2015 was an amazing year for games. The worst thing I can say about this year is that I felt overwhelmed by the volume of games that I wanted to play, and the reality of not having time to play them all. When I went to create my own list this year I found that I had around thirty games that I needed to cram into ten spots. After going through and removing a few I found myself with sixteen that I felt all deserved spots, so this year my list will be sixteen titles long instead of ten. So away we go.
Most feels: Her Story
Last year Jazz Punk’s puns and surreal game play had me chuckling, and the year before Gone Home filled me with dread. This year it was Her Story that made my jaw drop in surprise. I don’t want to say much more, but that game was excellent.
Biggest disappointment: Toy Soldiers: War Chest
I loved the original Toy Soldiers, and thought Toy Soldiers: Cold War was a petty good follow up. Given this I expected a Toy Soldiers game that included existing toy franchises (GI Joe, Cobra, etc) to be another excellent tower defense game. Sadly Toy Soldiers: War Chest is a total mess. The level design is poor, the load times horrible, and the campaign the same between all factions. Some towers feel under powered, and the levels all seemed designed with the tin soldiers army in mind, and don’t always well with other armies. All and all this was a really bad offering, enough so to prevent me from pursing future Toy Soldiers games.
Funniest: Magic Circle
Now Magic Circle didn’t have any moments that made me laugh out loud, but it did have me grinning often. It was an even humor burn over a long period rather than one singular funny moment. This is something I felt Jazz Punk accomplished really well last year, and Magic Circle did this in a much wryer fashion.
Prettiest: Dying Light / Witcher III: The Wild Hunt
I split this one between Dying Light and Witcher III since both of these games really caught my eye. Dying Light provides a visual interesting urban environment and some excellent sunrises and sunsets. These of course are accentuated by the relief or terror you feel know that you survived another night, or will soon be hunted. In the Witcher III you are presented with sprawling rural environments, small towns, and even a few big cities. The design is fantastic, and the lighting and foliage are some of the best I can recall. Both of these games offered visual interest in character, enemy, and world design as well. I’d be hard pressed to say which impressed me more, so I went with both.
Most addicting : Downwell / Please, Don’t Touch Anything
Downwell is a stylized downward scrolling rouge like shooter, and Please, Don’t Touch Anything is a single screen puzzle game. These games are in two completely different categories, so they worked in tandem to eat a good deal of my time this year. Downwell kept me saying “Just one more run” over and over again.
Best early access game : Star Bound
I love open world exploration games, and giving me the ability to build things while traveling the stars is pure gold. For now I’ve put down Star Bound until it’s complete, but everything I’ve played so far has gotten me really excited for this game. I’m hoping to see it come out in 2016.
The one that got away: Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
As someone that loves taking out bases, and learning enemy patrols the Phantom Pain sounded like a nearly perfect game. Unfortunately I just never found time for it, maybe in 2016 I’ll give a place.
Of Course I’ll Rebuy that!: Shadow Complex
Now I love “Metroid-vania” games, and Shadow Complex is an excellent example of one. When it came out on 360 I played through the whole thing at least twice and was sure to unlock everything and 100% the game. Now that it’s on PC I plan to do the whole thing again. It might be foolish given all the other things I have to play, but I really did lose that game.
I don’t think I’m allowed to say anything about fortnite itself. It gets my shame award since it’s a closed beta with a strict NDA, and I’ve spent way more time playing a beta, where my progress will be wiped, than I should have.
That Beat Tho’: Party Hard
The 80’s video game rock from this game really hits a sweet spot. The menu music from this game is more interesting and memorable than most of the music in games I’ve played this year. While writing this paragraph I went and fired up the game just so I could listen to it. The unfortunate thing is that due to licensing arrangements the OST is not available to purchase.
And now on to the list. This is my top 16 because limiting this list to 10 is just too difficult.
Broforce is a side scroller where you play as pun named parodies of action stars. It’s action is fast paced and you will often lose your character in the chaos only to find you were shot, blown up, or crushed. It’s some of the best couch “co-op” I’ve played in a while. Sadly the game can feel a bit random at times and takes some of the feeling of skill out of the equation.
15. Party hard
Party Hard is a party murder simulator. Ever had neighbors throw a really loud party at 3 pm where they were tossing beer bottled up and letting them smash on the street the night before you graduated from college, and you fantasized about going over there and stabbing them? This game presents the very anti-social option of actually going to that party and murdering everyone. It has an excellent sound track, as mentioned about, and some interesting trap but the game play can get repetitive.
