The Top 4 Games I've Played In 2015

</img>4. Costume Quest (2010) - The gameplay is nothing new, but what this game has is what all Double Fine games (that I’ve played) have - charm, and character. Some my be surprised to not see Undertale on this list, but while I did play it this year, it was lacking in both charm and character, and the innovations it did have were not enough to make up for its frustrations. Costume Quest is well written, beautifully rendered and short, conveying whatever message it has through humor rather than sentimentality.

</img>3. Her Story (2015) - Now, a murder mystery is not neccessarily the best suited for a chopped up video hunt, since it is all about revelation. In particular, one big revelation. The lack of a structured end point also works against the game, but a solid performance and excellent writing allow this to be a non-linear exploration of character rather than a simple detective story. Though it lacks gameplay obligations, it still had me taking notes and trying to piece things together.

</img>2. Super Hexagon (2012) - What a lovely, lovely game. Though it seems so simple as to be mindless, I think that it is in fact a beautiful exploration of human subjectivity - what it means to be self-conscious. It’s all about self-improvement against a varying challenge, about learning patterns or rather constructing patterns to guide yourself - only to discard them. It’s also about not letting yourself think too much, since that can distract you as the hexagonal walls close in. All around fantastic game.

</img>1. Sunless Sea (2015) - Interestingly for a game with so much writing, I often found the writing to be the weakest part. It seemed to stumble from genuine horror or introspection to a kind of try-hard whimsy that I found far more annoying than charming. Nevertheless, this is my Game Of The Year, so to speak, because the mechanics, visuals, and much of the writing come together to create one of the most interesting worlds and experiences I have seen in a game. Some have complained about the fed-ex quests where it would take five minutes for your ship to get to a single port, or the endless re-reading of text as you repeat story sections in repeated playthroughs. I don’t mind either. Planning a route with multiple stops, where to refuel, what to sell here and how much to carry - this was quite enjoyable in itself. And the repetition of text felt like what the game said it was - I was a descendant of a previous voyager, piecing together bits of lore. Maybe I already heard this story, but I wait to see what else I can learn, this time. A magnificent surprise!

Happy New Year!

Written on December 30, 2015