Felix is an independent producer in indie games. They run Polytron with Phil Fish, and work on numerous other projects, including TUNIC and an unannounced cool thing that you’ll definitely hear about early next year. Follow them at @legobutts on Twitter.
Normally I talk about how a year zoomed by, but 2017 dragged out way too long. I’ll try to keep this short. In no particular order, here are the games I played this year and loved:
I know I spoke about Regency Solitaire the year it came out, and now I’m back on that solitaire kick with Shadowhand, the latest game from Grey Alien. Shadowhand is like regular solitaire, except that I’m battling pirates and thieves, levelling my character’s stats, equipping gear that I buy in a marketplace, AND stacking cards that are incrementally higher or lower than the card under them. Yeah. Go try it.
I don’t try to pretend I’m good at this game, but I can say it makes 16-hour long flights much more tolerable. Time flies when you’re filling in squares one by one to make what you definitely thought was a scorpion but ended up being a chandelier or some shit. It’s meditative and perfect for winding down.
It’s funny, charming, and gorgeous. Also, one time I tried tapping a single pixel on the screen for MINUTES because I thought it was a “speck of dust” in game collectible, but it turned out to be a god damn speck of real dust on my stupid phone screen. I said a lot of mean things about Ron Gilbert that day. Sorry about that, Ron. Your game’s real good.
This deck building roguelike by Hollow Ponds has some of the most unique and beautifully grotesque character design I’ve ever seen in a game, and the soundtrack/sound design is spot-on for the visuals. The story is delightfully absurd, the backgrounds are drawn by @meowza…it’s seriously in my top five roguelikes of all time. The combination of card game and battle mechanics is a thing I really, really love apparently.
You know when the Switch commercials came out and they depicted a bunch of fun looking people in their 30s playing multiplayer games on their Switch with tiny joy cons in public, laughing like it was the purest joy in the world? And we all thought that was ridiculous, because who would ever take out their Switch at a bar at night and start playing games with strangers, and who would find THAT much joy in a party game?
Okay, well, we were wrong, because I am absolutely that guy now.
I have ABSOLUTELY impressed a stranger at a bar by pulling out my Switch and playing this game with them. So, joke’s on me. This game is just way too charming to not make you laugh, and the developers are masters of balancing innovating cooperative puzzle solving with friendly teasin-- give it a shot with a cutie. It’s a really good date.
You know I have to mention it. I know it’s not perfect, and we’ve all survived a season of microtransaction hell, but listen. I really really love the characters in Destiny, and the environments, and the strike structure. I love my stupid bumblebee shaders and my ramen emote. Plus, I get to listen to Shohreh Aghdashloo and Claudia Black and Cissy Jones all day if I want to. Any game with that is a game worth playing.
Gone Home has a special place in my heart, and Tacoma is absolutely right there with it. I don’t want to give anything away, and all my favourite parts of the game are spoilers, but I’ll say that even with such a paced, calm play, I experienced exactly the perfect amount of stress and concern for characters that I genuinely felt like I knew at the end of my 4 hour playthrough.
This comes out the day AFTER my top ten list is due, but I’m putting it on here anyway and there’s nothing you can do about it. I predict Future Felix I will say that it’s very beautiful, and that it’s very nice to play it in HD after being promised it for so long, but will also admit that they’ve never finished the bloody game because it GOES ON FOREVER. I don’t actually know anyone who has finished it. Legend says it has no end, it just keeps getting rebooted and HD ported for eternity.
About a month after BotW launched, a friend asked me how much of it I’d played. I thought about it a second, considered I’d only done one of the beast dungeons, but had been running around a lot exploring, so I gave what I thought was an inflated estimate of 7 hours. Then I picked up my Switch and loaded the game, and the clock told me I’d been playing 35 hours. I’d spent 35 hours running around, climbing mountains, finding Koroks, and it had felt like maybe 7. I’ve now logged about 140 hours of this game and I have no intention of ever completing it. Skyrim came out this year on Switch, and I’m still playing Zelda. I’d say it makes the list.
There were, as always, a ton of games I didn’t get to play--I think somehow Phil managed to cover them all, so go check out his list when it’s posted. Have a good end of 2017 everyone. Here’s hoping 2018 isn’t our last.
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