19/12/2019

๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ—“️ Britt’s Game Of The Year 2019 (& Most Disappointing) ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ—“️ #GOTY2019

Share This Post On Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share This Post On
Britt’s Games of the Year
2019 has been another great year in my gaming career, with a lot of quality titles released. Aside from some real indie classics (my true love), there were also some larger budget titles that caught my eye that I’m happy to include here as games that stuck in my head for 2019… and also a couple that stayed with me for reasons that *ahem* aren’t ideal.
Presented in no particular order:
Pikuniku
I’m a sucker for games that make me laugh and also for those that manage to be charming and cute without being twee or sentimental. In these regards, Pikuniku delivers in huge, joyous blobs. One of the first games I played in 2019, I adored the writing and stark visual designs of the characters and the gentle tale that was told through gameplay. This is definitely a game I will return to and one I heartily recommend to those who want a bit of lightness in their gaming, a game you just want to hug.
Observer
With the loss of Rutger Hauer, this is a bittersweet inclusion as it hints at the many games with those gravelly, rich tones that we’ll now never have. A fantastic online article with the developers (I believe it was Eurogamer) illustrated Rutger’s hips-deep involvement with and appreciation of the gaming medium. Hearing his weighty, world-weary delivery added to the already heavy atmosphere of the full game. As much as I didn’t enjoy the arty stealth sections, there was more than enough in the other aspects of the game to keep me hooked, from the wonderfully decrepit hopelessness of the tenement building that Daniel Lazarski prowls to the ambient sounds and genuinely imaginative dream-like sections with their clever visual puzzles. Also, some of the more abstract moments in the game reminded me of one of last year’s GOTYs, Beckett, which is only ever a good thing.
Rutger, I will miss you.
Observation
From Observer to Observation (although keeping the Sci-fi aesthetic), we head from a rainy, cyberpunk detective tale to a lonely narrative set in the far reaches of space. As SAMOS, the onboard AI of an exploratory craft with the crew initially unaccounted for - with the exception of one female astronaut who is equally baffled - you dictate the flow of the tale through interactivity with cameras and on-board systems, always under the oppressive threat of an unseen and possibly unknown enemy. Completely eschewing jump scares and with the fear coming from the empty, disinterested vacuum of space and the ever-present seemingly malevolent hum of the engines, Observation is a game completely ensconced in atmosphere that just delivers over and over again with well-implemented puzzles that slot into the narrative in a way that no other developer can. What else should I have expected from the minds behind equally impressive Untold Stories?
Mechstermination Force
Gunman Clive was not a game that particularly grabbed me and so I didn’t have too many expectations from the developer’s new game, Mechstermination Force. What I got was one of the best and most rewarding co-op experiences of the year. Effectively a boss rush against towering mechanical enemies, the Contra-like gunplay and acrobatics needed to proceed mesh really well with a dynamic camera and multiple incarnations of each enormous enemy. Challenging, colourful and oh, so rewarding…Mechstermination Force is one I highly recommend to fans of couch co-op.
Shakedown Hawaii
VBlank delivered the good with Retro City Rampage and my expectations were high for the follow-up which used a more16-bit style approach over the NES / Game Boy original and boy, did I love Shakedown Hawaii. A funny, pacey and constantly evolving game with addictive mini-games, there’s no reason to not play this game as there’s nothing quite like it and the satire is cutting. Clearly one of the best developers out there who have given me hours of joy through their tightly-developed, idiosyncratic games, I am already bursting for the next one.
Streets of Rogue
Although this list isn’t in order, Streets of Rogue would clearly be in the top three for me, if it were. The true sense of freedom that Streets of Rogue offers you is unmatched and the chaos that unfolds as you create havoc in the procedurally-generated worlds with up to three other players in one of the many game modes with the many characters and many modifiers…it feels infinite in its ability to deliver consistently funny moments against one of the strongest soundtracks of the year combined with a deceptively deep gameplay system perfectly balanced in its design. Available on multiple platforms, I implore you to play Streets of Rogue - and to also read the interview I was lucky enough to have with developer Matt Dabrowski - What a man. What a game.
