A couple of days ago, I declared Game Freak's Pocket Card Jockey, the weird 3DS eShop title that bravely combines horse racing (and breeding!) with golf solitaire, my favorite game of 2016.
That endearingly odd 3DS game isn't the only one released in the last 12 months I thoroughly enjoyed, of course. Here are three others that fit the same bill:
Dragon Quest VII--Including this recently released remake of Square Enix's classic PlayStation RPG from the early 2000s probably strikes some of you as odd. After all, it's just as often annoyed me as thrilled me in the 50-plus hours I've put into it so far. (Examples of both reactions to the game can be found in this post and in this follow-up.) Still, I like its island-hopping (not to mention time-traveling) adventure more than I hate it, so I think mentioning it here is warranted. Plus, the only game I've played more in 2016 than Dragon Quest VII is Pocket Card Jockey, so it actually would be kind of weird if I ignored it in this post. I mean, you don't devote nearly 60 hours to a game that's irredeemably terrible, right?
Witch & Hero II--Although I prefer the more straightforward gameplay of the first Witch & Hero to the more convoluted gameplay of the second, that doesn't mean Witch & Hero II is a dud. On the contrary, it's sure to be a blast for anyone who enjoys retro-tinged titles that don't require a ton of time or attention. Both Witch & Hero games were inspired by the tower-defense genre, by the way, with the first title slipping players into the shoes of a knight who has to protect a petrified (as in turned to stone, not paralyzed by fear) witch, and the second one allowing players to control both adorably pixelated characters as they do their darndest to fight off swarms of similarly eye-catching baddies. (Additional musings on the sequel can be found in my "five thoughts on Witch & Hero II" write-up from March.)
Yo-Kai Watch--As has been the case with Dragon Quest VII, my mid-2016 playthrough of Yo-Kai Watch was not entirely pleasant. For the most part, though, I found myself both charmed and captivated by the latter, Pokémon-esque RPG. That's mainly due to the game's setting, yo-kai (the game's catchable characters) and battles. I grew especially fond of Yo-Kai Watch's amusingly interactive enemy encounters in the 40 or so hours I plopped into my cartridge earlier in the year--even if they did a number on my 3DS' lower screen. (For more of my thoughts on this Level-5 product, read my "three things I like and dislike about Yo-Kai Watch" post.)
Honorable mentions: The Battle Cats POP!, Final Fantasy Explorers, Kingdom's Item Shop, Return To PoploCrois: A Story Of Seasons Fairytale and Unholy Heights