2018 is the year I played Symphony Of The Night for the first time. Can I just rave about Symphony Of The Night for the whole article? No?
Fine. Here are some other games that aren’t too shabby, either.
Game that made me love a genre again
Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
To me, DOS 2 feels liberating in a way few big RPGs are, because it’s not about following some grandiose plot: it’s about hanging with your pals and letting stuff happen to you. Sure, there’s a world to save, but no pressure. Take a stroll on the countryside, smooch your assassin boyfriend, steal some shit. Help some talking pigs, burn everything, have a laugh. The world can wait. It’s a game I desperately want more of, and yet can’t bear to replay — as if my new playthrough would somehow invalidate my first adventure, and the way it make me feel.
Runner up: I love the way Heaven Will Be Mine fills your screens with chat logs, documents and conversations, fully trusting your ability to keep up. It’s the Evangelion of visual novels, and not only because it’s a convoluted story about broken teens in robotic suits, but because it takes a medium, punches it to death and stretches its flesh in new, weird shapes.
Best Pokémon game of the year
Playing Heartbeat is like rediscovering an old Gameboy in your bedroom at home. You turn on the console and you’re again a child playing Pokémon Emerald, stuck in a world with monsters to battle, puzzles to solve and places to explore. It’s a tiny gem of a game, and I’m sad the cool kids are too busy playing with their Switch to notice it.
Runner up: I’m happy Monster Hunter Stories got an Android port this year, giving me an excuse to mention it. Open world Pokémon game with the setting of How To Train Your Dragon. Do I really need to add anything else?
Game that helped me survive 2018
I have already gushed enough about Wandersong, a digital ray of sunshine in this cold, cold world. Keep it for a rainy day, and I swear it will make your life feel a bit better.
Runner up: NA NANANANANA NANAAAA NA Katamari Damacy. Katamari is another game to play with a blanket on your shoulders and a cup of chamomile on your table. The PC port is shoddy, but I don’t care. More people need Katamari in their life.
Best twine game about living in this economy
Can You Come In?
Every worker has a “Can you come in?” story. Here is mine:
"Can you work during the Christmas break?" asked the boss of my marketing agency. He wanted us to submit work for a contest, and the deadline was tight. I had already finished my part, but he wanted the whole team to be present. To boost morale. I spent those days with my feet on a cardboard box, because the office floor was so cold. We were the only people working in the whole building. After finishing, we discovered the boss had lied to us about the deadline.
We didn’t even win.
Runner up: You Are Jeff Bezos, the best twine game about what you would like to do about this economy.
Best game I haven’t actually played
The Red Strings Club
I am tired of cyberpunk games, because their fictional settings are starting to feel too close to the world we already live in. But then I played 11:45 A Vivid Life, made by the same developers of The Red Strings Club, and now fully trust their ability to make cyberpunk interesting again.
Runner up: I am incredibly excited to try The Light Keeps Us Safe, a rare example of a survival game without another bloody crafting system.
Finally, a world I can explore without having to punch rocks every few minutes.
On a final note, you really should play Symphony Of The Night if you haven’t already.