I've a hankering for a good collect-em-up on this lazy Sunday
November 6, 2016 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I enjoy games where a significant part of the gameplay involves finding and collecting various items. Examples include Banjo-Kazooie and Psychonauts – this mechanic seems to have been particularly popular in 3D open-world platformers (but I'm open to suggestions from any genre). Recommendations?

To be clear: when I say "collect", I'm not talking about grinding coal and wood in Minecraft or whatever. Rather, I'm asking for games where a finite number of items have been placed deliberately in the game world, the game keeps track of which ones you have and haven't collected, and the items don't just respawn if you leave an area and come back. BK's puzzle pieces/music notes/Mumbo tokens; Psychonauts' figments/luggage/scavenger hunt items; etc.

posted by escape from the potato planet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
(Spyro the Dragon is another good example – also a 3D platformer. Seems like this sort of game often involves gradually acquiring new abilities that allow you to access new areas or items – but that's not a requirement, just a signpost.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:38 AM on November 6, 2016

I think Fez meets your criterion.
posted by rustcellar at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Metroid games are great for this - tons of optional power-ups are generally hidden all over the game world, easy to miss but there if you explore closely or solve puzzles. The earlier games were 2D open-world platformers, the more recent ones are 3D. If you have access to a GameCube or Wii I highly recommend Metroid Prime, otherwise if you just have a PC take a stab at emulating Super Metroid (SNES) or Metroid Fusion (GBA).
posted by Itaxpica at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2016

The latter Grand Theft Auto games (III and above) have an element of this.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2016

Would you like something like Stardew Valley. There are a large number of minerals and artifacts to find. Done by digging in random marked spots, finding while mining or finding while fishing. The museum you donate them to has 140 slots i think.
In addition, there are lots of fish to find, and which fish you catch can depend on the season, weather and your location. There's also collections of food you cook and farming items you grow or make. I'm at 100 hours on my current game and still not done.
posted by saffry at 8:13 AM on November 6, 2016

The new Tomb Raider games are FULL of this. I almost never bother with the collection element of games, but I 100%ed both of these. They're great games overall, as well.

If you like driving games, Forza Horizon 3 has lots of collection.

This probably isn't what you're looking for, but the new World of Warcraft expansion has tons of collection in it, and while the game doesn't keep track for you, an add-on called HandyNotes will mark everything on your map and keep track of the things you've already collected. There are also rare mobs to kill, it tracks those, too.
posted by Huck500 at 8:15 AM on November 6, 2016

Have you played Crackdown? It's a passable GTA clone from a few years ago on Xbox 360 and PC, but its best feature is the collectable "agility orbs". They're strewn about the city in very high places, and collecting one permanently increases your jump height. It creates a great feedback loop where you're scaling taller and taller buildings, until you can eventually reach the top of any structure in the game. I think there are 100 or so, so it can definitely keep you entertained for a while.
posted by Sibrax at 8:33 AM on November 6, 2016

Many of the various so-called "open world" games have this. The Far Cry series, or Shadows of Mordor, or Grand Theft Auto, or Mad Max, or Assassin's Creed, or... the collecting is never the primary gameplay but is a side game you can play.
posted by Nelson at 8:58 AM on November 6, 2016

If you're open to old games, the first Jak and Daxter was good for this. The orbs (eggs?) and handy counters of how many you have to find. I realize this game is pretty ancient and you've likely played it, but sometimes it's fun to revisit old games too.
posted by catatethebird at 8:58 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

My friend have you ever played the deeply satisfying genre known as Hidden Object Games? They aren't technical marvels but they can be incredible stories and like delving into a living picture book. The company that does it right is Artifex Mundi.
posted by Mizu at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2016

Both Zelda games for Wii (Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword) frequently feature this as a game mechanic - finding & collecting bugs, spirit tears, statues, types of fish, etc, etc. Sometimes these things are part of the primary story, sometimes they are side games. You can spend extremely long periods of time ignoring the plot arc and just exploring the world collecting things if you want to. They're also great games all around.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:00 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

My friend have you ever played the deeply satisfying genre known as Hidden Object Games? They aren't technical marvels but they can be incredible stories and like delving into a living picture book. The company that does it right is Artifex Mundi.

This. I also like games from Eipix and Mad Head.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2016

Sounds like you'd love The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. The entire character progression is defined by collecting items, and there are hundreds of them to use and combine. Only roguelike I've ever sunk 200 hrs into, and I still haven't seen everything.
posted by fifthrider at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2016

You haven't specified any particular platforms, so I'm just going to throw out some random suggestions that have scratched my virtual collection itch in the past.

On PS4, If you can stomach horror, Until Dawn has a surprising amount of collection and detective work at its core. It's usually not strictly necessary for the action, but the narrative can change dramatically depending on what you do and do not uncover.

If you prefer light and fluffy, any of the Animal Crossing games for Nintendo will have oodles of straight up collecting in the vein of Stardew Valley mentioned above.

The Little Big Planet and Katamari Damacy games for various PlayStation consoles also feature collection in a big way. While the Katamari games traditionally reward quantity over quality when it comes to collection, I spent way more hours than I care to admit hunting down each unique item in Katamari Forever, and they track all of that in-game.

And based on your examples, I'm going to say you would really enjoy the various Ratchet and Clank games, particularly if you set out to collect all the gold bolts. The gold bolts are basically optional, but they're well designed secret challenges from the same studio that made Spyro.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:12 PM on November 6, 2016

Seconding the Ratchet and Clank games!
posted by augustimagination at 4:55 PM on November 6, 2016

Animal Crossing in all its permutations has fossils to find and collect in a museum, bugs/fish/sea life to do the same with, and gyroids that spawn after it rains in-game that are really neat to collect. It's basically an entire collecting game.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2016

I'm playing Owlboy right now (only available currently on PC) and it scratches this itch. It's a great game in general, but there are a finite number of coins in each area. There's also a store where they will give you "trinkets" (useful items) when you find a certain number of coins. I've been playing a few hours and have over 800 coins so far.

They don't respawn, and sometimes you can see some but you have to figure out how to get to them.
posted by tacodave at 3:13 PM on November 7, 2016

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