The Giant Bomb engineering team has a pretty diverse taste in games, so rather than try to put together what we collectively agreed upon as a top 10 list we figured we'd showcase each person's unique top game of the year. And by game of the year we just mean games that each person played this year. Some of these games have been out for quite some time, but these are the games that meant the most to each of us in 2019. Surprisingly there were no duplicates, which speaks to just how uniquely every one on the team approaches games. So here it is, broken down by each engineer that works behind the scenes on GB.
I really love games with base building, slow steady progression, and meandering through beautiful environments. Astroneer is all that with a charming whimsical wrapping. I wandered aimlessly for hours exploring caves, trekking across vast fields, and occasionally getting my rover wedged in a crevasse so deep I had to abandon it. When I needed to go home and turn off my brain, I kept choosing to jump back onto those tiny round planets and just lose myself for a few hours.
Laura: Picross S3
My love for Picross started on the DS. And it has only deepened. While the premise of the game is quite simple, I get completely sucked in to each and every puzzle. But I think what keeps me coming back is finding out that the picture that I created is absolutely nowhere near what I thought it was. Picross is the game the game that I keep returning to over and over again to be challenged in the most relaxing way.
Chris: Slay the Spire
Deckbuilding and drafting in card games is something I’ve loved to do in the physical realm since I was small and Slay the Spire nails the feeling of doing that in another genre of game I enjoy; rougelikes. The run based nature of the game and the drip feed of new cards and run altering relics along with the three very different characters made this a game I came back to often with each run feeling very different than the last.
The way the cards could combo and power up others fulfilled a power fantasy that I have not felt with any other card game. When things were going really well and I got the cards I wanted in the run it often felt like I broke the game because my deck was so finely tuned to slayin’ lots of monsters.
Can’t wait to play the 4th character. I’ll be climbing the spire then and long after.
Dan (Designer Dan): Control
Lifeless architecture. Booming type. Red.
Jesse Fucking Faden.
I pined for each moment I could hear Jesse processing her surroundings and understanding more (less?) about what the hell was going on. I was never bored or disinterested at any point. Lost? Sure. I walked around aimlessly a lot at the beginning, which was fine. I was allowed to enjoy the building I was confined in, almost like hiking through open landscapes of concrete.
The thing about Control for me was how deeply I became invested into the world. I didn’t want to leave. I still think about it constantly, wishing I could walk into a fictional building full of terror and stay.
I bought my Nintendo Switch just for Fire Emblem Three Houses, the gameplay was long and the conversations were sometimes tedious, but every time I heard that musical fanfare as my character was promoted to the next class I excitedly pushed on to the next day of classes. I have spent 40+ hours so far and have still not finished one house story. I love to explore every side quest and just spend entire in-game days just fishing at the lake, yup fishing in Fire Emblem >_<
Regina: Mario Kart Tour
The controls were a bit hard to get used to initially. It gets easier once you get the hang of drifting.
MKT seems to prevent your kart from falling off the race track most of the time. Some shortcuts on race tracks are blocked off and can’t be used at all.
Most races end after 2 laps instead of 3.
Character weight, kart weight, and kart handling doesn’t seem to factor in to how well you will do in a race. Characters, karts, and gliders seem to have different stats that attribute to boosts and bonus points you get instead. You don’t always have to win first place to get enough points to get enough stars to move on to subsequent tours. Leveling up your account, characters, karts, and gliders help you earn more points.
There’s a subscription that you can get that will give you more bonus stars and gift items. The game is definitely made to make you want to pay to win.
Overall, it’s a fun game to play during my commute to/from work. The short races makes it really easy to pick up and put down.
Patrick: Oxygen Not Included
I never thought this cutesy, humorous game could teach me the basics of thermodynamics. It’s an amazingly stressful game that has as a simple premise but insanely deep mechanics that have kept me engaged for hundreds of hours.
Jason: To the Moon
Jason finally got around to playing To the Moon this year and it stuck with him more than any other game. The story, the setting, and the feeling in that game stuck with him more than anything he has played in a long, long time.
Dan (Engineer Dan): Not Fortnite (But, Actually, Yeah, Fortnite...)
We asked Dan what his game of the year was and he said he was basically just playing Fortnite the whole year. He then said not to put that on the list because he was embarrassed.
Well guess what, it’s on the list and now everybody knows.
Steve: Star Citizen
Steve wasn’t built for this time and place, Steve was supposed to be the captain of a starship sometime in the far flung future. Perhaps he’ll make it there one day, but until then he has a HOTAS, a TrackIR, and Star Citizen to live out his dreams.
Steven: Tap Titans 2
Steven went on vacation before this list was put together, so we’re not entirely sure what his GOTY is. We can make a guess though. Steven recently almost exploded an iPhone because it was constantly on and running all day every day playing Tap Titans 2 on his desk hooked up to a charger. By the time we intervened for the good of the office, his phone already had a bulging battery and his screen was cracked from the new rounded shape of his phone. He got a new phone thankfully, and it now sits at his desk all day running Tap Titans 2 until one day it inevitably also explodes.