14. Just Cause 3
Just Cause 3 pairs some pretty environments with an open world to blow up, a wing suit, grappling hooks, and a parachute. One of the best parts is that you can use the grappling hooks to tether things together, and then retract them. Often I find it fun to attach a radio tower to a nearby oil tank and then retract the lines causing both to collide at high speed. This will produce this year’s prettiest explosions in a video game, and usually leads to a smirk. The story is weak, and the tasks can get a bit repetitive.
13. Viscera cleanup detail
Viscera Cleanup Detail provides the unique game play scenario of being the janitor (or janitors in multiplayer) tasked with cleaning up an area after some bad things have gone down. You need to dispose of trash into an incinerator, mop the area, repair any bullet holes and general fix things the best you can. I love the premise of this game, and I tend to find the act of cleaning very soothing. The scoring can feel a bit difficult as sometimes you will miss some hidden mess or have objects clip into the world.
12. Titan Souls
Titan Souls gives you a bow, and a single arrow which you can recall to the bow. You can move in any direction on a 2d plane, roll, and run. With these simple mechanics you are pitted against bosses which each have different attacks, and attack patterns. This game is a boss run at it’s finest. I’ve always felt like each boss is well designed and just a matter of my timing to defeat. The only issue with this game is the over world often caused me to get lost and unable to find the next opponent.
11. Nuclear throne
Nuclear throne is a rouge like twin stick shooter. It’s manic at times feel reminds me of Tower Of Guns one of my favorite games of the last few years. Nuclear throne should probably be higher on this list, but I didn’t get to spent enough time with it.
10. Please, Don’t Touch Anything
You’re presented with a console with one big red button on it. Through interacting with this button you unlock various other puzzles, and solve one of 25 solutions. This game is simple in concept but it does a lot of clever things with hiding information. I’m only about 1/2 done at the time of this writing so will likely spent more time in it during 2016.
9. Magic Circle
Magic Circle was an interesting game. It broke the fourth wall, and had an interesting play mechanic to it. I spent probably longer than I should of figuring out ways to break this game, but I really enjoyed it.
8. Duck game
This was by far the best couch game of the year. The fast past random levels with random weapons led to some extremely funny situations. I see myself playing this game for years to come.
7. Kerbal Space Program
I love Kerbal Space Program. It’s fun just to try to get these little guys to orbit and home again. I’m currently working my way through science mode, and hope to break orbit and return soon.
6. Mario maker
Mario Maker allows me to make and play infinite Mario levels, and I feel like that’s a good thing to have around. Mario Maker’s creation tools are also the most stream lined I’ve found in any game. I really wish little big planet had something this easy to use back when I tired to get into that.
I really like games that you can play in quick bursts or spend hours on. Downwell is just that type of a game; only 5 minutes to play, get in a few quick runs to practice, or an hour to try a few no touching the ground runs. I love Downwell and will continue to play it for a while.
4. Keep talking and nobody explodes
Ever wanted to attempt to defuse a bomb designed by a Saturday morning cartoon villain? That’s pretty much what Keep Talking and Nobody explodes is. The best part is that you need to have someone read the instructions on how to defuse each module to you from a manual. This game can be played by two people online or in person or a group at a party. Either way this can be alot of fun and we’ve spent a good amount of time as a group working through bombs.
3. Dying light
As a huge fan of the gameplay from the Dead Island games, I was excited to see something similar come along. I was not expecting how much I would end up enjoying this game. The free running and later the grappling hook give you a sense of mobility that I’m not used to in a first person game. Running through the streets at night with hunters on your heels tossing flares are you run is a blast. New DLC has been announced and I plan to grab that and replay this game.
2. Her Story
Her Story takes a simple mechanic, you can search for and watch video clips, and builds an excellent experience. It’s story is interesting, and I thought it’s execution and presentation were near perfect. I really can’t explain much more since I don’t want to spoil the story, but this game is worth a look.
1. Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
The Witcher is just an incredible game. I’ve played alot of fantasy games and very few have left me feeling anything other than disappointed. This game ranks in the patheon of games that I have really loved to play. I’ve ended up taking time off from the game waiting for the two expansions to come out for it. Once the complete package has been released I intend to savor this game for all the time that I can. Witcher 3 in my opinion is not only one of the best games of the year, but ranks as one of the best games ever.