Let's kick it off with some honorable mentions.
As a reminder, here are my honorable mentions of the past years:
- 2017: Wii Sports Resort (Wii, 2009), Dune (DOS, 1992), Hearthstone (Android, 2014), Chaos Overlords (DOS, 1996), Dillon's Rolling Western (3DS, 2012), Micro Machines (DOS, 1991), Bravely Default (3DS, 2012) and Duke Nukem 3D (DOS, 1996)
- 2018: Undertale (Switch, 2015), Oxenfree (Switch, 2016), Darksiders II (WiiU, 2012), Unreal Tournament (Windows, 1999), Doom reboot (Switch, 2016)
- 2019: Into the Breach (Switch, 2018), Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (WiiU/Switch, 2014), Wacky Wheels (DOS, 1994), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch, 2018), FreedroidRPG (Linux, 2011), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Switch, 2015), Sid Meier's Colonization (DOS, 1994), Blockout (DOS, 1989)
- 2020: Beyond Good & Evil (PS2, 2003), Doom 64 (Switch/Stadia, 1997), Human Resource Machine (WiiU/Switch, 2015), Worms (DOS, 1995), Hitman (Stadia, 2016), Battle Chess (DOS, 1988)
- 2021: Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise/Rhythm Heaven Fever (2011, Wii), Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (2019, Switch/Stadia), Battalion Wars 2 (2007, Wii), Project Zomboid (2013, Linux), Eledees/Elebits (2006, Wii), Wunderland (1994, Telnet)
Ok, now to this years mentions.
Balrum (2016, Linux)
Balrum is a classic isometric turn-based RPG with a lot of depth and details to it. If you looked at my lists in the past years you know, that this is right up my alley. Now Balrum isn't a big game from a big dev, but from a small indie dev. Still it is a pretty big games with a lot of stuff to do, from crafting, fighting monsters, doing quests, an expansive world to explore. A lot of meat for an indie game. It feels pretty old school - which is all right by me.
No Man's Sky (2016, Xbox Series)
No Man's Sky probably will be etched into history as the game that overpromised and wasn't able to deliver on launch. Lucky for me, I didn't touch the game until years later. Whatever shape it was in on launch, by now it is a fun experience. And probably a different one for everyone. For me it was all about finding a good location and building a great base, ever changing it with new crafting and building blueprints I learned. Going to find new planets to harvest the resources needed for my ever expanding building project. Hello games turned this game around by constantly updating it, constantly keep improving it, until it works. It probably will never be a tightly knit story experience, but I don't think any other game will offer a universe this big in scale with room for finding your own place, your own way of playing in it.
The above picture is not my base by the way, something I found on the internet. For my base I love vast network of tunnels connecting different above surface structures.
Diablo (1997, Windows)
Yeah, this is the granddaddy of a whole genre of games. If that would happen today we would probably call games like Titan's Quest or Victor Vran all 'Diablo likes'. But the funny thing is... Diablo itself is in many ways a rogue like. It clearly took inspiration from the original rogue and games like it. This is quite visible in the randomly generated ever deeping stretching levels of the dungeon. Actually the dev once explained, he wanted it also to make turn-based like rogue-likes, but as Blizzard came into the picture they asked for the pitched game to be in real time. So there is one feature that made Diablo different. The other is the that loot also became randomly generated (rogue also generated random loot, but with much smaller variation in parameters). This all was something pretty new. I recently touched again the original game as the remake of the second one dropped, and was instantly drawn in again by the atmosphere, the dark story. It is still a great game (although walk speed is painfully slow).
Cities: Skylines (2015, Xbox One)
I had to try out Cities: Skylines at some point, and in the last year I did. I am into simulation games, but usually more into ones that have some sort of goal. Anyways, still trying to build a working city is fun. What I noticed instantly as an old school gamer: this is SimCity. The original SimCity. Yes, sure it is in HD with much more detailed graphics and some new systems were added like water plumbing. Also instead of nuclear power plants this game has wind power. But yeah, the core gameplay is basically as it was 30 years ago.
And I am totally fine with it. The gameplay of SimCity worked, it was a big success. Refining it, giving it modern graphics, add more menus and views to control your city - that all is great. And yes, even after all these years my nemesis is an enourmous traffic jam and according air pollution. Still my biggest obstacle. A fun concept 30 years ago, a fun concept today.
Falling Skies (2014, WiiU)
I don't know if you remember, there was a scifi-show named Falling Skies. As a side project this also spawned the game, which resembles the characters of the TV shows and the alien threat they are facing. The game itself though is a pretty competent turn-based tactical game in the likes of XCOM. So yeah, I like that. The classes presented here and the options to develop actually work pretty well together, the story is presented well. So yeah, more tactical fun. Especially one game to play on my ill-fated WiiU back then.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia (2020, Switch)
And a japanese turn-based tactics game, Brigandine sports a fantasy setting, anime character portraits and hex-grids to control your spawned troops to decide the fate of the continent. Your main characters can summon and command armies fantasy creatures and level up as they fight through the battles. Maintaining and winning territory is important so you need to find and hire new rune knights that can command more troops or hold positions. There is no fixed path, you decide where to attack and with which army. Also you choose your faction to play, which decides your initial territory and original rune knights.
Last edited by Mnementh - on 11 November 2022