For those that know me well, I don’t usually play single-player games in lieu of experiences I can share with friends. This usually means I spend more time playing multiplayer games and the few single-player games I do play are usually with someone watching me.
I usually give games a couple hours to hook me. If they don’t, I tend to shelve and forget about them. I’ve got only so much time in this world and I don’t want to waste it on mediocre experiences. That being said, just about every game I’ve played this year for more than 5 hours is on this list. Note that the games listed here did not necessarily come out this year, but I did start playing them this year.
#10 – Party Hard
This isn’t a ‘new’ game, but I saw it on a Let’s Play and thought… this game looks like a great game to waste time when I’m bored. And guess what? It was a great way to waste time when I was bored.
This game is totally not for everyone and it totally cheated me out of a few level completes and I perma-shelved after spending 30 minutes on the last level only to die by stupidly bad luck. If there’s anything I hate more in the world, it’s losing out on time I’ll never get back… and this game gives no refunds.
Selling point: Party Hard or Die Trying
#9 – Dungeon of the Endless
First off, I love the music to this game. It’s got a melancholic, lonely feel to it and it’s very catchy.
Also, Ethan is absolutely terrible about explaining games so here’s my quick summary because this has been weighing on me ever since listening to him talk about it on the podcast.
This game is a rogue-like, top-down, isometric, real-time/turn-based strategy game. It’s multi-player in that you and up to 3 friends can control a single character. But in reality, it’s more like playing Starcraft (or any RTS) and your friends all help you to multi-task your side of the field.
Was that so hard, Ethan? Was it?! Yeah… that game was pretty hard.
Selling point: There’s a character that looks like Samus Aran. We all called her Samus, but really she’s just a chick in a giant armor suit and a spazer beam. She’s totally a Samus fangirl.
#8 – The Last Guardian
I bought this game because I wanted to support the developer. I’ve been waiting for this game since they first announced it was even in development. I was a little scared this project would never see the light of day. I even bought the collector’s edition. Was the msrp worth it? No. Do I regret my decision? No.
This game is a project of love. You have a feathery pet dog that can’t fly but does have laser eyes. Hrm… maybe it’s actually more cat than dog. But either way, it follows you and doesn’t listen to you half the time… okay maybe it listens to you 25% of the time… Definitely a cat.
I beat the game. If anyone can help me understand how this game is related to the Ico lore in any way, please tell me! No one online could help me answer this question!
If you liked Ico, you’ll like this game. If you hated Ico, you’ll hate this game.
Selling point: Your bird/dog is really a cat all along!
#7 – Alien Swarm Reactive Drop
Co-op, top-down shooter with aliens and 8-player multiplayer? I would say you have me sold on the game, but you can’t put a price on this. No, literally. This game has no price because it’s FREE! You can get a number of hours of free fun out of this game on steam. There’s absolutely no purchases you need to make in-game. The only problem is how much you’re willing to pay your friends to play with you.
Wait… Am I the only one that had that problem?
Selling point: This game is free. Why do you need to sell it?
#6 – Earth Defense Force 4.1 (PS4)
I honestly hadn’t played any of this franchise before, though I had watched a quick let’s play over it. I picked up this game when Micah was trying to get a small group together. Shannon sealed the deal by sending me a sweet price Toysrus was offering.
This game takes itself so seriously that the encouragement the announcer gives you borders on comically overzealous. Needless to say, if you want some good laughs, this game can help with that.
The game goes up to 4-player online and you really want to have 3-4 people to play this game with to get the most value out of it. I highly recommend trying this game out for an evening with a few friends. It’s only $20 on amazon new and I’m sure you can find a used copy even cheaper.
Selling point: You can make your character sing the game’s anthem repeatedly to annoy your friends
#5 – Starbound
Terraria meets space. The storyline is short, but that’s not why people get this game. There’s so much customizability to your character and your home base that this game wins over Terraria, head over heels. You can visit lots of different worlds with their own unique races, flora and fauna.
Selling point: All you furries out there can choose to be a bird race
#4 – Dead By Daylight
I hate watching horror movies. I hate playing horror games. But somehow, adding multiplayer makes me actually enjoy myself. This game has made my heart pound in my chest on more than one occasion. Playing as a survivor, you will get an adrenaline rush on more than one occasion.
There is also this Friday the 13th game that is similar I hear, but this one is much cheaper (regularly $20 on steam) and better from what I’ve heard of reviews.
If you want to play hardcore hide and seek with other people, this game is definitely for you.
Selling point: Michael Myers is a playable character and when he stares at you it plays the Halloween H2O killer theme
#3 – Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice
It’s Phoenix Wright all over again. You think the logic of the court system in the previous games was bonkers, get a load of this one. Now you’re in another country where not only looking guilty is a crime, but being a lawyer instantly makes you look guilty. Is that not enough to anger you? Well, guess what, they also took away the court confetti.
Comedy is top-notch, names are all punny (pun-intended) and epiphanies will still be had during that random case when you can’t figure out the bad guy.
Selling point: This game has lots of ‘objectionable’ material.
#2 – Jackbox Party Pack 3
Okay, I was trying to choose between this and Drawful 2, but I decided to choose the game that gave me more enjoyment. Unfortunately, 5 games > 1 game so Party Pack 3 wins this bout.
I love the party pack games. A lot of the fun is dependent on who you have in your group, but if your friends have a good sense of humor and everyone is willing to laugh at themselves, there’s a comedy goldmine to be found here.
My only wish is that there was a way the game could dedicate a streaming service to others so one person wouldn’t have to host it online.
Selling point: You can actually buy the shirts you make in Tee K.O.
#1 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
Come on. You can’t say it’s surprising to see this game here. I can’t imagine anyone that has played this game this year not having it in their ‘top X’ list. It takes everything you ever liked about the franchise and puts it all together into one nice little package. Quick list of things it does well:
A magical world with lots of hidden story
The landscape is beautiful and the art style really brings it to life
You can explore the world to your heart’s content
Really fun boss battles
Now, there are a few weaknesses to the game that I’m not going to delve into as this isn’t a review, but suffice to say this game may find itself in my top 3 Zelda’s of all time once I finish beating it. Yes… I have probably 40+ hours and haven’t beaten the game. That’s because I’m taking my time to explore this huge world in between each dungeon. But still… I wonder what Ganon’s up to.
Selling point: It’s Zelda