For my own record, here are my favorite games I played in 2017. Just like last year, I don’t really mind if a game was released this year or sometime before—just that I played it in 2017. The list is no particular order.
Alan Hazelden’s Sokobond was a bit too complex for my taste, and while A Good Snowman was charming, it was a bit on the simple side. Cosmic Express feels like the exact in-between option, and also one of the better and most accessible track-drawing puzzle games I’ve played so far. It also gets pretty hard once you get to the bonus challenges.
A surprisingly well thought out sci-fi story with a fantastic lo-fi graphical style. Although the story is good, I find the level of detail, character and world building surrounding the plot even more interesting than the story itself. The voice acting really is the topping on the cake.
Although I’m not sure if this game was inspired by Undertale directly, it seems to follow many of the same values, and also has some curious programming wizardry, constantly breaking the fourth wall as part of the story. It seems Undertale’s success sent a message to the (indie) game industry: Start making more thoughtful and non-violent games, which I suspect we’ll see more of in the coming years.
Behind the rough graphics lies one of the best thought-out puzzle worlds of all time. Sausages are both the means of reaching the goal, obstacles and the goal itself at the same time. The simplicity in mechanics allows the dynamics to really shine, provided you take your time to figure it all out.
Wonderfully minimalist and feels like a joy to play. Feels very much like a puzzle game while also being a twin-stick shooter, and this combination works wonders. The sound design is just as much ambient goodness as 140 was (which also got a new level this year).
The wonderful team at Ludosity keeps putting out interesting spins to well established genres (like Ittle Dew 2). It’s a good thing these games just can’t take themselves seriously, since CCN doesn’t shy away from injecting a bit of nonsense into story and gameplay from time to time, keeping things fresh throughout.
The future of multiplayer gaming. Ever since I introduced this game to my friends, we barely play any other multiplayer games. Some incredibly well thought out game sessions that are genuinely comedic.
This year’s walking sim award (last year’s was NaissanceE). While you could take the touristic route by following the breadcrumb trail, you’re free to explore between the dunes. All vistas are wonderfully crafted and thoughtful, with wonderful sound design to boot.
Story and strategy majestically combine in this round-the-world trip. While you want to see as much of the world as you can, you have a deadline to meet, so you’ll have to make some tough decisions. The story itself is incredibly thoughtful and diverse, as well as grand in scope.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild – A breath of fresh air for the open world genre and the discussion on player autonomy.
Super Mario Oddessy – Takes a new spin on the open world genre in a completely different way than Zelda did it.
Puyo Puyo Tetris – Guess all I’ve ever wanted in a Tetris game was a good story/mission mode. Still learning how to properly play Puyo Puyo.
Hacknet – Good puzzle game that also sort of teaches you how computers work!
Social Caterpillar – A game that attempt to explain what it’s like to be an introvert by abstracting communication and social situations. Bit rough around the edges but still excellent food for thought.
Scrolling Survivor – Finally someone managed to make a good autoscrolling platformer. Awesome one-bit art style, very well thought out gameplay and quite a bit of content to uncover.
Finding Paradise – This takes ludo-narrative dissonance to the extreme, and just like To The Moon, provides excellent commentary on the meaning of life.
Well, I hear Runner3 is releasing! No idea what Nintendo is up to after Mario and Zelda. Other than that, I see myself gravitating more towards smaller experimental/non-traditional games (this is the first year I’m including games hosted on itch.io on this list) and expect that trend to continue.