Seven Brilliant Games from 2015 You May Have Missed
As 2015 heads towards its conclusion, it is only natural to look back at the last 12 months and the games that kept us entertained over the course of the year. Titles such as Metal Gear Solid V, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 are the ones that will most likely end up defining the year, but there have been a ton of other incredible games that have slipped under the radar. They range from big budget platform exclusives to revivals of legendary franchises. With the holiday period just around the corner, now is the perfect time to delve into these games you may have missed.
After originally being announced way back in 2012, Until Dawn finally launched this summer-- and it was incredible. While it was light on the actual gameplay front, it managed to keep players hooked with a great story (up until the last quarter where things went a little south), some tense atmospheric horror and more than a few jump scares. The plot may have stuck to many horror tropes, but it executed on them all excellently and delivered many genuinely scary moments. Action sequences that featured quick time events kept your heart rate high. Sure, a couple of characters weren't great, and things got unnecessarily strange towards the end, but if you are looking for a few hours horror or want to experience something truly unique you should totally pick up Until Dawn.
Hand of Fate
From a brief overview, Hand of Fate sounds like the most ridiculous game ever: it’s a fantasy card-based roguelike that also features third person combat encounters. You start out with two core decks of cards, one that features items and equipment and another that features encounters. At the start of each game, encounters are laid face down on the table and you must navigate your way across them to reach the exit or boss, which will always be in a random location. If you stumble onto one of the many combat encounters, you are dumped into a third-person arena. The combat itself has more than a few similarities to the combat in the Arkham games. Its strong Dungeons and Dragons feel means that it is instantly accessible to anyone who has even the most basic fantasy knowledge. When you combine that with the addictiveness of a card game it becomes easy to obsess over completing the perfect deck to maximise run efficiency, when really it isn’t all that important. . Add in an endless mode, and Hand of Fate becomes difficult to put down.
Super Mega Baseball
Back in the PS2 era, a new cartoony sports game seemed to come out every month. For the most part they weren't great. Super Mega Baseball on the other hand takes the cartoony style but surrounds it with phenomenal mechanics, which is more than can be said for most other similar games. As a result it is quite possibly the best baseball game on the current generation of consoles. It will of course never challenge the likes of MLB The Show for the best simulation title, but the cartoony art style and simplified mechanics make this a joy to play. The core rules and gameplay of baseball are here, but when it boils down to it the only real core mechanics are pitching, batting and some very simple catching. These mechanics are easy to figure out, but they take ages to truly master, and even when you think you have a good grasp on them you can always learn some new trick. A deep season mode where you can guide your team to victory, and improve their skills, over multiple matches means that you play for hours and never get bored. Finally the beautiful art tops off the experience.
Quite simply, N++ is the best platformer of the year. Nothing else even comes close. The classic N gameplay returns with more levels than ever, meaning there are a lot of hours of fun on offer. The core gameplay involves traversing across a level to reach the exit, but it is never quite that simple-- enemies, incredible precision-movement challenges, and tons of fairly complex systems will be in your way. As a ninja, you can jump incredible distances and slide down vertical surfaces, although that description doesn't really do it justice. The movement mechanics are sublime, flying around all of the levels is an absolute joy, and there are tons of small tricks that you must master in order to get through the toughest levels. To make things even better, you can even play with friends in the multiplayer races and co-op missions that add in some competitive fun and tougher coordination challenges. However, the most incredible part of N++ is its minimalist art style-- quite possibly the simplest yet stylish art style in any game this year.
If you want a game to just stick on, sit back and cause some mayhem in, then Broforce is for you. It’s a 2D action platformer featuring over-the-top death, destruction and general awesomeness. You start at the beginning of each level as one of the Bros and must fight your way from left to right. Eventually you come face to face with Satan, who you must kill before you can make your escape by jumping onto a helicopter. Along the way you can save captured Bros that will switch your character and unlock new Bros to play as. Each of the bros are obviously inspired by action heroes: they include the likes of Rambro, Indiana Brones, and Brobocop. Simple controls and gameplay, along with excellent pixel art mean that Broforce is a constant joy to play, and is perfect for a few hours of mindless fun.
King's Quest Chapter 1
King’s Quest is one of the most well-loved older franchises out there, so when it was announced that a new one was in production at The Odd Gentlemen, more than a few people were skeptical. But what the Odd Gentlemen managed to produce was sublime. Their first episode of a planned five-part series managed to stay true to the franchise's roots, but also managed to move away from the dated point and click gameplay, bringing in a fully 3D world to explore at your own pace. The core gameplay sees you exploring the fairly sizable world trying to solve puzzles as you try to become a knight. Along the way you meet a slew of brilliant and entertaining characters who produce more than a few laugh-out-loud moments. And the voice acting really stands out: Zelda Williams and Christopher Lloyd lend their voices to key characters. This is a game that both the younger and older players can enjoy together, as none of the puzzles are too tricky and almost all can be completed in multiple ways.
Out of all the games on this list, Her Story is perhaps the most unusual and unique. It asks you to watch live-action police interviews with a strange woman whose husband has been murdered. Unfortunately for you, the videos are not in any sort of order, so you’ll have to search for tagged phrases or subjects in order to unearth the videos containing the information you need. While the gameplay is never going to challenge your reaction-time, the story and the starring performance by Viva Seifert are the reasons you will stick at it. Like any good murder mystery, new information comes at a slow drip-feed, and after a while you will need to decide which clues are worth pursuing and which aren't. There really isn’t anything else like Her Story out there, so it is hard to draw comparisons, but all that really needs to be said is that this is one of the finest interactive experiences ever made, and it needs to be played.