Some Games Came Out In 2018

2018 is done. Another insane year for myself and my family. I had even less time to play games this year than I did in 2017 so I won't do a proper ranked list but I still wanted to mention some great games that stuck with me. These games are in no particular order and I'm sick as I type this so there won't be no fancy writin'.

List items

  • A simple, seemingly mundane game about everyday life but it contains a heartbreaking story about a failed relationship and moving one's life on from a tough time. Exceedingly well made, brief but poignant and relatable.

  • I didn't play a lot of mobile games this year but a few did grab my attention. Pocket City is great, a simplified version of old school SimCity built for phones. My wife and I spent hours on the couch next to each other building cities and discussing strategies. Once you fill a map with a self sustaining city there isn't much to do, as such I fell off the game pretty sharply but did really enjoy my time with it.

  • Another mobile gem, Holedown. A simple premise but satisfying to play. I almost immediately stopped playing it once I purchased all of the upgrades because there was nothing left to chase and the infinite level didn't interest me. Like a lot of mobile games though, I was only into it for about a week, but what a week.

  • Those who have seen my previous GOTY lists know I was very much into Star Wars: Galaxy Of Heroes at one point. I got bored with that game and eventually gave up on it. Only to replace it with an almost identical game, this time featuring Marvel characters. This game has me back on a daily grind collecting character shards that I'm sure I will burn out on eventually. For now though, I need to work on unlocking Pyro.

  • Donut County is delightful. A silly premise with great writing, music and a raccoon who is a lovable asshole.

  • I'm still not sure what to say about this game. I haven't put that much time into it because life keeps getting in the way. What I've played is solid, the game is immense and complex but also it seems like many of its complex systems don't actually matter. I've spoken with several people who burned out hard on the game by the end which makes me think stretching out my time with it may be the best way to play. Trying to finish the story quickly seems to really expose how repetitive the missions are, ride here, shoot some dudes, ride back etc. Arthur's story intrigues me thought and I'm looking forward to getting back into it but I will purposefully be taking my time.

  • I've always been into the idea of "toys to life" games. I have almost every Disney Infinity figure, a lot of Lego Dimensions figures, and almost every Amiibo (which aren't really toys to life but still). I bought the Switch version of Starlink because it came with Star Fox stuff and I love Star Fox. Since Nintendo seems to have forgotten how to make a good Star Fox game I'm happy someone else stepped in.

    The way the toy ships work is cool. You can stack ship parts on each other making some real monstrosities and however you snap the pieces together, that's how your ship looks in the game. It's really neat. Yet the actual best way to play this game is without the toys. You can buy all of the ships and weapons digitally which is nice because swapping parts on the physical ship mid gameplay is annoying. It was a smart decision on Ubisoft's part considering the dying TTL market to make the parts available online.

    The game itself has the typical Ubisoft map barf, a thousand icons with a dozen repetitive tasks to complete but it's a competent space shooter and the best Star Fox game to come out in some time. I will definitely come back to it when weapons and ships go on sale.

  • Ever wanted to play as an insurance adjuster inspecting a ghost ship? I know I sure did! I've been playing this game with my wife this past week, we've barely scratched the surface of it but I'm definitely interested. It has a stunning look, great music and a unique premise. A ship full of corpses sails itself home, armed a magic pocket watch that allows you to see the last moments of someone's life, you have to deduce the identities and fates of each crew member. Who doesn't want to play ghost ship detective?

    Edit: We finished the game in a few sittings and it is great. Bouncing between memories when you get down to only a few crew members is a bit cumbersome but we didn't struggle with it too much. Expertly crafted game.

  • PSVR has been killing it this year. As with many games on this list, I've barely played any Moss but was immediately sucked into its world. It's adorable and a great use of VR. You can high five the mouse!

  • Another PSVR killer app. I saw some on Twitter saying this game reminded them of the first time they played Mario 64 which I thought was a ridiculous claim. And then I played it. The gameplay is pretty simple at first glance, but like Mario 64 did the it adds a new dimension to platformers. It's joyous and such a clever use of VR, of PSVR specifically which is one of the cheaper headsets on the market and doesn't always have the best motion tracking. I'm about halfway through the game and can't wait to see the rest of it. Just need to find some time to move the coffee table and get the PSVR set up again. I had a dumb smile on my face the entire time I played and there were times this year when I really needed that.

