This was not my best year for playing current hot games. This was certainly the most colorful year. Looking back at my list, I don’t really know what my problem was, I was just too cool for new games. I mostly doubled down on old favorites and games like comfort food. Even among the games I did play, nothing grabbed me, nothing really stood out as best game. The game I did eventually pick as my top game wasn’t even the best game, it was the one I enjoyed the most and had the most fun with, but its by no stretch a “great” game.
10. Sea of Thieves
Mar 2018 – You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you get old because you stop playing. I never got tired of Sea of Thieves, it just doesn’t make for a very enjoyable single player experience and my friends all moved onto cooler newer toys. Yes, the game got repetitive and doesn’t offer a variety of content. I don’t care, it’s still fun, I’d still run the same missions over and over and get into all sorts of goofy hi-jinx with my friends. Its a beautiful game, and I still know the difference between port and starboard, so its even educational.
9. The Division
Mar 2016 – A game that was mostly ignored by our group upon release had a second life after watching an intriguing E3 trailer. While not many of the bottled crew stuck around after the main campaign play-through, this game had a lot to offer. It has a certain style to it that I really dug and it was fun to run around a version of NYC-lite.
8. Pit People
Mar 2018 – Pit People technically released this year, but I’ve been playing it for longer in it’s early access forms. Its a game made by Behemoth, the studio behind Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid and Battleblock Theater. If you like any of those games, for the art style or humor, I’d recommend Pit People as well. It plays like a tactical/action RPG game where you roam the land collecting players and fighting the bad guys. Your crew can vary widely depending on your play style. You could pick up a bunch of ranged bows, or tank-y spider-ladies or mind-controlling commas-ghosts. The humor and style that Behemoth is known for is pervasive throughout, with the final battle culminating in an attack on Space-Bear’s golden star nipples. It makes sense. Oh, and you poop to Hansel-and-Gretl your way back to base on the map.
7. South-Park: Fractured But Whole
Oct 2017 – This is a game that falls firmly into the “Its not a ‘great’ game, but I loved it anyway” category. If you like South Park, you’ll like this game. There’s not much to impress it if you don’t like South Park. I’m not a die hard South Park fan either, and haven’t seen an episode proper since…2007? But that didn’t make fighting strippers, time-stopping-farts or duelling super hero factions any less fun. Don’t think I’m selling this one short, its good, if you liked the first, play this one, but otherwise, accept that some good games just aren’t for you.
6. I Love Hue
Jan 2017 – I Love Hue is a great little toilet or bedtime game on the iPad. Prior to playing I’d heard nothing about it and still don’t know anyone else playing it, but it deserves a lot more attention. Its simplistic and zen-inducing while being challenging and very aesthetically pleasing. You start with 4 corners of the screen, each a different color. The colors fade into each other, and the whole screen is a pleasing grid of fading hues. Then the grid scrambles and you have to put all the pieces back again. Its amazing how dark a color can appear in context next to lighter colors, or how brown and grey vibrant colors can start to feel. When you finally start gaining traction and the pieces start fitting back in place, its so satisfying, the grid system almost disappears and you’re back to that pleasant fade from green to purple. Locking in the last piece is so great feeling, like you’ve really accomplished something and restored order to the world. Then you move onto the next cuz its 3am, you’ve been playing for hours and these colors aren’t going to unf**** themselves.
5. Night In the Woods
Feb 2017 – Mid-GOTY podcast I added a category to the list. It was the Oh-god-I’m-so-sorry-this should-have-been-higher-or-on-the-list-at-all-last-year-but-I-hadn’t-played-it-yet. Next year we are going to condense that into the “Night in the Woods” award. Night in the Woods has our eleveniest game of the year last year due to the amazing year that was 2017 and a lack of players at the time. I played this game immediately after finishing the 2017 GOTY podcast, buying it on-air live while recording. I wish I had played it sooner. Its hard to describe the game since each person really latched on to a different part or character in the game. The writing in this is phenomenal and really just captures so many “adulting” life realities. Many people I know who’ve played have quoted one part or the other as cutting a little too close to home, in a real way not many games have touched before.
4. Monster Hunter Poogie
Aug 2018 – ZOMG an actual 2018 game for once. And the last one too. Monster Hunter World is not a game that is for those who delight in flitting from game to game, spending a few hours in each ::cough:: Nanners ::cough::. It is a game that demands 100 hours, ideally more and even then, you might not touch all the game can ofter. It has a steep learning curve, and I still, 90 hours in, don’t even feel like a useless waste when playing with senpai Conman. The game is rich in content and rewards the time and effort lavishly. Just be sure to pet your poogie when you return from each mission. Oi!
