The Year That Was - A 2016 Retrospective

2016 was, for all intents and purposes, a shit year. On a local level, one thing after another seemed to go wrong, and on a global level, the world looks poised to collapse in on itself (or at least on the US.) Praise the sun that the video games were bloody excellent.
 

Looking back on the breadth of experiences that were released this year, it felt to me like a shift from what we're used to. Instead of getting a handful of brilliant experiences amongst a plethora of average, 2016 presented us with a smorgasbord of extremely varied games. From AAA shooters to refined indie experiences; strategy titles to twitch action games. Every type of gamer had something fun to play - hardcore RPG goers dove headlong into a new Final Fantasy; FPS fans had the best lineup we've seen in a single year potentially ever; if you only ever had 5 minutes at a time to play, Nintendo's entry into the mobile market offered you games from some of the most well known franchises in games history.

 

The Witness_20160129180752.png

The Top Tier Indies

The Witness, Inside, Firewatch, SUPERHOT, That Dragon, Cancer

For the last few years, it’s often been the games made by small development teams (or even a single person) that have provided the novel and unique experiences of the year for gaming. On one hand the success of previous games have allowed for the rise if “Triple I” development, whereas on the other crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter have provided a flush of funds to teams with novel ideas.

The Witness and Inside provided 2 very different follow ups to previous projects Braid and Limbo respectively, both providing the gaming world with new takes on basic ideas while earning the highest of accolades from media outlets. Firewatch was talked about in gaming circles for the longest time prior to release, receiving the equivalent coverage as any regular AAA game. SUPERHOT blasted through with a wildly different take on the first person shooter by turning the idea into a puzzle game, while That Dragon, Cancer showed that games can be just as heartfelt and devastating as any film or TV show. 

 

The Spectaculars

No Man's Sky, Frog Fractions 2, Kentucky Route Zero Ep 4

They may not be 10/10 or they may have come entirely from left field, but boy did these games make a mark on 2016. 

No Man’s Sky. The saga has been ongoing for years, and will continue to go on for several more. While it might not have been the game everyone seemed to want, it was actually a game that was fantastic if enjoyed on it’s own merits, rather than focusing on what it wasn't. The story around No Man’s Sky’s marketing will stand as a shining example of how not to speak to your audience - “don’t do a No Man’s Sky” is already becoming a cautionary tale among some development circles. After months of silence however, Hello Games has recently come out with the “Foundation Update” - adding a bunch of new stuff to the game while promising much more to come. One day, this game will be actually spectacular.

Frog Fractions 2 had become a running meme for the internet whenever something esoteric was discovered - yet finally, after 2 years of ARG’s, elaborate musings and crazy hunting from a dedicated fanbase, Frog Fractions 2 is finally a thing. The catch, however, is that you need to purchase a whole different game just to access it - Glittermitten Grove. The Sigil ARG was possibly the greatest the gaming world yet, spanning 20+ other games, real life addresses and a box with a key. The game is just as out there as you’d expect - it will be quite some time before the depths of the game are mined 100%.

For those that have actually followed along with the game, Kentucky Route Zero’s 4th chapter was released after over 2 years of waiting. The game continues it’s trajectory, and is the second last and possibly best chapter for the game as a whole.

 

The Shooters

Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, COD IW, DOOM, Overwatch, Gears 4

After the last few years of the genre beginning to feel a little stale, development teams diverged in multiple directions to make 2016 one of the most varied and innovative we’ve seen in the last decade. 

The 3 big Fall shooters provided 3 very different experiences. Titanfall 2, arguably the best of the 3, brought it’s brilliant multiplayer across to PS4 while also providing the best campaign we’ve seen since Modern Warfare or even Half Life 2. Battlefield 1 took things all the way back to the Great War, and while the multiplayer was as destructive as ever, it was the vignetted single player campaign that stole players hearts - not only did a decent job respecting the atrocities of the war, but it provided a meaningful and overall different take on the standard shooter campaign. The weakest of the 3 was arguably Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, though that’s only because of the high bar set by the other two - it’s multiplayer continued to refine itself, while the single player made some new additions such as space dogfights and choices for optional side missions.

