This year it has felt like there's been a string of quality games releases. Games that I’m proud to support, whether it be for their tackling of serious subject matter or excellent writing or unique concepts that push the industry forward. Games that are already redefining preconceived standards of play.
In short: next year has a tough act to follow.
My favorite kind of joke is one that’s committed, and West of Loathing feels like a single, glorious punchline stretched into an open-world RPG filled with bureaucratic ghosts, demonic cows, and clowns that are definitely hiding something. That same dedication extends to the game’s tight turn-based mechanics and clever puzzles, making what could have been just a funny game into a truly fun one. I can’t remember the last time I so quickly devoured an open-world game.
Possum Springs exists in limbo, stuck between its vibrant past and a future where its place is uncertain. Its young residents share that uncertainty as they struggle to find their place in the world, something any person who’s ever been a 20-something can understand. Which is why I think Night in the Woods struck a chord with so many people. We’ve all been Mae, Gregg, Angus, or Bea at some point, or we have loved ones who have. Its poignant writing and themes have stayed with me long after the credits.
Cuphead has been one of the biggest sources of joy and frustration to me in gaming this year. The thing is beautiful, but I already knew that – I’ve been salivating over its hand-drawn, Fleischer brothers-inspired art style since it first unveiling three years ago. But nothing in the game will stop trying to kill me long enough for me to appreciate all that hard work! But I wouldn’t change any of it; that feverish, jazz-laced frenzy only added to the addictive feeling of triumph I’d get when I’d finally emerge victorious.