Skip to content

Some games I played in 2016

Wow, I’m punctual for once in my life! I admit after 2015 (which should be finished sometime soon-ish) I realised I’m running out of opinions even I could be bothered reading, so I figured a blog post with a few lines for each game would be enough. If there’s a game I really need to waffle about in detail, I’ll probably find an outlet for it, but until then, read on!

Grow Home
Romp around on planetoids and examine stuff. A very chill little game, a good one to fart away an evening with. Bit of a nuisance to control and I said “stuff that” to the single object I was missing, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Mega Man Maverick Hunter X
It’s Mega Man X, only with cute low-poly graphics! There’s a few quibbles that I’d recommend newcomers play the original first before this, but it’s a really nifty package, especially for a PSP game. Newly-arranged levels, a new playable character, and a 20 minute OVA!

A Story About My Uncle
Grapple hook through alien worlds. The mechanics were nifty and it’s a nice little experience, but I can’t imagine I’d ever revisit it.

Mega Man: Powered Up
It’s Mega Man 1, now with bobble-headed designs and multiple playable characters! Honestly couldn’t get into this the same way I did Maverick Hunter X – the screen felt way too cramped and the platforming and physics felt strange. A pity, because I like the new features, just not actually playing them.

BlazeRush
Continued from 2015 and 100%’d. Stonkingly fun car combat with easy controls and fun weaponry. The multi-player is a blast; there’s so many fun ways of screwing over the opposition! It makes it hard to revisit single-player though; the AI is so predictable!

Treasure Adventure Game
I talked about this a while back! A charming indie Metroidvania that offers a lot of content for no money at all. It’s a bit of a slog exploring in the early game, but it gradually opens up. Some dodgy bits, but worth a goosey.

Spelunky
2D platforming for treasure. Very fun and easy to pick up and play: “just one more try!” Stopped playing once I reached the end and I’m asking myself why, it’s a good li’l game!

Brilliant Bob
Continued from 2015: Finally beat the last two levels (using Cheat Engine to slow down the game). Bullshit 3D platformer. There’s ideas in there, but hell if I have patience for it.

JUJU
Donkey Kong Country Returns for babbies. Twee visuals, but the lack of speed and momentum dilutes any excitement it might have. Give this game Donkey Kong’s roll and it would make such a difference.

Mini Moto Racing EVO
Top-down racer. Easy to pick up and play with a simple control scheme, and if you don’t mind repeated courses there’s a lot of content for your money. However, its upgrade system meant I had to fight to keep the game’s difficulty in check and not steamroll everything.

Limbo
It’s that fucking game! It’s like Out Of This World but without the whimsy or variety or engagement. Gameplay’s okay, but man, just looking at it saps the joy out of me.

Vanquish
Third-person-shooter from Platnium Games. It’s fast and intense and gives the player real control over their movement, allowing them to zip all over the place. I love it! I played it on Casual because I’m bad at games.


Stretch Panic
Weird 3D boss battler from Treasure. I love the cartoon graphics and there’s some cool ideas in there, but it’s not much of a game. It’s a neat effect, but stretching isn’t really that exciting a gameplay mechanic.

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
Continued from 2011 (!!) and 100%’d. A charming little game that means a lot to me personally, for its strangely melancholy tone and odd standing among early 3D platformers. Would love to write more about it sometime.

Croc 2
I tried to like this, but it just changed so many things for the worse. The levels are too big, the gimmick stages aren’t fun, the hubs are confusing, no lives and too few health refills… what a waste!

Shovel Knight
Kick out the old 8-bit homages, this one gets the trophy. Outstanding 2D platformer with shades of Mega Man, Ducktales and Castlevania, with oodles of challenge and content. Its free DLC campaign is outstanding and really fresh, and there’s more to come! I put it off for so long because people oversold it, but I’m afraid I’m gonna add to the pile and say it’s a game well worth playing.

