Love Everything: Our Honorable Mentions Of 2012

Just because we have been that much more effusive in our love for 24 particular games of 2012 does not mean we don’t also love many more games. 2012’s been one of the best years for games in living memory, and if you say otherwise you’re not living and you have a broken memory. It saddens the hivemind’s emotion generator 3000 that the below games could not be included in our calendar of calendars, but let us now salute them for their fine, brilliant and most varied work.

In no particular order whatsoever:

  • Iron Brigade – Public Service Announcement: a trio of really great Double Fine games came out on PC over the last year or so, please do stop ignoring them, you great galahs. – Alec
  • Unmanned – I haven’t played anywhere near as many short-form indie games as I should have done this year, but this quietly powerful tale of duty, war and parenthood was one I was so glad I did – Alec
  • Natural Selection 2 – The most brilliant multiplayer shooter no one’s talking about. Natural Selection 2’s mix of FPS and RTS gets all the little things oh-so-right – whether it’s skittering along the ceiling with a mouthful of saliva-soaked teeth or orchestrating the chaos of battle from RTS view. Between Day Z, PlanetSide 2, Tribes Ascend, and heaps more, 2012 was a brilliant year for multiplayer. Natural Selection 2, though, deserves just as much credit. – Nathan
  • DrawceptionThis is about you lot as much as it’s about Drawception. For one glorious week after we wrote about it, the top drawings were PC gaming references and Horace even managed to sneak into the top ten for a while. Marvellous – Adam
  • ChivalryI don’t play many multiplayer games but Chivalry kept me up late into the night, smiting and stabbing – Adam
  • Drox OperativeMy favourite ARPG since Soldak last released one. Things happen in Drox Operative – Adam

  • Super Hexagon – it’s technical perfection, isn’t it? Pure design, a terrifyingly complete creation. I actually don’t know how to write about it sensibly or usefully, which is why there’s not been a WIT yet. – Alec
    I watched someone playing this on its hardest difficulty setting in a noisy pub and absolutely nailing every motion. A beautiful machine-tune with a human input. That would have converted me, but I’d already been converted by playing and failing myself. I’m with Alec. I could write a thousand sentences about it but they’d all stand alone – Adam
  • Sleeping Dogs – I’m a bit bemused by how fond some folk are of this, but it’s certainly an accomplished and vibrant open world game in year where sandboxes have increasingly turned into icon-strewn maps – Alec
  • Analogue: A Hate Story – jeez, was this 2012? Smart, moving, heavily-researched and attitude-challenging interactive fiction with bells on. – Alec
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited – I confirmed for myself how much I love this game when I saw Eurogamer’s 5/10 review and wanted to punch someone – John
  • Stealth Bastard Deluxe – Somewhere in the shadows between Portal, Super Meat Boy and Mark of the Ninja is Stealth Bastard Deluxe. Superb, tightly designed and with more user-generated content than you’ll need in a lifetime – Adam
  • Miasmata – Damn the Christmas (c)rush, for I think if Adam and or Jim had had an opportunity to play this too it would have wound up on the calendar proper. Awkward and brilliant survival/botany gaming that deserves a wider audience. – Alec
  • Little Inferno – game, toy, screensaver, what? I can absolutely see why many adore this and why many are bemused by it in equal measure, but personally I dug both its catharsis and its satire. – Alec
    Baby, it’s cold outside but Little Inferno will keep you warm. I loved this but I also simultaneously wish there was more to it and that it only took a couple of hours to make its point. Which might mean it failed to make its point. Hmmm. – Adam
  • Black Mesa – it wasn’t Duke Nukem Forever. What higher compliment is there? Can’t wait to see what these guys do with Xen. – Alec

  • Spec Ops: The Line – It’s an important and powerful game with far more to say than accidental and infinitely more smug peer Far Cry 3, but that it’s such an uninteresting, straightforward shooter outside its narrative did make it that much more problematic a game to praise despite its other accomplishments. I hope everyone plays it, I really do, but I don’t know if I can necessarily recommend that they do. – Alec
    I was shocked by a particularly gruesome sequence when I played the game in an early hands-on preview session and perhaps more shocked still that so many people didn’t seem to realise that The Line would fascinate so many people. In the end I didn’t find it as compelling or questioning as I’d hoped, but I’m glad I played it and I adore the graffiti and overall art design – Adam
  • Endless Space – Would I have argued that this masterful space strategy game should have had a place on the calendar if I’d found more time to play it after release? My enjoyment of the hours I did put in suggests as much. One of the best strategy games of the year – Adam
  • 1000 Amps – It drives me crazy that I can’t force everyone to sit down and play one of the best puzzle games of the year – John
  • Max Payne 3 – for sheer presentation values alone (both graphics and voicework) Max was one 2013’s classiest acts. There just wasn’t quite enough else going on with it, I felt. – Alec
    Splendid animations as an alcoholic shoots men in the knees and hurls himself down stairs and into walls – Adam
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane – they don’t make ’em like they used to, etc. Except they do. Like this. Solid and absorbing fantasy-strategising. – Alec
    A game that I enjoyed, even though it felt oddly snack-sized. Patches have been helpful as well, particularly the addition of multiplayer – Adam
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – such a Johnny Come Lately on PC, but still such a wondrous and – ugh – magical fusion of light, sound, nostalgia, mystery and self-awareness. Occasionally it’s too blatantly wearing big black spectacles and a Scandi-pattern sweater while ordering a vegan Latte, but I can forgive it that because it delights my senses so. – Alec
  • Botanicula – I honestly thought this was in the 24! Man, I’m stupid. A real highlight from 2012 – John.
    Proper lovely. I even bought the soundtrack. Turquoise vinyl! – Alec

