Since 2015 is right around the corner, I’ve decided to create a little list of unique games that I enjoyed very much this past year. Let’s cut to the chase (links to the games are found in the titles):
This game is not what it seems. From a surface level, it looks like a visual novel with Phoenix Wright elements of crime solving thrown in. At first I was skeptical of the story, because, well, it reminded me of the Hunger Games. But man was I wrong. The game revolves around several high school students who are locked in a prison of sorts. The only way out of the prison is to kill another student without being caught. The headmaster of the prison, named Monokuma, a cute but absolutely deadly (and hilarious) stuffed bear constantly heckles the students as they deal with their messy situation. Instead of simply focusing on the shock value of killing others, the game rather focuses on despair, depression, and motivation. I was honestly very surprised with the themes it decided to focus on, but it ultimately made for a unique and fresh gaming experience.
(Note: Since I couldn’t afford a PS Vita, I played an English patched version of the Japanese game on my PSP with custom firmware. The link in the title contains more info if you’re interested.)
This game is insane, and there is literally nothing like it. It may look like a simple point-and-click adventure, but the kicker is that it’s also a musical. Every piece of dialogue is sang by the developer Deirdra Kiai, and it makes for some heart warming and hilarious moments. The game also has a unique visual aesthetic, containing clay models for everything found in the game. The game deals with gender, politics, and whole host of other things.
This game is very special. Not only is it a puzzle game with intricate level design, but it also has a very deep and rich story that treats the player like an adult. No answers are given, but everything that’s needed to piece the story and puzzles together are given to you. I honestly haven’t felt so exhilarated playing a game since Braid, which is my favorite game of all-time. I can’t recommend this game enough, and I will probably write up a separate post solely dedicated to it. It’s a first person puzzle game with a science fiction inspired world, and deals with humanity, artificial intelligence, and consciousness. Seriously check this one out, it’s probably my favorite game of the year.
Leave it to Adult Swim to publish a game that is creative, funny, and makes you laugh like a goddamn child. Jazzpunk, simply put, is a linear first person adventure game. It is filled with jokes, and it felt like the whole game was designed to make me smile. Hell, even Hunter S. Thompson makes a cameo!
If you’re a fan of Behemoth games, or Castle Crashers in particular, then this game is just for you. Battleblock Theater is a platforming puzzler with a heavy emphasis on co-op. Although the game can be completed solo, I highly recommend playing it with a pal. The game’s story is also voiced by the one and only Will Stamper, adding hilarity and a sense of originality to an otherwise great and fun little platformer.
Alien: Isolation is a pure homage to the original Alien. A first person horror game that isn’t afraid to copy from it’s predecessors, while still retaining a sense of originality. The game’s visual design is stunning, with an 80s inspired vision of the future that definitely makes the game stand out. If you’re a fan of the original Alien (I like to pretend the other Alien movies don’t exist), then you simply need to play this at some point, you’re in for a treat.
This little indie game is the best to play with friends. It is a balanced and accessible platformer where you shoot arrows at your friends. The game is simple to pick up, but requires some strategy and a quick set of thumbs to be very good at it. If you have some gamepads lying around and a few bored friends, then look no further. This game has great replay value, with a great retro visual aesthetic and unique gameplay elements that will make you wanting more.
There are definitely more games that came out this year that I wasn’t able to play, and I hope to play them in the near future. I wish everyone a happy new years!