2018 Community Game of the Year

ClockworkHouse wrote:

1. Tacoma
3. What Remains of Edith Finch
4. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
5. The Alliance Alive
6. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country
7. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
8. Little Nightmares Complete Edition
9. Silence
10. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

This is my list (and it hasn't changed, Eleima ) but it doesn't really capture what my year in gaming really looked like. I had three big trends this year in what I played and what I enjoyed: lots of short games; lots of long games; and finally killing some white whales.

My top three games have a lot in common. They're lyrical, artistic, and thought-provoking; they're also short and straight-forward. You could play any of them in a single extended sitting, not much longer than a movie and probably shorter than a good television binge. Of the forty games I finished this year, more than a dozen were ones that I could have finished in a typical gameplay session or two.

It was so nice to play through something, beginning to end, in such a short amount of time. I saw some great stories and some amazing worlds, and I saw so many more than I would have if I'd have put a dozen hours into each game.

And on the flip side of that, I played a lot of long games. I played a bunch of RPGs, especially JRPGs, that were 40 or 50 or 80 plus hours long. I played through three Fire Emblem games, three Xenoblade games, and two Dragon Quests. I played through Fallout 4 and Final Fantasy XII. Of the forty games I finished, more than a dozen were ones that it took me multiple months to get through, some of them taking up most of the year.

(It's funny how those average-length games, from about 8 to 20 hours long, have largely completely disappeared from my list of games played.)

I've never been able to finish long games before, at least not since I was in high school. I find it difficult as an adult to stay in one game for the length of time it takes to finish some of these off, so historically I had a tendency to wander away from games after fifteen hours or so, never to return. But this year, I tried something different: I alternated between shorter play sessions of a half dozen or more long games simultaneously, and amazingly, it worked. As soon as I'd get restless in one game, I'd put time into another, and so across many weeks and months, I accumulated hundreds of hours in long games, two or three hours at a time.

Which brings me around to what isn't on my GOTY list: my white whales. By definition, none of these games were new to me, so they were never eligible for a game of the year list. Some of them I've tried to play a half dozen times before without success. But this year, I finished them, or else am nearly finished with them: Xenoblade Chronicles, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Etrian Odyssey Untold, Fire Emblem Awakening. All of them started over fresh, and all of them finished for the first time.

None of them can appear on my list, and that's fine. None of them would have beaten out my top three, anyway. But when I look back on 2018, more than anything else, I'll remember my year in gaming for those monster games that I finally put to bed.

I've had a great year, and I'm looking forward to next.

GOTY 2018 Top Ten

1. Darkest Dungeon
2. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
3. Slay the Spire
4. Into the Breach
5. Opus Magnum
6. Oxygen Not Included
7. Victoria II
8. Fidel Dungeon Rescue
9. Sage Solitaire
10. 868-HACK

1. Darkest Dungeon
The juiciest combination of consequences, persistence, and combat puzzle. Each class is interesting and has their own particular place both tactically and strategically. I was totally consumed.

2. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
The second juiciest combination of consequences, persistence, and combat puzzle. The added faction character types and bosses brought in by the expansion really took this to another level.

3. Slay the Spire
My most played game and the pinnacle of the single player deckbuilder genre. Lots of fun and viable builds until you get to the upper reaches of difficulty. The game that fit my life the best since the birth of my child, which gets it extra points.

4. Into the Breach
Really fun tactical puzzle that is enhanced by its great style and light strategy elements. Only hampered by a fairly flat/disappointing upper difficulty curve.

5. Opus Magnum
Big brain game of the year, inheritor of the Stephen Sausage Roll crown. Got a decent amount in before my brain totally turned to mush, encouraged on by how beautiful each puzzle's finished product looks.

6. Oxygen Not Included
Favorite sim of the year I wish I was better at. The possibilities stretch out endlessly before me, only for me to watch my narcoleptic dupes fall asleep on a ladder and plunge to their death in a carbon monoxide pit.

7. Victoria II
If EUIV hadn't gotten to me first this would be even higher up, it is hard to go back in some ways. The population and goods modeling brings something really interesting to the sim grand strategy space. The time period is fun too: Who wouldn't want to invent the saxophone for some prestige points? Rock me in my cradle!

8. Fidel Dungeon Rescue
Little charmer of the year. Great style and unique take on the sokoban genre. A hidden gem.

9. Sage Solitaire
Best phone game I played all year and best straight up (cards only no additional mechanics) version of solitaire I've ever played. The different variants make you adjust your playing style to score optimally and the running money total/betting in Vegas mode kept the stakes to play well going.

10. 868-HACK
Simple but thoughtful grid based roguelike. Some of the scorechasing is a little tedious/limited, but if you don't try to play for score 100% optimally it is really challenging and varies run to run.

Honorable Mentions, in loose order


Steam World Dig 2 - Cute and charming, the best platformer I played this year. The grind for money/materials/items is much reduced in this iteration and some of the advanced mobility skills really make this a joy to traverse around in.

Picross 3D Round 2 - Relaxation game of the year while I didn't have access to my PC. My wife quickly tired of me spinning around the 3d models of completed items as I beamed to her, but I didn't.

