This was another great year for gaming, and while it didn’t see as many great JRPGs as last year, with Dragon Quest XI being nice but nothing particularly special, and Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Octopath Traveler kind of continuing the already paved path, there were a lot of notable indie games, especially platformers.
My favorite of the year was Celeste that combined fantastic game-play with a pretty good story, but then we also had The Messenger that brought back the classic Ninja Gaiden of all things to life, Iconoclasts that really caught me off guard with its fascinating setting and characters, Yoku’s Island Express that combined pinball with platforming, The Missing:JJ coming from the crazy guy responsible for Deadly Premonition, Guacamelee! 2 which carries the already established legacy, Dead Cells which is equal amounts frustrating and fascinating, Just Shapes & Beats which is a rad if very short experience, and though I didn’t like it that much, the audiovisual spectacle that’s GRIS.
The other indie games include my second favorite game this year, the underwater survival and exploration simulator, Subnautica, that’s though rough around the edges is a beyond incredible experience in VR. Then there was a detective-like game Obra Dinn which is probably like nothing you’ve played before, and Unavowed that does a worthy homage to the 90s adventure games. And I nearly forgot my new favorite turn-based game, Into the Breach, which though short is mind-blowing addicting.
It really makes me think that indie games might be the way of the future, though we had some pretty cool triple AAA titles as well this year, like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Monster Hunter: World. …All of which I have yet to play, but I’m sure at least one or two of those would end up in my personal top ten of the year.
There was also a resurgence of the city builder genre with a worthwhile successor to Theme Hospital and an ice-age themed survival builder Frostpunk, which turned out to have a much more involving narrative than I’d expected.