audioBusting's Top 10 (+1) Hot Games for Cool Gamers 2019

I submitted the top 10 to the community voting, and as always I want to store the list with some comments for posterity and fun. I added one extra for my annual Love Nikki check in. I have a personal brand to maintain, OK?

P.S. If you want to see a list of every game I played this year (that I didn't forget to note down), check it here: https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/audiobusting/lists/my-2019-diary/365153/

List items

  • After playing through this game in a feverish, goblin-like, obsessed AND possessed manner over a single day, its aftershocks continued to shake me throughout the rest of the year. This game is simply tremendous. So often do I just suddenly think about Outer Wilds, and break into tears. So often do we like to joke about games actually being a metaphor to the meaning of life, ha ha, but this game is the real deal. It shows the immensity of the universe with an ironically, deliciously bite-sized world, which you can snugly fit into your brain's short-term memory, and ask the question, "Why?" Why do we even bother trying? What's the point? And it celebrates the asking of the question itself. It doesn't quite answer the question for us (what can?!), but it really is something I'll probably never stop thinking about to my grave.

  • This is kinda cheating because I never reached Shadowbringers. I've only just about finished the Dragonsong War stuff, which came out more than 3 years ago! BUT! At least I've been enjoying the gameplay overhauls from Shadowbringers! Also, that Heavensward stuff just kicks so much ass. This game's so good. If you're not playing this, y'all sleeping.

  • You might start to notice from these comments, wait a minute, you've barely finished any of your top 10 games! I don't care. These games, and THIS game in particular, are just that good. I've not cracked the mystery just yet, but I've cracked enough mysteries to say that this game is amazing in ways I didn't expect. It's not like the use of RPG mechanics, though interesting (a flat leveling system that's actually a trading resource in disguise?!), blew my mind or anything. I'm also not super into cynical/"satirical" type stuff. But this game's often genuinely funny and complex. It's more lighthearted and playful than I thought it would be. It's weird, but grounded in the right ways. There's always a lot of story threads going on, and these threads intertwine to a dizzying degree. And for me, that counts for a lot.

  • I've always loved flat, "walking around" games like these, but that's not the only reason I love this game. This game is just so delightful and weirdly intriguing, in a way that feels so refreshing. It feels like my MP meter is being refilled as I simply walk around and read dialogues in this game. It's the kind of thing that makes me go "THIS is why I like video games!" or "now THAT's what I call a video game!" at everything. I like the cast of characters too. Pesky best new character 2019!

  • I'm sorry Pathologic 2 and the rest of the list but it's getting late and I've spent too much energy on the top 4 games. Pathologic 2 is cool as hell and you should play it. and yeah i didn't entirely play through this one either but whatever. the end.

  • it's just one of those games where, I don't know, kinda like persona in that there's a lot of individual story threads that you might not get to see and makes them pull less weight, but it still works because the supports are just good and also this has shades of harry potter which skyrockets its ranking in my book??? and the fire emblem stuff is good too i guess. I got really obsessed at making Sylvain get his shit together and use his full potential as a mage. Come on Sylvain. I know you're smart in there somewhere.

  • Slay the Spire is the type of game that might someday kill me. They will find my body collapsed in front of a computer with either The Sims, some 4X game, or this. But not today, video game! You won't kill me just yet!

  • Huge respect for starting the game with a literal letter from the authors to the player because who are we kidding, this is all just a bunch of smoke and mirrors and we're idiots wasting our lives away on these nonsense digital entertainment products anyway. The least we could do is to speak to each other like normal people sometimes.

  • Gotta be honest, I didn't even get to play this game yet. But NecroDancer remains to be what I believe is the greatest rhythm-based video game ever made. not TO BE made, I think there's still a lot of potential, which doesn't seem to be tapped that much even with Cadence of Hyrule just yet. So i'll just put this at my number 9 because why not.

  • I do this shit all day anyway, lurking online and finding weirdly specific things people share in public. This game makes it very low stake, and it doesn't feel bad because I know they're all fictional people and most of them turn out OK in the end. That's just a good time.

  • First, I need to air my grievances. I saw that they had a "food day" event or whatever, which gives you A PIZZA SLICE HAIR CLIP AND A FRENCH FRIES BAG!! I SAW IT COMING IN A COUPLE DAYS, AND THEN I MISSED IT!!!! This is the most I will ever cry in regret. Anyway, this game is still a complete nightmare, and they just keep adding new modes into it. I got a lady who turned into 2 swords, which significantly increases my Gorgeous outfit score, from a new, entirely separate story mode. The UI still sucks. Just a completely inscrutable deluge of complete nonsense. I'm looking forward to another year of Love Nikki.