So I wanted to do something like this because there were quite a few games that came out last year that I only got around to playing this year, and there were a good number of them so I decided to make a top 5. Here you are!
Honorable Mention: Dungeons of Dredmore
The top two games on this list, Bastion and S:S&S EP are both beautiful, artistic games. Bastion for me was one of my favorite experiences I had this year. Bastion is beautiful. Simple as that. The game's fantastic art style is accompanied by an epic soundtrack and the one and only narrated, who provides commentating on dynamic events, keeping the game fresh and adding a sense of humor at times. The Bastion becomes the hub of the game, as you collect cores you can upgrade the Bastion to have an armory, distillery, etc. allowing you to upgrade the protagonist's gear.
|2. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP|
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP was unlike any game I have played. The game is played in short "sessions", as the narrator puts it, lasting about 15-20 minutes a piece, perfect for the mobile platform which it is on (IOS but it is out on PC as well). The game, as the title may lead you to believe, is about swords and "sworcery", and combat is quick and fun, having you flip your device to enter combat, and granting you the ability later on in the second session to cast spells. The pixel art is utterly incredible, and the soundtrack is one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time. An interesting experience that is not to be missed.
Having played this game for countless hours and mining out the entire world. Yeah this game is fun. You may not think it from just looking at it, even playing it, but this is a student game developed by students at Digipen in Washington, the same college of which the creators of Portal attended. The game has a simple goal: mine your way to the core using different dig tools, rig tools, and gadgets such as mega bombs and your jetpack (which trust me you will need). The game has old school graphics and a great 8-bit soundtrack, and you will become enthralled with trying to mine to the core which houses a secret as well as the end of the game. In addition, you can mine another area that I will not spoil, seeing as when I found it I had already played through the game without noticing it and I just thought it was great. The one complaint I would have with this game is it has limited replay value, because well, after mining out the entire game world you don't really have anywhere to go with it, although I suppose it is a student game so I can't be complaining because for a student game it is very deep, and a very fun, nostalgic experience that I enjoyed immensely.
|4. Cthulhu Saves the World|
Another sort of throwback game if you will to the days of 16 bit JRPG's. This is a game in which you play as cthulhu who's powers have been taken from him. In order to get said powers back again he has to become a hero! Cthulhu is not happy about this. At all. The game pokes fun at the standard JRPG tropes while being quick witted and providing some hilarious interactions between Cthulhu and the narrator. A fun little rpg, and extremely cheap too, which you know is always a plus side.
|5. The Binding of Isaac|
God dammit. I didn't play this game for some time after purchasing it for the sole reason that I knew I was going to get addicted to it, especially from what my friends were telling me about the game and the insane amount of time one friend in particular has logged on it. The game comes the twisted yet disturbingly-funny mind of Edmund McMullen, designer behind indie classic Super Meat Boy. The Binding of Isaac is clearly heavily inspired by the original Legend of Zelda, with players exploring Isaac's basement room by room, fighting enemies and collecting items. There are a ton of hidden secrets in almost every room, so it is worth your while to look around before blasting through the rooms the boss room (there are also item rooms, torture rooms, etc.). Also the game is hard. Really hard. Like perma-death hard. There are different characters to unlock by completing certain objectives, and each character has different stats and health (again reminiscent of Legend of Zelda with health being measured in the row of hearts in the top right corner). Isaac starts off with three hearts, so needless to say you are going to die a lot. It's a weird, twisted game, but with old school sensibilities and the challenge of perma-death dungeon crawlers, this game is a great one to play and you will get hooked immediately.