For me, gaming is and always will be quintessentially about fun. If I'm not having fun with a game I don't care how amazing it looks or how well designed it is. That is not to say that these don't often go hand in hand; but I will take a graphically inferior, old school, polygonal game that oozes enjoyment over a mediocre but well-polished AAA game any day. 2017 was a great year for games that embody the spirit of fun, and my list is in no particular order, but it does exemplify the games I had the most amount of fun playing.
Favorite Game Released Before 2017, Played in 2017: SOMA
SOMA is a frightening game. There are only a few enemy encounters and no jumpscares. And yet, SOMA paints a much more horrific type of fear. The type of fear of isolation and truely utter hopelessness. The story is amazing and quite possibly one of the best I have ever experienced in a video game. If you're any sort of fan of survival horror, and appreciate a good slow burn of fear, SOMA is for you.
2017 Honorable Mentions
Cuphead, Batman the Enemy Within, Cosmic Star Heroine,
Top 5 Games of 2017
5. Sonic Mania
It was such a breath of fresh air to see the blue blur speed back into proper classic form. With amazing level designs and an overabundance of creativity, this game was a blast to play. It's classic Sonic with more modes, multiplayer, speed running options, and lot's of secrets to unlock. What's not to love?
4. Yooka Laylee
I will admit it, I am a sucker for 3D platformers. I especially love the collectathon genre that was all but extinct until this year. Yooka Laylee was judged very harshly when it was released, and to be honest this surprised me. It really does feel exactly like the game that was intended; that being a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie with bigger levels. Having played the games back to back, I think they really did hit the nail on the head. I would encourage you to give the game another shot, especially now that it was been extensively patched.
3. A Hat in Time
What would a sequel to Mario Sunshine look like? Well, a lot like this I imagine. From the bonus obstacle courses to the level instancing, this game channels the best of Mario Sunshine and ditches the worst. With fun vibrant levels that vary in theme and goals it was just so much fun to play.
2. Shovel Knight: Specter or Torment
I love Shovel Knight in general. It takes every great about retro gaming and removes the clunky parts that the early industry was still figuring out. Specter of Torment is another excellent entry into Shovel Knight's Treasure Trove that I have played over and over. With it's tight controls, excellent sound track, and excellent level design, old school platforming just doesn't get any better than this.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
I'm sure this surprises no one at all, considering Yooka Laylee and A Hat in Time are present on this list. But what can I say? 3D platforming collectathons are my great gaming love. You have all heard about how great this game is, so there's nothing more I can add. Go play it!