  • Snapshot – Kyle Pulver (and chums) is quietly and confidently turning out games that would have been making magazine covers the world over back in the mid-90s, but with modern twists and values that spare them from rank nostalgia. It just seems so effortless. – Alec
  • Rayman Origins – Wheeeee! – Alec
    Wooooohooooo! – Adam
  • Cart Life – Gut-punch social commentary in all of four colours. (Someone will appear below to tell me how many colours it actually uses, won’t they?) Important. – Alec
    It came out in 2011 but I only became aware of it in 2012. I’d have put it on the 2011 calendar if I’d played it in time and managed to convince the men of RPS that it wasn’t just an exercise in misery. It’s sort of Spec Ops: The Line for The Sims, instead of third-person shooters, although it’s much more than that as well – Adam
  • Frog Fractions – This is the greatest game of all time. Play it. Laugh. Cry. Install a targeting computer in a frog’s brain. Protip: go down. Just do it. – Nathan
  • The 4th Wall – In a year where survival-horror was dominated largely by Slender and its increasingly obnoxious army of elongated clones, The 4th Wall stood out as my personal favorite creepy/unsettling thing. It was just so abstract and bizarre and nauseating. More importantly, though, it didn’t draw on familiar horror tropes. It took me to a new place and then made me want to leave immediately. But when I finally did… well, that ending. That’s all I’ll say. Give it a go and see for yourself. – Nathan
  • Seedling – I haven’t found much magic in a modern Zelda adventure for quite some time, but Seedling managed to transport me back to the good old days like a magical, incredibly obscure wind instrument. It was “retro” not simply in aesthetic, but in spirit. Put simply, they don’t make games like this anymore. But maybe they should. – Nathan
  • Lego Lord of the Rings – Middle Earth meets Lego and it’s as splendid as that combination sounds. Unless you hate Middle Earth and Lego and reckon that sounds like a cocktail of razors and poo, in which case probably don’t play it – Adam

Thank you, videogames of 2012. You are all as beautiful as our readers’ mothers.


  1. onyhow says:

    Still no Wargame: European Escalation…still, glad to see Analogue, Scribblenauts, Sleeping Dogs, Endless Space, and Warlock though…

    • Vartarok says:

      No Dustforce either ;___;

      • Ny24 says:

        … but it’s Christmas!

        … which, yes, has to do with everything.

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      • Rovac says:

        Wargame : European Escalation is from the maker of R.U.S.E, right?
        Wonder why I heard so little of it

        edit : damn you, sleepy eyes!!
        wrong reply, it’s for onyhow

      • AlwaysRight says:


        Dustforce was an incredible game, every bit as good as Super Meat Boy but is criminally underrated/overlooked.

        (Apologies for the memeface)

        • AraxisHT says:

          Dustforce was ALMOST as good as Super Meat Boy. Dustforce had terrible controller support and a weaker story and characters.

          • AlwaysRight says:

            Super Meat Boy had a Story?

            I personally never encountered any controller support problems and prefered the character design and music in Dustforce. They are both sublime examples of twitch platform gaming though.

          • stillunverified says:

            How do you get weaker than non-existent?
            Actually, I’d say that SMB’s obnoxious internet-pandering references put it’s “story and characters” in the negative.

          • SubparFiddle says:

            If you came away from Dustforce disappointed with the characters and story, then I’d say you missed the point.

          • qizarate says:

            Ah, touche. Dustforce was built from the ground-up with a mouse & keyboard in mind… for a pc gamer to be complaining about lack of gamepad support in a game explicitly designed to be played with a m&k is nigh on absurd. It’s like complaining about a lack of gamepad support in…microsoft excel. Well, maybe not quite, but you get my point.

        • chargen says:

          I couldn’t really get into dustforce. The fact that it chugged on comp probably didn’t help.
          It should have been in the 24 just for its soundtrack though.

      • Urthman says:

        How is Dustforce not on this list? HOW?!?!

        • SubparFiddle says:

          Dustforce is probably my most played game this year (after Dark Souls, of course). Is January part of the 2012 calendar in the UK, or am I just a buffoon? Please RPS, give me the validation I so desperately need!

    • luukdeman111 says:

      Wargame: EE is the best RTS since Supreme commander in my opinion, but somehow everyone keeps forgetting it exists… Kinda sad actually….

      Alec did mention it though in his new years resolutions, so i’m hoping Airland Battles (AIRLANDBATTLEFACE) will get some more attention….

      • Cytrom says:

        With such generic, boring title and zero marketing, I don’t blame people.

      • RandomEsa says:

        Well no one seems to remember Supreme Commander either. Actually no one seems to remember any RTS games even how good they are.

        • Trithne says:

          It’s not a clickfrenzy game where people care more about the players’ personalities and the half-time girls than they do the game, so no, no-one remembers it.

        • subedii says:

          Considering that Planetary Annihilation got the stuffing Kickstarted out of it, I’d say there are still plenty enough people that remember SupCom.

          Personally I just never got into Wargame because I happened to get into Dawn of War 2 instead.

    • Frank says:

      That’s a funnily stereotypical name for a game (Wargame: European Escalation). I though you were joking until I got to the second half of the post.