Pinball Arcade - Finally got into it this year after having played some of the previous collections on PS2/PS3. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was my favorite table and I'll be going back to this collection for a long time to come.

Dicey Dungeons - Great "dice builder" roguelike game from Terry Cavanagh. This is still in early access and I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoyed Slay the Spire, or thinks wizard yahtzee would be fun.

Snake Pass - One of my favorite physics platformer games of all time. Got a bit repetitive but the feeling of mind melding your brain into control of a squirming, hooking, coiling snake was a lot of fun.

Donkey Kong ‘94 - I need to pick this one up again to finish it off. Fun puzzle platformer back on Game Boy that predated Mario 64 and weirdly first installed some of the jumping mechanics therein.

Anno 1404 - Still playing this one but this feels about right. I love the logistics/supply chain building aspect of it but the combat is so dreadful that I think I'm stuck in the campaign and even dread to play endless knowing that combat will rear its ugly head sooner or later.

Golf With Your Friends - It's a good time putt putting around with your buds, until one of them intentionally obstructs another and causes a rage quit

Jazzpunk - The rare genuinely funny game. Lots of bits that were absurd and hilarious, lots that were absurd and um maybe didn't land as well. Overall put lots of smiles on my face, though.

Six Match - Brilliant phone puzzle game that subverts some of the 3-match formula in a clever way. A single run takes way too long, however.

Rise of the Tomb Raider - Some aspects were middling (crafting curve was atrocious/meaningless) but the movement in the game was fantastic, plus some wonderful environments as well. A little bit of a letdown compared to the first.

Meteor Fall - Phone deckbuilder that has a great style and is easy to play with one hand. Not very well balanced.

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build - Adorable but fairly one dimensional sokoban.

Anithero - Good boardgame type strategy game with some style as well. Didn't have any desire to play past the campaign, but was good while it lasted.

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows - Didn't enjoy the Plague Knight (was that even his name) mechanics as much as plain Shovel Knight, but it was a good time revisiting the levels a couple years after the fact. Might be Shovel Knighted out.

Poly Bridge - Wish I was better at bridge building, but the success I managed to have in this game made me feel good, anyway.

Reknowned Explorers: International Society - Very interesting and deep roguelike with a mix of strategy (picking routes to explore, specializing in different talents, tech trees, equipment) and tactics (multiple type of damage/attitude party based grid based combat unlike anything I've ever seen). If you think you would like this I really recommend checking it out.

Super House of Dead Ninjas - One of the best arcade style twitch platformers I've played in a while. The ability to read the level/enemies and react quickly is made more fun by the great SNES style.

Clustertruck - An amazing kinetic first person platformer. Gets a little samey but you can change your mobility ability loadouts to keep it fresh.

Refunct - Another really nice first person platformer. Short and sweet.

Dungeon of the Endless - Bizarre hybrid tower defense exploration roguelike. At first I didn't get it and didn't like it, but it grew on me. Can't think of another game I've played with this same mix.

Offworld Trading Company - I enjoy the supply chain aspect of this RTS more than the real time market dynamics. There isn't any combat in this RTS but I still feel overwhelmed and outmatched even in comp stomps. Great concept, though.

Flip Flop Solitaire - Interesting solitaire game by the maker of my #9 game. Cathadan swears this one is better but he's wrong.

Stardew Valley - Relaxing chore game that I would enjoy if I had less pressing life chores. Great style.

Punch Club - Somewhat frustrating chore game with a little bit of strategy. Max out the meters and beat up some pixel dudes.

Q.U.B.E. 2 - Portal-like (well, really more Quantum Conundrum-like) first person puzzler with really cool atmosphere and not a great difficulty curve.

Pumped BMX - Great Tribes-like movement mechanic, okay trick system in this game that is OlliOlli but not quite as good.

Sentinels of the Multiverse - I went from disliking this game immensely in the physical version to enjoying it in the digital implementation.

Owlboy - Loved the style and music, got confused and lost halfway into the game and quit in frustration. Plus the action isn't that good, anyway.

The End is Nigh - Should go back to this Super Meat Boy follow up. It's not as good or as smooth/intuitive, but still extremely responsive.

Overload - Remember the joy of playing Decent (space combat sim).

Alphabear - Word puzzle games aren't my favorite, but this is a cute one.

Cosmic Express - Cute sokoban game with a bit of an uneven difficulty curve and limited mechanics.

Laser League - Wish I could play this one local multiplayer with some folks. Really fun future sport game idea.

Enter the Gungeon - Much inferior to Nuclear Throne. The more I played it, the less I liked it. Still has some fun weapons to play with.

Guild of Dungeoneering - Combat is pretty boring, but this roguelike card game is very competent.

Dice Hunter - Interesting dice puzzler on the phone, but the free to play hooks are a little jarring.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - I wanted to love this game. The load times were infuriating, the difficulty was unrelenting, but...man I killed some guys in clever ways. Ambush!

Kingdom: Classic/New Lands - Great and simple concept for a tower defense/strategy game, but extremely slow to ramp up. If I had a ton of time I'd go back to it.

Kingsway - Windows 95 desktop style dungeon crawler that was more neat than fun.

Worms WMD/Worms Armageddon - Love playing some Worms with the boys, if we can ever get together and actually do it.