Aug 2016 – So, let me explain this one. I have a RGB Chroma problem. To date, I have a Razer Chroma keyboard, mouse, mouse-pad, headphones and keypad. I accidentally discovered the amazingness of chroma-integration with my #2 game, Divinity. That sent me searching for what else I could play to make my system light up in wonderful magical 16 million colors. The Razer website has a comprehensive list of all games that have native chroma integration. Hue happened to be on that list and looked like a colorful, cute platform. I delight in finding a good game, I didn’t even know I was looking for. Hue’s premise is that color has been stolen from the world and you need to get it back. As you gain color, the world comes alive with obstacles and challenges. That green block in your way disappears if you change the background to green. Those pink boulders are harmless if they too blend in with the fuchsia background. The challenge level was just right between challenging and I’m-the-smartest-puzzle-solver-in-the-world. Even without a plethora of Razer Chroma products to dazzle you with matching color, I recommend this charming platformer.
2 – Divinity
Sept 2017 – I knew exactly what was coming and STILL Buddy/Emme’s quest wrecked me again. 2018 Divinity, now with 100% more actual finishing the game. As hinted above, I booted up Divinity after hearing about a major update and was hooked by colorful lights. I make jokes about the colorful lights, but really its the content of the game that drew me in again. This game has hours and hours of content and still I’m not satisfied I got around to everything. Choices you make have consequences and characters and storylines can die, even accidentally. There’s something that drives me to find all the options and all the story, I just felt that immersed in the world. This time around I choose a different character to play through as and had a completely different experience. It certainly has elements of “plate spinning” when you have several quests going at once and you just want to hit up one more location and collect one more thing before turning a quest in. This just added to the addicting nature for me. I had moment in work where I considered shifting my schedule so I could shave off 20 minutes of commute time, time that could be spent in Divinity.
1 – Spyro – Reignited Trilogy
1999 – 2001. Dooooooooooooooooooooom. Sorry, I had that copy pasted from other years. This is a fantastic and completely re-mastered visuals version of the 3 original Spyro games from the Playstation era before all the Skylanders nonsense. The awkward and dated polygons are gone but the nit-picky, hair-thin jump/glide/hit boxes are not. Its like they had the chance to re-make the game in art, style and physics, but said “nah” on the physics. Every level and challenge I hated as a kid is still there, and still just as difficult. I still 100%’d each of the 3 games, astoundingly on almost pure memory from my early teens. This was a selfish and nostalgia fueled #1 pick, and I’m ok with that.
Most Feels: Florence
This game just does great things with game mechanics that puts into a cute comic style exactly what its like to be going through a deteriorating relationship that you can’t do anything to save.
Biggest Disappointment: We Happy Few
I might start calling this the Dead Island award. We Happy Few was a game that had an intriguing premise, a completely unique look, a compelling trailer and a terrible and unfocused development cycle that lead to a game I wanted so badly to be something it wasn’t.
Funniest: Sausage Sports Club and Human Fall Flat
Apparently I have a soft spot for woobly animals and flailing people.
I dunno, I’m a sucker for fantasy worlds.
Most Addicting: Divinity
I promise this is the last time I give this an award, let me just turn in this quest real quick.
Best Early Access Game: Deep Rock Galactic
Despite being barricaded in my room with barrels by teammates on occasion, I have high hopes for what this game can become. I’m not the best team-make as I tend to wander away from the tour group, but its a solidly fun little 4 player co-op game that keeps me coming back each update.
The one that got away: All of them
Did the game you’re about to recommend come out in 2018? No thanks my friend, too recent for me.
Of Course I’ll Re-buy That!: Also All of them
Katamari Damacy: Re-roll and Spryo were the highlights in this category, but the nostalgia hit me hard this year.
I have no idea what possessed me to install a solitare game on my ipad, but I’m now obsessed with keeping my play-a-day streak going and playing all the iterations of this simple card game.
That Beat Tho’ : Pit People
Pit People had funky grooves while in a fight and since I played most of this game while on the treadmill, it added a little zip to my step.
Best Multitask Game: Pit People
Does walking for an hour or so on a treadmill while beating cupcakes and unicorns count as multi-tasking?
The Future is Bright: Ooblets, Wattam, Kingdom Hearts 3, Red Dead Redemption 2
Best Ongoing Game: Minecraft
There’s oceans now! And mansions! And pandas!
I’m sorry I fucked up and you were right. The game that should have been on the list/higher last year but you didn’t play it: Night in the Woods
Do a Crime.