Breaking Down 2016
As each year comes to a close, I normally write some type of “Top 5” article to highlight some of my favorite experiences throughout the year. But since 2016 was a pretty unique gaming year, I wanted to go beyond just a simple “my fave games” article. Instead, I will feature some surprises, disappointments, and some sleeper hit games that I think should receive some extra recognition.
MY FAVORITE GAMES OF 2016:
River City Tokyo Rumble (3DS)
When I learned that Natsume was porting the sequel to River City Random to the West, I pretty much had to change my pants. Better yet, the game lived up to my hype and then some. It is a bummer that there is no two-player co-op but the addicting gameplay, combat, and surprising amount of humor easily put River City Tokyo Rumble on my list of favorite games of 2016.
Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)
Building off the success of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Woolly World is platforming gold. Each level is tightly designed and always throws something new at the player. The added two-player mode and amiibo support are the icing on the cake. Keep your eye out for the 3DS port in 2017.
Kirby Planet Robobot (3DS)
Kirby Planet Robobot is the perfect follow up to Kirby Triple Deluxe. With solid puzzle platforming mechanics and collecting feature, Robobot has to be one of the best Kirby games in years. Nintendo even went all out and created a line of four new amiibo figures just for this game. Even the mini games are decent time wasters.
SLEEPER HITS OF 2016:
Witch and Hero 2 (3DS eShop)
Unfortunately, some games do not get the attention they deserve and most games published by Circle Entertainment fit this bill. The original Witch and Hero easily stood as one of my favorite 3DS eShop games of all time. Despite being a small and simple game, it is loaded with entertainment value and only costs a couple of bucks. Then Witch and Hero 2 was released exclusively to the 3DS eShop and enhanced upon the original in just about every way. Using the circle pad and face buttons, the player now controls both the Hero and Witch at the same time. It is an interesting mechanic and is addicting and loaded with fun. But one of the most impressive features about this game is the fully playable replay of the end of Witch and Hero 1. Do yourself a favor and buy this game after playing through the original.
Fairune 2 (3DS eShop)
Oh look, another Flyhigh Works and Circle Entertainment game on my list! Fairune 2 is just as fun as the original Fairune only bigger. With a map that is several times bigger than the first, Fairune 2 is the best Legend of Zelda-like clone (NES) that you never knew you wanted. Soundtrack is also amazing.
Metroid Prime Federation Force (3DS)
Yes, I know what you are thinking but Federation Force is still a good game even though it is not the 2D adventuring platformer that we all wanted. Built around multiplayer, each stage is different than the last with new objectives in mind. When played online or locally with friends, Federation Force is a co-op experience that works well on 3DS. Blast Ball, the Rocket League of the 3DS, isn’t so bad either.
ODDEST GAMES OF 2016:
Soda Drinker Pro (Xbox One)
A game about drinking soda makes as much sense as it sounds. Even though it really isn’t even a game since there is no goal or way to win or lose, it is worth checking out just because it is so bizarre. Even more strange, the Vivian Clark mode is a game within the game that is completely different than the main soda-based campaign. Honestly, nothing about this game makes any sense and I am still confused about it.
Coffin Dodgers (Xbox One)
You know what sucks about getting old? You’re going to die soon. This morbid fact is the entire premise of Coffin Dodgers, a Mario Kart clone. Racing in your cripple carts in order to not die is a pretty crazy way to fight off death. While the gameplay suffers from loose controls and awkward AI, Coffin Dodgers is undeniably an odd one.
MOST DISAPPOINTING GAMES OF 2016:
Ghostbusters 2016 (Xbox One, PS4)
The games on my bummer list this year are licensed products that usually give fans something to get excited about. But like the rebooted movie, this game is quite a stinker. The dual analog control scheme is actually the beginning of solid gameplay formula but falls apart with repetition, levels that take way too long to finish, and chore-like busy work. Even longtime fans will hate this game.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Xbox One, PS4)
If there is one developer that shows significant promise in regards to the Turtles, Platinum Games would probably be near the top of that list. Unfortunately, it is not hard to see the limited time and budget Platinum had to work with regards everyone’s favorite mutant reptiles. Even though there is four-player co-op online play, this game smells worse than the sewers.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance Bundle (Xbox One, PS4)
Read the title of this game carefully. See the word “bundle” at the end? This simply means they packaged two games into one. You know what word isn’t in this title? “Remastered” or “HD.” Simply put, Activision took these two games, one of which was a launch game for last gen consoles, repackaged them for the price of a full retail game, then re-released it without adding any features whatsoever. That isn’t even the worst part. Early buyers of this bundle soon realized the entire package was nearly broken as bugs were everywhere and Achievement/Trophies wouldn’t pop. Only after a patch did these games because playable. However, even if these games were remastered, the gameplay has not aged well even though it is filled with the super heroes that you love.
PLEASANT SURPISES OF 2016:
Tons of Game Related Books/Novels/Graphic Novels
Often, other mediums jump into the video game foray to complete a marketing campaign or to simple explore a new outlet. On the other hand, video games usually don’t stray too much beyond their interactivity on screen, usually only creeping out with a poorly made film adaptation. Which is why I was happy to see so many video game related books hit store shelves this year. Tetris The Games People Play is a visual novel of the infamous Tetris story that is easy and fun to read. Other books, like Super Mario Adventures, isn’t necessarily a high quality story line, it is still something fans can appreciate. Then there was the re-release of Chris Kohler’s Power-Up and Jeremy Parish’s Gameboy World and Good Nintentions 1985 for the more hardcore game fans.
WORST GAMES OF 2016:
7 Days to Die (Xbox One, PC, PS4)
You know what sounds like a good idea? Having Telltale release an open world zombie infested game. With no explanation or indication of what to do or how the game mechanics work, 7 Days To Die is one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I have ever played not just in 2016 but in my entire gaming career. Stay away from his abysmal piece of hot garbage.
Skunk Software has made a name for themselves by consistently releasing the worst games on the Wii U. But I will go so far as to say these are easily some of the worst games in the history of video games. If you are an inspiring game developer, I encourage you to check out these titles to learn how to make a video game NOT fun. These games make E.T. on Atari 2600 look like a 10/10.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017
At the time of this post, the only thing we know about the Switch is that it will release sometime in Q1 2017 (March?) and that the system is a hybrid console/handheld. Rumors say that Gamecube games will be playable via a Virtual Console service but Nintendo has yet to release any hardware specs. Either way, eyes will be on Nintendo’s console in 2017.
4K GAMING AND VR
As consumers start to adopt 4K televisions and VR headsets, games will follow suit. However, remember HD-DVDs? Those gave way to Blu-Ray discs to become the industry standard. Same goes for 3D TVs. Will 4K gaming and VR headsets become the trend in 2017? Let’s give these features some time to brew in 2017.
Let me know what some of your favorite/worst gaming moment of 2016 were in the comments below.
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com