Harald - Enjoyable and light concept card game, good interface to play digitally. I'd definitely play in person.

Disappointing, or I didn't play too much of it, or both, in loose order


Civilization VI - Bland

Endless Legend - Everything new it brought to 4x bored me

Blitz Breaker - Very simple arcade style platformer

Warehouse Panic (Warehouse.io) - I wish people played this. Multiplayer weird Tetris/tile laying on the same board

Data Wing - Heated up my phone

Mr. Shifty - Went from loving it to being bored really quickly

STRAFE - It's alright

Superflight - Enjoyable 5 minutes

Destiny 2 - Wish I had the time to play this more. Loot grind not really fitting into my life right now.

SUPERHOT - Fun concept, got tired of it much faster than I thought I would

Train Valley - Mediocre puzzle train logistics game

Fire Emblem: Awakening - I wanted to like this really badly but it got way outshone by other tactics games this year so I gave up early

Wuppo - Funky but not fun

Ridiculous Fishing - Great developers but I didn't enjoy playing it

Reigns - Boring meter balancing game

Sudoku Sweeper - Extremely light phone puzzle game

Pyre - Very disappointed in this. Style is off the charts great but playing it is not fun and the story is not interesting to me.

The Adventure Pals - Run of the mill cartoony platformer

Tumblestone - Boring puzzle game

Tokyo 42 - Interesting concept but playing the game is an exercise in camera management

Batman Arkham City - Couldn't get into it

RUINER - Combat stinks and the game is directionless

Strider - So bland

Wreckfest - If I had a great computer, might have been good eye candy but man was this outclassed by its demo that came out years ago.

La Mulana - Ain't got time for this

Egg, Inc. - Numbers go up, yawn

Mercenary Kings - Metal Slug but Monster Hunter

Serial Cleaner - Bad stealth

Twinkle Star Sprites - Slowdown

Nom Nom Galaxy - Wish you could save. Game doesn't respect your time.

Uurnog - Weird

Hue - Rote

Framed - ZZZ

I’m Ping Pong King - Not good

Shadow Warrior 2 - Offensive and boring

High Hell - Pink and boring

Forts - Slow and boring

Battle Chef Brigade - Why do people like this?

Cursed Castilla - Run of the mill

Nongunz - Interesting but ain't got time for this

Love Balls - Bad phone game

slither.io - Don't even remember this game

Rocket Valley Tycoon - Same

Next Up Hero - Bastion but really really bad

Moon Hunters - I fell asleep

JYDGE - Putrid

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed edition - My eyes glazed over and then I quit

Planetary Anhilation: Titand - Nah

Tales from Candlekeep Tomb of Annihilation - Nah with dice

Metal Slug 3 - Slowwww dowwwwn

Seasons After Fall - Looked nice but extremely boring

Out There Somewhere - FPS problems I couldn’t solve, incredibly tricky platformer

MIND Path to Thalamus E. Edition - Terrible voice acting, puzzles are bad, boring simulator

DmC Devil May Cry - This is puke

Easy List


1: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
2: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
3:Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
4: Mad Max
5: Seven: The Days Long Gone
6: Q.U.B.E 2
7: Raceroom Racing Experience
8: Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
9: A Hat in Time
10: Pocket City

1: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

If anyone knows of another game that mixes stealth and turn based combat the way this one does let me know. The hook of this game just got me and would not let go. I finished it about a week and I am eagerly anticipating their DLC.

2: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

This game is hard and unforgiving but figuring out each levels puzzle feels so good. Using the characters together to take out enemies in unfamiliar and hilarious ways never gets old.

3: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

I don't know how they did it but somehow The Chinese Room turned Audiolog: The Game into one of the most compelling stories I have ever seen. If any developer decides to use audiologs in their game, take notes from this one.

4: Mad Max

This games loop is very repetitive, but I think that's what kept me going. I could look at the map and at each area and see what I had to do and I could just go do it.

This game also had one of my frustrating moments of the year too. I was going for the platinum trophy and got all but one. I checked the last trophy and it was essentially another in game trophy list. There was ~200 things that I needed to do to get that last trophy. Dev's DO NOT DO THIS!

5: Seven: The Days Long Gone

I love ARPG's and I love stealth games. This is a great mix of the two. This game is hard and you will die a lot, but when you figure out the mechanics and how to stack your abilities it is really cool.

Someone is giving a key to this away. Go get it.

6: Q.U.B.E 2

The best Portal style puzzle game since Portal 2.

7: Raceroom Racing Experience

The Racing Dorks voted to play this game this year and it was a great choice. The best sim racing game I have played.

8: Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

If you like to see huge battles with thousands of friendly and enemy units on screen, this is the game for you.
It is very easy to get lost in this one because there is so much going on.

9: A Hat in Time

I'm not a platformer fan. I don't even really like the recent Mario's but this game is great. If you enjoy platforming even a little, check out this game.

10: Pocket City

This is the perfect amount of city building I want on a mobile device. It's not to complex, but not mindless either.

EverythingsTentative wrote:

1: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
2: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
3:Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
4: Mad Max
5: Seven: The Days Long Gone

I have a sudden desire to play all of these.

