One of the most impressive things about my number nine game of the year is that it almost didn’t happen at all. One of my personal favorite visual novel series, the Zero Escape series to be exact, left at a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of its second entry. Frantically wondering when I would get to know the conclusion, I searched only to find that they may not have the funding to release the finale. Thankfully, with a combined effort from Aksys Games and Spike Chunsoft, Zero Time Dilemma was released this year and it was fantastic. Doubling down on the narrative hooks that made Virtue’s Last Reward so interesting, this game had me hooked from start to finish.
Taking the concept of escape rooms and inserting it as the playable portion of the game hasn’t always worked for this series, but they really managed to dial it in with Zero Time Dilemma. None of the puzzles were insultingly easy, but they never got me stuck in a particular room too long. As usual, getting to know the characters introduced by this game was fun and finally being able to wrap up the story in a more concrete manner made the whole thing feel it was worth the journey. I can proudly say that I never had to look up any solutions online for Zero Time Dilemma and I’m proud to give it the number nine spot in my list of the best games for 2016.