in the Portal series is much more refined. Portal also has better writing and pacing than its predecessor. This is in no way meant as a criticism of Valve’s other beloved franchise, as both series have already secured their place in gaming lore.

Final Fantasy Tactics

The series’ numbered installments’ varying degrees of quality and technical polish are a common point of criticism among Final Fantasy fans. Square Enix decided to re-release Final Fantasy XV after its initial release was met with negative reception because a growing number of players seemed to share this opinion.

However, this hasn’t always been the case, especially outside of the numbered installments in the series. The many Final Fantasy spin-offs demonstrate the series’ deep commitment to innovation and risk-taking across a wide range of genres and themes.

Final Fantasy Tactics is a great example because it abandons the traditional JRPG design of the original Final Fantasy games in favor of turn-based tactical battling from an isometric point of view. FFT’s success can be attributed in large part to its synthesis of elements from games like Fire Emblem and Langrisser.

Tony Hawk’s Underground

Thanks to their flashy gameplay and casual appeal, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games dominated the early 2000s sports gaming landscape. The franchise’s initial success would prove to be fleeting as subsequent installments in the series gradually degraded throughout the 2000s and into the new millennium.

However, fans were given two spin-offs that revitalized the franchise before the release of the critically panned THPS5. Tony Hawk’s Underground and its 2004 sequel, Underground 2, took some narrative risks with the series that were well received by fans of the original game.

In addition to giving players a larger role in the story of each game, THUG 1 2 aimed to improve the series’ gameplay and combo systems. This necessitated the addition of more ridiculous tricks and a cast of over-the-top characters to meet on your world tour of skateboarding.


The Mario franchise has spawned more offshoots than any other on this list, the most bizarre of which is the Wario series. The two most common types are “Wario Land” games and “WarioWare” games.

The first is a set of strange platformers that parody the genre pioneered by Mario. The Wario Land games are adequate, but WarioWare has always been more popular due to its entertaining and challenging side games.

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! for the Gameboy Advance kicked off the series and became a huge success for Nintendo, spawning a long line of spinoffs. Although the series hasn’t quite made Wario as well-known as Mario Party, it has contributed to that.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Yet another Nintendo series makes an appearance here, and Kirby is often singled out as one of the company’s most underutilized mascots when it comes to solo video games. Fox McCloud and Captain Falcon, on the other hand, would likely disagree.

Fans of the Kirby franchise had to make do with handheld ports and spin-offs until Kirby’s Epic Yarn was released on home consoles. Epic Yarn for the wildly successful Nintendo Wii changed that in 2010.

The game brought Kirby into the present day and introduced a new visual style based on yarn, which has since spread to other Nintendo games like Yoshi’s Woolly World. Almost every subsequent Kirby game has imitated Epic Yarn by including elements like cooperative play, a mix of 2D and 3D environments, and a focus on puzzle-platforming.

Tekken Tag Tournament

Despite its flaws, Tekken, created and published by Namco, is widely considered to be among the best fighting game series currently available. The main problem with the mainline Tekken games is that they try so hard to stick to the series’ convoluted continuity.

In order to preserve continuity, this prevents the use of some characters in every game. While this makes perfect sense for a storyteller, most Tekken players could care less about the plot and are eager to get to the actual fighting.

The Tekken: Tag Tournament sequels, meanwhile, enjoy the freedom of existing apart from the main Tekken storyline. In addition to having a larger cast of playable characters, the Tag series allows players more tactical flexibility by letting them switch between characters mid-battle.

Mega Man X

Even though they were difficult action-platformers, the original Mega Man games gave the impression that they were designed for kids. Game players of the era caught on quickly, though, and the result was weak sales and apathy toward the Mega Man brand.

Despite the popularity of challenging platformers in recent years, the dated design of the original Mega Man games prevents many from returning to the series. But if you’re looking for a game that has held up well over time, look no further than Mega Man X, a spinoff of the series that debuted on the SNES.

To appeal to an older demographic, it turned up the volume on the standard Mega Man gameplay mechanics. Improved visuals, refined controls, new gameplay elements, and the introduction of series mainstays like Zero all contributed to Mega Man X’s success.

Apex Legends

Look, we at GameRant love the Titanfall series, but the success of its offshoot, Apex Legends, has been beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Titanfall, created by Respawn Entertainment, is a popular video game because of its innovative combination of first-person shooting action and sci-fi mech-based combat. Despite this, many players were put off by the lack of a story mode or single-player campaign. They decided to give it another go with a sequel, but it was overshadowed by other major releases during the holiday season, making Titanfall 2 one of the most underappreciated games of the decade.

Apex Legends is a free-to-play, no-advertising return to the same world as its predecessor, with slightly fewer mechs. Apex Legends rode the coattails of games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite to become one of the most played games of the decade.

Super Smash Bros.

Although it may be too simplistic to label Super Smash Bros. as a spin-off, it’s hard to think of it as anything else. This series is the most prolific crossover in the gaming industry, with the most recent game featuring 74 fighters from a wide variety of series.

