2016 has been one hell of a year! Whether we’re talking big AAA releases or smaller indie titles there has been plenty to keep us busy. And as always its that time of year where we run down our ten best/favourite games so sit back relax and prepare to be in agreement or a fit of rage as we reveal our pick for seven through five in our list…
7. KIRBY: PLANET ROBOBOT
You can thank my girlfriend for this one, herself being a big fan of the little pink blob, and although this purchase was at first down to her I actually found myself having a lot of fun with Planet Robobot. While the Kirby series has never been one to break the boundaries of the platforming genre, it’s always managed to deliver consistently solid fun whether they be more traditional ventures or ones that take the little guy into the realms of yarn or clay. Robobot is another one of the former and despite playing previous games in the series, Robobot feels like the most polished and enjoyable yet.
The usual Kirby abilities make an appearance along with some news ones - the super cute Doctor Kirby, powerful Poison Kirby and Earthbound inspired ESP Kirby. Levels while linear take you between foreground and background making good use of the 3D effect, a rarity these days. Then of course there’s the new robot suits. Not only an awesome sight to behold but also super fun to unleash against your foes. With every new suit comes a cool bunch of abilities, everything from giant flamethrowers to a speeding set of wheels all of which made me excited at the chance to try again.
It’s not just the game’s story mode that had me coming back though. Team Kirby Clash delivers what you might describe as a Smash Bros. Lite where you and up to three others take on a series of bosses from the game’s main campaign. It’s a silly addition but as with every Kirby title a cute one.
Planet Robobot may not win in the originality department but you know what, that’s okay when it had me smiling from start to finish.
6. STARDEW VALLEY
Who knew owning your own farm could be so much fun!
I’ll be honest the Animal Crossing series has never really done it for me, the slower pace, lack of a real focused goal and general monotony of it all resulting in my attention always wondering elsewhere. With Stardew Valley however I never had that issue. Waking up every morning and checking the weather on the TV before dashing out and watering my crops knowing that one-day I’d be able to upgrade to a sprinkler system.
And that is where the beauty of Stardew Valley lies. In its constant promise of bigger and better things the harder you work. Whether it’s upgrading your house, installing a brewery in your basement or bringing animals into your farm, there’s always more on the horizon and more money to be made. There’s even a Legend of Zelda style series of dungeons to tackle should you want a break from all the farm work.
Stardew Valley is a delightful time and likely the game I can see myself putting plenty more hours into even as we kick off the new year.
5. JACKBOX PARTY PACK 3
Another year. Another Jackbox. You’d think after three of them, they’d be out of party game ideas. Apparently not since the latest entry in the series sports some of the best and most imaginative games to date.
Take Murder Trivia Party for instance, a game that takes the tired quiz genre and gives a much needed injection of fun. While you’ll be answering difficult questions for sure, incorrect answers are punished by literally playing for their lives in mini-games either testing your sense of imagination, skill or luck. The horror presentation also helps set this trivia experience from the huge pack.
Faking It is another “out there” idea that sees players trying to figure out who is the liar/faker amidst them by observing how everyone answers random questions. Has my girlfriend really seen Citizen Kane or did she not receive the question on her phone therefore raising her hand in an attempt to blend in? Being the “faker” is so much fun as you try to psyche out and lie to your opponents.
And that’s just two of the five games on offer with Quiplash 2 offering plenty more reliable shenanigans, Tee-K.O. taking shirt design to an all new hilarious level and even Guesspionage has its moments. While last year I opted to only place Quiplash in my top ten of 2015 (since the other four were somewhat forgettable), this year I feel confident placing the entire package here. The crew at Jackbox have quite the task on their hands if they want to follow up with a fourth edition next year.
And there we have it! Three more in the bank. We’ll continue to post the rest of the list throughout the week. In the meantime we’d love to hear your thoughts! Sound off in the comments below!