So this has been the third year I’ve done it – the best games I’ve played in the year 2017/2018. It’s been another belter year for games, with some great games out, both for the big budget titles and the indie games. You also had the rise of the mini consoles (you can read my review of the SNES Mini at Retro Garden) this year, so overall it’s been good.
I both have played a lot of games and not a lot. Two games that nearly made the list were Cuphead and the excellent Dead Cells. However in the past month or so with the start of my freelance career I’ve not played as much as I would have liked. Dead Cells would have almost made the list had I played a little more recently. So with that said, here’s my 3 best games I played this year.
3. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Xbox One)
Here’s a hot take, I don’t like Fortnite: Battle Royale.
I cannot get on with it. The building and crafting mechanic takes a lot of enjoyment out of it for me. So I prefer the original made by PlayerUnknown. Battlegrounds.
This has been the year of battle royale style games – games where you are dropped in to a location on a map and you end up having to kill everybody else on the map. Over time the area shrinks and you end up in a tiny area with a few people.
Why I prefer PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? I prefer the look, it’s gritty. It’s theme music is a belter, and it feels more realistic rather than floss dances and various moves shared by the French national team. And there is zero crafting. No hiding in large wooden buildings. You’re out. Alone. And I bloody love it.
2. Sea of Thieves (Xbox One)
Speaking of alone, Sea of Thieves has taken second place in my favourite games of the year. The beauty of it is the feeling of being alone. You are plonked on a world and you are tasked with sailing the high seas. Sure it had a rocky start, but I feel that it was needed, as it’s rocky start helped foster a community. The community is brilliant, as the community appears to be a lot older, lot casual, and a lot nicer.
Yeah my sloop isn’t too big, too flashy, or too feature rich, but sailing over the gorgeous seas with a wonderful soundtrack, either alone or with a small group of people, is one of the most pleasurable experiences I have had this year in video games.
1. Yoku’s Island Express (Xbox One)
This game is magical.
Yoku’s Island Express is an indie game that I discovered in the middle of this year. You play a dung beetle who is a postman, showing up on the first day of work and all hell breaking loose with an attack on the magical tree. So you need to both save the island and also deliver letters and packages to the island residents.
You obviously have to traverse the island, with bits of the island opening up over time as you collect items. However traversing the island becomes quicker (or harder, dependant on your skill) thanks to the main game mechanic – you push a dung ball attached to you throughout the island, and some areas of the island contain flippers and chutes.
In short, this game is a bunch of interconnected pinball machines.
It’s not all pinball, but many of the sections and the bigger puzzles use the pinball mechanic. You can get powerups such as kickbacks and the like, as although you cannot actually die in this game, losing flowers (the game’s currency) when you miss the odd shot does make the game harder.
The thing I love about the game is the presentation – the game is absolutely gorgeous and you’re on a desert island, with a bunch of cute residents. And the music is so happy and joyful, with the title screen music a beautiful piece. Furthermore, it’s kind of short – the main quest took me 6 hours – but if you want to go further and explore the full story of the island you are going to be playing for at least triple that.
This game feels like it was made exclusively for me – Metroidvania style game with pinball elements. The fact that I wasn’t aware of it until it came out made it all the more special.
What are the games you played this year that you loved? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!
Also published on Medium.