Heave Ho!
Admittedly not the follow-up I envisaged from the team behind one of last year’s heavy-duty favourites, Mother Russia Bleeds, Heave Ho! is a physics-based co-op game that is in a league of its own when it comes to party games. Using just two buttons, all you have to do is reach the end of each level by swinging around the platforms and clinging to each other. Playing this game with others is like filling up a room with laughing gas, months down the line and this is still a dead cert if I have gaming nights, and I haven’t stopped laughing yet.
Creature in the Well
A fantastic blend of action, RPG and pinball, Creature in the Well puts you in the place of a raggedy robot pinballing his way through a towering fortress, smooth, rich in atmosphere and with some genuinely creepy moments from the titular creature, Creature in the Well is a really idiosyncratic mash-up of genres that feels genuinely unique and rewarding to play. Accessible to all skill levels, the port to Switch is divine and is one that will remain on my system for a long while to come.
American Fugitive
Whilst a flawed game, mainly in terms of frame rate and a rushed ending, there was a lot here to enjoy. The dusty setting, superb (if limited) soundtrack and the sheer sense of weight when swinging those cars around really clicked with me and I wanted to love the game more than I did. I’m really excited to see what these developers come up with next as this is a great first title but I think with some more refining, they could come up with a real keeper.
Door Kickers: Action Squad
One that I reviewed at the end of this year, I love this game. Whether in single or multi-player, I don’t seem to get bored of kicking those doors! It’s rare for me to be playing a game weeks after reviewing it - purely down to time allowance – but this is one that keeps drawing me back in to see if I can get top marks on every mission and unlock everything. A fun and slightly tactful game with an arcade heart, it’s a great 2D action title. Get it now, those doors won’t kick themselves!
Trine 4
I had briefly played Trine 2 and spent a lot more time with Trine 3 on the Switch but here, in the fourth instalment, Trine 4 struck pure, shining gold. Stripping the formula back to 2D and features some of the most luscious backgrounds in gaming and the smooth frame rate and overall design, in general, are a joy to behold. Local co-operative gameplay raises this to grand heights and is inventive right up until the end. There’s nothing out there quite like Trine 4 and it stands out as one of the top puzzle games of the year. I genuinely hope this series never ends.
Greedfall
Having followed French developer Spiders since almost the beginning, I had always had a soft spot for their games which, whilst fun always seemed slightly over-reaching and flawed in some way, especially in their more open-world titles.
Then along came Greedfall and I was absolutely delighted in the response it received. Friends both on and offline seemed to click with it and the design and level of quality really make it seem like a higher budget title than it actually is. I’m a big fan of RPGs and Greedfall has been one that I keep coming back to, to say that I’m excited to see where Spiders go from here would be a serious understatement. High five!
And now the most disappointing…
Dollhouse
One of my ‘pet peeves’ or, if you will ‘things that make my eyes fill up with boiling blood’ are misleading trailers for games. When I first saw Dollhouse, I was intrigued by the smoky, jazzy trailer and creepy visuals which hinted at a murder mystery…when I got the game to review, however, it felt like something that was in Steam Early Access and had hardly any of the design philosophies hinted at in the trailer. Did I enjoy running around a boxy, procedurally generated maze, collecting generic items to unlock more tedious, lazily-designed mazes with cheap jump-scares? No, no I did not.
Zombieland: Double Tap – Road Trip
Wow, full price for a game that would have looked and played dated in the PS2 era? No thanks. The fact that this was made by the same team behind the Hunter: The Reckoning series makes it even worse because those game are more fun to play than this – and arguably more technically impressive - over fifteen years on. From bland gameplay to odd design choices meaning you can’t switch between weapons and that crushingly awful dialogue, there’s nothing here to recommend aside from the fact that it’s mercifully short.
Merry Christmas to all, let’s hope that 2020 gives us more gaming gold! 
Universal love sent out from the frosty depths of the Games Freezer.
Britt

No comments:

Post a comment

Like what you see in the Games Freezer?
Why not tell us what you think with a few well-chosen comments? :)

๐ŸŽฎ Featured Posts ๐ŸŽฎ

๐Ÿ•น️ Retro Gamer Feed ๐Ÿ•น️