It’s been an awesome year for games, what with all the big names and new consoles. So, let’s take a peek and see what I deem to be the best games of the last 12 months.
10. Dungeons of Dredmor
I like rouge-likes. I like humor. Dungeons of Dredmor offers both by the bucket load. Worship the goddess of pointless side quests, kill adorable mole-like creatures, and play as a guy (or girl, as of the latest DLC) with eyebrows that defy logic. Pick up or craft new weapons and amour, learn new spells and skills, and venture ever deeper into the dungeons of Dredmor.
9. Super Mario 3D Land
Mario is back on handheld, and this time, he’s in 3D. This game takes the best of Mario’s platforming history, and shoves it all in one little cartridge, and then pops it out of your 3DS screen in glorious 3D. While nothing has really changed game play-wise from Super Mario Galaxy or New Super Mario Bros., the whole game feels new and bouncy, especially with the return of the ever-popular tanooki suit.
Currently being named as one of the best forgotten indie games this year, Bastion is a action-RPG set in a collapsing sky world with steam-punk overtones. Playing as “The Kid”, you have to collect cores from all over the world, with an old man narrating your every move. Despite sounding rather creepy, it actually adds a lot to the game, and is often very, very well written.
7. Portal 2
A sequel to Valve’s 2007 puzzle-based hit, Portal 2 brings co-op mode to the Aperture Science labs, as well as a whole new single-player campaign. The co-op mode robots have more life in them than most other game’s main protagonists, and the big bad guy in the single player is voiced by the always excellent Stephen Merchant. Hurray for Valve, and their love for characterization!
6. Pokemon Black and White
A new year, a new installment of the ever popular Pokemon. Set in an all-new region, the player is faced with all-new challenges and all-new monsters to catch and battle… It’s all very new. While the new generation has some slightly weird Pokemon designs (an ice-cream, for example), it looks great, and is as every bit absorbing as all the others.
5. Mario Kart 7
Everyone’s favorite racing kart game is also back, again showing off the 3D capabilities of Nintendo’s 3DS. As with all Mario Kart games, there are new track and new characters, as well as the return of old racing veterans and classic courses. Along side that, MK7 adds in new game play features, such as customization karts, and the ability to take to the skies or drive underwater, breathing new life into a well-love and well-played series.
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Eagerly awaited by loads of gamers, the newest installment in the Elder Scrolls saga boasts impressive visuals, new AI and questing, a brand new part of the world to explore, and maybe most importantly, dragons! … What do you mean “Dragons don’t automatically make a great game.”? Anyway, Skyrim is just as epic an adventure as Oblivion or Morrowind, if not more so… Did I mention the dragons?
3. Dungeon Defenders
A most excellent tower-defense game, Dungeon Defenders is probably one of the best multiplayer experiences from 2011. Defend the crystals from goblins, dark elves, trolls and the like, collect weapons and amour, and level up your character. Add in some great cartoon-y visuals, and you’ve got yourself an addictive and extremely fun game. The developers, Trendy Entertainment, are constantly adding to the game as well, so it never gets old.
If you don’t know about Minecraft, you’ve probably been living without the internet for the past 3 years. One of the most talked-about games of the moment, Minecraft is a great single-player exploration, or an even better multiplayer adventure… or city-building exercise… or combat arena… or whatever you want! That’s the beauty of Minecraft…
My favorite game of 2011 is in the same genre as Minecraft, has the look of a SNES game, plays like a platformer and has elements of all kinds of RPGs. Like Minecraft, Terraria gives you a randomly generated world to explore, but unlike Mojang’s title, it has quite clear goals and targets. Whether its finding the underworld, destroying the Eater of Worlds, or fighting back the corruption, Terraria is always nudging you towards the next big thing. Of course, there’s always time to mine and explore, finding rare ores or powerful and magical weapons along the way. In my opinion, Terraria is best played with others, although single player is equally rewarding. It’s always good when dashing head-first into the dungeon knowing there’s someone who’s got your back, or in some cases, to be your meat-shield. With loads of character customization, and later home creation, Terraria has something for everyone.
So, there we have it. Another excellent year of games, and my list of favorites. Too bad I didn’t finish this before the new year came about…