I have lately gotten into the habit of buying almost all my games on Steam sales. As a result, I have an excellent Top 5 list – for games that came out in 2017. My hardest decision of the year was choosing between Prey, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Big Pharma, and the game below as my favorite game released before 2018. Some of my favorite games of the year were titles that I missed last year. But there were a few titles that stuck out as special, including a clear winner for my favorite game of the year.
Favorite Game Released Before 2018, Played in 2018: The Legend of Grimrock 2
After neglecting the grid-based dungeon crawlers for a few years, I finally started picking them up this year. Ironically though, I didn’t actually like The Legend of Grimrock that much, and that was the game that revived this genre. However, its sequel is one of the best sequels ever made. For me, it was 50 hours of addictive dungeon crawling, monster bashing, and secret hunting. The game kept absolutely everything that was good about the first game and then expanded it with new features like a great big open world, new character types, and tons of new enemies. If there is ever a third game in the series, it will be a Day 1 purchase for me.
2018 Honorable Mentions
Solo, Beholder 2
Top 5 Games of 2018
The market for crafting and survival games where you chop down trees and cook apple pies is saturated. There is no way to put a new spin on it. Or, at least that’s what I thought before I played Deiland, a splendid little game that put together these old, tired game mechanics in a brand new way. Rather than a huge, sprawling open world, you have a tiny little planet all to yourself. That planet packs a ton of variety into it’s small area, allowing you to grow a huge variety of crops and craft a huge variety of tools and improvements. In between its unique spin on old gameplay and its colorful characters, Deiland was a solid title worth playing.
4. Guacamelee 2
I would have liked to have seen more improvements in this sequel than what it offered, but the basic formula of Guacamelee is already so fun that this sequel was still a blast to play. Thanks to its colorful, wrestling-themed beat-em-up combat and its terrific sense of humor, Guacamelee 2 provides some of the greatest fun that you can have with this genre.
3. Pillars of Eternity II — Deadfire
Pillars of Eternity II is proof positive that “disappointing” and “good” are not mutually exclusive. This title was no less ambitious than its predecessor, but a handful of bad design decisions by Obsidian kept the game from reaching those same lofty heights. I loved the setting, the political intrigue, and the grand sense of adventure that the game offered. Still, I wish that more of the first game’s issues had been addressed and that less of what wasn’t broken had not been fixed.
I’m always kind of bummed when a great game like Youropa comes out of nowhere and then sort of fades into the background without getting much attention. That is not to say that it was a perfect game, but it had some excellent level design and terrific puzzles to go with its quirky and lighthearted atmosphere. There are plenty of puzzle platformers out there for you to play, but I don’t know of any other game where you can design your avatar’s look with spray paint and then walk on walls and ceilings with him.
1. Don’t Starve: Hamlet
I looked forward to this game for months and it did not let me down. It’s amazing to me that after two single player expansions and a multiplayer expansion, Klei still managed to come up with more Don’t Starve content that didn’t feel like a simple tweak or a reskin of previous material. Hamlet adds new recipes, new enemies, and an economy, which is a new game mechanic for the series. Despite having put well over 60 hours into this DLC after just a few weeks, I am already lamenting that this will probably be the last Don’t Starve expansion. I was wrong before though. God willing, I’ll be wrong again.