RnRClown wrote:
EverythingsTentative wrote:

1: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
2: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
3:Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
4: Mad Max
5: Seven: The Days Long Gone

I have a sudden desire to play all of these. :-D

I've already made a couple purchases based on other peoples list. This is not a good place to be if you want to avoid sudden purchase anxiety.

carrotpanic wrote:

GOTY 2018 Top Ten

8. Fidel Dungeon Rescue
Little charmer of the year. Great style and unique take on the sokoban genre. A hidden gem.

I have this on my phone, and have tried it out a few times, but feel like I'm missing something. I'll be breezing along and then suddenly hit a level that's impossible and have to start over. I played enough to recognise the different monster types and how to approach them, but it feels like there's nothing I can do to prepare for the tougher levels.

Is that just the way it is? I know there's some chance involved as the levels are procedural but I have this nagging feeling I was doing it wrong.

Great list BTW!

Thanks! You need to maximize your score earlier on so that you get enough hearts in order to score higher to get more hearts. It's a curve you don't want to fall behind. There may be scoring techniques you're not using, as well.

OK thanks, I was trying to harvest as much xp as possible from each level, but probably I just need more practice.

C-Money Panic with the hands down best GOTY list he's ever produced.

Everyone should play his top three.

EverythingsTentative wrote:

I've already made a couple purchases based on other peoples list. This is not a good place to be if you want to avoid sudden purchase anxiety.

Most definitely. I always end up adding a bunch of games to my wishlist as I tally the lists.
Speaking of, I've added your votes to the data, carrotpanic and EverythingsTentative, thanks a bunch.
It amazes me that I haven't played a single one of the current top ten games. Well. Things might change, I suppose.

Eleima wrote:
EverythingsTentative wrote:

I've already made a couple purchases based on other peoples list. This is not a good place to be if you want to avoid sudden purchase anxiety.

Most definitely. I always end up adding a bunch of games to my wishlist as I tally the lists.

My wishlist always grows because of this thread.

But I’ve had a good year. I’ve managed to oaky every game I bought this year. Still have some from previous year... but, hey, it’s still progress, right?

Probably get my picks for game of the year up later this week. Still fretting over the bottom half of the list. This also happens every year, no matter how often I remind myself that it’s my list and my opinion, there’s no wrong answers.

I decided anything I play from here on out will probably go on 2019's list, so here we go! The biggest surprise for me was that I finally embraced early access, and 3 of my 10 are still in their alpha/beta state, and yet easily good enough to crack my list. I've had a great year, spent way too much money on games, but if I hadn't I may not have discovered some of these beauts.

1. Subnautica
My first stab at the survival genre and this one has made me thirsty for more. Problem is, I may have already played the pinnacle. Subnautica is a beautiful exploration game, a sweat inducing horror game, a gentle building game and it tells an emotional story. So many threads for the player to pull at and yet it’s all balanced so finely. It was hard to pull myself away once I’d completed the story, but I felt like my characters tale was wrapped up so perfectly.

2. Beat Saber
It’s saying something about this games popularity in my house when the £350 Oculus Rift is simply called ‘The Lightsaber Machine’. I’m fairly sure this game is what actual Jedi use to teach laser deflection. I reckon I burn 50-100 calories in one playthrough of ‘We Built This City’, so I get to call this exercise too. The perfect VR game.

3. Darkest Dungeon
My favourite tactics game. A grim setting with perfect ironman mechanics to match. No save scumming here, you lose then it’s next man (or woman)(or half human, half monstrosity) up. It’s also got some of the most deliciously dark narration I’ve ever heard in a game.

4. Slay the Spire
A very well tuned rogue-like / deck builder mash up that forces difficult decisions on the player time after time after time. Contrary to the popular view I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetic and yet I just can’t stop.

5. Super Mega Baseball 2
Does for baseball what Madden ’93 did for the NFL in my teens. Teach me the rules. As a brit with no prior experience of the sport, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The sliding difficulty setting from 1-99 ensured I always got close games of baseball versus the AI, and there were a few weeks in early summer where it’s all my brother and I played online.

6. Hearts of Iron IV
I’ve fallen out with Paradox a bit in recent years, because I find their DLC model to be a bit OTT. But the base game in Hearts of Iron IV is very solid…. for the nations that are included, which in my opinion is too few. I had a fantastic, utterly absorbing campaign with Italy for 30+ hours and intend to try out France or Germany before calling it a day.

7. Oxygen Not Included
An early access game colony management sim with bags of potential. At the moment, the only way to understand some of the very deep systems is by watching youtube, and yet it’s clearly another masterful design by Klei. It can only get better with more guidance and polish. I love the art style too.

8. Oxenfree
The highlight of my Origin Access year long subscription wasn’t Mass Effect Andromeda or Titanfall 2. It wasn’t a big budget shooter like Battlefield 1 or Star Wars Battlefront. It was this c.4 hour adventure game with a really fun story and well voiced teen characters who somehow didn’t annoy the crap out of me.

9. Madden NFL 19
If you bring my favourite big money sports franchise back to PC for the first time in over a decade then you automatically get a place on my GOTY list. I still love Madden warts and all.