    • Dominic White says:

      I said ages back that RPS wouldn’t mention Wargame. I remember it getting a lot of coverage in the run-up to release, and then… nothing. A vaguely apologetic article later saying ‘Oh, hey, yeah, that came out and has gotten several free DLC packs since’ was just about all it got.

      Easily the best RTS of the year, and the gaming press just forgot it existed.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    One mention I’d like to add – Darksiders 2. A great, great Zelda-like, a really good PC port, and some of the best looting this year, competing with Torchlight and Diablo. Honestly, so many people have ignored it, but I picked it up with all teh DLC for under a tenner and it’s amazingsauce.

    • ffordesoon says:

      If the PC port is good, it’s good now. When it came out, it was easily the worst port I’ve ever attempted to play. By which I mean that it literally did not run on my computer despite fitting the requirements.

      That, if anything, is why it’s not on the list.

  3. Scumbag says:

    “Max was one 2013′s classiest act.” Typo, or me not reading things correctly?

    Good to see Spec Ops getting the love it needs. The shooting was not as bad as some people made out, but the weird controls and movement (especially the movement between cover) was a very off.

    • Rovac says:

      The cool things about Max Payne 3 is how the game seamlessly turned into cutscenes
      The bad things, the whole game filled with it.
      Also, unskippable.

      • Mathute87 says:

        Actually, you could skip them, but after the game loaded. They were fancy loading screens the first 10 to 30 seconds. It could be annoying for some, but I enjoyed it.

        • HothMonster says:

          Try the timed mode and you will find the game full of unskippable bullshit. Having to rewatch the same 15 second cutscene 30 times is really fucking annoying. The game needs a “shut up and shoot” dlc for me to ever touch it again.

        • Rovac says:

          you can do that? I really suck
          If only I could tell the difference between the two

        • Shooop says:

          Like Hoth said, time attack mode doesn’t solve this problem.

          It lowers the number of them you have to watch, but there are still way too many.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Spec Ops: The Colon would have been tremendous if it wasn’t for the fact that it was third-person shooter and was horrible on PC.

      I went and played the game just now because I’ve been reading all the love, and it feels like I’m playing with a pair of fur-lined mittens, as clumsy as the movement and controls are.

      Or maybe I just hate third-person shooters.

      I really wanted to love Spec Ops and would have if it felt better in my hands.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        IMO, the Spec Ops campaign plays a bit better with a controller. Multiplayer is a different story — the controls are balls-out horrible and feel totally off when compared to the single-player mechanics. Probably has something to do with the fact that MP was designed and coded by a different dev team than the campaign designers.

        • Gorf says:

          I’m glad you mentioned that.
          I was gonna give the game another chance because I just couldnt stand the poorly made TPS mechanics first time around.
          …..but now I definately wont bother as I used a pad on my first attempt and was going to try KB/M this time around to see if it felt better.
          Thx amigo.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Don’t let the shitty controls stop you from playing the game. You’re seriously missing out on one the most memorable storylines ever put into a video game. The pacing and environments are top-notch too.

            You might like KB&M controls in Spec Ops better. Some people prefer them to the gamepad ones.

          • Gorf says:

            I used to prefer kb/m for TPS games back in the days of Max Payne 1+2, but these days my default is pad for TPS.
            Still……there’s so much fuss been made about the game the last 2 days, that it looks like I may have to persevere after all.

          • Hidden_7 says:

            I’m not looking to say anyone is wrong for being frustrated with the way Spec Ops played, but it is a little bewildering to me, because that game struck me as the very definition of “competent.” The mechanics had absolutely nothing special going for them, but everything seemed to work exactly as I’d expect it to for that genre. Moving from cover to cover could be a little awkward at times, but that’s par for the course for that sort of game as far as I’m concerned. I played through the whole game, and while I wasn’t once wowed by the mechanics, I also wasn’t once annoyed.

            So I guess my point is, for anyone who hasn’t given it a try and is being scared off by talk of incompetent Third Person Cover Shooter mechanics and terrible mouse and keyboard support, but is interested in the game, I’d say give the demo a try at least. Because I had absolutely no complaints on the mechanical side, either about the core game, or the PC port, apart from that it was JUST a perfectly average third person cover shooter. Personally I found the narrative experience well worth plowing through what was otherwise unremarkable gameplay. Not bad, I should stress again, just unremarkable.

      • Shooop says:

        Odd. For some reason the game is near unplayable for me with a controller and I’m doing much better with K/M. It’s just impossible for me to aim with any decent accuracy with those damned analogue sticks.

        Did you customize your controls? It’s smart enough to let you map all the buttons on your mouse, more than some ports allow.

    • x3m157 says:

      I played the demo and watched a let’s play.
      Awesome game. I actually thought the combat was pretty good.

  4. Crimsoneer says:

    No Darksiders 2? That’s a shame. It’s really, really good, and far too many people have been ignoring it.

    • subedii says:

      I thought Darksiders 2 was good, but I also felt it had a critical dearth of narrative beyond the opening acts. The game felt way too large for what little exposition they gave, so it often felt like it was padded out. You’d have to journey into 3 separate dungeons to get these three separate Macguffins for this dude who’s effectively one of of three other Macguffins needed in order to push the story forward.

      I don’t think I ever agreed with Yahtzee so much as when he said “it’s not just padded, it’s fractally padded”.

