2016 Game of the Year: Day 2

Welcome to my three day 2016 Game of the Year extravaganza. Over the next three days I will be looking back on the games that shaped last year culminating in my top 10 games of 2016.

We’re a little over a week into 2017 so now is the perfect time to look back on 2016. Overall last year was a fantastic year for games. Everything from small indie projects to the big budget blockbusters had a strong year. I played a lot of great games (and missed several more) this year so to make sure they all get their due I’ll be handing out some special awards leading up to the final top 10.

Most Disappointing Game

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS

The original Super Mario Maker is a special game. Its creation tools were simple and intuitive but provided a level of depth for those that wanted to explore the mechanics of every object. The definitive feature however was the ability to share and upload courses online. The true joy of Super Mario Maker is knowing that people are playing and enjoying your courses. Reading comments left by different people around the world and seeing how they enjoyed what I made was my favorite part of the game. It seemed like a slam dunk to take that entire experience and make it portable.

The 3DS version of the game retains the core of the level creation tools but omits most of the online functionality. You can only play a random assortment of courses with no search functionality; playing a level from your favorite creator is next to impossible. The biggest blow to the game is the inability to upload levels online. Levels can only be shared locally or through the Street Pass feature. Beyond taking a fantastic game and cutting its most important feature it also casts doubt on Nintendo as a company. Their entire identity has been to zig when others zag but this makes me wonder if they even know what makes their company and games special anymore.

Runner up: No Man’s Sky

Biggest Surprise

Overcooked

Over the last few years the local multiplayer scene has exploded. With the ease of controller support on PC and the willingness of console makers to sell indie games a genre once thought dead in the wake of online play has seen a resurgence. This has also led to a bit of an oversaturation. Oftentimes I end up playing a game once or twice before moving on. With so many similar games coming out it’s hard for these games to have staying power.

Overcooked seemed like it would be the same. It wasn’t a particularly new premise, there are plenty of cooking games, but after playing it was clear the developers struck gold with the gameplay. More surprising was that the friends I played with, in a rare move, instantly bought the game for themselves. Maybe it’s because the game is cooperative unlike most other local multiplayer games but Overcooked has taken its place as a regular part of the rotation on game night.

Runners up: Doom, Picross 3D: Round 2

Game I Wish I Played More

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Persona 3 and Persona 4 are two of my favorite Japanese role-playing games ever made. I love the way they look at Japanese culture and their mix of supernatural RPG and social simulator gives the game some variety compared to your standard dungeon crawler. Tokyo Mirage Sessions, although technically not a Persona game has that same vibe. The game trades Japanese high schools for the world of J-pop and pop idols but keeps the charm of the other games. Unfortunately, while the style seems right up my alley I didn’t get to spend enough time with the game to properly rate it. With a little more time, it may have taken a spot in my top 10. Instead I just look forward to playing it in 2017.

Runners up: The Last Guardian, Watch Dogs 2