10. Surviving Mars
I had a bit of a love hate relationship with this game. I wanted it to be cool, and it certainly looked cool, but then they implemented some real head scratcher design decisions that made it hard for me to battle through a campaign. To be fair to the developers they really did listen to the feedback, they went back and fixed a lot of it for free. It could have been so much more but what we got was a nice logistics management sim with a very pleasing aesthetic.

Biggest Disappointments / More games and stuff


I just couldn't get to grips with Monster Hunter: World. The no clipping combat just threw me for a loop and controlling those menus was just tedious work for me. Running it close was Total War: Thrones of Britannia which was the worst Total War game in several years. Also, they've massively slowed development on my favourite Blizzard game Heroes of the Storm, so that was a sad end to the year for me
Also played-
Opus Magnum
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Vermintide 2
Titanfall 2
Farming Simulator 19
Civilization VI
Elite: Dangerous (only just started, may be on 2019 list)
Pinball FX 2 VR
The Forest
7 Days to Die
Battlefield 1 Star Wars Battlefront 2
Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4

Just the list ma'am
1. Subnautica
2. Beat Saber
3. Darkest Dungeon
4. Slay the Spire
5. Super Mega Baseball 2
6. Hearts of Iron IV
7. Oxygen Not Included
8. Oxenfree
9. Madden NFL 19
10. Surviving Mars

Nice list! I'll have to get to Subnautica (for free on Epic Launcher) soon, and Surviving Mars sometime in the future (get in line behind all the other Paradox games I own and haven't played or played enough).

carrotpanic wrote:

Nice list! I'll have to get to Subnautica (for free on Epic Launcher) soon,

It's free right now if I'm not mistaken!

Yes free now; soon I must play.

carrotpanic wrote:

Yes free now; soon I must play.

Sorry. English is hard.

EverythingsTentative wrote:

4: Mad Max
This games loop is very repetitive, but I think that's what kept me going. I could look at the map and at each area and see what I had to do and I could just go do it.

This game also had one of my frustrating moments of the year too. I was going for the platinum trophy and got all but one. I checked the last trophy and it was essentially another in game trophy list. There was ~200 things that I needed to do to get that last trophy. Dev's DO NOT DO THIS!

Yea I ran into a similar issue and had to replay this game like a year later to get the final achievement "Up to the Task". Mine was the one for completing the challenges and I had a challenge left that was basically impossible to do in the post credits end game.

Rykin wrote:
EverythingsTentative wrote:

4: Mad Max
This games loop is very repetitive, but I think that's what kept me going. I could look at the map and at each area and see what I had to do and I could just go do it.

This game also had one of my frustrating moments of the year too. I was going for the platinum trophy and got all but one. I checked the last trophy and it was essentially another in game trophy list. There was ~200 things that I needed to do to get that last trophy. Dev's DO NOT DO THIS!

Yea I ran into a similar issue and had to replay this game like a year later to get the final achievement "Up to the Task". Mine was the one for completing the challenges and I had a challenge left that was basically impossible to do in the post credits end game.

Yeah, same thing. There was no way to complete that list after wiping out everything on the map. By the time I collected every piece of loot in the game and completed every race multiple times I was ready for it to be over. Once I saw the final checklist, I checked out.

A part of me is hesitant to make a list this year because my gaming has been atypical due to being in France since June without my gaming PC. There are so many games I purchased but can't play on the laptop we have here. Any one of these have the potential to crack the top ten: Kingdom Come: Deliverance, The Bard's Tale IV, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, Frostpunk, BATTLETECH. These maybe had an outside shot: Sniper Elite 4 Deluxe Edition, Seven: The Days Long Gone. I guess all of these will have to settle for next year's list.

For the games I actually have played for the first time in 2018...

1)Slay the Spire
2) Into the Breach
3) Northgard
4) Steamworld Dig 2
5) Assassin's Creed Origins
6) Hollow Knight
7)Railway Empire
8) Warhammer: Gladius Relics of War
9) Zelda Breath of the Wild
10) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

1) Slay the Spire: I'm over 300 hours in this one. I love the randomized nature of it and trying to adapt to the cards and relics that are available. The ascension levels are a great addition - a way to slowly bump up the difficulty by adding interesting modifiers to the game. I wouldn't have nearly the hours I do in it if it wasn't for the ascension levels. While I prefer the regular ascension runs, the daily challenges can really turn the game on its head which can be fun for a change.

2) Into the Breach: Such good bite-sized tactical battles with good faction variety. A unique twist is the game displays what the enemies are going to do on their next turn - which eliminates the guesswork and maximizes the tactical options. Also, Slay the Spire actually displays enemy intents too, so maybe it is a sign that this is a good game design decision.

3) Northgard: A RTS for someone who doesn't like the frantic clicking of traditional RTSs. The campaign did a great job highlighting the play styles of the different factions. I have only spent a little time playing skirmishes vs the AI, but the campaign was a lot of fun.

4) Steamworld Dig 2: Part platformer, part miner and quite a bit of charm. This sequel tweaks and improves the formula of the first and also adds some highly challenging areas.

5) Assassin's Creed Origins: The gameplay of AC games always wears out its welcome long before I finish the game, but the beautiful world to explore and interesting protagonist made it worth sticking with.