      It’s kind of weird to me. Darksiders 1 was a smaller game but that also meant that even though there wasn’t much storyline in that either, it didn’t feel as stretched out. And the gameplay felt tighter in general. I’m not sure going the Diablo style loot direction was the right one, the loot you found ended up just feeling generic in general and not all that exciting to find. And whilst the combat was faster paced, it felt less well implemented because of the way the stats tallied into things like stuns.

      T o me DS2 represents a bunch of experiments that Vigil tried to do in order to change up the gameplay model. Some worked, and some didn’t. And the end result is that I actually have a hard time calling it a better game than the first one, even though on paper it has more content and more mechanics at work. They’re there, but they’re not as well implemented as they needed to be.

    • subedii says:

      I had a big post in response but the comments section seems to have eaten it.

      Basically I felt, Darksider’s 2: Good game, but not as well implemented as it should have been, which made it hard for me to consider superior to the first game despite it ostensibly having more content and more mechanics at work.

      • Hirmetrium says:

        Despite that, its a solid blend of action and RPG and deserves to be respected for its roots and inspiration. It did at least feel very epic while I was playing it. I figure that if most of these games are on the list, DS2 at least deserves that honour.

        • subedii says:

          It was epic during the start of the game, but once I left the first (Forge Lands), I just felt that the storyline and exposition slowed right down. And the thing is, it didn’t need to, there’s tonnes of things that they could have been going over but just simply didn’t. In the end whilst the game was large, I ended up feeling as if it was too heavy on the padding as a result.

          • meatshit says:

            Yea, I quit playing at some point in the land of the dead because I got tired of fetching 3 MacGuffins (which each require 3 MacGuffins of their own to acquire) to advance a plot that wasn’t going anywhere. Darksiders 2 is yet another example of why longer is not necessarily better.

          • LXM says:

            I felt very similar, I was in love with the game right up to around when I left the forge lands, then my interest and enjoyment quickly dropped until it started feeling more like a chore that I had to finish than an enjoyable way to spend my time (this culminated right around the time you visit earth).

          • subedii says:

            Basically I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Yahtzee as much as I did when he said “It’s not just padded, it’s fractally padded.”

            Personally? I think the game needed a Bastion style narrator. I really think it would have worked brilliantly here and solved the problem in spades if they weren’t going to go the more traditional route for exposition. And in the Crowfather they had what would have potentially been the ideal vessel for it.

          • AlwaysRight says:

            Exactly where I got to. Mid Land of the Dead I thought, fuck it life’s too short.

    • dE says:

      To me, Darksiders 2 was the assassination of a fledgeling franchise.
      The first one had (in my opinion) interesting, if a “bit” cliché characters and situations that were amusingly over the top (a bet on who can shoot down the most angels? sure, why not…), tightly packed areas without empty spaces and not least of all pin point accuracy when it came to the pacing of items. Usually by the time a new toy got old, the game handed you a new one. Each with its distinct purpose. Interesting bossfights where I actually dreaded the moment I’d get to them.

      Darksiders 2 on the other hand, seemed to have been infested with MMORPGitis. NPCs became dull questgivers with literally zero character to them. Quests ended up as being “go there, bring me three of that. Rinse, Repeat”. The areas suffered from MMO-Size, vast open yet completely empty spaces with hordes of the same enemy. The pacing of the items was completely killed off by a random lootsystem. Where in DS1 I grabbed every chest I could find, DS2s random chests often made me ditch a chest because it was too much hassle – why bother? It’s random crap anywas. And bossfights? Well not for me. A random bar filling up for a bossmob that had zero foreshadowing wasn’t that interesting to me. It was also ruined by Level-Up mechanics that meant with too much of a level difference, you simply die in one hit.

      Some people will love Darksiders 2 exactly for the things why I can’t stand it. Thing to note is: If you loved DS1, you won’t necessarily love DS2.

      /edit 2:
      Something else to note:
      While I had no issues with the DS1 Port, the DS2 Port was a nasty combination with my PC (or rather my ATI Graphics Card). The only option for non single digit FPS was to deactivate shadows. The result were super sized Pixels flickering and waving like an ocean of ugly. Also included where the funnyiest issues with micro stuttering caused by an odd VSync Implementation.

      • Jenks says:

        I agree with you on everything you said, but if the ending was nearly as good as the first game, I would have forgiven it all.

      • F3ck says:

        Indeed; I really liked DS1 and – like so many others apparently – instead found myself bored with the sequel ’round (what I suspect was) 3/4 of the way through…

        Wasn’t sure if this was due to the deluge of me-wantee games that quickly followed its release, my despicably short attention span, or truly some aspect (or lack thereof) in the game making it so forgettable…glad it’s not just me…

        …also, for all of DS1’s port-y-ness (some of these games still manage to make the k/m feel like joysticks) DS2 was much more so…e.g., Death is tethered to camera (move only L or R and you’ll circle the camera which remains stationary) rather than as in the first game where the camera would follow War laterally…

    • MeestaNob says:

      I loved it, but after the ‘HOLY FUCKING SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT!!!’ ending of the first one, the second felt like a let down. It was a hard act to live up to, truth be told.

      Apparently it hasn’t sold enough to make a third game likely, which is a terrible shame. People just don’t appreciate nice things these days.

      I hope there’s a third one. I hope Ubisoft have nothing to do with THQ. I suspect I will be doubly disappointed.

