Friday, January 11, 2013

My Favorite Games of 2012

I played games this year. Some of them were new to this year. I bet you played new games too at some point. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.

Sound Shapes
This Vita title is a pseudo-rhythm platformer with a robust level creation and sharing tool. Playing as a little eyeball and jamming to the beat of the music that drives the beat of the gameplay was really fun, as are many of the levels created by the community. Definitely unlike any other platformer that I've ever played.

Another platformer? Well, I happen to like them, and this one was exceptional. Spelunky's procedurally generated levels, challenging design, and tight controls and tuning make it exceptionally fun. Unlockable characters, plenty of secrets, and rewarding learning opportunities have made this a game that I've been playing for well over half a year, still haven't beat, and am still having fun.

Thrill Digger
This minigame in last year's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword became quite the obsession of mine, so much so that I coded up a version of it to put here. This Minesweeper variant adds more uncertainty to the game that I couldn't help but obsess over.

Never have I had a game impact me so emotionally. Simple gameplay, beautiful scenery, unique multiplayer, and wordless storytelling combine to make a truly amazing experience. The story of your character and the history that you discover over the course of the game play out beautifully and gave me so much to ponder and I'm still not exactly sure of all the details.

Diablo III
The very controversial third entry in the Diablo franchise was one of my favorite games of the year. Many people didn't like how the auction house affected the gameplay and complained about a lack of depth to the endgame, but as someone who never got to the highest level, I never had a dull moment. My only complaint that I could levy would be that the Act II becomes quite tiresome much faster than the other acts. Being able to find a new way to play the game at any point in time gave me an experience that never got dull.

Nintendo Land
Nintendo launched a new console late in 2012 and the Wii Sports analog for it was Nintendo Land. A collection of minigames that use the Game Pad in different ways to highlight the new types of gameplay afforded by it is incredibly fun. If Nintendo can follow up on half of the great gameplay types exhibited here then the system should do just fine.

Frog Fractions
This indie flash game take the educational genre for quite a spin. This is the best way to learn fractions, as you'll go on a journey across so many different classic game genres. I have but one hint, when you get the turtle, use it to go underwater. This game is quite the love letter to gaming. The game is fully playable at the link above.

The Unfinished Swan
This game starts as a literal blank canvas, a stark white space upon which you fire paint to discover the shape of your surroundings. Later levels also exhibit new and interesting gameplay. This game tells a beautiful story in a very interesting way with wonderful gameplay. Definitely worth checking out.

Things I wish I had played: FTL, Mark of the Ninja, The Walking Dead, Persona 4 Golden, Theatrhythm

Things I wish I had played more of: Mists of Pandaria, Tokyo Jungle