6) Hollow Knight: I have a love hate relationship with this. The gameplay itself is good, but it does start off slow. Needing to find the map to be able to navigate each area reliably is both rewarding and frustrating. Mastering the moves needed to beat the bosses can be aggravating but also provide great highs. Unlike most I'm not crazy about the art style - I much prefer the colorfulness of something like Ori and the Blind Forest. Still, Hollow Knight has something that keeps calling me back after I step away - I'm still working on finishing it but it can be exhausting.

7) Railway Empire: Something satisfying about picking up resources and bringing them where they are demanded. Laying track and organizing train lines is rewarding. The game isn't without it's flaws. Sometimes planning which trains enter a station on which track can be fiddly. The AI opponents can be pretty annoying with their banter.

8) Warhammer: Gladius Relics of War : A 4X focused on war - there is no peace, but it does war pretty well. The AI handles it wayyyy better than Civ. Gladius doesn't have the breadth of a more traditional 4X, but it does what it does well.

9) Zelda Breath of the Wild: I'm definitely not as high on this one as most people. I'm not even that far into it. What it does better than other games of its type is letting the player explore. This isn't a game about following an UBI icon to the next point of interest. The combat isn't that great, but the puzzle dungeons are pretty fun. I probably only have a dozen hours in it, but I plan on returning.

10) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: The battles are quite fun, but the game would probably rank a little higher if I didn't have to run around collecting coins. Just teleport me from one battle to the next!

Runners Up
11) Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire: If this were turn based it probably would be higher. I've learned I'm pretty tired of real time with pause for my RPGs. This improves upon Pillars 1 in many ways with some mechanic tweaks. The writing is less flowery in general with is a plus. I still like the non combat usage of skills to determine the outcomes of dialog and events. At release the combat wasn't balanced very well which made much of the combat trivial on veteran difficulty.

12) Pathfinder Kingmaker: Much of what I said about PoE 2 applies here. I prefer the DnD system, and the setting of establishing a kingdom better than PoE 2. The 'kingdom ruling' part is so much better in theory than in practice. It is so flimsy, but it does add some flavor. Bugs also drag the game down.

13) Super Mario Odyssey: The platforming and exploring levels is pretty fun. The worlds are colorful and different. The controls don't feel as good as in other platformers to me. I find the 'story' and cast of characters annoying. Mario twirling up in the air when he's happy to find something grates on me. But, the gameplay itself is good.

Other recommended games, release date in ()...
For the King (2018)
Two Point Hospital (2018)
OOTP 19 (2018)
Armello (2015)
Sentinels of the Multiverse (2014)
Splendor (2015)
The Surge (2017)
Ascension (2014)
Battle Brothers (2017)
Tales From the Borderlands (2017)

Not bad, but skippable, release date in ()...


Surviving Mars (2018)
Kingdoms and Castles (2017)
Aven Colony (2017)
Oxygen Not Included (Early Access)
Agents of Mayhem (2017)
The Long Dark (2017)
Crimsonland (2014)
Dominions 5(2017)
Hexologic (2018)
Lords of Waterdeep (2017)
Tachyon Project (2015)

It should have been a pass for me..., release date in ()...


Shadowhand (2017)
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 (2017)
Glass Masquerade (2016)
80 Days (2015)
Tooth and Tail (2017)

I love the idea of Slay the Spire I just don't see myself playing a card game on a TV very much. Is there any reason it couldn't be done on phones/what's the likelihood that it shows up on phones?

EverythingsTentative wrote:

I love the idea of Slay the Spire I just don't see myself playing a card game on a TV very much. Is there any reason it couldn't be done on phones/what's the likelihood that it shows up on phones?

It's been asked in the Slay the Spire thread too. I don't see any reason why it won't be on phones eventually, but it's an early access steam game and is keeping a small team busy working on it full time just to get it to 1.0 on that platform.

Edit: I say small team, I think it's just two guys??

It's coming out on Switch in 2019. That's effectively a smart phone.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

It's coming out on Switch in 2019. That's effectively a smart phone.

I love my switch but it does not fit in my jeans pocket sadly. So I have to disagree.

Take the Joycons off!

And then, yeah, it still doesn't fit in your pocket. It's a pretty disappointing handheld in that regard.

This thread has made me realize that I buy too many games and then don't play them...

Personal favorites this year:

