It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The time when I get to produce a list of 10 games I love, and then present them to the internet, a large percentage of which throw things. I can’t change what I love, people.
Note there are no mobile games on the list of the site’s mobile editor. That’s because I have the power to create a completely separate list for those, which may or may not arrive before year’s end. Until then, I bare my stupid little gaming soul.
Runner 2: Future Legend Of Rhythm Alien
My favourite game on the Wii was the unique rhythm platformer Bit.Trip Runner from the fine folks at Gaijin Games. It was tough-as-nails and as unforgiving as the girlfriend I traded for G.I. Joes when I was eleven, but the way it integrated gorgeously evolving music with my flailing attempts at rhythmic movement was downright intoxicating. It hurt me, but only because it loved me. Its sequel, Runner 2, loves me harder and longer, and across multiple platforms, no less. From Wii U to PC to Vita to the little auto-runner Bit.Trip Run! for iOS, this is a sequel that looks better, sounds better, and is just plain more sure of itself.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness
10 years. I spent 10 years after the release of the original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness playing numerical sequels to Nippon Ichi’s ridiculously over-the-top strategy role-playing game starring characters that had barely anything to do with the ones I originally fell in love with. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness for the PS3 catches up with the original dynamic threesome — fledgling overlord Laharl, his mostly traitorous vassal Etna, and the fallen angel Flonne — and suddenly the urge to spend hundreds of hours levelling characters is back. Missed you guys.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
As I explained in my nomination for DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us for Kotaku‘s 2013 Game of the Year, I really like this game. In short, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing a video game all year, and that doesn’t mean just the one sitting. I’ve played it on Wii U. I’ve played it on PS3. It’s one of the few launch titles for the PlayStation 4 I own and I have it on PC just in case.
Skylanders: Swap Force
I love toys, if they are tiny bits of plastic with no articulation to speak of. As long as they are well made and designed with care and consideration for the rest of the line, then I am fine. I also love 3D platformers, with the running and shooting and — finally — the jumping. The third entry in Activision’s toy-driven series isn’t just a fresh set of toys with a body-swapping gimmick — it’s one of the most polished platforming games around, and one with more than 100 playable characters to boot.
Project X Zone
We still are not worthy of this epic cross-over between Namco Bandai, Sega and Capcom. Action heroes from across all three brands converged in one brilliant, cross-planar adventure for the Nintendo 3DS. It may star a predominance of fighting game characters from titles like Darkstalkers, Street Fighter, Tekken and Fighting Vipers, this wonderfully odd mash-up isn’t a brawler, but rather a tactical strategy role-playing game.
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Didn’t I just review this? I swear I just reviewed this. Oh yes, that’s because I just reviewed this. Go read that instead. Yes, I am being lazy. It’s nearly Christmas. I am entitled.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F
Say all you want about Sega not bringing their Japanese hits overseas, but earlier this year they made a bunch of freaks who love anime robot singing very happy. Yeah, I’m one of those. I love rhythm games, as we’ve established, and from my other selections here one might gather I am a fan of Japanese anime. Mix the two together, and you’ve got a guy who’s going to hug the next Sega expect he runs into for bringing Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F to PlayStation 3s overseas.
Ubisoft has to have found some sort of magic bean or made a dark pact with shadowy figures, because they’ve made a little guy I couldn’t care less about a few years back into a unparalleled 2D platform gaming legend. The thus aptly-named Rayman Legends is as seemingly endless source of the tightest running to the side in ages, and when the developers mix in a little music, forget about it. I am lost.
Super Mario 3D World
Then I plugged my Wii U back in and smiled for days.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
This last one was tough. The stunning transformation that saw one of 2010’s biggest failures become one of my favourite games of 2013 was lessened somewhat this week, when a new patch to the second (third?) massively multiplayer online Final Fantasy game basically pissed off everyone playing. Something about not having several million Gil to afford a house or something. I thought long and hard, and came to the realisation that despite the current climate, some of my most enjoyable gaming moments this year were spent in revamped Eorzea, so it still counts.