Rocket League
Football with cars. My brother and I had some good laughs playing this online. Community’s a bit abrasive at times, especially in the super-power mode, but it’s a tremendously fun game that’s easy to get to grips with, unlike most footie games.

Transformers (PS2)
Continued from 2009 and 100%’d on Commander difficulty. Still the best Transformers game I’ve played. A sterling third-person-shooter with heaps of collectibles, exploration and challenge. Tough as nails, but the variety of equipment makes it compelling to revisit and experiment.

Portal 2
The other first-person game about warping around and shit. If you want more of the same, you got it! It’s a more fleshed out single-player experience, and the co-op is nifty if argument-inducing. Kind of soils GLaDOS as a character, but oh well.

Curses ‘n’ Chaos
Outstanding pixel art, tepid single-screen brawler. Don’t expect in-depth mechanics or combos or anything, this game’s all about managing the number of dudes on screen. It’s okay, but those graphics deserve a way, way better game. You can say that about all of Tribute Games’ work, really.

Bomberman Hardball
Golf, tennis and baseball with Bomberman. I don’t know who was asking for this game – there’s a “life” mode where you watch Bomberman fart about in his bedroom and dress him up?? – but it’s probably the most robust multi-player Bomberman package on the PS2/GameCube platforms. Hope to get this covered on the Shrine Place soon.

Mighty Gunvolt
A Mega Man-lite; a few short stages to play through with three different play styles. I initially played it to hype myself for Mighty No. 9, but Beck’s the shittiest character so that did more harm than good. Not a bad wee game on its own merits, just very bite-sized.

Mighty No. 9
Despite the hate train, probably one of my most enjoyed games this year. It’s just more Mega Man! The characters and dialogue are entertaining and there’s a lot of challenge to come back for. A bit of a mixed bag though; some of the weapons are tremendous fun, some are total duds; some stages are great, some are dreck. If all you want is more Mega Man and are used to the dodginess, I say go for it. I’d like to write my thoughts in full sometime.

Gex
Bog-standard 2D platformer where you have to find TV remotes in big stages. An interesting example of what 2D platformers would’ve looked like in the 32-bit era if they stayed in vogue, but otherwise pretty blah.

Bomberman Act:Zero
The big fuck-up. Played both modes to completion a couple of times, so that’s twelve hours of my life gone. The game is actually totally fine, but the package is lousy: no story and no local multi-player, for that price? Could’ve been something really interesting if it weren’t so shallow. Check out my reference page!

Altered Beast (arcade)
Played at a friend’s bequest. As an arcade game it’s an eyecatcher: lovely big graphics and a compelling Harryhausen aesthetic. The gameplay’s as shallow as a penny-sized birdbath, though.

Thomas Was Alone
2D puzzle platformer about stacking blocks to the exit. The game’s simple enough, but the music and charming narrative are what pushed me along. I can’t believe I nearly teared up over coloured rectangles!

Hard Corps: Uprising
Hard-as-balls arcade shooter, but really rewarding to conquer. A worthwhile product all around, but I gotta commend it for its upgrade system – you can toggle things off or on to fine-tune the exact challenge you want. More of that, please!

Sonic R
Just got in the mood to revisit this. Is this my favourite Sonic game?? It’s a bizarre little product, but its unique environments and offbeat gameplay really enchanted me. I am itching to gush about this game in-depth, just to warn everyone in advance.

Sonic Adventure DX
Replayed the first four stories to examine how it approaches 3D space and gameplay compared to Sonic R (I’m a thrilling person, I know). It’s a glitchy mess of bizarre mechanics and half-thought ideas, but to me it’s still a charming and entertaining game. Might find an outlet to waffle my thoughts sometime.

Cat Girl Without Salad
Silly cartoon shmup by WayForward, lead-programmed by my pal Matt! Oddball power-ups keep you on your toes regarding how you blast baddies, and daft dialogue means there’s more to play for than score. It’s probably not a must-have, but it’s a fun ol’ game for what it is.

