2017 has been an absolute insane year for incredible game releases. So many that I have barely scratched the surface when it comes to my personal shame-pile. But while I may not have gotten all the AAA action I wanted, I still managed to fall in love with plenty of titles.
Here are my favourites.
Doki Doki Literature Club
Doki Doki Literature Club is refreshing and surprising. It's also one of those games that achieves a lot without having to sink tonnes of hours into it. I've really become a fan of shorter games this year for that very reason, which you'll see from some of my other entries.
It's hard to describe Doki Doki without giving the plot away. So let me just say this - lean into the slow burn of this seemingly simple "anime dating sim". And make sure you play at night. With the lights out.
Steam: The Literature Club is full of cute girls! Will you write the way into their heart? This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux.
What Remains Of Edith Finch
I fell hard for this game.
I expected a beautiful, narrative driven tale shrouded in mystery, and the game certainly delivered on that. What I didn't anticipate was the rapid changes in game play mechanics when you delved into the lives of different characters.
This may sound like a cheesy ploy to inject unnecessary mini games into the story, but that isn't the case. It's handled artistically and the change in style feels natural due to the circumstances of the story.
Again, I don't want to spoil your experience so I can't say much more. But please give Edith Finch a chance. It will blow you away.
Steam: What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she's the last one in her family left alive.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac.
South Park The Fractured But Whole
The Fractured But Whole continues on from The Stick of Truth by delivering yet another game that isn't a mere parody of the genre. Or anything and everything else that South Park can think of.
It's a genuinely great RPG in its own right.
I'm a really busy person. That's why I have generally opted for shorter games this year. Yet The Fractured But Whole is the first 20+ hour game in recent memory that I bought on release day and spent an entire weekend playing. I even blew off real world plans for it.
I can't wait for the DLC.
Steam: In South Park: The Fractured But Whole, players will delve into the crime-ridden underbelly of South Park with Coon and Friends. This dedicated group of crime fighters was formed by Eric Cartman whose superhero alter-ego, The Coon, is half man, half raccoon.
As the New Kid, players will join Mysterion, Toolshed, Human Kite and a host of others to battle the forces of evil while Coon strives to make his team the most beloved superheroes in history.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2
I was waiting all year for this bad boy to drop.
This has been my go-to when I need some intense stress relief. For anyone who has played, this will sound weird. The entire game play revolves around getting restaurant dishes out by hitting the correct button or key combinations. It's the opposite of relaxing.
But therein lies its appeal. Where many games can be played quite passively, or allow for your mind to wander slightly - Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 demands all of your attention. You can't afford to do anything but concentrate on it, otherwise you may end of setting your kitchen on fire.
This forces you to put everything else out of my mind, which is incredibly therapeutic.
Steam: A 60+ hour experience as you build your restaurant from a roach infested eatery to a World Class Platinum Star experience by either running your own restaurant or branching out as a chef for hire, where you take jobs within the tower and various restaurants as you gain experience with the large array of foods, which spans 350+ levels across 30 restaurants!
Available on: Windows and Mac.
Ticket To Earth
I'm not usually one for tactic-driven games, except for when it comes to the Fire Emblem series. But I absolutely devoured this indie game that was locally made in Melbourne.
I smashed the entire first chapter on a plane to Japan earlier this year.
I think what really appealed to me was that there's a perfect balance between the tile-matching game play and RPG. You will not want to skip the story.
I didn't expect to become so heavily invested in the characters or how I customised their skills. And yet I found myself fretting over my choices. This is not something I expected to find on a mobile-driven game (it's also available on desktop).
The second I landed I found myself tweeting at the devs, dying to find out when Chapter 2 would be available. Thankfully, it is now!
Steam: Ticket to Earth fuses battlefield tactics, tile-matching puzzle, and epic sci-fi RPG in one unique package. Four unlikely heroes are thrown together to save everything they love from murderous criminals, hideous mutants, and a corrupt government.
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Yet another game I completed in a single sitting.
I hadn't really been one for dating sims before, but Dream Daddy inspired a new addiction.
I had a lot of fun getting to know the characters in the game and struggled with who to make my personal Dream Daddy. But more than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between the protagonist and his daughter.
Though it is perhaps a little idealistic, the dialogue between them was funny and extremely cool. In fact, that's how I would largely describe the writing in general.
This is definitely one for anyone dipping their toes into the dating sim genre. Then you can move onto the weird stuff.
Steam: Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. Are you ready? Hi ready, I'm Dad.
Available on: Windows and Mac.
Player Unknown's Battlegrounds
This may seem like an obvious one, but not for someone like me. If you told me a year ago that one of my favourite games of 2017 would be an online FPS I would have suffered some low-key anxiety.
I don't have anything against FPS, but I have an almost-crippling fear of them. I love video games, but I have never really believed I was actually good at them. The thought of being measured against other people and letting a squad down terrified me.
But then I started to casually play Overwatch on console. And I wasn't terrible. In fact, I got really good at it. And just like that, it acted like a gateway drug.
But I was still apprehensive about playing anything competitive on PC, mostly because I hadn't had a proper rig in years. I hadn't played the likes of Counter-Strike or even Starcraft in over a decade.
A few close friends convinced me to play PUBG because winning didn't really matter to them. They played for fun and for the stupid stuff that can happen. So I agreed.
A few hundred hours and many a chicken dinner later, I may not consider myself to be a really good player, but I'm pretty good and really love the game. Not only is it some of the most gaming fun I've had all year, it reignited my PC gaming confidence in myself. I'll always value that.
Steams: Players must fight to locate weapons and supplies in a massive 8x8 km island to be the lone survivor. This is BATTLE ROYALE.
Available on: Windows and Xbox One.