  • Yes, this game was on one of my lists before but I got back into NMS this year so here it is again. Around the time the NEXT update for NMS dropped was around the time I had family in the hospital. The game provided me with gorgeous escapism and I fell back into it hard. Sometimes you just want to fly around and collect copper, scan some animals, trade resources with little gecko people and ignore the real world.

  • (And also Vermintide 1 which I got into at the same time)

    VT2 is great! I didn't realize how much I wanted a new version of Left 4 Dead until I played these two games. The basic game design and even enemy design are borderline plagiarized from L4D but it's great. I didn't know anyone else playing the game around launch and was forced to play online with randos but actually had a good time, despite the level of coordination required with people I don't want to speak with. Firing arrows into a mob of evil giant rat people has never been so satisfying.

  • 2018 has been a solid year for playing games alongside my wife. Two Point Hospital caused in a lot of late nights for both of us. As someone who works in a hospital, and has also had to visit family in the hospital many, many times in the last 12 months the last thing I thought I would want to do is spend time in a virtual one as well. TPH is an excellent management sim with goofy, lighthearted writing that reminded me of how much I enjoyed playing games like SimCity and Transport Tycoon as a kid. It has been really fun sitting on the couch with my wife curing fake diseases and filling our doctor's offices with pictures of clowns.

  • The nostalgia is strong with this one, I was not expecting to enjoy this game as much as I have. You get the experience of playing the original classic but without having to spend hours grinding to level up your Pokemon. As a result, the game is much easier than you remember but that's fine, I didn't want to fight the Elite Four over and over just to make the numbers go higher this time. Another lighthearted, colourful game in a year when I often needed such things and a great way to introduce my wife to world of Pokemon games. We've played the entire thing in co-op, which makes the easy battles even easier but we had a grand old time. Now to just catch the remainder of 'em. That's how that goes right?

  • By now you know what this series is and whether you like it or not, I'll just say that this is the best FH game so far and I'm excited to dig into the expansions. One bummer, they removed the custom music support. You can still play your own music, but it won't change dynamically according to gameplay like before. Oh well.

  • Not much to say about this game that hasn't been said everywhere else, but damn it's great. I've played every GOW game, including the PSP ones and the one made for Nokia phones. They've mostly been pretty good, aside from Ascension, but this reboot takes it in a whole new direction. It's beautiful, densely packed and satisfying to play. The Norse mythology setting is a nice refresh for Kratos and I'm so pumped to see where they take it from here.

  • If you like Tetris, you should play this. If you don't like Tetris, play it anyway. What a stunning, synesthetic experience. A lovely distraction from a real world that can be harsh. Sometimes it's hard to buy into the "hey man, we're all in this together" themes in some media but I bought it from Tetris Effect. I never thought a Tetris game would give me chills or make me a little misty-eyed. And, on top of being a great adventure through world music and lovely visuals, it's also a fantastic and challenging Tetris game. (The only other one worth playing this generation is Puyo Puyo Tetris, do not play the Ubisoft Tetris that came out a couple of years ago.)

  • When Insomniac announced they were making a Spidey game, the first reaction from myself and many others was to say it should be like the Spider-Man 2 game from 2004. They really listened. However, just saying this game is as an updated version of the 2004 game would be doing it a disservice. They've made significant changes, updates and written a solid story that would rival any of the MCU movies. Not sure if I would call Spidey my "game of the year" but it's definitely a contender.

  • Oh, and a special mention for Pokemon GO which I got back into this year. New Pokemon to collect and a few new features were enough to get me to open the app at least once a day to catch something and keep my streak going. Also the addition of a step counter to help hatch eggs is welcome and way overdue.

  • If the idea of a short sci-fi conversational adventure game appeals to you, check out Quarantine Circular. I really hope Mike Bithell keeps writing games like this in what I guess is now the "Circular" franchise. Go play Subsurface Circular as well if you haven't done that. They're short, cheap and very well written.