    • The JG Man says:

      The weird thing is that Darksiders 2 had a fundamental opposite to DS1 and it sort of fell at it. DS1 was greater than the sum of its parts, ending in a scene so utterly fantastic that I don’t know anyone who played it who didn’t go giddy from it. DS2 was mechanically superior in lots of areas…but it didn’t come together as well. Its ultimate failing though was that it didn’t capitalise on the ending of 1, meaning that whilst the story in 2 could be interesting at times, we already knew how it was going to end. So whilst I won’t say everything done in 2 was meaningless, it was a hell of a let down.

      That and with it, I felt no desire to replay it. I got it out again for the first DLC which was short and bland and haven’t touched it since. DS1 made me immediately replay it. And I still want to.

  5. subedii says:

    Natural Selection 2 – The most brilliant multiplayer shooter no one’s talking about.

    Can’t talk about it, too busy playing it.

    Also, freaking awesome game, and from my experience, a surprisingly welcoming community.

    • felisc says:

      it’s worth pointing out that a small rps group is slowly building in the forums. we should have our very first session in the upcoming days. here’s the steam group link to
      i’m a new player myself but loving it so far.

    • cyrenic says:

      Same thing here: Bought NS2 during the Steam Flash Sale and haven’t stopped playing it since.

      And having played Dotalikes for the last several years, the community is an absolute delight.

    • derbefrier says:

      ahhh NS2 fun game but I have been too distracted by other games to spend any time with it. From the couple hours of it I played though it really is fantastic. once I finish a few other games in my backlog (almost done with FC3 then I want to finish a couple others while I am on vacation) I plan on spending some real time with it. I’ll be sure and look up the RPS group when I decide to get into it as this type of game needs a good group to really be enjoyed to its fullest.

  6. helpleo says:

    What about Sine Mora? Time travelling scrolling shooter with philosophically inclined talking animals and grandfather paradoxes and leglesss whiskey-drinking bisons blackmailing victims of both sexual assault and leukemia? I can’t be the only one who played that.

    (Rollicking soundtrack too)

  7. Heliosicle says:

    I did find it interesting how Chivalry has received little mention on RPS

    although there was a WIT

    • subedii says:

      I think it may be because it came soon after War of the Roses, which everyone was focused on.

      • Bremze says:

        Which is sad, because Chivalry does melee combat infinitely better.

        • pepper says:

          It does do melee quite brilliant, I remember when the mod came out and I played Dark Messiah, at that point I wished the kicking as it was in that game would be implemented in AoC, turns out they did for the standalone game.

          Also, according to my clan bretheren there will be a content patch in january with a SDK(hoezaah!)

        • dE says:

          Dunno about the Melee combat, but Chivalry certainly does idiot community a whole lot better than War of the Roses.

          • edwardoka says:

            ^ this.
            I bought it, went online, and almost immediately remembered why I don’t do online gaming anymore.

  8. MOKKA says:

    What a great year this was for PC Games. I think the last time I played that many truly memorable Games in a single year was in 2000.

    • subedii says:

      What’s going to be fascinating is 2013 / 2014 when the Kickstarter projects finally start hitting fruition. Going to be interesting to see how that all pans out.

      • Rovac says:

        With all indies, AAA and everything else, I wonder how we’re going to cope with games from Kickstarter

        As long as Steampocalypse is just a myth, eh?

  9. Winged Nazgul says:

    Seriously? Eurogamer gave Scribblenauts Unlimited a 5/10???!!

    Great, now I want to punch someone too.

    • sinister agent says:

      Clearly they only played half of it.

    • S Jay says:

      Maybe the reviewer was dyslexic?

    • dE says:

      That review… well it felt like it was fishing for traffic to be honest.
      I believe the author in that he really didn’t like the game. People have different tastes and to some, games need limits to be enjoyable. See the whole realism in games debate for example. Scribblenauts on the other hand, is inherently gamey. You’re not solving puzzles with real logic but instead you’re toying around with game logic and much of the joy is derived from the silly ideas you can come up with – that for some reason still work.
      I can understand that part of it. Where in my humble opinion, the review (link to went awry, was the name dropping of emotionally supercharged topics. Things like “giving a stork a dead baby to deliver” or “but this comes with its own uncomfortably sexist bent” and “dead navigator”, “poison” and “when you can overcome countless challenges simply by attributing the word ‘dead’ in front of whomever’s standing in your way”. It’s painting the game in a rather morbid, destruction and death obsessed fetish. A bunch of questionable ethics everyone can argue against, while waggling the morale finger for allowing such things to actually work and be seen in a game.

      • darkChozo says:

        Oh wow, that was pretty awful. How on earth do you criticize the morality of the main character in a goddamn sandbox game? Not to mention that he throws around “sexist” in about the most frivolous way possible, and is judging the gameplay by the most asinine standards ever (Scribblenauts is boring and unchallenging when you don’t even try to be imaginative? Hmmmmm, realllly?). That’s pretty clickbait-y right there.

  10. Paul says:

    My desire to see Sleeping Dogs and Spec Ops at least honorably mentioned is satisfied now.

  11. Fenix says:

    Botanicula REALLY should have been in the top 24. What a travesty!

    • Skabooga says:

      Well, because John clearly wanted it on the list, I’ll just pretend there were 25 days of Christmas and Botanicula was included, and I’ll go about my merry way in the land of delusion.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Botanicula didn’t really impress me. Got in on GOG because of the whole hoopla around it, but after just a few minutes regretted the decision. I don’t miss it on the top 24 and would easily replace it with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition on this Honorable Mentions list.

