GOTY 2017 | Number 3 — Super Mario Odyssey

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.

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GOTY 2017 | Number 5 — Cuphead

The mark of a high qual­ity dif­fi­cult game is when it man­ages to be incred­i­bly fun as well. Cup­head was quickly on most people’s radar due to the art style which oozes the charm of 1930s car­toons. Play­ing Cup­head, it’s almost incom­pre­hen­si­ble how Stu­dioMDHR was able to so accu­rately and fluid cre­ated the look of this game. Many peo­ple have floated the phrase “it’s like play­ing a car­toon” about games before, but it has never been more true than with Cup­head. The char­ac­ters are fun and styl­ish and it has one of the best and most fit­ting sound­tracks of the year. On top of every­thing else, the game is fun as hell! Each boss takes trial and error, patience and feels amaz­ing every time you beat them. Cup­head cer­tainly deserves the spot as the 5th best game of 2017.

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ESH | Ultimate Chicken Horse Review

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.

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ESH | DeadCore Review

Plat­form­ing sec­tions in first-person games can be noto­ri­ously hard if they’re not done well. Spot­ting plat­forms while you’re jump­ing and nail­ing tar­gets mid-air is tough as nails, but if the con­trols are tight enough it can feel really good. Dead­Core has you steadily climb­ing a tower full of deadly traps and giant leaps, but as through the adver­sity of mak­ing it through this gaunt­let, you will even­tu­ally feel like a first-person god of plat­form­ing. Not every sec­tion is strong, but what is there is chal­leng­ing enough to really make you feel like you earned it.

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ESH | Embers of Mirrim Review

Rub­bing your stom­ach and pat­ting your head has always been one of the great­est exer­cises in mul­ti­task­ing. Get­ting your brain to process two sep­a­rate tasks simul­ta­ne­ously is sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult. Cre­ative Bytes Stu­dios is look­ing to put you to the ulti­mate test with the new plat­form­ing adven­ture Embers of Mir­rim. Jump­ing through the world as two crea­tures that have been com­bined into one, you must use the pow­ers of each simul­ta­ne­ously to tra­verse the dan­gers as you cure the cor­rup­tion plagu­ing the land. Embers of Mir­rim is not only a com­pe­tent and beau­ti­ful game, it is chal­leng­ing and fun in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

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ESH | Toby: The Secret Mine Review

Atmos­phere, in my hum­ble opin­ion, is one of the most impor­tant things a game can cre­ate. Back in 2010, Play­dead intro­duced us all to a puz­zle plat­former than oozed atmos­phere and cre­ated a sur­pris­ingly tense 2-D expe­ri­ence with Limbo. Since then many devel­op­ers have tried to recap­ture the magic of this game by mim­ic­k­ing its aes­thet­ics or game­play. Com­ing from this stand­point, Lukáš Navrátil cre­ated Toby: The Secret Mine as a solo project. While it doesn’t quite recap­ture the tense feel­ing of the game it was inspired by, there are some good moments to latch onto here.

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