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GOTY 2016

These are the games that I really enjoyed this past year. They're also the only 10 games I played that came out this year. But they're good!

List items

  • I didn't know I wanted to play this type of game until I played it. Piloting drones to explore derelict spaceships in an abandoned universe never felt so good. Also, I've never actually done that, and it seems to do a good job at immersing me in the monotonous-yet-unsettling act. I love the random things like ship hulls getting hit by asteroids and radiation leaking in. Also, that first time you encounter one of the nastier types of alien infestation on a ship...a true nightmare. What really sets this game off is the command line interface. Having to type everything out to navigate around these abandoned ships just seals Duskers as my #1 game of 2016.

  • Boy, I love Harvest Moon. This is a better Harvest Moon than any of the recent releases. It seems to get what that series was all about. The combat is whatever, but servicable in a game that does so much, so well. The mining and exploration of it, floor by floor. Chopping down that tree and hearing the wood snap as it tumbles. Giving turnips to a homeless guy in a tent. This is also a game that has gotten its share of post-release support from the (sole) developer. If you need a chill-out game and want to fight against an evil corporation from taking over a rural farming town, this is your game. Sprinklers and auto-feeders make the farming pretty trivial late-game, which is lame. But whatever.

  • This is. Wow. I don't know how to describe this game. Violent Horror Rhythm Game? You should play it. Best "experience" of the year, for sure. The time-signatures are infuriating, coming from someone who is rhythmically inclined. Tension, this is the key word.

  • Civilization is typically not the biggest game of any given year, but turns out to be worth its weight as I replay it for countless hours every year after its release. This seems like the new standard, and I appreciate a lot of the subtle changes they made to the game flow in VI. Having to build structures on tiles makes you value your surrounding tiles more, and make more concrete future plans for your civ.

  • The vibe of Hyper Light Drifter carries it pretty far. The desolate atmosphere combined with a Zelda-like game structure was just what I needed when it was released early on in 2016. The mechanics feel great, and the game offers a good challenge, which forces you to become one with the mechanics. Did I mention the game mechanics were great?

  • This game stresses me out. But that's what it's supposed to do, I guess. I enjoy risking my party members sanity to find out what's behind that next door. Sometimes treasure, but usually not worth it because it's guarded by an octopus warlock who kills everyone. I really didn't expect much out of this game, and the art style didn't gel well with me at first. But it's a grower, not a shower.

  • I am a super fan of Human Revolution. The entire vibe of that game just sit perfectly with me. And this is more of that, but not quite as good. It's still good. Really good. Just not mind-blowing. The world you explore between main missions seems less lively than it should, and I felt as if the whole thing was on rails in comparison to the previous title. The "blink" dash mechanic? Get that out of my Deus Ex game.

  • Dark Souls as a series took a while to win me over, but when it clicked with me, I became hooked. This is another one of those. I'm not a fan of the way the world is just nexus all over again, but the mechanics are excellent in this game.

  • I enjoy the easy execution of this game, though the neutral game leaves something to be desired. Whiff-punishing seems needlessly hard due to the short stubby hitboxes on all the characters limbs. Still, the game made R.Mika a good character, which I am eternally grateful for.

  • This is in the number 10 slot because I didn't actually play much of it and I didn't play that many games this year in general. The art and vibe of Owlboy is charming, and it seems like a game that a lot of care was taken in the making. That makes sense, since it took 10 years to be developed.