Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I thought I'd take a couple of minutes to list the games I've really enjoyed this year and explain what, to me, makes them great. I seem to have less time each year to play games and I'm glad for smaller titles that I can pick up and play for 20 minutes without any commitment

Some honourable mentions before I start: Rouge Legacy, Spelunky and Thomas Was Alone rereleases on PS4 were a great chance to play them again, in a year when there wasn't a lot of new games that were my cup of tea. I also enjoyed Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster on Vita and I finally played Dark Souls to completion. Nidhogg, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Trials Evolution also deserve a mention. They were 3 games that got me through the early part of the year. 

Unfortunately some games I was looking forward to didn't live up to what I wanted. This includes Dark Souls II and InFamous: Second Son.

5) Diablo III:  Ultimate Evil Edition

I'm not a person that really plays the 'loot part' of games, it's why you won't find Destiny on this list, but Diablo III on the playstation 4 had me hooked for all 5 acts and then some. The replayability of the adventure mode and the way the controls map effortlessly to the DualShock controller with direct control made this game stand out for me. Also, next gen consoles make this game look almost on par with the PC version. 

The lack of the real money auction house was enough of a reason to call this the Ultimate edition of the game, but then to add the new abilities, enemies and adventure mode meant that I enjoyed my time with this game the same way I remember doing with Diablo II

4: Threes

Literally every time I was waiting for a bus, taking a dump or otherwise killing a few minutes I'd get out my phone and have a game of Threes Its an "easy to learn, hard to master" game. 

For me each game started nonchalantly with quick swipes but as the numbers got higher each swipe becomes more calculated and deliberate with the hope of a higher score. 

It's not only the simple mechanics of Threes that make it a great game, but the graphics, subtle sound effects and overall feel that meant I kept going back to it. 

3: Sportsfriends

Sportsfriends is a game I didn't get to play as much as I'd have liked, with my friends living out of town, but when I did get to play it I loved every minute of it. Hokra is essentially an Atari video game from the early 80's, resembling Pong in many ways. It shows that simple game design is usually the best. Without any bells or whistles, Hokra manages to be fun, rewarding and satisfying.

That applies to all the games in Sportsfriends. BaraBariBall's 2v2 team battles were intense. When that ball is sinking and you've got 1 jump left to make a last ditch effort to retrieve it is such a great feeling.

And then there's Johann Sebastian Joust. Oh boy! I only go to parties now if they guarantee there will be Joust. 

2: FTL: Advanced Edition

FTL was a great game in 2012 and the Advanced Edition on iPad is great too (and it came out in 2014 which means I can put it on this list). I fell in love with rouge-likes a lot and am still playing Rogue Legacy and Spelunky. I die constantly in FTL but keep playing because one day I'm gonna beat the massive ship at the end. 

I love the customisation of ship upgrades, I love micromanaging the crew, I love the battles. Getting to that final boss is a story and it's one the game lets you craft for yourself. The game is constantly throwing shit at you regardless of which sector you choose on the journey and by the time you reach that boss you've grown accustomed to your crew and have a badass ship. Maybe this is the time you'll win?

1) Transistor

Where do I start? This game wowed me like no other this year. The world of Transistor is mysterious and intriguing. As the game progressed I loved it increasingly so. The idea of computer concepts in the everyday world was great and hooked me on the story() and atmosphere(). 

The gameplay is astounding, the turn based combat and customisable abilities make this feel like a solid strategy game. The idea of having functions that could either be a main() ability or a passive effect on an ability was the mechanic I never knew I wanted until I played it. There are 22,283,705,698,113 possible combinations of abilities. That's amazing! 

The artwork and aesthetic is beautiful and any screenshot from the game could easily be printed and framed. The soundtrack, by Darren Korb, (which is still in my Spotify rotation) adds to the atmosphere perfectly and plays a large role in the overall game. 

So that's it for this year. I hope you all have a great 2015. 



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