1. God of War (PS4) - Without a doubt this is the game that sucked me in the most this year. When I wasn't playing it, I was thinking about it. When I finished it, I wanted to go through and get the things that I'd missed. It's a pretty long game and still I was sad that it was over.
2. Assassin's Creed Origins (XB1) - I finally got around to playing this around the start of the year and completely enjoyed it. There aren't a lot of games that really make me feel a sense of a living, breathing world, but this game did it for me.
3. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (PSVR) - Of all the games I played this year, this game had me grinning the most. The game just oozes charm and I was smiling the whole time I played it. If you have the means, get it. It's a ton of fun.
4. A Way Out (XB1) - Not the greatest game, but a great coop experience and I had a lot of fun playing through it with one of my best friends. That shared experience is what makes it rate so high for me.
5. Akham Knight (XB1) - I don't know why I hadn't played this game yet, but I finally got around to it this year. I really enjoyed the performances in this game and the gameplay was a lot of fun. I can see the argument that the first two were better, but I think waiting so long on playing this one made me appreciate it more.
6. Ghost Recon: Wildlands (XB1) - Again this is a game that is elevated by the experience of playing it with friends. I consistently had a group of friends to play with and we had a blast just screwing around in the world. I loved it.
7. Doom (XB1) - I love a good FPS game and this game is the distilled essence of what they can be. Fast, violent, and over the top fun.
8. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (XB1) - Another game I waited a long time to play but loved it when I got around to it. I enjoy a good open world game and this one has that along with some unique touches. The Nemesis system was great and I'm looking forward to eventually playing the sequel to see what it adds.
9. Far Cry 5 (XB1) - It's a Far Cry game and I love them... I don't have much else to say because I can appreciate all the issues people had with it. I still can't wait for the next one.
10. Below (XB1) - It may be a bit early to put this on here.... but I'm pretty sure this is going to end up being higher on my list before all is said and done. This game just came out of nowhere for me but already I love it. It's mysterious, beautiful, challenging, and I can't stop thinking about it.

Honorable Mention:
1. Red Dead Redemption 2 (XB1) - This game is an amazing feat and I'm blown away by it. I also agree with a lot of the criticism saying it just isn't that fun. I'm consistently impressed by the level of detail in the world, but the game play isn't all that compelling to me. The story is interesting, the graphics are fantastic, the controls are fine (once you get used to them), but I just don't find myself that interested in playing more. Maybe it's just too slow for me?

I haven't played a lot of games this year (well, comparatively speaking!) so I'll just mention what I have played an what I feel is worth rating. The short list is:

1. Mutant Year Zero: The Road to Eden
2. Battletech
3. Invisible Inc.
4. Civ 6: Rise and Fall
5. Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire
6. Surviving Mars

So short(ish) review for each game:


1. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

A quite unexpected little gem of a game that seemingly came out of nowhere to totally win me over. To be sure it's probably in my favourite game genre (turn based strategy, as my list probably makes clear!) but it is set in such a clear, well define world - post apocalyptic sure, but a land of verdant green forests reclaiming the edifices of humanity rather than the permanently scorched brown wasteland of, say, fallout - and with it's central mutant characters has charm, wit and intelligence in such abundance there some very big game studios and franchises that should be chewing their own arms off because they can't make characters as engaging as these.

Gameplay wise it takes XCOMs tactical battle system (almost mechanic by mechanic) and turns the experience into a TBS battle puzzle to be solve. It sure doesn't pull it punches - mess up even slightly and you will die - but it is also the games Achilles heel. Once you have figured out the solutions to each map replayability reduces exponentially. However for a 20 hour experience, any XCOM aficionado really deserves to buy and play this game. Loved every second of it.

2. Battletech,

Takes turn based tactical battles in a different direct to XCOM's standard and turns each encounter into a deadly war of attrition where giant robots smack the seven bells out of each other and hope to be the last one standing. It's an engaging, brutal and deeply tactical experience that makes full use of maps, topography and weapon systems to make for a compelling experience. It presents it's story well and makes full use of Battletech's Lore and stories (which it fills out by allowing little pop out text for highlighted words as you play - expect to see this copied everywhere in the coming months) to flesh it all out.

To be sure it suffers from some questionable game mechanics (the reinforcement system is completely broken still) and design choices (flying from planet to planet can take real time minutes from your life, for appreciable benefit) but if you have the patience, it's more than worth it.

3. Invisible Inc.

Bought for me as a steam sale present last Christmas I didn't really start this until the end of the summer. It's a tense, fraught experience of stealth and desperation as you sneak into the offices and lairs of your enemy, and attempt not to be caught. It all fits together so well, again doing something completely different in the TBS space that it probably deserves more attention than it got from the average gamer.

4. Civ 6: Rise and Fall.

It's taken me a long time to get into Civ 6 - I'm not really sure why, all the new mechanics worked well in the game and were welcome additions in may ways - districts bringing much more meaning to the maps for example. However Rise and Fall seems to have fixed that for me and this is now my go to Civ, so much so that Civ V has now been removed from my hard drive. The AI still can't really cope with 1UpT, nor can it handle even basic diplomacy - they all hate you if you even so much as sneeze in the direction of someone who's already invaded you, but despite all of that, it's one more turn ahoy when I fire it up.

5. Pillar of Eternity: Deadfire.

Mechanically this game is such an improvement on PoE 1 - battles are clearer, abilities better defined, the map and exploration handled so much better - that it's kinda hard to explain why I found it to be so disappointing by the end. To be sure the story wasn't any where near as good as PoE - especially the White March expansion - but in presenting such an array of factions, loyalties and demands somewhere Obsidian lost of the soul of the series. There are many companies out there that couldn't make a game this good in their dreams, but for Obsidian this was something of a misstep.

