That 2013! Am I right? Now with the obligatory year-in-review comment out of the way let us begin. There are actually quite a few titles I wish I had the privilege of playing, stuff like Gone Home, The Stanley Parable and Rogue Legacy that have many PC gamers enamored. Unfortunately I don“t game on PC, so while many of those probably would have appealed to me they“ll just have to be relegated to hypothetical honorable mentions.
As for other games like The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V and othersâ€¦ I did play them; they won“t be on this list. Not only would that be easy, but I simply didn“t enjoy them as much as others did. Oops!
8. Steamworld Dig
Image & Form really struck gold(anium?) with SteamWorld Dig, a steampunk robot spaghetti western action platformer. Wow, I need a breath after that one. At first, the game looks like a Dig Dug reskin, but once you dig deeper (HA!) into it, puzzle platforming, hilarious characters and an interesting premise make this game a diamond in the rough!
7. Tomb Raider
When I first heard about a new Tomb Raider game, I was less than thrilled. Weren“t we all really? But the more Square Enix showed, the more excited I became. When the final product rolled around, I wasn“t disappointed! The game has plenty of great combat mechanics and exploration, paired with a killer â€œoriginâ€ story with lots of great action sequences. Thank you Crystal Dynamics, you made the Tomb Raider name great again!
6. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Considering the train wreck that Final Fantasy XIV was, A Realm Reborn had to really perform if it was going to keep my interest. Well, it did and it has. I“ve been playing since it released and it“s been one of the most continually gratifying gaming experiences this year. The game caters to the hardcore and casual alike, and takes the best designs of other MMOs and enhances them with new gameplay elements like FATEs. It“s the Final Fantasy MMO for Final Fantasy fans, and I love that!
5. Pokemon X/Y
What happens when you take Pokemon, add some major online connectivity, spice up the single-player, and shake up the foundations of the world we“ve come to expect? Spoiler alert: It“s awesome. Pokemon X/Y raised the bar for me in ways I never imagined it could, what with all the improvements to EV training, online play, leveling and just plain catching ”em all. In fact, if you don“t love the new EXP share I“m not sure if we can be friends.
Love it or hate it, but you can“t deny that Drink Box Studios did something amazing with the Metroidvania genre in Guacamelee! The combat system not only doubled as spot-on platforming abilities, but as a very clever and well paced gating system, making this title muy caliente. I even scoffed when I heard there would be polarity-based world shifting but it turned out to be, once again, an excelente addition to puzzle platforming and combat. Without a doubt, the platforming, exploration and combat are top tier, making Guacamelee! a Metroidvania that can stand proudly with the greatest the genre has to offer.
3. Fire Emblem: Awakening
Awakening wasn“t my first entry into the Fire Emblem series - that would be Sacred Stones - but it was the first one that didn“t turn me away. Yes, I may be a wuss for playing on casual, but that option is what makes Awakening so special. It“s by far the most accessible Fire Emblem to date, which allowed me to see how fantastic the combat, level progression and strategy in these games can really be. Combine great gameplay with an epic story rife with time travel, zombie-things, and even a waifu-sim, and Awakening stands out as a great of the SRPG genre. Now add StreetPass and SpotPassâ€¦ well, hot damn.
Games like Tearaway don“t come along very often. Not only does it feature a truly extraordinary design from the get-go, but the world itself is so alive. As you play and navigate the strange world, you can“t help but find yourself growing close to the game“s protagonist. The Vita features that Tearaway implements not only feel completely natural, but make perfect sense given the game“s premise. To top it off, hilarious customizations make each gamer“s experience unique. And when that journey comes to a close, the message is something that can only be described as truly magical. Bottom line: Tearaway is an absolute must for any and every Vita owner.
1. Velocity Ultra
In what I can only describe as the game equivalent of a Mr. Miyagi training regimen, Velocity Ultra is absolute genius. The concept is simple - rescue survivor pods bereft in space by piloting a ship that can teleport. What you find out very quickly however is how clever Futurlab is when it comes to game design. So what could have been a great game becomes an absolutely astounding game with amazingly clever mechanics that are continuously evolving.
The level design is so good that each one teaches you to think a little differently, a little faster, a little smarter. By the end of the game you are a first-rate Quarp Jet pilot because the game has built you up steadily without intrusive tutorials or hand-holding of any kind. Now add a surprisingly realized world, amazing artwork and smooth controls, and Velocity Ultra is most certainly a game worth every bit of my nomination for Game of the Year. Enjoy it Futurlab - you earned it!