My favourite games of 2015

It’s a new year and I’m at this blogging thing again. I know, I know. I never commit to it. But that’s what New Year's resolutions are for right? No one ever fails to keep those up. This year I’m committing myself to doing more writing, and considering it’s only February I’d say I’ve started off pretty damn well. To get this blog kick started, I thought I would compile a list of some of my favourite games from the past year.

I hear numbered lists are the in thing. Way cooler than bullet points anyway.

10. Puyo Puyo Tetris

I love me some Tetris. It’s probably the perfect puzzle game, although I am on the side that thinks infinite spin is pretty lame. I had no idea what Puyo Puyo was until I realised I had been tricked into playing it many years ago under the guise of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. The combination of both games, played competitively against each other makes this an incredible package, and the high spirit anime dressing gives it a lot more character than recent Tetris titles.

What I didn’t like

They never released Puyo Puyo Tetris in English, so I had to import it in Japanese. This makes the menus and the plot entirely incomprehensible.

9. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad is a fun reuse of a puzzle design from Super Mario 3D World. It’s a simple, short little game, but a fun distraction from 100 hour RPGs. It’s cute, colourful and the puzzles are surprisingly challenging, especially if you aim to collect everything.

What I didn’t like

I know it's a mechanic of the game, but the lack of a jump button is simply infuriating.

8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Theatrhythm was a great game, despite it’s ridiculous title, but there was very little to do after you had played all the songs. Curtain Call fills that void, adding a quest mode that keeps you coming back. This game might be just pure nostalgia, but the rhythm game play is incredibly solid.

What I didn't like

Compared to field and battle, there are incredibly few event levels.

7. Starbound

As a kid I loved going to the sandy beach. I would ignore all this “sea” business and dig a twelve year old sized hole straight down into the dunes. I would never get to China before we had to go home, but the sense of adventure and exploration was always there. It was also funny to imagine people falling down the hole after I left it. This is also what it was like to play Starbound for 30 hours.

What I didn’t like

You get to a point where the progression just drops off.

6. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

The small amount of Ground Zeroes that exists is probably better than any single part of Phantom Pain. The base you infiltrate is incredibly detailed and packed with character, something I feel Phantom Pain lost by trying to be so expansive and big. The opening gave me the chills of how it felt to play MGS for the first time, and there is a constant fear of being spotted by a patrolling guard.

What I didn’t like

We all know we paid for a demo.

5. Sonic Shuffle

Both the best Sonic and the best Mario Party game ever made. The added strategy of selecting from a deck of cards and the ability to hide your cards on the VMU puts it leagues ahead of the random dice rolls in Mario Party.

What I didn’t like

It only has five maps and they never made a sequel.

4. Rocket League

I played football at school. Most of the time they would put be in goal because I would be less of a nuisance there. I was still a nuisance. Rocket League adds cars to football. It’s amazingly simple, but so perfectly executed. The feeling when you score a goal is the greatest and it never goes away.

What I didn’t like

The game has a fantastic soundtrack that only plays in the menus.

3. Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker is the game I always wanted. Every kid wants to make his own games. I used to draw them on paper with cut out characters. The level editor in Mario Maker is ingenious, and Nintendo almost got the online stuff right. The community that has arisen around Mario Maker has been amazing to watch, and challenging your friends to complete your latest masterpiece is a blast.

What I didn’t like

Nintendo almost got the online stuff right.

2. Persona 4 Golden

I’ve been playing this game on and off for the past year and I’ve loved every minute of it. Best described as a crossover between Japanese teenage dating simulator and turn based RPG, it has a great story and a killer soundtrack. There is even an anime which is pretty darn good! The Golden remaster and a PlayStation TV are going incredibly cheap these days, so don’t miss out on this.

What I didn’t like

A lot of scenes in the core plot don’t change to reflect the relationship you’re currently in, making them a little jarring.

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

I love so much about The Phantom Pain. Open world Metal Gear doesn’t sound like something that should work, but it really does. From a gameplay perspective, this is the perfect Metal Gear game, and it still maintains its ridiculous nature, such as cardboard boxes, fulton recovery balloons and rocket arms. I played the game for over 100 hours and could still play more if I really wanted to. It’s a gameplay loop that just never gets tiring.

What I didn’t like

The plot and pacing of Phantom Pain however, is a mess. There are some fantastic individual moments, but the entire thing doesn’t gel together as cohesively as Metal Gear has in the past. It is almost certainly the weakest story of the series, and even its most interesting new character (Quiet) is ruined by some fairly disgusting sexism.