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Best of 2010

KelpPlankton: Best of 2010

Not meant to represent the 'best' games of 2010 by any means, this list is my personal picks and the stuff I've played obsessively this year.  I didn't play every single game released, so it's also obviously not comprehensive(if I had, Dead Rising 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns likely would have found their ways into this list).

List items

  • Taking all the good bits of Mass Effect and spicing it up with better gameplay and level design, Mass Effect 2 pulls the player even deeper into the world. It's only flaw? The loss of Wrex.

  • Take the best 3D Mario game so far, add Yoshi, remove the clumsy hub world mechanic, and make it harder than any Mario experience so far(bar Lost Levels). The result is, well, absolutely fantastic. Galaxy 2's levels never fail to delight and frustrate in equal measure, and Luigi makes the game fun a second time.

  • The definitive version of the most polished, content-rich music game out there. More instruments, real instruments, it's a major game-changer... if only it hadn't come out so late in the plastic instrument game.

  • It may feel like an obscure PS1 game, but Recettear is undeniably addictive and built to be unlike any other title out there. Combine the unique gameplay with charming characters and you've got a great time-waster with a solid challenge to it.

  • If Xbox Live Arcade was meant to give you the arcade experience at home, then nobody's experience is truly complete until they get Pinball FX. Taking the Rockband approach but applying it to pinball tables, you get a better experience with ever-expanding content than you've ever gotten with any pinball game before. The physics might not be perfect for purists, but they're damn good, and the game is a lot of fun.

  • I am gay for Telltale Games. They just keep making better and better adventure titles. I can't help myself. The pinnacle of the Sam and Max series, The Devil's Playhouse is the culmination of every lesson Telltale's learned in making adventure games to date, and it's polish and care shows in every moment of the series.

  • Few games really feel like they have a compelling story or try to hit on a range of emotions like Heavy Rain does. It's not perfect, and a second playthrough reveals how inconsequental many of your actions are, but it's a very memorable title and sure to be looked back on fondly.

  • A modern take on River City Ransom, with 4 player action, a great sprite artist, and a well-known chiptune composer, working with the most game-friendly geek-loved licence of the year? Just constant fun, and constant challenge. Every level brings it's own cute touches and callbacks, and the shortcuts and level system keep it replayable for a long time.

  • Warioware DIY is the Mario Paint of a new generation- and it's so much more. A creative tool as much as it's a literal game, you get as much out of DIY as you put into it. If the sharing system were only better, this would be an instant hit and hugely popular- but, due to Nintendo's typical online strategy, it's not.

  • Pac-Man pushed to an extreme like you've never seen it before, but still retaining it's classic style. The perfect hybrid of old and new, the Pac is back in a good way.