    • Fiatil says:

      I’m at least a little bit happy that they admitted that it was a horrible mistake, because Botanicula is the best. I feel mean naming names, but if you’re going to include Dear Esther, you’re a terrible terrible person for not including happy awesome Botanicula. No other game this year has topped some of the sequences that you trigger in Botanicula for just pure joy. Everyone makes mistakes though, <3 RPS.

  12. IneptFromRussia says:

    Crap i forgot about Sleeping Dogs, definitely should’ve made into top 24, but i guess nobody in the hivemind found this game good enough, which is, considering RPS’s GOTY pick, interesting in itself. Bookmarked this page, maybe will check some other titles. Yahtzee said it best about Scribblenauts though, I didn’t read Eurogamer review but 5\10 is probably were it is should be ;)

  13. phelix says:

    I heartily agree with Botanicula getting a mention. That game was such a refreshing deviation from Shooty McShoot no. 158973

  14. somnolentsurfer says:

    Thinking back to expectations at the beginning of the year, it’s interesting that not only is Diablo 3 not mentioned, but that no one seems to think it should be.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I often think of Diablo III as the sort of anti-game. Not because of technical issues, despite what’s said about it. But essentially because that game has been able to bring in the worse in people. Everywhere on the internet people discuss it on top of their nerves, either to support or attack the game.

      It’s quite a scary phenomena for a product that was supposed to be about entertainment. It’s top event, the “F* that loser” embarrassing mess on facebook, perpetrated by the game development team no less.

      I for one am happy that “game” isn’t referred on either list.

  15. Deano2099 says:

    “I’m a bit bemused by how fond some folk are of this, but it’s certainly an accomplished and vibrant open world game in year where sandboxes have increasingly turned into icon-strewn maps – Alec”

    Amusingly, this is how a lot of us feel about Far Cry 3 :)

    • AmateurScience says:

      Did you read Alec’s bit of the FC3 GOTY post?

    • Kadayi says:


      Enjoying the Farcry 3 but it’s simply taking the FP immersive good points of Farcry 2 and merging them with a bit of Assassins Creed 2+ in terms of environmental exploration and collectables into a more cohesive experience. Certainly it’s good to see those things working well, but to my mind it’s no different than Sleeping Dogs mixing up the open world nature of GTA with the close combat mechanics of the Batman games.

      Certainty an enjoyable experience (so far based on what I’ve played). However I’m perplexed as to why it was day 24. I’d rather of seen something innovative taking the top slot, Vs something polished.

    • Shooop says:

      Only minus the “accomplished and vibrant” part.

  16. AndrewC says:

    Odd. *this* feels like the list I will be digging in to when I come back to find some new games. I have no justification for this, but never mind: what a wonderful list of games.

    Also: Rayman: Origins: WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  17. LTK says:

    Snapshot is up here as well? Odd. I couldn’t stand it, got incredibly frustrated by the level design that puts you right back at the start after the slightest error.

    I really wish Zineth got more recognition, though. It’s definitely the best free game I’ve played all year.

  18. RuySan says:

    It’s kinda funny that i never played Rayman:Origins but somehow find that it’s unfair that it wasn’t included in the games of christmas.

    Those screeshots look lovely.

    • leQuack says:

      Just finished it last week, so much craft went into making this game fun, an amazing experience. Recommended to play with at least one other friend though, with four players being pure silliness and remarkably still really playable.

  19. MeestaNob says:

    Just a note on Sleeping Dogs: its a FANTASTIC port (if you could even call it that, given it’s exceptional quality).

    It looks just perfect, and if you have a big screen to hook it up to you are really in for a treat.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Yes, I definitely expected Sleeping Dogs to have shown up in the 24 Days of Saturnalia list.

      And it didn’t feel anything like a port, except for the fact that it was third person, which I usually hate.

    • Kadayi says:

      Port? The game came out the same time as it did on the consoles.

    • Shooop says:

      Even if not the best game (another GTA only in someone’s Chinatown? Eeeehhhh.) Square-Enix deserve a round of applause for going the the extra mile in that one.

      link to

      This could be the the beginning of a beautiful friendship Squre-Enix.

  20. Ryan Huggins says:

    Ugh. I love Swords and Sworcery. I really love other games on this list (like Super Hexagon) though. 2012 was a pretty good year for games. :D

  21. pertusaria says:

    I’m glad someone else played and liked Seedling!

    Other than that, I loved Botanicula, and I’m looking forward to playing Rayman and Drox Operative at some stage. Kind of bounced off the demo of 1000 Amps; I got stuck too early on. The Wot I Think of Miasmata made it sound as if there were still some bugs that might be fixed fairly soon, so I’ll wait and see if that happens before I buy, but it sounds interesting.

    One 2012 game that isn’t on the advent calendar or the honourable mention list is Lunar Flight. I haven’t got round to it, but it still looks really neat.

  22. The Random One says:

    Still a disturbing lack of The Sea Will Claim Everything, dys4ia, Zineth and howling dogs. That’s OK though. My forgiveness, like Horace, is infinite.

  23. 2Ben says:

    Super Hexagon is obviously a perfect game, and deserves its own category, maybe its very own calendar.

    • The JG Man says:

      Super Hexagon may be my game of the year. It’s one I’ve played comparatively little of (18 hours compared to PlanetSide 2’s I-don’t-want-to-know, Borderlands 2’s 55ish, Torchlight 2’s 60+ etc.) but it it works with ease and is just thoroughly excellent. So addicting, but equally satisfying.

