I love Bastion so goddamn much I don’t think I can properly articulate just how much I love Bastion. Everything about this game is fantastic, from the gameplay to the soundtrack to the art style, there is literally nothing about this game I don’t find great. The first time I played the ending when Zulf’s Theme played, I admit I shed a tear. There has been no other experience this year, in a game or otherwise, that was as powerful as that ending sequence. And that is why it’s my personal game of the year.
2. Portal 2
There’s not a lot I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. My expectations for this game were so high and it somehow managed to easily exceed them. I kept up with the ARG from the beginning and scored myself the golden potato, letting me play the game an hour before release, a privilege I took full advantage of by not going to sleep and waiting for its early morning release. I was so hooked with the story that I completed it in two sittings, and the only reason there was break is because I met up with my friend to talk about how awesome the game was while buying food. And then there’s the co-op that I played through four different times with four different people, each time being a lot of fun, even if I feigned some knowledge of the puzzles for my friend’s sakes.
3. Pokémon Black/White
I lost interest with Pokemon for a while there, and it took the remakes of Gold and Silver to bring me back. Black then came along and upped my love for Pokemon even more. The new generation of pokemans might be the best they’ve ever done, and purposely locking away the old ones until you beat the Elite Four worked incredibly well in practically forcing you to use and love the new pokemon. As someone who still loads this game up on a regular basis to try and complete the entire pokedex, it’s hard to deny that I love this game.
4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
I always appreciate a good story, and this game certainly has that in bulk, but I guess that’s to be expected from the Phoenix Wright team. The game feature a fantastic sense of humour, an interesting cast of characters and probably most importantly simple yet challenging gameplay tying the entire package together. It’s one of those games that you really can’t play more than once, but that one time works so well that you wish there was more.
5. Super Mario 3D Land
It’s not really a surprise that a Mario platformer is fun, but it might be surprising just how much fun it is. The art style looks phenomenal with all the different style of levels, even if they’re all the same type of levels from previous games. It’s also a game that not only benefits from but is better in 3D, and sets the bar incredibly high for how well you can implement 3D into a game. The later levels also get devilishly hard to a point that hasn’t really been seen in a Mario game since Super Mario World.
6. The Binding of Isaac
When I only have enough time to play a game for 30 minutes and end up playing for 5 hours, you know it’s doing something right. That’s exactly what this game did to me, on several occasions. Sure starting again really underpowered can suck, but I think that shows just how impressive the powerups and items are in this game. Even with incredibly powerful combinations, you still want to take it slow out of fear you lose it all. This was my first foray into a Rougelike game and I don’t think I could have picked a better game to start with.
7. Rayman Origins
As someone who tries his hardest to steer clear from multiplayer games, it’s weird that I actually preferred to play this game with three other people. Sure I didn’t play through a lot of this game because of it, but what I did play was simply staggering. Spending over an hour chasing a running chest should have been infuriating, but every single time we started from the beginning we were still pumped to keep going, and the celebration when we finally got it was glorious.
8. Rock of Ages
I hate tower defense, there I said it. The only game I have felt has dome it justice only managed to do it by covering it in copious amounts of Monty Python inspired cutscenes. Pretty sneaky if you ask me. Aside from the cutscenes though, the gameplay in both the tower defense and the Super Monkey Ball rolling balance each other extremely well, and nothing will ever beat me destroying my friend’s boulder just before he managed to hit my castle gates.
The fact that in a year of amazing games, that I thoroughly enjoyed a game originally released in 2006 speaks to two things. One, I’m a sucker for indie games, but most importantly two, it speaks to how well the game has been brought over by Carpe Fulgur. The great story and lines combined with the fun gameplay secures this weeaboo thang on my year end list.
10. Blocks That Matter
I don’t know what’s more impressive, a game that started out as an Xbox Indie Game game being one of my favourite games of the year, or that fact that it draws from Minecraft, a game that I’ve not particularly fond of, and manages to make something great from it. The mesh of Minecraft and Tetris works way too well that I’m surprised no-one had thought of it before now, and the levels themselves are really fun. Working out some of the latter levels made me feel like the smartest person alive, which is a hallmark of a fantastic puzzle game.