Llaura & Alexandra's 2018 GOTY

21 of Llaura's 2018 Favs:

Bitsy Mystery Dungeon - lotsa peeps

There's been far too many great bitsy games to mention, but here's one that shows off the amazing community around it.  Bitsy is probably the best thing to happen to games in a long time.

Tip-Toeing Around An Empty House - spacepuppy

spacepuppy  is making games that speak directly to my soul, I feel like they're making exactly the kind of experiences I want to play. It was a close call between this and quietly, so PLAY BOTH: https://spacepup.itch.io/quietly 

Paratopic - ArbitraryMetric

The freshest first person game I played for a while, serious Tarkovsky Solaris vibes from the car scene. This game has unrivalled atmosphere and is one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had in a game.

0_abyssalSomewhere - nonoise

I could never get into Dark Souls, but this game is everything I want from them. Deeply brooding and mysterious worlds. Perhaps my favourite game of the year.

Universal Paperclips - Frank Lantz & Bennett Foddy

Clicker games get a bad rep, here's a video I enjoyed recently defending them.  Universal Paperclips makes the inspired leap to match the genre with the fear of AI, the endgame of capitalism and perhaps even entropy itself. I love how the mechanics are so entwined and heighten the story. 

Where Do I Fit? - William John Holly

The loveliest storybook I played all year. I would love to see more storybooks like this. Really beautiful. Imagine the world where this is what kids games were like?

Touch Melbourne - Andrew Gleeson & Cecile Richard

Stunning art and stunning tactile interaction. <3

The Fields Near My Home - mitunayon & EceSeyrek & Somerset House

So many amazing Flatgames games this year. There was a fantastic exhibition of them at Somerset House and they had members of the public creating art and games that got remixed into other games. This was one of my favs.

Silverybield Foss - Ed Key

I cheated and added another Bitsy. This game by Ed Key has such a sense of place too. The aesthetics are just wonderful.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit - DONTNOD Entertainment

Really good AAA storytelling. It's rad to see what can be done when the budgets that go into big team games goes into telling a powerful character driven story.

The Haunted Island - Grace Bruxner & Thomas Bowker

I've loved Grace's games since Fish Market and each one is a joy. In the Frog Detective's first case her storytelling expands, and it's really something. Even if the journey wasn't so hilarious and memorable as it is, it would be worth it just for the animal dancing.

Deltarune - Toby Fox

Undertale and Deltarune are games I like to watch rather than play, but again here Toby Fox shows that no one can write characters like him. I think far more than the JRPG his games seem inspired by webcomics and serialized storytelling, where the characters you love keep popping up and it's about how they react to new situations. 

Wake Up - Philisophic Games

This game is really cute. Some really funny memorable touches to this lil game. I love that running faster, only makes the enemies run faster too!

POD -  Maximilian Lund, Tobias Larson, Roberto Costas, Sigurd Maltha, Thomas Sørensen and Kjartan Tysdal

One of the best student games I've ever played. The comparisons to Pixar are so justified. Often student games can get lost in mechanics and big ideas, but here's a short story perfectly executed. I think there's interesting comparisons to be made with VR Storytelling also. It starts in a VR perspective, but then opens out and goes beyond, and in this freedom highlights some of the weaknesses inherent to VR.

Seasons (季节) - David Su & Dominique Star

Beautiful and unique. I've seen people try to do something similar a couple times in the past but never so successfully.

Levedad - Julian Cordero, Frankie and Steph Butchko, Emilia Gonzalez Salgado

A game that transcends simply being a lovely tone piece by evolving the space around you as you take photos. With the passage of time a powerful narrative emerges. Also, it's v v pretty. :3

The Craigallian Fire - Niall Moody

Another one of my flatgame favourites this year. Everything I love about flatgames, a sense of place and a sense of texture. Niall Moody makes some of the most interesting games going. 

- Froach Club


Alice's 1997 - Oddly Shaped Pixels

Simply a great interaction.

You're Going to Make A Great Mother One Day - Wally Ntagonistic

A trans-masc body horror. Scariest game I played in 2018.

