Faves of 2016

February 6, 2017

That’s anoth­er year gone by! This year I end­ed on the Back­log­gery mem­o­ry card with a score of +25, which is just slight­ly less than my end score last year. This year I released JMPR for Game Boy Jam 5 and Tahi­ra’s Tow­er (also for Android). That’s just two projects, but I’ve been hard at work on Mobil­i­ty as well, which I’m real­is­ti­cal­ly aim­ing to release this year. I’m cur­rent­ly also mak­ing stuff in Puz­zle­script, so you can expect to see those soon as well.

As part of the wrap-up, here’s the list of my favorite games of the year. As always, it does­n’t have to mean the games have been released this year – just that I played them. The list is in no par­tic­u­lar order. These also main­ly list com­mer­cial games – if you’re look­ing for free­ware games I like, check out this itch.io col­lec­tion.



A fan­tas­tic min­i­mal­ist rhythm game that I’ve played a ton this year. This game proves for me that rhythm games work excel­lent­ly on mobile, and although I’ve also played the oth­er rhythm games by the same devel­op­er, I think this is the one that plays the best, and has the nicest sound­track selec­tion of both free and paid tracks avail­able. Deemo has a free demo on Android.

The Legend Of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC/SC

I’ve main­ly been prais­ing Fal­com for the Ys games (which I’ve also played a ton of this year). In Trails, the sto­ry and its char­ac­ters are tak­en sig­nif­i­cant­ly more seri­ous­ly, and the com­bat sys­tem actu­al­ly stays decent­ly fresh through­out the games. Every­thing else has the usu­al lev­el of detail and charm, and does a ton of inter­est­ing stuff, like the in-uni­verse quest log, revis­it­ing loca­tions in fresh light in the sec­ond game, and it’s many lit­tle oth­er nuances. It did cause me to burn out on long RPGs, though!

Project Mirai DX

Vocaloid cul­ture isn’t real­ly my thing, but rhythm games are, and the game­play is actu­al­ly real­ly good. Most of the beatmaps in the game are real­ly good and fun to play. It has a decent track selec­tion and some side activ­i­ties. Its dif­fi­cul­ty is a bit low­er, but I don’t real­ly mind that.


I want­ed to invest a lot of time into read­ing a sto­ry, some­thing I could do in my down­time, and was­n’t dis­ap­point­ed with Clan­nad. I like to com­pare it to Moth­er 3 (or Earth­bound) in the fact that it’s sto­ry switch­es tone very often between com­e­dy and tragedy. I loved how in-depth the sto­ry goes, and the music backs up the sto­ry per­fect­ly. This is one of my first expo­sures to a real­ly long visu­al nov­el, and now I’ve got a taste for more…


Ear­li­er in the year, Two Tribes announced RIVE would be their last game, and what a finale it is. Twin stick shoot­ers are secret­ly one of my most favorite gen­res, and the com­bi­na­tion of that genre with plain old plat­form­ing works real­ly well. It’s a short but sweet game, and recent­ly got some extra bonus con­tent so I’m still revis­it­ing it from time to time. One of the most ‘fair’ dif­fi­cul­ty games I played this year.

Fire Emblem Revelations

The oth­er Fire Emblem Fates sto­ry­lines are also nice, but this last one that ties them togeth­er is the best. It also exper­i­ments with the new ‘Drag­on Vein’ gim­mick, includes some of the best maps, and fin­ish­es the sto­ry in a sat­is­fy­ing man­ner. I liked the ear­ly mis­sions the best, where you’re still with a small army and the lev­els are more puz­zle-like than strat­e­gy-like.

Rhythm Paradise Megamix

The orig­i­nal DS game kept me busy for a long time, so I was super exit­ed that a ‘Best of’ com­pi­la­tion was the next game in the series to release. It con­tains both clas­sic, nos­tal­gic rhythm games as well as new addi­tions. That amounts to a record num­ber of rhythm games, and add in the qual­i­ty of life improve­ments and the Chal­lenge Train, and bam! The 3DS has had a ton of great rhythm games, and this is a splen­did finale for the genre on this con­sole.

Honorable mentions

Fast Rac­ing Neo: Nice fast rac­ing game that can be unnec­es­sar­i­ly pun­ish­ing at times.
Rune Fac­to­ry 4: Real­ly nice to just chill out with and attempt to make some sto­ry progress. I got to the cred­its but there’s still more to it, and I’m revis­it­ing it from time to time.
Human Resource Machine: Nice puz­zle game, code can get messy when you’re enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly attempt­ing to turn your idea into code, but the inter­face and puz­zles are real­ly well thought out.
Nais­sanceE: Plat­form­ing and puz­zle bits were a bit meh (as well check­points often being spaced too far away from each oth­er), but world design and archi­tec­ture are absolute­ly amaz­ing and noth­ing short of breath­tak­ing. You can find secrets in every cor­ner of the world. This game just oozes mys­tery.
Afford­able Space Adven­tures: I played the main sto­ry com­plete­ly in co-op with my broth­er, with reg­u­lar men­tal sup­port from oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. It’s a blast and can get hilar­i­ous from time to time. Some puz­zle ele­ments (like forced sound/heat max­i­mums and avoid­ing over­heat­ing or under­cool­ing) can get annoy­ing.
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Con­quest were also pret­ty good. I still dis­like that you can only unlock extra mis­sions by pair­ing up char­ac­ters, which I almost nev­er pay atten­tion to since it mess­es up my short term strat­e­gy too much. The QoL improve­ments over Awak­en­ing were quite good, though.
Fan­ta­sy Life: Anoth­er excel­lent game for chill­ing out. Over­all enjoy­able, sto­ry is short but has a lot of after-sto­ry mis­sions you can do. Some QoL-relat­ed design is ques­tion­able. It still has DLC you can play, but you need to grind up to lev­el 50 to play it which isn’t worth my trou­ble at the moment.
Mark of the Nin­ja: I real­ly enjoyed play­ing this even though it’s a gerne I don’t nor­mal­ly enjoy. Find­ing out the way to cre­ate the most chaos in each sce­nario while stay­ing hid­den is real­ly super fun, and the ten­sion in this game is incred­i­bly high. Con­trols do take some time get­ting used to.
Even the Ocean: Extreme­ly acces­si­ble, good plat­form­ing, and a spe­cial kind of sto­ry. In some aspects sim­i­lar to Ano­dyne, but the world and sto­ry take itself sig­nif­i­cant­ly more seri­ous­ly. Inter­est­ing options are avail­able, like only play­ing either the sto­ry-heavy or the plat­form­ing-heavy part of the game, or play­ing through an ear­li­er, unfin­ished con­cept of the game.
Steam­world Heist: A real­ly fresh approach on the turn-based strat­e­gy genre. I enjoyed this one, but got annoy­ing at some times and can be pret­ty pun­ish­ing, even on low­er dif­fi­cul­ties.

Looking forward to this year

Not a lot. I might get excit­ed for the Switch if it turns out to have good games on launch (Zel­da is good but not enough for me). Oth­er­wise, I’ll stick to indie games and maybe do retro gam­ing (par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the SNES era of games).

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