6. Surviving Mars.

If we were rating games of their soundtracks alone, this game and it's radio stations would have come out of nowhere to leave some very big players left with egg all over their faces. They are uniformly superb and the best thing in the game. Game play wise this is a very solid city/colony builder, with a meaningful and sensible survival mechanic laid over the top. It has a lovely aesthetic to it and it looks lovely as your little outpost of technological salvation slowly spreads over the red dust of Mars, all the little drones and fliers speeding around to keep the food distributed, water and oxygen flowing and get all those precious minerals shipped back to earth to pay for it all. It's a long way from perfect and entirely creates it's own frustrations - sometimes no matter how many times you tell Botanist Mark Watney to stop being shop assistant he just won't change his mind - but overall, once you realise they don't really matter that much in the long run. Well, by mid game anyway. this has rapidly become my go to relaxation game and a lot of work has been done by the studio since launch. It's a much better game now than it was at launch.

Honourable mentions:

Jade Empire: Played as part of the CRPG club elected games, this is/was biowares first attempt to start making their games more like Mass Effect and less like Baldur's Gate. It has more than a few missteps, but over all stands up quite well. One for those looking for a lesson in gaming history now though.

Destiny 2: Picked up the free PC client as part of Blizzard's efforts to get more people playing. It's a solid competent online shooter that would prefer you to play with your friends and like to grind and grind and grind when you get to the end game. It has some gorgeous environments, some terrific gun play in combat and when it's really playing to it's strengths it's superb. However it also doesn't really let you find that until the late stages of your character arc and gates far too much of it behind random loot drops. I never felt compelled to pay out for the forsaken expansion and in the end found the experience to be just a little too hollow for my tastes. I can see why so many people love it, but it's just not for me.

I also put in another campaign of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen and won a Legendary campaign. it's still the best game I've played this year but voting for it again feels a bit daft, so I'll leave it here. Haven't checked out the free new stuff yet though - probably just as well!

Always love to see Invisible Inc. respect

Your review of Mutant Year Zero is spot on, especially the bit about the charm of the characters.

Spoilered to be safe, but I don't think it's a spoiler.


The indignation they have aimed at, essentially us, comes off so genuine and make so much sense. We destroyed their world and took for granted so many luxuries that they can't even understand.

I remember coming across a fridge and I think Dux said something like, "I believe these things were used to keep things cold, but that makes no sense because it is always cold up here".

I laughed out loud, while at the same time realizing how wasteful that is and how someone that doesn't really understand would be really confused by things like that.

I also just started BATTLETECH and am getting my butt kicked. I need to seek out the BATTLETECH thread for some pointers.

Sorbicol wrote:

I haven't played a lot of games this year (well, comparatively speaking!) so I'll just mention what I have played an what I feel is worth rating.

Sweet list!

Here is my list for the year.

Spots #1 and #2 are basically a tie. I only listed Slay the Spire first because I put more hours in it. Both of these games are ones I'd put in an all-time favorites list.

#1 Slay the Spire - If this game was on my phone my productivity at work would crater. Thankfully it is only on my PC for the time being. I love deckbuilder card games, and since you aren't playing a real opponent this one allows you to build decks which are completely, beautifully broken. In fact in order to win at the higher levels you need to break the game, create infinite decks, stack effects on top of effect, etc. It is hard to explain without playing it, but the sense of discovery you feel from finding and exploiting weird combos of cards and relics is just a joy. Also there are 3 different character classes you can play with unique sets of cards and playstyles. So there is a ton to discover. I play a round of this almost every day.

#2 Subnautica - I am not a huge fan of survival games, but Subnautica really grabbed me. I have found more joy in exploring this game than almost any other. The power progression you feel in this game is really amazing. You start off with no equipment and barely able to hold your breath for 30 seconds to and by the end of the game you're exploring thousands of feet below the sea in your own submersibles with bases scattered all over the map. By the end you feel a real mastery over your environment and even the leviathans aren't going to cause you too much trouble. I love that the world is actually designed and not randomly generated. The environments are beautiful and alien. The game doesn't hold your hand when it comes to storytelling. You have to discover it for yourself, and if you're not sure what to do, just go deeper. I wish I could play it again without knowing anything.

#3 Witcher 3 - I know I am very late to this party. So I'll just say that this is one of the GOAT RPGs in my opinion. I played through all of the main campaign and the DLC, and I loved every minute of it.

#4 Into the Breach - This is definitely one of the most satisfying puzzle games out there. I loved being able to unlock all the mech sets and exploring the different playstlyes available. I actually played a game of this tonight before writing this, and it still holds up. I do wish there was more content for it though.

#5 Tabletop Simulator - Does this count as a game? I've put a lot of gaming hours into it this year. A group of Overwatch regulars started playing a board games online and then we decided to start some D&D campaigns using Tabletop Simulator as well. This is definitely the closest approximation to playing tabletop games you can get on your computer. I highly recommend it.

#6 Battlefield V - I kind of bounced off of BF1, but this game definitely feels closer to BF4, my favorite of the series. No other game really captures the epic feel of a war like the Battlefield series. I am looking forward to what DICE has in store for the rest of this game's lifespan.

#7 Far Cry 5 - I like Far Cry games. This was a Far Cry game. Big and beautiful, and full of fun ways to blow stuff up and kill dudes. Co-op was especially great. I wish I could have put more hours in while playing with a friend.

#8 Shadow of the Tomb Raider - I enjoyed the previous two games in this series, and this was a nice capstone to Lara's story. Another big, beautiful AAA game with fun puzzles and decent stealth combat.