Cinco Paus - Michael Brough

I've probably spent more time in 2018 on Cinco Paus than anything else. It's absolutely brilliant. It takes the programming/reprogramming logic puzzle subgenre and almost deconstructs them to create a strategy game. Something that's compelling to poke at and also has a lot of depth to master. No game has captured the feeling of being a wizard so well, one moment I feel like I have the ultimate power of the universe and nothing could possibly stop me, and the next I've blown myself up and feel like a fraud and charlatan. An amazing marriage of Michael's mysterious cryptic games like Corrypt and his exacting tactical rogue likes.  Arguably one of the greatest game designs ever.

Honourable mention:
Literally everything Annapurna released. Those folks are making some damn cool games. FLORENCE OMG FLORENCE.
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Alexandra's List

Heaven Will Be Mine - Pillow Fight Games

Heaven Will Be Mine is a visual novel that is both about humanity giving up on our future beyond the stars and making out with cute girls piloting mechs. You play as one of three protagonists from warring factions, given the choice between returning home or living out the rest of your days with your space wife. With fantastic art and stellar writing from the team behind We Know The Devil, Heaven is a truly new approach to the well-worn mecha genre, offering the player something beyond engaging with the usual plucky protagonists who occupy the medium. While there is love or rivalry to be found in space if the player wants it, there are also real dramatic stakes.

The Missing: J.J. MacField and The Island of Memories - White Owls Inc.

The Missing may not be the most technically proficient game on the list but it is the most important. The game blends the trademark SWERY weirdness with something more heartfelt, presenting an unexpected maturity and respectful representation of a queer character and the journey to accept herself that she’s on. The injuring yourself to solve puzzle mechanics may not be for everyone, especially with every bone crunching action highlighted further by impeccable sound design, but it makes more sense once the true story of the game is revealed.

Sea of Thieves - Rare

Sea of Thieves is a game I first became aware of due in part thanks to Waypoint’s periodic streams of the game. Through watching these videos, I was able to see an initially quite empty game with simplistic fetch quests flourish and slowly fill out its world with more customisation and compelling narrative nautical journeys with expansion content like Cursed Sails and the Megalodon centered Hungering Deep. When I finally got a chance to play it myself, I found it a fascinating but flawed game. The feeling of adventure and exploration is like no other game I’ve played in the last few years and the mix of Rare’s signature cartoon style with more realistic, visually stunning graphics is something that needs to be talked about more (Seriously, I could write entire essays on the waves or sunsets in this game!). The game is at its best when you and a group of friends are content to sail around and cause mayhem or just play out your pirate fantasies on the high seas.

No Man’s Sky NEXT - Hello Games

Much like Rare, Hello Games’ efforts to build on the promises of No Man’s Sky turned into one of the year’s most anticipated updates. NEXT brought with it a whole range of content updates including the long awaited multiplayer update that was promised during the initial promotional cycle for the game. While the game itself has not fundamentally changed, there’s now a greater variety of options for what you can do in this universe, whether that’s the chill experience of cataloging the wildlife of these alien planets while listening to some podcasts, a purist survival run or commanding and operating a brigadier with your friends. 

The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa - yeo

Ringo is the newest game on my end of year list, having only discovered it due to its inclusion on Colin Spacetwink’s Giant Bomb list in December. The pitch of a semi open world modern day vision of River City Ransom sounded too good to pass up. To limit Ringo to that though would do a disservice to a game that is as much about deciding our next step in life as it is an old-school beat-em-up. You play as Ringo in the final autumn of his high school experience as he navigates the familiar locales of his hometown, getting into fights with other delinquents, attending class or just playing video poker if that’s what you prefer. While it has the familiar trappings of a classic fighting game, there’s also a melancholic side to Ringo’s wanderings. The game is set for a Switch release later this year and if this micro review has sparked your interest, I highly recommend checking it out.

Honourable Mentions:

Celeste - Matt Makes Games Inc.

one night, hot springs  -  npckc

Hitman 2 - IO Interactive

That's it for our 2018 lists,
Peace xoxo

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