2015 ended up being a really weird year for me gaming-wise. A lot of the big games that I planned on getting like Mario Maker and XCX had to be pushed back for another time, and in their place some smaller profile and indie titles too their place. It worked out well for me though. I got my hands on some real gems, including my GoTY which I likedly would never have discovered otherwise. With that, here are my top 7 of the year.

#7. Whoa Dave

The guys at Choice Provisions (formerly Gaijin Games) know how to do simple better than anyone. They take a basic concept and take it to its awesome conclusion, as they repeatedly showed with the Bit.Trip series. Whoa Dave is their take on the classic early 80's arcade games where the concept art never matched what was on the screen, and all you cared about was scoring points. And that's what you do here. You throw eggs, kill monsters, and collect coins. Simple and awesome. Great game to spend 5 minutes with every day of your life and try to do a bit better each time.

6. Mother/Earthbound Beginnings

A 26 year old NES game??  Well, screw you it wasn't released until this year so it counts. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend Earthbound Beginnings to many people. It's an archaic jRPG that's nearly broken due to some insane difficulty spikes, particularly in the last sections of the game. But surprisingly, I still loved it. It's hard to explain why though. As Indiana Jones might say, "it belongs in a museum!!!" and he'd be right about this. Not a lot of fun, but it's fascinating to see the work of a first-time game director whose ideas were just too big for the technology of the time. It also triggered some really strange feelings of childhood nostaliga as I played it, which is odd since its not like I had any connection to it, or really the Earthbound series up until several years ago. So yeah, it's not for everyone (or almost anyone these days), but I actually consider myself lucky finally having the chance to play it. Definitely enjoyed the experience.

5. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is one of the most amazing looking games I've ever seen. A claymation world really does come to life in this. It has it's shortcomings to be sure. The game is a little too short, and the boss battles get recycled. Plus, it's hard to feel like this wasn't meant to me a 3DS title, as its almost impossible to control the game without looking at the touchpad, and that ultimately robs you of really being able to appreciate how good this game looks. Still, every second that the game lasts is pure light hearted fun. Really good reminder of why we all started playing video games in the first place.

4. SteamWorld Heist

The saga of the SteamWorld universe continues, and it's crazier than ever. Heist is a lot more ambitious than it's predecessor, SteamWorld Dig. You now control a team of 2 to 4 bots as you invade enemy space ships in a 2-D strategy game. It takes a while to get going, but once you reach the half-way point of the game and have full access to your team, the strategy that it takes to win battles is in full force. Then it's a constant struggle to decide if the 2 stars you earned for completing a level is enough or if you need to try again for a 3 star performance. Right as the game released, the developers of the game, Image & Form, released a letter that ended with them saying they want their game to be considered a great game, not just a great indie game. Mission accomplished. SteamWorld Heist feels as full an experience as just about any retail game I've played, and I'm extremely eager to see where the SteamWorld universe goes from here.

3. Darkest Dungeon

Without the question Darkest Dungeon the most hardcore, impossible, ass-kicker, make you want to swallow a bullet game I've played in years. It's a strategy dungeon crawler that forces you to not only consider your team's abilities and physical strengths and weaknesses, but also their stress levels. You monitor your team's physical health as well as their mental health. This creates an entire world of problems that regular dungeon crawlers never address. Is the warrior that can kill enemies in a single blow worth keeping around since all he does is complain and make the other team members miserable?  It's a great dimension of a game that really forces you to accept that characters are as dispoable as tissue. The only reason the game isn't higher is that it's insanely hard and arguably too hard. Still it's keeping me coming back, so I'm going to have to force myself to deal with it for a while longer.

2. Splatoon

I hate shooters. I'm not good at them. Never have been, never will. Splatoon is so damn fun though, it's makes me able to enjoy my own ineptitude in the genre. The game is pure absolute fun (multi-player was at any rate), and everything about it really captures that. It's bright, colorful, and full of new experiences. It's rage enducing though, and really stirs up a feeling of in-game competition that reminds me why I am probably better off as a solo gamer. Still, 100 hours of my life went to this game and at times it's the most fun I've had with any kind of online game. Really brings me back to when I was playing Quake Capture the Flag, back in the mid 90's. Definitely a special game, and it seems the entire nation of Japan is having the same feeling that Quake gave me so many years ago.

1. The Binding of Isacc

Isacc really snuck up on me. I knew I'd enjoy it, since it was a dungeon crawler, but I never though I'd become so obsessed with that's essentially a very simple game. Still, it may not really be accurate to call it simple. It certainly looks that way, but everytime I play I find something new. A new treasure that gives an ability I'd never seen before. A new variant of a familiar boss, or sometimes entirely new ones all together. It's bizarre how much content is in this little addictive game. The cutely dark and twisted presentation is also pulled off flawlessly. So many times I'd play this, and my wife would just stare at it grossed out and curious why the baby is crying and surrounded by poo. I'm so glad I took the time to try this one out. Its more than a game of the year. Binding of Isacc: Rebirth is easily making it onto my Greatest of All Time list.

Posted by robio Wed, 06 Jan 2016 00:44:08 (comments: 18)
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Wed, 06 Jan 2016 01:21:25

Wow! I didn't even realize you were playing Isaac! What did you play it on?

Truth be told, I didn't remember when I had Isaac on my GOTY list. At first I thought it was from two years ago!

Turns out it was my #5 for 2014!

I enjoyed Whoa Dave, can't wait for Darkest Dungeon to come to PS4 and LOVE that Image and Form kept the quality high with Heist!


Wed, 06 Jan 2016 01:28:10

Yep, I'm playing Isacc on Wii U. That's what most of my summer was spent on.  The game is perfect for off-screen play too.

You will love Darkest Dungeon. I'll give you an early tip now. Focus on the town, and don't worry about your adventurers. Just fill up your graveyard, more will show up to replace them.

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 01:30:20

They're finally starting to get the New 3DS version to actually WORK, so I hope to spend more time with Isaac soon. Then, eventually, Afterbirth will come to PS4!  Grinning

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 01:31:19

Your new PC could probably handle Afterbirth, but be warned, if you got addicted to Rebirth...  GASP

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 02:09:26
I'm going to stay away from it for a while. I spent most often summer and fall playing nothing but Isaac and Splatoon.  before I fall back into that trap I need to spend some time with some other games.
Wed, 06 Jan 2016 02:40:43

Was expecting Steamworld to be top 3. Very appealing list, though.

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 02:54:46
Darkest Dungeon beat it out another last minute. Also as I mentioned, Heist was slow to start out. The second half, and in particular the last third, of the game is absolutely top notch, but it gets a little repetitive in the earlier part of the game.
Wed, 06 Jan 2016 09:50:37

Awesome write-up.  Have only played Kirby but makes me wish I could play some of the others.  Particularly Heist.

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 10:25:51


Wed, 06 Jan 2016 11:01:15

Archie and Edge need to get Splatoon.

You don't know what you are missing. You'd love it.

I'm not an online shooter fan and I love it. Robio is not a shooter fan, he loves it.

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