I completely failed at Last Year’s New Year’s resolution (which is why I try not to make them), but I am going to do an end of year writeup.
Similar to last year, I only played two AAA games and tended to focus more on indie games that had unique gameplay or themes. I had a bunch of games that I started at the end of the year, but didn’t really get into because the first game in my list destroyed my ability to play anything else. With no further ado, here are my most memorable games of 2014!
Game I couldn’t stop playing: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
This game was a short term addiction. I played it for 157 hours in the span of two months, got 100% of the achievements (which only 0.9% of players accomplish), and got ridiculously good at this game. I played the original in 2011 for at least 100 hours, so it’s easy to say that Rebirth was a huge step up for me to have played it as much as I did. The entire game was redone to make it a silky smooth experience and a bunch more was added that the original didn’t have. I can’t recommend this game enough; it’s a combination of The Legend of Zelda original meets fucked up Christian theme meets bullet hell meets randomization. Fantastic stuff.
Game that made me question everything: Desert Golfing
I thought this two color game would be something easy to write off. I thought it’d be a waste of time. All you do in this game is try to put the ball in the hole. The game doesn’t change. So why am I still playing? Does the score matter? It doesn’t seem to. Does it matter if I fuck around and don’t try very hard? I seem to be getting good at this game. Wow, that was a difficult hole, but I made it! This doesn’t really seem to have a purpose. I don’t get it, why am I still playing this game? This is quite relaxing, I almost feel in a zen state. Wow, a cactus!
Best looking game on the Playstation 3: The Last Of Us
Not only was this game stunningly gorgeous, it was also an amazing experience. I loved the dynamic of the two main characters – it felt much more real than most games do. I actually cared when they got hurt. The zombie theme got a little old, but the game kept me enthralled all the way to the end. I highly recommend this game, especially if you can pick it up on the PS4. For 2015, I’ll have to try out the DLC as I hear it’s quite good.
Game I was most disappointed in: Super Time Force
I loved Capybara Games’ last big release: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, so when I saw trailers for Super Time Force I was ecstatic. It looked like everything I wanted in a throwback to the old Contra and Metal Slug style games. Unfortunately, it turned out to not be anything like what I thought it was going to be. It was more of a puzzle game about how to progress through a level and save your guys than it was a bullet dodging side scroller. Sounds fun, but in practice it didn’t play nearly as well as I thought it should have. Most of the heroe’s abilities I didn’t care about, which made the game feel lackluster even though it had exceptional quality all over the place. Sadness.
Best choose your own adventure game: The Stanley Parable
The way this game was made astounds me. You can beat it in the first ten minutes you play it, but that doesn’t stop you from replaying it over and over and over again. It is very polished and was a delight to play. Some of the situations I found myself playing through in The Stanley Parable were completely unique from any other game I’ve ever played. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if the game was fucking with me or if I was in on the joke, but I enjoyed it all the same. Everyone will like this game, and if they don’t, they have something wrong with their sense of humor. So very good.
Favorite game of 2014: Papo & Yo
I didn’t know what to expect from this game since I got it out of a Humble Bundle and hadn’t heard of it before that. I watched a trailer before playing that showed me a cute style, but not much else and decided to give it a try. I couldn’t have possibly guessed that Papo & Yo would affect me the way that it did. There is a very, very short list of games that have been able to make me feel a specific emotion powerfully, and Papo & Yo is high on that list. The gameplay is a bit light, but the childlike wonder of the game shines through like no other game I’ve played. The makers of this game were going for something specific, and they hit it out of the park. I don’t think this game is for everyone, but it is easily the most memorable game I played of 2014. Even though I played The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth 50 times longer than I played Papo & Yo, this game is more memorable to me.
For reference, here are the games I beat this year:
Papo & Yo
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
The Stanley Parable
To The Moon
The Last Of Us
Super Time Force
Here are the games I played but didn’t beat (or couldn’t “beat”):
Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Legend of Grimrock 2
Risk of Rain
Road Not Taken