Toy Box Turbos
It’s Micro Machines only without Hasbro’s trademark! You want more of the same, you got it – now with more modes, cups, cars and online multi-player. The speed and power-ups admittedly aren’t as wild as Micro Machines V3, but still a good fun game.

Table Top Racing
A more traditional racing game but on macro-sized environments. It’s okay, but it’s got a stupid progression system that roadblocks you with insane challenges that require upgrades that squander the challenge of everything after it. I’ve got more opinions on how it handles progression than the game itself.

Environmental Station Alpha
It’s Super Metroid. No, really, it’s Super Metroid. It’s got its own unique abilities and whatnot, but it really wears that influence on its sleeve. Can’t argue, though. It’s Super Metroid. You want more Super Metroid, right?

The Legend of Dark Witch
Another Mega Man-lite with 80% more anime girls. A neat clone with cute graphics and a heap of challenge to come back for, but the weapons kinda stink? Might need to spend more time with it. For £4 it’s a decent package.

Star Fox 64
Felt like dusting this off; got all medals on both Normal and Expert difficulties. A really dang solid arcade shooter; fun dialogue, great levels, fantastic replayability. I hate to gush, but golly! Second helpings, please!

Visitors
Voted “Yes” on Steam Greenlight for some unfathomable reason and bought it just to be polite. Run around wheat fields to turn on generators without being abducted by aliens. Completed it in 7 minutes. Got a refund. The video on the store page has more content than the game!

Star Fox
Never really gave this a chance before. An impressive feat for the SNES, and it offers some killer challenges that the later games can’t compete with. I’d love to play it more, but I confess the framerate and other quibbles kinda soil my experience with it. Bummer!

Star Fox 2
The unreleased one. More freeform gameplay with full range of motion, featuring space battles, puzzle-solving and dungeon exploring. It lacks the arcade design of its predecessor and feels like a bizarre fusion with Zelda at times, but it’s beautifully presented and strangely compelling, easy to pick up and play. I would’ve loved this as a kid!

Star Fox Assault
The free-flow gameplay allowing you to hop between Arwing, Landmaster and on-foot is really compelling, something that should make for interesting gameplay… but it never really lives up to anything. Arwing stages are a bit blah, most missions are too long, and the story’s too dark and miserable for my liking. Multi-player looks fun though. If only it had more going for it than that!

Star Fox Command
Took me six years to get to grips with the controls, no joke, but a strangely compelling little game? The touchscreen movement is really smooth, the bite-sized gameplay is great for on-the-go play and I keep coming back to see the various entertaining story threads. Just wish there was a wider variety of stages and challenges…!
(if the theme weren’t a clue i’ll probably find an excuse to waffle about Star Fox in depth in the future)

Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii
Continued from 2014, finished with my brother. A rock-solid mod that got us shouting in excitement more than the base game ever did. Stacks of levels with secret exits – and entire secret worlds! – to come back for, with a fair difficulty and co-op friendliness to boot.

Diddy Kong Racing DS
A cute port of the N64 game marred by some dodgy changes. Battles and Silver Coin Challenges are gone in favour of drawn-out create-a-track races and on-rails balloon-popping sessions, which are quaint at best and game-disrupting at worst. You can unlock those old challenges, including four new tracks that are quite fun, but there’s little here for veterans.

Overcooked
A boffo local multi-player game where you have to cook food on demand and under a time limit. Furious fun shouting commands at each other with friends, if stupidly stressful! Single-player experience is fine, but it ain’t a patch on playing with pals.

Shadow the Hedgehog
Played this at 1am on Christmas night because a friend and I were talking about Powerman 5000. Oh, gosh, I forgot how janky it was. A fidgety camera in too-large levels with fussy objectives. Some levels just ain’t fun to play. I still somehow consider it an okay game – better than Sonic Heroes, at least!