  24. Chris D says:

    Still no mention of two of my favourite games of the year? Orcs must die 2 and Fall of the Samurai. I was prepared to let their lack of mention in the top 24 go as, in fairness, they are reasonably similar to their predecessors from the previous year although both are also significant improvementst in various ways.

    Now they have been so cruelly snubbed by not even getting an honourable mention I fear I have no option but to challenge all those responsible to a duel to the death. Choose your weapons and prepare to taste retribution! Also if you could see your way to lending me the bus fare that would be very helpful. Cheers.

    • Moraven says:

      Orcs Must Die 2 was great if you liked the first, but felt more like an expansion than a sequel. Music and sounds were the same. The levels were not designed to be solo friendly. You get the same waves regardless if its 1 or 2 people in the game. They need to be balanced and fun for both.

      • Memph says:

        The balancing is in player loadout, rather than how the stages play. Once you note what mobs you’ll be dealing with (see the spellbook) and have some experience with the waves and pathing on that level, it’s arguably easier to control the hordes solo, with your wider variety of traps, trinkets and spells, plus being able to be more specific with money management and how/where you build killboxes.

    • fish99 says:

      For sheer fun OMD2 is the best game I’ve played this year.

      As for why it may have been overlooked, well you needed to play it co-op, and GOTY lists naturally tend to favour later releases.

    • soco says:

      The lack of OMD2 pains me….I mean dang, not even a honorable mention? It has everything that was great in the first game, but lets you have fun with a friend now.

      Yeah, the game is built around co-op, and if you don’t have someone else to play with it is basically the first game, just harder since it is designed with two in mind, but with two it is great!

      I think of it like Borderlands or Torchlight 2, not so great on your own, fantastic with friends.

    • Memph says:

      So glad others have love for OMD2, didn’t want to bring it up a 3rd time. Too few other games manage to put so much clear emphasis on fun, with the characters’ quips and the rollicking soundtrack, it’s like a caffeine buzz in game form. PC exclusive arcade action, that still requires some thinking. It’s priced right yet highly polished, has pad or mouse, co-op, leaderboard score chasing/competition with friends and with DLC that’s actually worth buying. What’s not to love dammit?

  25. woodsey says:

    The adoration for Sleeping Dogs is more than bizarre. An unimaginative open-world crime game that makes no use of its undercover cop premise.

    The only reason it’s as good as it is is because it has a generation’s worth of sandbox games prior to it to copy completely. It attempts nothing new and manages nothing better than “decent enough”.

  26. derbefrier says:

    I bought Drox Operative after reading the WIT and playing the demo for like 3 hours straight. A very cool little arpg and any fan of ARPGs and space ships should go download the demo now and give it a shot.

    It was a good year for games though i’ll be well into 2013 before i finish my backlog from this year.

    • The Random One says:

      I was put off by the fact that I couldn’t move with WASD as the game instructed. It turned the ship, but I couldn’t move it forwards.

      I’m too dumb to play it, properly.

      • vecordae says:

        That is baffling as the W key absolutely moves the ship forward in whatever direction the nose is pointing on my own keyboard. Have you been unkind to your W key lately?

  27. elfbarf says:

    I’m still disappointed about the the missing WIT for The Real Texas.

  28. Astrosaur says:

    Here is a lovely and I feel quite definitive article about Super Hexagon, since Alec mentions not knowing how to write about it. link to

  29. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I don’t want to turn into a one issue poster, but still no Pandaria? Seems strange especially since there are two lesser MMOs on the Horace list. I can understand The Secret World inclusion, since it at least tried to add something different. Guild Wars, however, seemed to promise a revolution while all it delivered was an argument at the corner shop.

    • f1x says:

      I sincerely don’t think Mists of Pandaria offered anything interesting in order to be in a top 24 or even top 50, its just dull even if the setting is more imaginative than before, it feels just like “another expansion”

      GW2 is actually a very fine game and brought new things to the table, even if it was not a revolution, still its nothing more than just another MMO
      I have my doubts about The Secret World tho, but guess you can save it because the setting is different and the writing is actually quite good

      Now thinking about it and to be honest, I would have not included any MMO in the top 24, none of the releases actually made any real difference or moved the genere forward

  30. killias2 says:

    I really think Fallen Enchantress deserves more attention and a bit more praise. It’s flawed and rough around the edges, but I’ve already played and enjoyed it more than Endless Space and Warlock combined. Considering I thought both of those games were decent (I even wrote up Impressions for them over at the Dtoid Community Blogs), that’s saying something.

    Sure, ES and Warlock are tighter and more focused, but they’re also a lot less ambitious. This tight focus might make for a better multiplayer experience (ignoring the fact that FE currently has -no- multiplayer), but, for the singleplayer, I just think FE has so much more going on and so much more room to grow. It’s a solid 4x with a lot of room to grow. With enough support, I think it could be the fantasy 4x game of the era.

    Unfortunately, it’s gotten virtually 0 coverage, even with the interesting developmental backstory. Even when it gets coverage, it tends to be very mixed (see RPS’ WIT or OutofEight’s brief commentary), which is really a shame. For people who want a big 4x game, not just a Civ 5-type 4x-lite bite, it should be a virtual necessity. At least Space Sector and some other sites gave it the attention it deserves.. and needs.

  31. Mario Figueiredo says:

    No mention of Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. Bah!

