GOTY 2019

Ofcuck it's the end of the year again???

List items

  • I played a beta version of this years ago and never explored much beyond the starting planet; the final product here is polished to a shine. I found a universe that I *needed* to know everything about. The structure of gameplay is unlike anything I've ever played, and it's a fascinating instance of what "environmental storytelling" really means. This is absolutely worth playing, even if the spaceship controls aren't your thing.

  • Okay, this isn't actually a game. Space Engine is kind of a 'planetarium' program, with a procedurally generated universe based on real astrophysics to fill in the gap between real-life objects; imagine exploring in Elite:Dangerous, but without the spaceship. (You can fly a spaceship if you want to, but it's much more "orbital mechanics sim" than Elite is.)

    The interface isn't exactly user-friendly and it's a little janky at times, but it does an excellent job at portraying the scale and size of the universe and space between them. More than anything, SE really shines in VR- watching unfamiliar night skies fade to a dim sunrise on a frozen planet, or changing scale so a galaxy fits in the palm of your hand.

    If you like space and astronomy, $20 is a steal for this little gem. Take it from an astronomer, who spends more time than I'd like to admit in Space Engine.

  • I was constantly plagued by a nagging feeling of "I wish this was just a little bit weirder", leaning into the SCP roots- but the combat is decent, the visuals are incredible, and I kept wanting to know more about the Bureau.

  • Simple, short, adorable, and meaningful. It doesn't overstay it's welcome. Also, hell yeah bird girls.

  • Still technically in Early Access, but this is one of those games that might never come out of it. The "Take and Hold" mode, despite the lack of polish, is probably one of the most fun things that VR has to offer. Well worth a shot.

  • Nothing ever will match the Ace Combat 04/5/Zero trilogy of the PS2 era, but AC7 is a wonderful return to form for a series that holds a very special place in my heart.

    PC VR when?

  • Hmm. I was completely sold on the concept with the very first tech demo...7,8 years ago? While this definitely does some awesome stuff with the concept, I found the story itself...mediocre, at best?

    Worth picking up on sale for the novel puzzles.

  • I'm not entirely sure it deserved quite the hype it got, but I cannot fault the concept and the execution is almost perfect. Be a goose, fuck shit up, ruin people's day. If the controls weren't quite so clumsy, this would be higher on the list.

  • Nostalgia trip for my PS1-addicted kid brain. A solid cart racer that lives up to the legacy.

  • Okay, honestly, I didn't actually finish this game. I got to about Monarch and fell off, and never returned.