Best Games of 2012Posted: January 1, 2013
Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to crack open a gallon of apple cider, nuke it, and chill out either with family/friends or hide by the light of a computer monitor (or TV). So let’s have some fun and look at a few games you may or may not have heard of.
In no particular order:
Best use of lights: 1000 Amps. 1000 Amps follows a robot trying to restore power to a city. Each room is a puzzle and can be quite frustrating. Plus it has a cool soundtrack.
Best use of nostalgia: Avernum: Escape from the pit. You can’t knock Jeff Vogel too much for trying to get his series Avernum up and running again while trying to make some money. Part of the problem is that it is old stuff we already visited before. At least here it looks pretty and will gather fans who have not played the original.
Best use of geometry: Inferno +. I love Radiangames. I love how they take old concepts and make them feel new again. Inferno + is an arena shooter where you destroy everything that moves. End of story. And it’s a fun palette cleanser.
Best use of houses: Home. Indie game Home was perhaps a bit too over psyched for its own good. It is a great piece of atmosphere and narrative.
Best use of eugenics: Geneforge Saga. While technically not part of the 2012 year as the collection is over a year old, it is also another good dose of nostalgia. Critics are occasionally split over which of Vogel’s series are better and many lean towards the Geneforge series. What it does right is simple: create your own army of monsters.
Best shooter that is over the top frustrating: Hitogata Happa. This bullet hell game is different than the rest: you charge up a doll and have said doll crash into the enemies. It’s frustrating. And I love the sense of creativity it injects into the genre simply because how many games let you kill with dolls?
Best puzzle game with snow: Puzzle Agent. It was seriously tempting to put Sam and Max up here but Puzzle Agent speaks to me a bit more. It’s a Prof. Layton clone that could seriously give Level 5 a run for their money by providing accessible puzzles and tax dollars to waste.
Most promising RPG for 2013: Oh Wow an RPG Game beta. When I first grabbed the demo back in the summer, it took me by surprise that this is a game made in RPG Maker. It’s interesting, though flawed, in how takes its cues from other games and has fun with it. The developer is definitely one to watch as he gets many things right that many developers take years to understand.
Best action RPG that might cause a lawsuit: Unepic. When I picked up this little gem back in the summer, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. It’s a parody loveletter to everything nerdy and drops names (and icons) like no one’s business. Heck, even Zoidberg from Futurama makes an appearance. And whatever game franfistro has up his sleeve will be incredibly hard to follow.
Best use of heterosexism: Anna. This supposed psychological horror game follows a guy who, I think, killed his wife. While the game isn’t scary, it is beautiful. It’s at least looking at for that. Though is it too much to ask for some cultural sensitivity for those of us who don’t identify as “straight?” Anna makes the best case for it.
Most creative use of botany: Plants vs. Zombies GOY. Yeah, this game is several years old. It is a blast to play and has a lot of diversity in terms of play styles. This is the game that “breaks” the mold of what a casual game is supposed to be: accessible and challenging.
Best use of licensed characters: Penny Arcade Adventures 3. Admit it, Zeboyd games is a potently promising indie developer who’s crushing heads and taking names. While they fall short in some domains, they get the majority of it right. This is best seen in PAA 3. And boy, did the Penny Arcade folks chose the right company to helm the third installment in their game franchise. While it isn’t as funny as the previous games, it is far more RPGy (is that even a word?) than the others. And it’s also a bit more enjoyable too.
Best horror game: The Lone Survivor. What can I say about this game that hasn’t been said before? It is the most psychological game since Silent Hill 3. And it’s all the better for it. Seriously, check this game out. Like now.
Best dungeon crawler with odd dreams: The Legend of Grimrock. The Legend of Grimrock is a game everyone who loves dungeon crawlers should own. It’s awesome in the character creation department and offers tons of exploration and puzzles. While the movement takes some time to get used to–along with the combat, it is the best throw back to the genre since Etrian Odyssey 2.
Best Japanese indie game: La-Mulana. If you don’t know about La-Mulana, I don’t blame you. A remake of the game of the same name, this is a game that is all about exploration, puzzles, and trying to avoid those darn spikes. It’s intriguing because everything can kill Lamaza (literally). Check it out now and watch Deceased Crab curse along with you on YouTube.
Best exploration game: Ascension. Demise: Ascension is an odd game. It’s a remake of an old Windows 3.1 game that I had completely forgotten about. It takes combat out of your hands and instead emphasizes exploring the massive dungeon on the outskirts of town. I like it because it’s a fun game to mellow out to.
Most surprisingly enjoyable game: Saints Row the Third. Don’t ask me why I like this game so much as I can’t really explain it. It juxtaposes the overtop nature with some truly disturbing moments. And it constantly switches from traditional 3rd person shooter to arcade shooter/driver and back again. Plus the explotions are cool.
So what games do you think need to be highlighted?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!