I played some great games this year, but that doesn’t mean that I played everything I wanted to. I have limited time and a limited budget, and there are a lot of games that come out. I also have fairly diverse tastes, so a lot of games interest me at least on a conceptual level. Every game on this list I have seriously considered buying at some point, and one of them I even did buy. I want to say that I’ll get to play them all in 2017, but I said that last year too and Downwell ended up being the only 2015 game I played in 2016.
I’m going to have to play this at some point, aren’t I? Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a game that I feel an obligation to play and write about. I love the original Mirror’s Edge, and I wrote about it shortly before Catalyst‘s launch. In that piece I expressed hope for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst based on what I had played in the beta. And then the game came out, and everyone who played it seemed to confirm my worst fears. I still wanted to see it for myself, but with Overwatch and Uncharted 4 coming out around the same time, I decided to put my time and money elsewhere. I want to play Mirror’s Edge Catalyst eventually, but I’m also kind of dreading doing so.
Inside is a game that I should probably love. I love games like Ico, and Playdead wears that inspiration on their sleeve. So why haven’t I played Inside already? Well, I’m afraid that I’m not going to like it. The game has been incredibly well received, and I think it’s a beautiful game with an interesting premise. But the same was true about LIMBO, a game I ended up not really liking in the end. When I get around to Inside I’ll go into it with an open mind, but I think I’m going to hold off on it for a little bit.
If I’m afraid to play Inside because I’m afraid I won’t like it, then I’m afraid to play Stardew Valley because I’m afraid I’ll like it too much. Everything about this game is appealing to me immediately, especially the relaxed vibes that it gives off. It’s a game that I could see myself sinking hundreds of hours into. I’ve never played a Harvest Moon game, but Stardew Valley makes me want to give the genre a chance. It’s sort of hard to explain the appeal of these games. Working on a farm doesn’t sound like the most fun or engaging idea, but there’s something relaxing and cathartic about it. With the cold winter months ahead, maybe this is a good time to jump into Stardew Valley.
Owlboy is a game that I didn’t know about until it reappeared this year. When I first saw it, I was blown away by the visuals. There have been a lot of pixel art games since Owlboy was announced almost a decade ago, but very few of them look as good as Owlboy. But aside from the aesthetic, the game just looks like a lot of fun. It has a lot of charm, the gameplay looks good enough, and the story is apparently really good. Owlboy is a game that everybody I know who has played it says its great, and that should say something.
I know that SUPERHOT is a great game. I played the original demo from a couple years ago, and I thought it was a lot of fun. The core conceit is fantastic, and seeing some of the things they did in the final release make me real excited to play it eventually. It could have easily been just a bunch of fun puzzles, but it looks like they went all out with the action movie stunts, and I appreciate that. I also saw some footage of SUPERHOT VR, and while I don’t have a VR headset, that looks insanely cool.
Dragon Quest Builders looks like the a Minecraft style game made for me. I’ve played some Minecraft in the past and enjoyed it, but the more structured aspect of Builders appeals to my personal taste in games more. The game is also charming as hell, with a fun art style and great versions of classic Dragon Quest songs. I also love the concept that you are playing as the only person in the world who remembers how to build things. That’s such an odd conceit, but I think it works.
Final Fantasy XV is on here partially because I think it looks like a good game and partially because of morbid curiosity. The development history behind this game is fascinating, and it’s probably worth playing for that alone. It’s also a super divisive game. Almost everyone admits that it has flaws, but there are people who love it and people who hate it. Personally, I like some of what I’ve seen and don’t like other parts of what I’ve seen. All of this leads to me feeling an intellectual obligation to at least give this game a shot and form my own opinion about it.
Stephen’s Sausage Roll is a game I would love. I like puzzle game, and this is apparently a great Sokoban style puzzle game. I’ve played some Sokoban games in the past, but they always stress me out; a lot. Whenever I solve a single puzzle I feel like I need to take a break. Stephen’s Sausage Roll changes the basic formula a little by focusing on incredibly small puzzle areas and objects that take up two tiles. These design choices sound a little bit limiting, so I’d be curious to see how the game gets the most out of them. The game has gotten nothing but praise from people who have played it, and as a fan of the genre I need to give it a shot eventually.
VA-11 HALL-A will probably be the game on this list that I play first, mainly because I just got it in the recent Humble Bundle. I love the idea behind this game, where you play as a bartender. You are not the most interesting character in the story, but you instead exist as a vessel for other characters to talk to. You learn more about them and the surrounding world than you do about yourself. Games are obsessed with making the player feel like a badass, so a game that makes you a regular person is always going to interest me. The style which is a great cross between Blade Runner and anime is only a nice bonus.
Hyper Light Drifter looks super cool. The art style, the intense combat, the minimalist story telling, and the world that encourages exploration all appeal to me. The developers also just recently made the console version run at 60 fps. This is a game that should be right up my alley, and I have no idea why I haven’t played it yet. Multiple times I’ve said “Next week I’ll play Hyper Light Drifter,” but I always seem to get side tracked by something else. I’m eventually going to have to just bite the bullet and jump in. I’m sure once I do I won’t be able to put it down.