Thursday, December 31, 2015

My favorite games of 2015 (that actually were released in 2015)

Although I bought and played a lot of games in 2015, the sad truth is that not many of them actually were released this past year.

In fact, aside from the ones highlighted here, the only other released-in-2015 games I remember playing are BOXBOY!, The Legend of Kusakari, Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross.

Still, I think the trio touched on below are worthy of all the praise I can heap on them.

The Legend of Legacy (3DS)--If I were forced to point out my absolute favorite of the current-gen games I bought and played in 2015, this weird, distinctly Japanese RPG would be it. Don't take that to mean it's perfect or recommended for everyone or anything of the sort, though, as The Legend of Legacy often goes out of its way to be repetitive, tight-lipped (as in, its story is the definition of sparse) and hair-pullingly difficult.

Still, I put nearly 40 hours into The Legend of Legacy since I got my hands on a copy of it a couple of months ago, so clearly its developers did something right. Specifically, I consider the pop-up backdrops, watercolor aesthetics and surprisingly deep battles they created for this 3DS title to be spot-on.

I wouldn't have complained if they'd added a bit more pizazz to that last component, mind you, but even in its current, somewhat unfinished state, The Legend of Legacy is pretty great, in my humble opinion, and well worth the hard-earned cash I spent on it.

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus (3DS)--Am I surprised that a lot of folks were let down by The Best Plus after digging into it? Not really. For starters, like me, they probably spent a long time looking forward to a new entry in this quirky series of rhythm games--and as we all know, that sort of thing usually leads to disappointment.

Two additional issues that surely pushed at least a few people down that same path: this title's "best of" nature (as in, most of its content is pulled from past Rhythm Tengoku releases) and its insistence on wrapping an unnecessarily chatty story around the included package of mini-games.

Although I'm just as guilty as anyone in being turned off by those "problem areas," I still walked away from The Best Plus happy that I added it to my collection. The new characters more than hold their own against those who were showcased in previous Rhythm Tengoku installments, and the new mini-games, while perhaps not as stellar as their predecessors, are well beyond passable.

In other words, there's plenty of fun to be had with The Best Plus if you lower your expectations a smidge and then just go with the flow.

Undertale (Mac)--Full disclosure: at this point in time, I don't consider Undertale to be a better (or more enjoyable) game than any of Nintendo's three Mother (aka EarthBound) titles. Granted, I'm pretty sure I've only experienced a fraction of what it has to offer so far.

Also, although I may not be as enamored with this unique RPG as some others are, there's no question I've loved every second I've put into it. The touching--and almost shockingly dark--story and pleasantly odd art style on offer here are obvious high points, but I also really appreciate Undertale's fresh take on old-school RPG battle scenes. As a result, I very much intend to blast my way to this game's finish line in early 2016.

Now that I've blathered on about my favorite games of 2015 (or at least those that actually were released in the last 12 months), please feel free to talk about yours in the comments section below.

See also: 'My favorite games of 2014 (that actually were released in 2014)' and 'My favorite games of 2014 (that were released before 2014)'

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