With only a few hours left in 2015, let’s finish up the last countdown and crown my personal game of the year, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise, but let’s go through the games I played this year. Mind you, I usually play Nintendo consoles.
Starting in January, the first game of the year was Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. I really liked the Captain Toad mini puzzles in Mario 3D World, so I was looking forward to this game. I wasn’t super hyped, because Captain Toad was just going to be a collection of small puzzles. What I eventually got was much better than that, though. Sure, it was a collection of puzzle-levels, but with so much diversity and Nintendo’s well known love for detail, they delivered a highly polished super cute and fun game.
In February came Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS and there’s really not that much to say about it, besides: it’s Monster Hunter, of course it’s awesome! It’s one big boss battle after the other. It’s super satisfying and you can pump hundreds of hours into this game. While I’m not a super big fan of the franchise, I still spent quite a few hours with this game.
Also in February on the same day as Monster Hunter, came Majora’s Mask 3D. Another game I don’t need to talk about much: it’s Majora’s Mask, of course it’s awesome! It’s basically the same deal as it was with Ocarina of Time, the game looks better and the second screen adds a lot to the experience. As I called OoT 3D the definite version of OoT, the same goes for MM 3D.
That’s what I call a good start into the year, but in April, we’re continuing with Splatoon for Wii U. Nintendo’s brand new squitastic multiplayer online shooter proved to be a huge hit. While the inital reactions were mixed about this colorful, cartoonish turf-war shooter that only came with minimal gameplay at launch and added more free content to this day, turned out to be massively fun. When you think about it: it’s made by Nintendo, of course it’s going to be fun, but a lot of people doubted Nintendo can pull off an online multiplayer shooter – and rightly so. However, not only did they pull it off, they delivered the one shooter this year, that challenged genre standarts and created a new look on shooters as a whole.
In June follows Yoshi’s Woolly World. After Yoshi’s New Island I was a bit concerned if they can actually still make good Yoshi platformers, as the afromentioned game was nothing but dull. Rest assured, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a great game. It doesn’t challenge the greatness of Yoshi’s Island, but it’s a very solid platformer with lot’s of collectables and diverse levels to explore. The highlight of the game are the woolly graphics, though. It looks super cute with great attention to detail and I love unlocking new skins by collecting yarn in the levels. I admit this game does not come close to the picture perfect Mario 3D World, the crazy fun that is Rayman Legends, or the masterful challenge in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. It is, however, a very solid and cute platformer certainly worth a try for everyone who likes the genre.
The year goes on and September came with the long awaited Mario level creation kit called Super Mario Maker. It’s very intuitive and easy to get used to. After a few updates added much needed checkpoints and some additional items, this game only got better. It’s amazing to see what brilliant levels some of the fans have created, but unfortunately for every good level, there’s at least 10 bad ones. This was to be expected, so it’s not really fair to critizise the game for it. Not everyone is a platform designer and not everyone needs to be. The game delivers what it promises: an easy to use kit for 2D jump and run levels.
As for my last game this year came Xenoblade Chronicles X in December. I waited so long for this game, I even got myself the limited edition even though I’m supposed to keep by money together right now. I loved Xenoblade Chronicles and a spiritual successor made by the same developers sounds just too good to be true. XCX turned out to be very
different from XC and even though the story is lacking a bit, the game makes up for it in other departments. This is the one game this year, I would say, gave me a feeling of “epic”. She sheer fact this huge and beautiful game exists on the underpowered Wii U and runs as good as it does even without the enhancement packs, is an achievement of epic proportions in itself. The world of Mira is simply breathtaking, every time I look around myself I’m impressed by my surroundings and every time I walk into a new continent I’m stuck in awe. However, pretty surroundings don’t make a good game, so what else do we have? An admittedly complicated and deep combat system that works extreamly well once you have it down. It’s not always easy and it may take a while to get used to it, but it’s so worth it. The combat system in XCX is brilliant. And after about 30 hours you’re allowed to pilot your own mecha, which completely changes your view on the world you’re living in. Just don’t expect the game to hold your hand, because it doesn’t. It explains the bare minimum and expects you to figure out the rest yourself.
Which games will be my game of 2015? Judging by the lenght of the post, XCX has to be it, but I was actually a bit torn between Splatoon and XCX. Splatoon was a huge surprise hit for me and ended up challenging what we understand as a shooter. Not only is it a fun game for the player, it’s also a game that pushes the entire genre forward. In an industry where taking the safe route is a very common practice, having games that purposely go against these industry standarts is even more so important.
Unfortunately for Splatoon however, this is my GOTY 2015 and not the intdustry’s, so I have to go with the game I simply enjoyed the most and that was XCX. I was easily able to play though 50+ hours while spending every second of free time I had on this game during the first two weeks I had it. I’m still not fed up with this game and I totally see myself comming back – I still need to finish the stroy after all and swear I will finish it. I expected the game to be good and it absolutely delivered. It was different from what I expected, but hit all the right spots.