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.
Atmospheric exploration puzzle games have long been perfected by the likes of Team Ico with titles like Ico and The Last Guardian providing stellar examples of how the genre is done right. Showing clear inspiration from the aforementioned games, Tequila Works has crafted a beautiful game in RiME, transporting the player to a seaside temple with a bevy of secrets to unfold. Technical glitches occasionally mar the Nintendo Switch version of Rime, but the overall experience is a gorgeous and satisfying puzzle adventure.
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.
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.
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.
Virtual reality, in its current form, still hasn’t been around very long and many developers are actively experimenting to find what works well for the format. Off the bat, it’s been easy to see that action and horror work well in VR. Fated: The Silent Oath has taken a different path and proven that there it’s not always about the thrills and chills. Emotionally-charged silent moments in this story based in the world of Norse mythology highlight a new way of telling a story that makes you feel even more of a connection to what is happening.
Escape rooms have grown in popularity, especially in the last year or so. Many video games made an effort to emulate these popular real life attractions as well recently to varying degrees of success. Putting a horror spin on the concept, Dying: Reborn is a flawed experience that never feels great to play, while admirably attempting to create an interesting horror story.