5. No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle
One of my favourite games of the last few years is Suda51’s No More Heroes, the original game was a fantastic action game with some brilliant humour, unique bosses and was the answer to the question “What would happen if Quentin Tarantino made a video game?” The sequel contains all of these and a butt lot more, the self-referential aspect is still present, the bosses are even better, ranging from a psycho ghost clown with a flamethrower to a soviet astronaut and his space program. Plus they’ve thrown in 8 bit mini-games as side jobs, brilliantly capturing the look and feel of NES games, complete with fantastic chiptune music and even cart blowing. It’s twisted, funny and very violent, but it will put a smile on your face.
It’s amazing to think how far video games have come in the past 20 or so years. From HD graphics, 3D gameplay and complicated plots that make Christopher Nolan’s head spin, we live in an age where video games stand next to films and literature in terms of storytelling media, but every once in a while, a game comes along that reminds us why simple is just as good as complex. VVVVVV is just that. Armed with just 4 directions and an action button, VVVVVV is a sci-fi puzzle platformer that takes you back to the Commodore 64 days, with minimalistic graphics and a fantastic chiptune soundtrack. It’s difficult to master, but inventive and a complete riot.
3. Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver
I love Pokemon, always have and I hope I always will. And whilst these games are remakes, they’re made so affectionately, almost as a love letter to those who continually buy the games. Everything you loved about Generation II is here and given a fresh lick of paint, Johto is completely unchanged, Kanto is still here to be explored and Red is still waiting for you. But that’s not it, they’ve added everything great about the past 2 generations, meaning more Pokemon, gym leader rematches, almost every legendary is catchable (except the event ones as per usual) and the plots been expanded, including a much rumoured revelation. As with every pokemon game, it’s chocked so full, I got it at launch in March and still haven’t discovered everything. It’s the ultimate Pokemon game and the perfect send off before Nintendo re-invent the series with Black and White, due next year.
2. Super Meat Boy
A back to basics platformer this is, a walk in the park it is not. Super Meat Boy is this utterly charming game which see’s you as a slab of meat destined to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Dr Fetus…and I’m sold. You have to avoid saws, needles, salt, fire, fans and Dr Fetus himself to overcome some of the most addictive, yet infuriatingly difficult levels. You’ll die, you’ll curse, you may even break a controller, but you’ll never give up. It has the addictiveness of the classic Mario games, with absolutely perfect controls and jump mechanics.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2
What else was it going to be? Super Mario Galaxy was amazing, just one of the best games ever and I never thought that they would ever top it…well, they did. Whilst the fans of 3D Mario may dislike its linearity, it reeks of classic Mario more so than New Super Mario Bros. ever did. It’ll take all your skill to get through the game, but I loved every second, every orchestral note, every step. It’s incredibly challenging, yes. Grandmaster Galaxy is the evilest thing in gaming and I died at least 300 times on it, but the difficulty is easily put aside when you realise just how much fun you’re having. I had so many game overs just fly by because I wanted to get back into the action. And that’s a sign of a fantastic game. It’s epic, it’s fun and it’s completely mind-blowing and just something that you have to play as it’s nearly impossible to sum up.
Now, obviously, a fair few games are missing from this countdown, I’m aware that Mass Effect 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Red Dead Redemption etc. are all on most peoples top games of the year, but I haven’t got round to playing those, for many reasons such as time and more often than not, not owning the console it’s on (I’m currently able to play PC/Wii/DS titles) so this is a list of the top games I’ve played. However, if you want to tell me your favourite games of the year and recommend me some good games, regardless of console, feel free to in the comments below. I think we’ll all agree that 2010 was a fantastic year for gaming and 2011’s shaping up well with Zelda, 3Ds and a more hardcore gamer usage of the Kinect, hopefully I’ll have lots more Nostalgia 64 and Analysing song lyrics for you (suggestions for both are ALWAYS welcome) and I hope you have a happy new year.