Video games are often made with a very specific purpose. Some are designed to be played all by yourself on a dark stormy night. Others are built to be played with friends either cooperatively or competitively. Ever since streaming became a bigger part of gaming, a new type of game has emerged: one that you are meant to watch. Guts and Glory is one of those games that begs to be spectated as you accidentally eviscerate a man riding his bicycle through a gauntlet of buzz saws and land mines.
Canada always seems to be the goal of post-apocalyptic travelers seeking respite from the assault of the undead. I suppose the reasoning is that it’s cold-enough up there that the zombie hordes won’t be able to cope, but Death Road to Canada offers a much more silly and awesome explanation for this. I won’t discuss this here, you’ll have to make it to the border yourself to find out. Instead, let’s talk about the goofy journey that Death Road to Canada puts you through in this pixel-based brawler.
Crashing down on us in 2014, The Fall was a fascinating adventure game with some admittedly clunky combat. The story mainly consisted of a combat suit with artificial intelligence, named A.R.I.D. searching for medical attention for the passed out human inside of it. In a major twist, stop reading here and go play The Fall if you haven’t already, the suit turned out to be empty the whole time and her whole purpose has been made null. As you might expect, I was eager to see where the story went from there and The Fall Part 2: Unbound does certainly go in some interesting directions.
Video games always seem to involve characters resolving their problems with their fists or guns. Sometimes, is it a smarter choice to use your words? This is the hypothesis that Oh… Sir!! The Insult Simulator and Oh… Sir! The Hollywood Roast seek to answer. Taking a brand new spin on fighting games, these games pit two characters against one another in a battle of words that can only end with one victor.
The hype was real for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but no one could have seen just how innovative and reinvigorating the game would end up. Nintendo had been playing it safe for too long with the Zelda series and vowed to go back to its roots for Breath of the Wild. The success they found with this new formula will likely go on to influence the series going forward and likely the design of open world games in general. Many open world games rely on pointing the player in the direction they want them to go, for fear of them getting bored. Nintendo expertly solved the issue that other developers didn’t even see here, by ridding the world of developer-laid icons and allowing the player to choose their own journey. Standing at the top of a tower, you might see something that looks interesting and decide to investigate. Nearly every time, you will be rewarded for your curiosity with something, even if it’s something small. This is what separates Breath of the Wild from other open world games. It allows players to create their own stories and explore the world at their own pace, while packing every nook and cranny with fun things to find. Hours melted away while I was playing Breath of the Wild as I got lost in the gorgeous world. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made and easily deserves the spot as the best game of 2017.
Picking the order of the top three games of 2017 was a nightmare. Each of these games are amazing in their own right and ranking them was near impossible. That being said, I have decided on an order and I am sticking to it! Super Mario Odyssey is a joy to play in nearly every way. The bright and colorful environments are packed with fun stuff to do and interact with, nearly all of which will earn you some power moons. I never had a play session with Super Mario Odyssey where I felt that no progress had been made and I always spent the entire time smiling ear to ear. It has been a long while since we’ve gotten a Mario game as open as this one and this could arguably be the best one that follows that formula. The main game doesn’t overstay its welcome, allowing you to blast through each world and get a short introduction before moving on, but doesn’t discourage sticking around and playing in each kingdom for a little longer. There are some very fun surprises after the credits roll and the game is a great one to come back to every now and then for some relaxed fun. Super Mario Odyssey just barely came in as the 3rd best game of 2017.
Growing up in a highly competitive house, I’ve grown into a fair bit of anxiety when it comes to competitive games. Finding one that manages to feel just as fun whether you win or lose is rare, but Ultimate Chicken Horse nails it. I can’t tell you the number of times play sessions devolved into the entire room laughing as the ridiculousness of the stages grow each round. Coming newly to the PS4, Ultimate Chicken Horse is one of the best couch competitive experiences available on the console which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
When The Jackbox Party Pack first came out, it revolutionized how multiplayer video games could work at parties. So long as everyone had some kind of smart device, anyone could pick up and play the simple and addictively fun games. As new entries have arrived, there has been a mixed bag of as Jackbox Games has experimented with the formula. Coming off of what was, in my opinion, the best suite of games thus far with The Jackbox Party Pack 3, there was a lot to live up to for The Jackbox Party Pack 4. Some games suffer from overcomplicated rules, but largely this is another fun pack of games that any group can enjoy.
Agonizing over the perfect plan, meticulously prepping all the necessary components and then having it all come apart due to an unseen circumstance. Escaping prison seems like it would be an endeavor that which I would fail miserably to execute with the perfection it requires. If nothing else, The Escapists 2 has only proven this fact as I have spent plenty of time in solitary confinement for my failed schemes. Thankfully, unlike real life, the consequences of these failed jailbreaks are minimal and with enough practice, I was eventually able to spring myself from the joint. It’s this concept that makes The Escapists 2 the perfect action puzzle game for anyone with a lot of patience looking for a real challenge.
Teleportation has always been on my short list for super powers I would most like to have at my disposal. Taking the natural progression of this power and casting you as a teleporting thief, Mr. Shifty is the brawler I have been awaiting for quite a while. Combining breakneck overhead action similar to Hotline Miami and Nightcrawler-style teleportation, this game scratches multiple itches I didn’t even know were there for me. Mr. Shifty empowers the player and makes you feel like a complete badass as you punch your way through rooms of gun-toting goons.