    • Unaco says:

      There hasn’t actually been any mention of it on RPS since before release. Christmas rush and all is understandable, but would be nice to hear their thoughts.

    • Vinraith says:

      Being as it’s apparently a broken pile of slag, that’s hardly surprising.

    • MeestaNob says:

      It’s a $20 ‘official’ widescreen patch.

      I’m sure they did a lot more than that, but the ultimate outcome for the user is virtually indistinguishable from a modded version of the old game.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        I’m expecting you played BG1 with the widescreen mod. So you know that it would become SimAnt on modern widescreen monitors. Clearly not what happens with BGEE implementation which actually upscales the game art.

        It’s also been developed in strict collaboration with the major BG modders out there. Look at the credits. They realized the importance of this project (which includes a better standard for mods and the ability to mod the user interface). But you apparently choose to speak against the modders choice of collaborating on this project.

        It includes new content too and brings the game to modern computers. It is also reviving the modding community which was dormant for several years.

        That said, the game is Baldur’s Gate 1. No doubt about that. It comes with the best known mods, conveniently packed in one setup package. But it’s a game no less. And one big event of the year since it was actually able to revive a 15 year old game and have people talk about it again. To me it’s a success story and I will never again touch BG1 vanilla or BG1 + mods for the simple fact the former isn’t acceptable on modern computers and even after patches had quite a few bugs, while the later needs a jumbo pilot-size checklist to install properly.

        I have my suspicions why RPS has yet to review or mention it in earnest though.

        • qizarate says:

          And what suspicions are they, pray tell?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Overhaul offered reviewers a Press Review Version that was unlike the actual game customers eventually got in the release date (which was outdated by then, judging from the different version numbers). And they kept forgetting to update it as patches were issued. On top of that, the press, despite being given a full working copy a few days before release (and despite Beamdog accepting pre-orders), was otherwise imposed an embargo on any reviews until the release date. To make matters worse, initial attempts at downloading the press review version were made through an yet buggy downloader that would only download the 2.2 GB file on a cloudy day. The weekend before the release day (a Wednesday) apparently was for rest because no attempt at contacting the press manager was successful.

            Beamdog/Overhaul eventually handled it by issuing full copies to reviewers. And what follows is pure speculation:

            Apparently only to the press who complained and asked for it did get those full copies. It’s possible RPS got fed up with all the disservice and turned its back on it. I know I nearly did. Or maybe they never intended to review it in the first place. Yeah…

  32. X_kot says:

    It cheers me to see Cart Life get some attention here – it was a wonderful melding of form and function that produced one of the most depressing yet hopeful experiences I’ve ever played.

  33. Eddy9000 says:

    ‘Technical perfection’ really is the right way to describe ‘Superhexagon’. It’s as if computer gaming as a concept has been super distilled down to the most basic concept of what a game is, and then perfectly balanced. The game’s treatment of difficulty and practice is excellent. In traditional Chinese art when a painter is asked how long it took to create a piece of artwork they give the amount of time they have been practicing art for rather than the time to create the individual artwork because all the time spent painting before the individual piece was what allowed it to be painted. SH is analogous to this, a game that can be completed in 3 minutes taking hours to master and complete with improvement measured by the millisecond. As well as a distillation of the concept of gameplay SH for me was an example of minimalism in narrative, the vulnerability of the tiny size of the triangle, the struggle for tiny victories and the ultimate inevitability of defeat weaving as much of a story as games really need. Going back to ‘dark souls’ after playing SH was interesting, I kind of began judging the graphics, story, controls and mechanics by what they added to superhexagon’s formula; not nessecarily negatively but I kind of felt anything outside SH’s purity now had to account for itself.

  34. Frank says:

    Wow. That’s a lot of not-bad games for a single year.

    I think RPS doesn’t really have a strategy writer (in the same way Walker loves adventure games), but I’m sure everyone will like Eador once they try it. It’s in my top 5 for the year.

    • killias2 says:

      I’ll definitely try it once it goes on sale, as I’m excited about the reboot. Have you tried Fallen Enchantress yet? It’s also quite good.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    As noted above, The Real Texas is missing, otherwise this is a wonderful, wonderful list, and I’m glad Cart Life is on it.

  36. cpt_freakout says:

    goblet grotto game of centuries

  37. Gregg B says:

    Sad to see no mention of Vessel, that was a highlight for me.

  38. BreadBitten says:

    I guess I’m the only one who felt that Max Payne 3 was a shooter done right.

  39. Yernn says:

    What, no mention of Defender’s Quest anywhere? I only learned about the game because of the coverage here on RPS. DQ was the finest example of thoughtful, considerate design this year, and easily the best value of any game I’ve played in the last five years.

    • vecordae says:

      Defender’s Quest is one of my personal favorite games of the year and I’m super-stoked those guys made it onto Steam.

  40. JR says:

    Just picked up Cargo Commander on the steam sale (75% off) and i’ll call it the best indie game of 2012 that nobody’s talking about.

    I know the gents are enjoying their break but a little coverage of their winter update (which includes postcards that you can send to NPCs or Steam players that use an “unreliable post service”) would be great for this game.

  41. JenniferSimpson22 says:

    Harper. I can see what your saying… Bradley`s storry is shocking, on tuesday I bought a gorgeous Ford when I got my check for $8989 this past five weeks and even more than ten grand lass month. it’s by-far the most-comfortable job Ive had. I actually started nine months/ago and almost immediately was bringin in more than $73, per-hr. I use this great link,