Published on December 29th, 2014 | by Corey Milne5
Corey’s Definitive List of The 10 Most Awesome Games from 2014
Hello everybody! Things are winding down as people decide they want to indulge in mince pies rather than any serious games writing. So we take things easy, delving into the annual tradition of drawing up lists for things that happened throughout the year. I was recently on the Critically Sane podcast, half ranting, half umming and aahing about games. Turns out when it’s approaching 5am it’s really difficult to get coherent thought from your brain to your lips. Nuance tends to be lost somewhere in the process. So for a more coherent and sane version of things, here are the 10 Games of 2014 That I Thought Were Pretty Cool & That You Should Play Immediately.
- Alien: Isolation
It finally happened. We got an Alien game that was worth praising! This will have to do for the next 10 years. The team at Creative Assembly did one incredible job transferring the look and feel of the original film into a digital space. It oozes 70s retro sci fi chic. More importantly, they made the alien scary again, with its unpredictable nature. Sure, the game has its share of problems, but at the end of the day this is as alien as Alien is ever going to get.
Glitchhikers is a surreal (and free) gem of a game. This is an experience, driving down a dark motorway at night, picking up strange passengers and discussing life, the universe, and everything. Published by Silverstring Media (who have a penchant for polygonal graphics) it’s a game that captures the lonely and contemplative nature of travel. Maybe you aren’t picking anyone up off the side of the road. The moonlight can play tricks on your eyes. Tell me, reader, what is your destination? Or does that even matter?
Nidhogg is the best multiplayer game I have played in years. It loses a lot in its singleplayer, and even its online play doesn’t capture the essence of this game of endurance and skill. It is meant to be played with your opponent sat beside you, shouting in exasperation, whooping with joy. Easy to pick up and get a handle on things, this is a fantastic party game. Somersaults and the clash of metal, who among you will have the honour of being devoured by the great and powerful Nidhogg?
- Lights Out, Please
Interactive fiction was big in the 70s, but today it barely gets a look in. This is a shame because you might very well be missing out on some great stories. Curated by Kaitlin Tremblay, Lights Out, Please is an anthology of horror stories, re-imagining classic tales and delving into some very real terrors. There’s guaranteed to be a couple of tales in this collection that will send a cold chill down your spine. Oh, and you really have no excuse not to check this game out because it costs a grand total of zero dollars/pounds/euros/yen etc.
- Banner Saga
This game is based on Scandinavian folklore, and it is beautiful. Banner Sagaprobably the prettiest game I’ve ever played. There’s beauty in the writing too, as you lead your caravan and try to keep hope alive in a world that is cold and hostile. With a rewarding battle system and excellent characters, it would be a shame to miss out. That is if you don’t mind having your heart broken at regular intervals.
- Out There
Out There is an IOS and Android game from French Studio Mi-Clos. It is an exploration game about being lost in space. It’s wonderfully colourful, and its vague promises highlight the excitement of striving out into the unknown. It is rather tough though, and the fine balancing act you need to engage in to stay alive serves to remind you just how isolated and lonely your journey is, out there amongst the stars.
- Desert Golfing
I love Desert Golfing. The fact it did not win sports game of the year at the shitty Game Awards is a tragedy. It was robbed! (Clearly, Mario Kart was a better sports game- Editor) Why don’t you come and join me out here on the sands? I’d love to see you swing. Perhaps you need to be enlightened on the infinite pleasures of Desert Golfing? Come, I shall take you on a journey.
- Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles was re-released on Steam in 2014 so this totally counts. Quite frankly I don’t care if you disagree. Go write your own list. I want to talk about Valkyria Chronicles because it is one of my all time favourite games and more people need to play it. This strategy Japanese role-playing game really lets you get tactical with a diverse range of characters and environments as you battle against the tide of anime world war 2. For all its colour (the pencil sketched-like graphics are lovely and it’ll probably still look fresh 10 years from now) and quirks, the game actually delves into some serious topics and ends up being a rather good look at the cost of war. If you originally missed it because you didn’t have a PS3, it’s on Steam, no excuses!
- This War Of Mine
I said it on the podcast. I said it in my review. This War Of Mine is an important game. When so many war games (and there are many) concentrate on providing thrills through a rifle scope, it’s easy to forget that war is really shitty. 11 Bit Studios has crafted a chilling and stark view on the debilitating nature of war, but reminds us that some good can still be done even in the most horrible of circumstances. It’s an interesting game that is sure to provoke conversation going into 2015 and beyond. You can read my review of the game here on Critically Sane.
- Kentucky Route Zero
It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to play Kentucky Route Zero. It’s a game that lends itself well to interpretation and introspection. I think Kentucky Route Zero about the strangeness of everyday, mundane life. Others have their own ideas. If nothing else it is a wonderful looking game, which should win all of the aesthetic design awards from here to forever. I’ve promised the Critically Sane editors that I will write something long and gushing about this game, and I think they agreed that I should. If I interpreted the snarls and monstrous howls coming from the other side of the editor’s office door correctly. I’m still alive, so that’s a positive sign. If you only play one game from this list, even though these all deserve attention, then let it be this game.
Kentucky Route Zero is wonderful. Just wonderful.
There you have it, mortals: my games of 2014. Some games that just missed out on a place: Monument Valley, The Floor is Jelly, Olli Olli and the Wolf Among Us. Of course there are plenty of games I missed out on during the year, but we can talk about them next year. What’s the rush?
This is probably the last you’ll hear from me until next year, so enjoy your holidays, eat and drink way too much, and I’ll see you in 2015!