Tuesday, 31 December 2013

You Won't Believe These N Easy Tricks (for some N element of Z+)

Having only been writing this blog since late June, I only have half a year of posts to pore over to find my favourite games of the year.  Still, in that half year I found 24 games that I discussed in some form.  Making a top 10 list out of 24 different contenders seems like a bit of joke.  It's harder to make than the NHL playoffs, but still not very respectable.  Besides, what is the point of making a list only of things I liked?  That gives me little room to complain about things I didn't like.

So here are the top 5 and bottom 5 games that I discussed on the blog this half-year.  Bear in mind that I generally only discuss games that I have played, so there is a skewing away from the actual worst games of the year.

Bottom Five
5. Spelunky
A lot of people really like this game.  A lot.  I did not.  The dungeons may have been randomly generated and there may have been tons of items and enemies, but I just found it very same-y as I played it over and over.  Ultimately, I didn't play it all that many times.

4. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign
I really liked playing this game for a very short period of time.  The mechanic where you can do a fight over and over again to try to get all the prizes but most of the time you don't get a new prize but instead get basically nothing was so annoying that I just gave up on it.  Again, fun for a while but ultimately it was just frustrating to do the same thing over and over again and have nothing change.

3. Heroes of Loot
This game has so much room to be good and just isn't.  With such a simple game it seems like they could have included 100 different items but instead there are basically three and only two of them matter.  I paid a couple of dollars for it and I guess I played enough to get my money's worth, but I wouldn't recommend it.

2. Representative Democracy
This game continues to suck, though I will admit to be glad to play in the Canadian league rather than the US one or, heaven forbid, the British one.

1. Plants vs. Zombies 2
A game which is probably going to win some game of the year awards definitely makes my worst game of the year.  After so much time to release a game which has fewer features than the first game was just awful.  It's not terribly unusual for a sequel to be worse than the original, but usually that is because they take things in a different direction or ruin the plotline, or even because they simply don't add anything and it is the first game all over again.  But in this case you are just left with the feeling that they got the games in the wrong order - number two is the basic game that has space to build on and number one is the full game with all the neat stuff happening.

I also really don't like games with pay-to-not-play monetization schemes.  I always admired PopCap as a company that focused on making quality games, I don't really think I can hold onto that notion of them anymore.

Top 5
5. Magic: the Gathering
How could I put SolForge or Hearthstone on this list when there's still Magic?  I couldn't.

4. Desert Bus
Released this year for iOS.  My high score is zero and I doubt it will go up any time soon.

3. Rogue Legacy
This is the top of the procedurally generated dungeon game heap for me.  It was too short for my liking, and a later content patch that I have only seen videos of seemed to be targetted at gaming ninjas rather than people who just loved the initial gameplay, but I still had heaps of fun playing this.  If my only complaint is "not enough" then it must be pretty good.

2. Sand Castle Builder
I definitely want to give honorable mention here to all the other browser games that came out this year.  This genre of game has a ton of potential and Sand Castle Builder is the realization of that.  I'm not going to be surprised if this is still at the top of my list next year.

1. Glitch
I think I had more fun in my dream-games of Glitch then I did playing any game that actually existed this year.  But more than that, I feel this this has actually been Glitch's biggest year despite it ending just before the year started.  People who played Glitch went out and started making their own games, and they have all the art from Glitch to do so if they choose to use it.  While the game was running I legitimately wondered whether Glitch lived up to its claim of being made "in the spirit of the web," but after its death it clearly has.

So that's it for 2013, list of N things complete.  For auld lang syne.

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