2016 Year in Review

Shelby’s Games of 2016

I haven’t had a lot of time to play games this year; less so than any year in memory. There were a few times where I just thought about giving up on video games since I wasn’t that far from it. As it turns out, I do still like to play games and I did find time to play some this year. I even played a few that actually came out this year. However, before I get to those, I want to mention a trio of games that came out years ago that I finally got around to this year.

vvvvvv-box-artHonorable Mention 1: VVVVVV (Vita)

This game came out in 2010. I knew about it when it came out and thought it looked fun. I’m not sure what took me so long but I had fun none-the-less. VVVVVV isn’t hard to come by these days as it’s on pretty much every platform, and at a bargain no doubt.

rhythm-heaven-fever-box-artHonorable Mention 2: Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)

This is another game that I knew I would enjoy back when it came out in 2012 but just now got around to playing this year. Through a weird bit of happenstance, I beat all the Rhythm Heaven games this year. Funny how that worked out but I do enjoy the series.

muramasa-rebirth-box-artHonorable Mention 3: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita)

This re-release came out in 2013 while the first release came out in 2009. Normally this is a game I would appreciate from a distance as it looks beautiful but the gameplay is not compatible with me. With help from a PSN flash sale, I managed to button mash my way through both stories so I could see all the amazing art the game had to offer. It’s a shame I don’t enjoy games like this more as many of them are targeted towards me.

mighty-no-9-box-art10. Mighty No. 9 (PS4)

When Mighty No. 9 came out I played it on PS3. Due to performance issues I stopped playing, opting to wait till I got a PS4. Thankfully, my time with the PS4 version was void of the aforementioned issues. I still think Mighty No. 9 has problems but I do enjoy it. The core gameplay is very fun; shooting enemies enough to dash through them for a power boost. However, that fun is tarnished by things like shots passing through enemies and dying to spikes not yet on screen. Mighty No. 9 deserves criticism, but I hope the fun of the game isn’t lost while doing so.

nitroplus-blasterz-heroines-infinite-duel-box-art9. Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel (PS4)

I enjoy fighting games but too often don’t get as much enjoyment out of them as I want. Nitroplus Blasterz is an all-female-anime-fighter. Anime fighters can, often times, go off the deep end, but I feel like Nitroplus is restrained in that regard. It certainly doesn’t go as far as something like MvC. This is the kind of game that I should be able to get together a group of friends for a evening of play. The key word being “should.”

superbeat-xonic-box-art8. Superbeat: Xonic (Vita)

Xonic seemed overwhelming to me at first glance. I’m happy to say I managed to beat every song on every difficulty. Don’t be too impressed though; I managed to find a way to selectively button mash my way through the higher difficulties. Xonic has a great style to it and the songs are really fun to play. It’s a great rhythm game and I hope it gets a sequel. Meanwhile, I am keeping my eye on the DLC to go on sale.

koihime-enbu-box-art7. Koihime Enbu (PS4, Steam)

Stop me if you’ve heard this but here is another anime fighter with an all-female cast.  However, where Nitroplus felt restrained in its absurdity, Enbu plays like an actual fighting game to me. I feel like this game is overlooked for the quality of fighter that it is. This is due two fold to the flood of anime fighters in the world and the history of the Koihime Musou franchise being adult rated. The fighter has none of the adult content of the main series but I understand people’s hesitation when dealing with such. I’m happy it got a localized version on Steam.

hatsune-miku-project-diva-x-box-art6. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X (Vita, PS4)

No surprise that the latest Miku game makes my list. I like the changes to the standard Project Diva format. They have put more options and systems in the main light and thus I pay more attention to them. I feel like the Project Diva games are really hitting their stride. Obviously I am looking forward to the home release of Future Tone, but I expect the future of Project Diva to really evolve into something even better than it is now.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-mutants-in-manhattan-box-art5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan (PS3)

The internet didn’t seem to like this game. Does the internet like anything? I imagine I would not have been too fond of this game had I played it by myself. This is that type of beat-em-up game that isn’t compatible with me. However, I played Mutants in Manhattan exclusively online with friends and we had a fantastic time. To anyone looking to play this, or to those that may have passed on it, I encourage you to try it with friends.

affordable-space-adventures-box-art4. Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U)

This game came out last year, but I didn’t get around to playing it until we recorded ourselves doing so this year. I knew this one would be something special so I really wanted to wait for the right opportunity. We managed to turn a three-player game into a four-player game and I think it made it even more fun. I really think this game is overlooked as well; being a download only game for the Wii U. The GamePad functionality is really great. You can turn systems on and off as if you were controlling a spaceship. This means it will be hard to port to any other systems. If you are interested, feel free to watch some of our play through on YouTube. I hope it will encourage you to get the game and play with friends as well.

kirby-planet-robobot-box-art3. Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)

I’m a sucker for a good Kirby game. Planet Robobot is a good time with plenty of Kirby-style cuteness and action. The robot stuff is a cool addition as Kirby’s ability steal translates well to a mecha. One level in particular stands out. You traverse the difficult path as Kirby only to find a robot at the end. You then turn around and go backwards though the level decimating everything in your path. There are some great music cues as well. It was so awesome that I immediately replayed the level two more times.

tokyo-mirage-sessions-%e2%99%affe-box-art2. Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE (Wii U)

I feel like most people bounced off this game. Granted I almost did as well. Finding 90 hours for a JRPG this year was a hard thing to do. Thankfully, after a one month intermission, I found the time I needed to finish TMS and was very happy I did so. This one really struck a chord with me as it mixes the Japanese entertainment industry with a bit of Persona flavor. The game has the level of style you expect from an Altus RPG as well as a killer soundtrack. I’m really glad this game got an English localization as this is the type of thing for which I have spent the last three years trying to learn Japanese. I’m a bit sad this will likely be the end to this universe and characters, but the game leaves everyone with a good ending.

axiom-verge-box-art1. Axiom Verge (Vita)

Many have the unachievable goal to play their favorite game for the first time again. I feel I got a taste of that dream by playing Axiom Verge as its Metroid-related inspiration is undeniable. From the week Axiom Verge was released on PS4 last year, I was constantly checking on any word of the upcoming Vita release. After a year of waiting, my high expectations were not only met, they were easily exceeded. From the level design, to the weapons, to the enemies, the music, the sense of isolation, the secrets, the purposeful glitching; I truly felt like I was playing a Metroid game. I cannot thank Thomas Happ enough for this game.

 

 

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