2016 may go down in history as just a photo of a piece of poop, but it's at least a pile of poop on top of a giant pile of super awesome games. It's just one of those years where every time you look around, there's something new and cool and interesting to play. Even little-loved systems like the Vita and WiiU had two or three things come out that were worth a look at. Everything is exciting! Video games are fun! Don't look outside oh god it's terrible out there save yourself!!! Video gamesssssssssssss!!!!!!
Favorite game released before 2016, played in 2016: Steamworld Heist
Ok so this is a weird one that I wanna talk about because it came out in 2015, but it came out after we had already done our GOTY for that year so it's kind of ineligible for anything that we have, and it's a super shame. This game is just fantastic, a wonderful tactics games that takes it into a new dimension and really makes it feel like you're an actual space pirate. You go in, wreck a bunch of dudes, steal their hats and loot, and then go hang out in seedy dive-bars. Also everyone is robots! It's such a cool game, and though it's out on multiple platforms by now it doesn't seem like it made that much of a splash. Grab this game! It's one of my favorite strategy games, and it's worth delving way into.
5. Titanfall 2
This is by far the most surprised I've been by any game this year. I went from no interest in the original, to curiosity about this one, to being such a huge champion for it. Titanfall 2 is so unexpectedly amazing, both in the excellent multiplayer and superb single player that is so willing to introduce and do away with mechanics over the course of a level. The Effect and Cause mission block is one of the coolest things I've ever played, and the fact it's only around for that ONE level is crazy. Plus the multiplayer has some really cool modes in it, and the clan system is basically guaranteed to be one of the most ripped-off things in future online games from other companies. Titanfall 2 shows so much about how to be a sequel that is grander and far more improved than the predecessor, and the fact it undersold is criminal and we should all be ashamed of ourselves.
SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS. SUPERHOT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOTER I'VE PLAYED IN YEARS.
I'm shocked at what a triumph Thumper is. It's a game simply about hitting the right directions or buttons in time to the music, but the sheer spectacle, feel, and impact of every little thing you do in the game is frankly unparalleled. The constant clanging grind of the music, the slam of every move as you bump into walls or break barriers, it's all the most satisfying that I've felt a game be in a long time. And the look of it! I just wanna get lost in it and make it the entire aesthetic my life is based around.
2. The Witness
The Witness really works through how fascinatingly contradictory it is, a game that both preaches about the virtues of science over art while also being one of the most artist-driven games I've ever played. A lot of what this game has to say is, frankly, troubling, a kind of outlook that I would normally rail against, but the game that wraps it all up is SO GOOD, such an amazing puzzle game, managing to build so interestingly on a simple concept of solving mazes before making itself more complicated. The mechanic is less that the game blocks you, and more that your own lack of knowledge does. But as you get to know more, more of the game opens up just through your knowledge and understanding of how the world works. It's incredible, and for how many hours I've already spent on it I know there are hours longer I can do to mop up any puzzles I've missed.
1. Picross 3D Round 2
How weird that putting out the sequel to the best game on the DS results in one of the best games on the 3DS! Weird that that might happen, huh? The introduction of the new mechanics that are in Round 2 add an extra degree of challenge to the game, but it's also just amazing how good this idea still is. It's not fundamentally that different from the original, but it changes just enough to feel super fresh and exciting. I know some crazy people balked at the idea of paying $30 for a puzzle game, but if that puzzle game is one of the best games available on a system, it shouldn't even be a question. Grab this and add some life to your 3DS!
Honorable mention: Klaus, DOOM, Pokemon Sun/Moon