Ladies and gentlemen...it's time for yet another "best of 2017" lists, namely "my favorite games I've played in 2017". With everyone and their dog posting youtube video's about "the best games of 2017", I'll keep with written text and a blog. Not only because I don't really feel like polluting the blogosphere but mostly because I barely played games that were actually released in 2017 (and on multiple platforms, which is rare in and off itself). And while of course every other list is personal as well, I don't want to pretend I've played all games of this year. The result is a unique list that nobody but me might be interested in, but hey...you can just stop reading if you want. ;-)
-my best games of 2016
-my best games of 2015
-my best games of 2014
That isn't to say that this hasn't been a great year for video games. Rather the contrary: this may just be my best gaming year ever. But before I dive in my list with actual games, I want to point out a few news items I find worthy of mentioning:
-the switch. I was one of those guys who claimed it would fail (in fact, I predicted less than 10 million sales in its lifetime...something it'll most likely pass before its first anniversary). I'm very happy to be proven wrong on this. I haven't gotten one, but it's great to see it already getting a better third party line-up than the wiiu ever had, and that nintendo steadily releases great games on the system. If this winning streak keeps up (like...wasteland 2), that's certainly about to change at some point. :-)
-the GPD win. I should've gotten this device sooner. Unlike the smach Z, the company behind this device slowly but steadily delivers products of increasing quality. As it stands, this is the best handheld device I've ever had and a portable computer in every way. It's not something for everyone (it is, for example, not suited for high-end gaming, and games that have to be played with a mouse sort of defeat the purpose of the device), but it really shines on the games that work well on it.
-the overall quality of mobile games. Granted, this could just be the law of large numbers or humble bundle picking out the best of the best. But with laptops slowly mating with tablets and creating offspring (see previous points), gaming on the go is trending. At this rate, I actually expect AAA-studios starting real ports of their games to mobile devices in just a few years (assuming you don't already count the switch as such).
-giveaways on gbatemp. I'm currently giving some of my overabundant steam games away myself, but I wasn't the first one. And I've gotten some nice games for free. Perhaps this wasn't humble bundle's intention, but it's not bad to get great games, pay for charity AND give some away as well.
Compared to that, the negativity surrounding the loot boxes is but a small detriment preventing a perfect score. And I only mention it because of completeness: I've got so many games in my backlog that complaining about games I don't care about have features I don't want feels unnecessary greedy.
That said: let's start with games that didn't make my top 30 (yes, I'll be doing a top 30 this year ).
Journey to the center of the earth
Super Mario run
Luxor's tomb / Zuma (retroarch / PSP)
Starcraft: mass recall
Zelda: twilight princess HD
Super mario 3D world
Yoshi's woolly world
30. Freecell quest (PC)
The first one is hard to judge because I just started playing it. I've already played it more than some other games, but at this point I can't yet say how I'll look back at this one. It's the freecell card game with RPG elements. For now, I consider it the best combination of genres since puzzle quest, but if you want a story, you should really pass on this.
29. Tearaway (vita)
Yup...it's proven: nintendo isn't the only one who can make wildly good games for children. And this game pulls all the registers and makes perfect use of fourth wall breaking (it uses the vita's camera to showcase your head in the game).
There's one major problem, though: I'm not a child anymore. And I fear that's kind of a tragedy: I see and notice sparks of brilliance in this game, but unlike nintendo or Disney's products, it doesn't spark that inner child in me. It may be just brand unfamiliarity or even unfamiliarity with the vita, but really...I can't place it higher than I can put it.
28. Ashes of the singularity (PC)
I want to play more of this. I really do: it combines an RTS that's probably closest to supreme commander with a connect-the-dots terrain to the enemy base. The terrain you conquer increase your income, and you can REALLY build some huge-ass ships in this game. If I can find one problem, it's that I can't "just play for a bit". It always goes on way over an hour to even get something done. As such, I find myself avoiding it more than actually playing it.
27. Pang adventures (android & PC)
I only learned of this game's existence when I got the android version in a humble bundle. But I love the pang games, and this truly does it justice in every way. Well...except having to play with touch screens, but I can't ask the game to grown me a couple of controllers on my nvidia shield.
26. Pac-man 256 (PC)
Pac-man going roguelike. I don't know where the graphics of the trailer come from, but the actual game on my end is just you attempting to run through an endless maze and being chased by the digital reaper. But it's more than enough to keep coming back to it. Incidentally, it's also better than the championship edition (which is in turn FAR superior to its sequel).
