Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've had a good year, and that the next one will be better!
I don't really have a new year's resolution, but one thing I did mean to do last year was write up a few game reviews for some of the more interesting games I tried out this year.
So I'll get onto that now! Here's my list of favourite and fail-vorite (that should totally be a word. Possibly for something that fails so hard you love it) games of the year!
...and also favourite games of years gone by, as I'm including a number of games from past years that I only just got around to playing. It's well within your rights to complain loudly at my failure as a human being to be only just playing these games this year, but it's also within my rights to ignore the hell out of you if you do.
So without further ado!3DS & DS games:Kingdom Hearts 3D (3DS)
Okay, you guys know how much I love Kingdom Hearts
, but I have to admit I approached this game with a mixture of 'meh?' and 'zomg World Ends With You and TRON!!' (believe me, this mixture is actually possible). I think I'm rather burnt out when it comes to Kingdom Hearts side-story games at this point, as much as I loved Birth by Sleep.
That said, I did have a lot of fun with the gameplay, and still love running around as Sora and Riku. The art and animation, as always, was top notch. They included some interesting new movement styles, and the dream eaters were pretty cute.
However, the story fell flat for me. I won't give away spoilers, but the big reveal felt very familiar
, and didn't leave me super excited for KH3 as it should have. (7/10)Final Fantasy: Theatrhythm
Cute, but this ultimately fell flat to me. The boss battles were fun! ...but the other modes, not so much! This could have done with more RPG elements to make it more engaging, but in the end it just felt like a pointless spinoff money maker. (4/10)Pokemon Conquest
This was the first Pokemon related game I'd played since Pokemon Red on the Gameboy Advance (yes, I feel old now, thanks). I managed to get over my "nooo! I accept no pokemon outside the original 150" stance by be completely charmed by the pokemon-in-feudal-Japan setting and gorgeous costume design.
So yes, I had fun with this game. Cute sprites, a little bit of tactical planning, combined with Pokemon's good old collect 'em all appeal. I wanted more video cutscenes though, the text cutscenes were a little disappointing. (8/10)Playstation 3:Shadow of the Colossus (HD) (PS3)
Okay, this is the first of the 'why did I not play this earlier?' games. But I will say I'm glad I waited, as the HD re-release is beautifully done. It's hard to find much to say that hasn't already been said, but it's certainly a masterpiece of a game that I highly recommend.
(9.5/10)ICO (HD) (PS3)
I hadn't even heard of ICO until a couple of years ago, but thankfully it was bundled with Shadow of the Colossus, or I might have never sought it out. While there's many quite clunky aspects to the gameplay (argh, that camera is a fail-cake wrapped in fail) but I loved how much story and character they were able to imply with very minimal interactions and cut-scenes. (8/10)Journey (PS3 PSN)
I still find it hard to call Journey a 'game' so much as an absolutely beautiful interactive experience. Journey feels very much unlike anything I've ever played before, it's like walking through a flowing, moving piece of concept art. Like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, it does a great deal with minimalist story telling and evoking wonder. (9/10)One Piece: Kaizoku Musou /Pirate Warriors
I picked this up in Japan while I was there earlier in the year. I was a little sceptical at the One Piece/Dynasty Warriors teamup at first, but this game is a heck of a lot of fun! Rampaging around as Luffy or other straw-hats is everything I'd hoped it would be. It combines excellent controls, plenty of care in the art and animation, as well as the high level of voice acting we've come to expect from the crew. Franky and Brook are hilarious to play as! I can't recommend it enough for One Piece fans. (9.5/10)Steam:Torchlight 2
Fun, monster horde bashing goodness! I enjoyed Torchlight 2 a great deal, and the developers improved on many of the weaker areas of it's predecessor. Also, I got to run around with a demon-slaying papillon puppy, so that's certainly getting them extra points. The game very much met my expectations. I would have loved to see them work more on their characterisation and writing though, that was thoroughly mediocre. (8.5/10)Settlers 7
Wow, this was quite a time guzzler, as expand and conquer games so often are. Great art and design, it was pretty much what I'd expected, though it took a fair while to get a hang of the trickier resource management. (7.5/10)Thomas was Alone
Speaking of minimalist, it doesn't get any more minimalist than Thomas was Alone. This game wouldn't have interested me, but the voice over was incredibly charming (I'd describe it as the voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide meets British children's shows), and gives character to otherwise very simple blocks in this puzzle/platformer. (7/10)To the Moon
It was Laura Shirahara's music (composer from Plants vs Zombies) music which tempted me to buy this, though it's an entirely different sort of game. To the Moon is very story-focussed, so the gameplay takes a back seat here. I very much loved the characters and story as it unfolded, delving into the past of an old man to unravel his secrets and explore an unusual love story. I know this one won't be for everyone, but I found it endearing. (8/10)Braid
This game is one that I've had recommended to me many, many times, yet I'd tried and failed to get into it twice before. I appreciate the story and unusual approach taken, the time reversing and different rules for each level were interesting. However, I just didn't have the patience to collect every single puzzle piece in order to complete the game, and had to watch the ending on Youtube instead. (7/10)Sequence
I had the urge to play a rhythm game, so I gave Sequence a try. What really surprised me was how great the cutscenes and voice acting were, there were some laugh-out-loud funny moments and really slick dialogue. I appreciate it when characters actually respond as real people would when thrown into weird situations.
As for the gameplay? At times, it was fun, switching between offense, defense and mana collection made battles rather hectic. However, they really needed more variety in music, as quite often you'd be forced to fight the same monsters over and over again to collect items. (7/10)iTunes:
The World Ends With You (iPad)
Yep. Still an awesome game. The controls suffered a little on the iPad, with some pins simply not working or no longer being worth using, but I'm sure new players will find it easier with just the one screen to pay attention to. I'd hoped there would be some adjustments in this version, but oh well. (8.5/10)Ski Safari (iPad)
I haven't mentioned many of the iPad games I've played, but this one is just pure, silly fun. I mean, a game that lets you hitch a ride on penguins and yetis? Yeah, it's pretty cute. (7/10)
How about you guys? What were your favourite games this year?
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