It’s that time of year again. Let’s look back on 2014 as a year of gaming.
10. Revolution 60, iOS
Revolution 60 is a $5 game that surprised me with how engaging it was. It has a full cast of badass lady characters, a colourful art style, a cool sci-fi story, and a combat system that felt more like a puzzle game. Oh, and it was made almost entirely by women. I couldn’t not mention it, could I?
9. Child of Light, PS4
This game is gorgeous. The art is amazing, the soundtrack is even better. The gameplay is pretty good too, but it sure didn’t carry the experience. Also, the entire game is written in iambic pentameter, with the exception of one character who just refuses to rhyme their sentences, much to the chagrin of everyone else. It’s great. And another lady protagonist!
8. Super Smash Bros., WiiU
Look, I’m a Nintendo baby. SSB is a game full of my favourite characters, it looks great, it’s fun to play, and fuck you those amiibos are adorable.
7. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, PS Vita
Danganronpa probably also wins the prize for stupidest name, but that’s neither here nor there. What matters is that it’s a really dark, fascinating story full of interesting characters and a pretty cool mystery mechanic and a weird as fuck setting. They kind of flub things a bit with their representation of what is essentially a trans character, but I’m the type to give points for trying.
6. Pokémon Omega Ruby
I have a lot of nostalgia for the GBA era of Pokémon, but I also would not want to go back after how great X and Y were. So really, this was basically exactly what I wanted. It’s not really anything groundbreaking, but it’s still really, really good.
5. Framed, iOS
It’s just… it’s really cool. It does an amazing job of storytelling without a single line of dialogue, just comic book panels with silhouettes for characters. It’s got a really cool atmosphere to it, and it’s super clever and different.
4. Monument Valley, iOS
I beat Monument Valley in about an hour, and loved it. Then an expansion came out, and I did the same thing, and loved it even more. It’s such a pretty game, and the puzzles are so interesting and well designed, and also another lady protagonist! I just love everything about it, and it’s absurdly cheap.
3. Bravely Default, 3DS
Also a strong contender in the stupid title category, with its full title being either Bravely Default, Flying Fairy or Bravely Default, Where The Fairy Flies. Or, Bravely Default For The Sequel. Don’t ask. But name aside, it’s one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in a long time. I loved the innovations it made with your ability to adjust the frequency of monster battles, I loved the job system, I liked the cast (mostly) and I really liked the combat system. And the cool twist thing was super cool too.
2. The Last of Us: Left Behind, PS4
I really liked The Last of Us. It was a really strong story with great characters and an alright game behind it. I especially liked the part where you play as Ellie. This year, the DLC came out, not only gave me more of Ellie, it told a really bittersweet story that I found really personally moving, and subverted its own mechanics in a really clever way. Also, bonus points for lesbians.
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition, PS4
You know, I honestly wasn’t sure where Inquisition was going to land on this list, if at all. When I was playing it, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I mean, sure the setting is really interesting, and it has a great cast of characters, and it looks gorgeous, and the world is huge, and the story is engaging, and the voice acting is phenomenal and oh yeah I guess actually it’s probably number one after all. The only reason that wasn’t immediately obvious to me was because I had such high expectations of it, and it didn’t surprise me. Such is my faith in Bioware. Also, bonus points for so many important and powerful characters being women, often women of colour, and for efforts made to make the game more diverse. And for giving me the best video game girlfriend I could ask for.
Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, PS3
Technically only the second episode came out this year, but it’s the far superior of the two. Playing as Elizabeth, wrapping up all the story loose ends and generally just recapturing some of that really amazing Bioshock atomosphere means I couldn’t not mention it.
Mario Kart 8, WiiU
It’s a really good Mario Kart game, you guys. Probably the best.
InFamous: First Light, PS4
InFamous was super pretty, especially with the neon effects. First Light puts you right back in that world in control of the best character in the game (a badass punk chick with pink hair) with the best powers (the neon powers) and manages to make a story you’d already heard in the main game seem interesting anyway. Kudos.