25. Owlboy (PC)
This should've been higher. Much higher. But while I really loved my time with owlboy, it just went on my backlog again. I just have too many games!
24. Super platformer deluxe (PC)
Last year it was super avalanche, this year it's this game for blocky roguelites. It's basically tetris where you are a character who tries to survive by shooting off pieces of the falling blocks. Balls hard, but so much fun.
23. Hexus (PC)
Another one I put more time in it than I intended: a gem matching game that doubles as a city builder. The funny thing is that on paper it doesn't have any draw for me: it's too simple (I haven't died once and I haven't even needed a single bonus gem (of which you'll get plenty each level) at this point), it tries to shoehorn in actual history (sorry...not interested in Egyptian history that much) and has some stupid clicker mechanic (just COLLECT all the coins instead of having me click on each of 'em, will you?).
21. molemania (retroarch / gameboy)
This was meant to be a small test of retroarch's capabilities. It went flawless...but I ended up playing more and more of this game, because man...talk about a hidden gem (by a certain Shigero Miyamoto, no less!). This is without a doubt the best sokoban variation I've ever seen. The game has that typical early nintendo nonsense going on (you're a mole and some guy stole your children, so you'll have to throw a ball against a picket fence to proceed). But tunneling underneath the level AND being able to pull, push and throw the ball makes for a VERY interesting puzzle concept. It's one of the best original game boy games ever made, and I only learn about its existence this year!
What baffles me perhaps even more is that nintendo produces clone after clone of their lineup, but never even released a version on a DS device (it freaking SHOULD use two screens).
20. stealth inc: a clone in the dark (vita)
so I got me a hacked vita, and what do I like most on it? One of my favorite games of 2015. I really, really like it, but at this point I realize I should've gotten that gpd win instead.
19. Puzzlerama (android)
When I started the list, I was sure that this one would be on it. But almost to my own surprise it dropped all the time, despite what it is (or perhaps because?). This game is a combination of mobile classics: lines, lines bridges, pipes,blocks, unroll...those kind of timewasters. On top of that is a leveling system that unlocks motivational speeches and even one extra game at level 50...
It's free, it's not ridden with adds and pretty responsive. But it just...it just got surpassed, I guess.Warning: Spoilers inside!
18. Train valley (PC)
I looked around for railroad tycoon games (and played a bit of 'em as well), but really: the devs of train valley took my idea of what I wanted in those games and built a game around *that*. This is basically what would happen if railroads were managed by the clowns that caused the financial crash: you have to get your cargo from station A to B as both as fast and as safe as possible. Laying tracks cost money. The reward diminishes in value and there's an annual upkeep to pay as well. The end result is that you have to send out trains almost before you've got tracks, start and stop them where needed and control the junction switches almost like a bullfighter juggling bulls. It's pretty hard if you want to do it right, but the game is so rewarding that even train crashes (that'll in practice means losing instantly) are fun.
17. Simon Tatham's puzzles (android)
This one's hard to place because I'm playing this completely free game bundle for at least two years, but I totally forgot to add it in an earlier list. And I forgot it again when it went mobile and works so extremely well that I often find myself drawn into it when I just want to zone out for a bit.
16. Zelda: breath of the wild (wiiu)
I get this game. I see what it's doing, and welcome it. There's only one problem: I don't personally like the direction myself. No carefully designed dungeons but mini dungeons? Crafting? Weapons that break? A hard difficulty combined with long loading times? I'm sorry, but none of those things really draw me in. There's certainly quite some fun to be had, and is most likely one of the first games I'll get if I get a switch, but for now, I found myself wanting to play other games.
15. Zelda: a link to the past (wiiu)
Here's some irony for you: Zelda BotW just got me wanting to play a traditional top down Zelda instead. And because I never played entirely through the SNES version before, I just went with this instead.
14. Guacamelee SFCE (PC)
This isn't exactly a fair addition, as guacamelee was my n° 3 spot three years ago. But because this is the SFCE version, it's been years and I wanted to see how well my gpd win would handle it (flawless), it ended up on this list. I mean...I couldn't NOT add it, right?
13. steamworld dig (wiiu)
A simple platformer, but that doesn't make it less engaging. The title also neatly fits the description: you're a robot in a steampunk world who has to dig down. In that 'under the surface', you'll encounter enemies, harvest minerals and discover old mines. The digging is permanent, but thanks to some mechanics you can get back to the surface quickly and spend what you get on upgrades.