Even if you’re not a fan of fighting games, you’ll find something to enjoy in this series, despite the fact that its online component features one of the most competitive scenes in the industry. Super Smash Bros. is a must-play series for any gamer, despite the fact that it is not a spin-off of any particular franchise.

Double the words, double the fun

Just one word? Why stop there? Rather than one, why not two, four, or even eight? That’s essentially the point behind the naming conventions for Dordle, Quordle, and Octordle.

The challenge increases with each successive game, until finally you have to use a five-letter word to guess several words all at once. Naturally, the harder it is, the more chances you have to get it right. Dordle, like Wordle, offers six possible outcomes, Quordle nine, and Octordle thirteen.

Each game works in the same way as the original Wordle did: you have 24 hours to guess a new set of words for free, and if you get them right, you can brag about it on social media as much as you like. Dordle, Quordle, and Octordle, in contrast to the original Wordle, feature not only a daily puzzle but also a practice mode, and Quordle even has a French translation.

It’s pronounced Wordlé

There are numerous options for those who wish to use Wordle in its original form to practice a second language. You can get hints when a letter appears more than once (unless you turn on hard mode) in both the French version (Le mot) and the German version (Wordle). Because of the difficulty of the German language, you can select to guess words of up to 11 letters in length.

The Spanish version of Wordle offers two different display options: regular and tildes. As a native Spanish speaker, I can attest to the evilness of the latter system, which not only considers a letter correct if it is in the right place but also if it has the appropriate tilde or accent.

But Kotohona Tango, the Japanese language version of Wordle, is the toughest of the bunch. The developers state that “due to the nature of the Japanese language, [Kotohona Tango] is tremendously more difficult than Wordle” in the software’s documentation, and we have no choice but to believe them. The interface is frightening in its apparent complexity.

Themed Wordle spin-offs

The new Wordle list has 10,657 words, all of which are “not obscure” five-letter common nouns. That’s not satisfying enough for some, so they’ve developed their own themed variations. Just a few examples are as follows:


Do you wish to demonstrate your Swift fandom? Try out Taylordle. This is essentially a Wordle, except that the answers are all Taylor Swift-related terms. The difficulty of this game stems from the fact that any word, not just those in her lyrics, but any word at all that has anything to do with music, such as “album,” could be the answer. Worse, it obviously uses a lot of proper nouns. In all honesty, you’d be better off taking yourself out of this story.



Swordle is like Wordle, but set in the Star Wars universe. Answers to this daily puzzle can be anything related to the Star Wars universe, including proper nouns like droid names, just like they were for Taylordle. It looks like you might have to use some guesswork involving digits and dashes, with a list of over 14,000 possible answers… may the force be with you.


Although we established that the original Wordle list consists of common, five-letter, non-obscure nouns, we neglected to mention that these words also share another characteristic: they are all very… safe. Lewdle, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of what its name implies. All done! The remaining guidelines remain unchanged. Don’t waste company time by playing this on the computer.


Like Wordle, but with only bird names as options, BRDL is a fun puzzle for birdwatchers. The problem with this game is that the word list it uses isn’t fixed in length; you might be asked for a four-letter word one round and a ten-letter word the next.


Rather than focusing on how a word is spelled, semantle analyzes what it means. In order to solve this puzzle, you will need to look for related words. Your score will increase depending on how closely you match a given synonym. There is also no time limit or maximum number of attempts, so you can play whenever you like.


Absurdle is the Wordle offshoot that wakes up every day and picks violence, as described by one PopSci employee as “evil.” It’s a version of Wordle designed to keep you off guard and playing for as long as possible; even the Absurdle website has trouble explaining it. We’re stumped as to why you’d subject yourself to this, but here you go.

More than words

Some Wordle offshoots have veered so far off course that they no longer even resemble their parent game. These are just a few instances.


Poeltl is for you if you love the NBA. You’ll have to guess a different professional basketball player every day based on clues like their team, position, height, ranking, and age. In the same way that green indicates a perfect match in Wordle, yellow indicates a partial match. A team box card may indicate that the recipient formerly played for the team but no longer does so. You have eight chances to guess correctly, and if you get frustrated waiting, you can switch to silhouette mode and use the player’s shadow to your advantage.


The first try is the first second of the song, the second is the next two seconds, and so on for a total of six chances to guess a song by a widely streamed artist. Listen to the clip and name the song to win. It’s as easy as that.


Worldle is an app that, like Poeltl, challenges you to identify a country or territory by its outline. After each guess, the game will reveal your current distance from the mystery country and its relative position in relation to your answer (in kilometers, not miles). You’ll quickly learn the shapes of the larger countries as you play, but occasionally you’ll come across the outline of a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic whose name you’ve never heard before. Even if you don’t get the location correct, you still win the game because Worldle will provide you with the answer and a Google Maps link that will show you exactly where the mystery territory is, allowing you to travel the world without leaving your chair.