12. Offspring fling (PC)
This game came out of nowhere. I mostly considered The gbatemp game giveaway as a way to explore the bottom of the barrel in terms of games (ahem...slaughtering grounds ), so I didn't expect much. What I got was one of the best SNES games that wasn't released in the SNES era. It's quirky (you have to collect your children, but you may have to toss them around), adorable (you look like kirby), has interesting mechanics (you grow in size and jump height is lowered when carrying children) and has perfectly designed levels.
11. GTA V (PC)
Yes, I only got this game this year. And frankly: I don't get why it's still getting this much hype years later. Yes, player and car handling are fine and there's a huge detailed world to explore. My gripe with it is that is actually it. The game may have the best disguised fetchquests in the gaming industry, but that doesn't make them more fun. I barely feel empathy for any character. It's good...but I really have to put it up to par or even below San Andreas.
10. Morphblade (PC)
This is from the maker of Gunpoint (Tom Francis), and after hearing it was good I grabbed it in a free gbatemp giveaway. Now I can attest this wasn't a lie: this tactic board game may look slow or boring, but it's actually very, very deep and engaging. As far as 5 bucks games go, I don't think you can do much better than this game.
9. Pony island (PC)
In the category "wtf did I just play???", we've got this entry. A game containing the devil, platforming, hacking puzzles and ponies. Telling more would diminish your experience, so I can't but say that this game INDEED outranks GTA V for me.
8. The wolf among us (PC)
I actually gave away a steam key of this game while I was playing it (I've got it on GoG), and felt like giving away one of my own children. With good reason: the walking dead was awesome, and the fable comics as well. So the end result was, almost unsurprising, awesome. Oh, and...great value on a GPD win.
7. Kalimba (PC)
I got this in a steam sale on the advice of a gbatemp member whose name I forgot (sorry). But what started out as a cute attempt to test out my gpd win almost got me hooked instantly. It's a puzzle platformer where you control two characters at the same time. The game shines where it needs to be: innovative, well built, challenging and fun.
6. Red alert 2 (& Yuri's revenge) (PC)
I initially started playing grey goo in the expectation of it being similar to the old C&C games. It was just missing that "one thing", especially in regards to my favorite RTS of all time. So I thought to myself "hang on...Red alert 2 is exactly like Red alert 2". So I took some time to get it to work on windows 10, and despite the resolution being far lower than I remember, the game actually aged very well (full review/rant here).
5. starcraft 2: heart of the swarm (PC)
This is actually sort of nuts. I bought starcraft 2 wings of liberty around launch day (meaning: 2010). I loved it, but stopped playing after some time (the depth of that game is insane...but it requires almost biblical studying of the game as well). Now they've gone free to play, but as a token of their appreciation for buying their game SEVEN YEARS EARLIER I got HotS for free. I decided to try it out. And then another level. And then another. And then...
Really...this expansion just sucked me right back in. I even have to restrain myself from buying legacy of the void (protoss is my main race), but I'll succumb to it at one point. Thus far, this spot is very well deserved.
4. Inside (PC)
I was just expecting a similar game as Limbo. And while that masterpiece is hard to equal, it not only did that but actually surpassed it. The horror theme is perfect because it doesn't TRY to be horror, the puzzles weird but interesting, the plot points happen in a decent matter...just...get out and play it if you haven't already done so.
3. Ori and the blind forest (PC)
Yeah, I know: I'm late. And after the initial emotional gutpunch story introduction, I was actually a bit disappointed that this beautiful masterpiece was "just" a metroidvania. But as I progressed, it grew on me yet again. It deserved all the credit it got in the media.
2. Cook, serve, delicious 2 (PC)
Cook, serve, delicous was my top game of 2015, and this game is much better in most regards. It's a time management game where you have to prepare meals (meaning: press the correct keyboard keys) for customers before they're tired of waiting. Better graphics, far more foods, co-op play (this is one of the rare video games I can get my girlfriend to play with me) and a whole shower of restaurant decorations. And I love it with all my heart. It should've been my nr. 1 (I think it's better than the n°1 of last two years), but I can't outrank my ACTUAL number one game...
1. Rocksmith 2014 remastered (PC)
I took a gamble on this game because I never even touched a guitar before getting this game in January. And while I'm still terrible, that doesn't change how much I love playing this game. I mean...just a couple days ago, I practiced maybe half an hour to get a simple riff in my fingers of a band and a song I had never heard about (the outro of The XX's Islands). I don't play it as much anymore as in January, but this is a game I'll still be playing tens if not hundreds years from now (I don't plan on dying soon ). At this point I can't say if it'll dethrone UT2004 as my favorite game ever, but at the very least it sits at a solid spot in the top 2 ever (for those who want even more rambling of me on this game).
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