In the “best use of Hell” category, DOOM came along and reminded us just how fun the 90s were when we were blasting through creatively constructed corridors and tearing up demons. The game was striped back to the basics of what made the original game fun - fast paced action with a creative arsenal of weaponry - and then built on with smart modern decisions on handling mission structure and collectibles. Even the story, as ridiculous as it is (we’ve run out of energy for Earth? Well, guess we better import some from Hell!) was so well done and never too serious. Hell, the first few seconds with Doom Guy gives you the best indication of how much it matters - he quite happily punches comms radios and screens when someone is trying to talk serious.

As we all are aware, there are a few developers that hold such legendary status that basically everything they release is almost pure gold - *cough* Rockstar *cough* - but when it comes down to it, Blizzard is the king. They proved as much this year upon their release of Overwatch - a game that not only was an extremely good multiplayer only shooter, but one with such a fantastic cast of characters that it set the internet on fire. Fan art spread like the plague - the term "shipping" became mainstream. There are only a handful of games in history that can be said to have such an effect on gaming culture - Overwatch did that in spades.

Special mention also goes out to Gears 4, which while being a safe new entry for the series, still met the high bar set by previous entries. Gears of War is a series known for basically creating the 3rd person cover shooter for good reason. Judgement, this is not.

 

The Fantasy RPG's

Final Fantasy XV, Dragon Quest Builders, Darkest Dungeon, Dark Souls 3, I am Setsuna, World of Final Fantasy, Tyranny, The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine

Japan really kicked ass in the RPG department in 2016, showing off a whole range of reasons as to why the country is the true birthplace of the fantasy role playing video game. The west didn’t slack off however - companies like Obsidian pushed out great new titles, while at the same time we got one of the best DLC’s of all time from CD Projekt Red.

Right from January we were introduced to the Darkest Dungeon, an RPG dungeon crawler that twists the genre in novel ways by providing slightly sadistic but ultimately satisfying gameplay. I am Setsuna is a great throwback JRPG for fans of Chrono Trigger if that’s your thing, and The Witcher 3 had it’s final DLC in Blood & Wine that is so good it won best RPG of the year awards over full game releases. Tyranny is a game that asks the question, “What if evil already won?” while World of Final Fantasy was a great RPG in itself that contained characters from past games, rather than be ruled by them. Dragon Quest Builders was an overlooked gem, which turned out to be nowhere near a Minecraft clone - instead, it used that base to create something entirely different. Everyone's favourite masochism simulator series Dark Souls had it’s (final?) entry as well this year, which by all accounts is exactly one of those games.

Final Fantasy XV was a landmark game, one that fans had been waiting for for 10 years. Though playing through it definitely allays the indication of multiple different games existing at one point or another through it’s development, the game is such a weird yet wonderful mash of old and new that it succeeds more than it fails. For fans of the near 30 year long series, this game was worth wait.

 

The PC Strategy Games

XCOM 2, Civilization VI, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, Stellaris, Total War: Warhammer, Banner Saga 2, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Strategy games had for a long time been few and far between, but more recently have seen a return to form unlike no other. The PC certainly blossomed with wonderful, deep strategic titles in 2016.

The year was kicked off by 2 very different but fantastic titles - Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and XCOM 2. Homeworld turned out to be a faithful successor to the franchise while still being it’s own thing, and XCOM 2 flipped the formula laid out by the first of the rebooted series to keep the action fresh. The sequel to Banner Saga turned out to be an even better game than the well received original; Total War: Warhammer proved that the historic series could work in a fantasy setting (even though they messed up the name… It will always be Total Warhammer in my book). Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun trickled out right at the end of the year, offering up a satisfying top down stealth tactics game that is different to anything else currently on the market.

The 2 biggest 4X releases of the year both tuned out to be pretty great, coming from industry vets Paradox and Firaxis. Stellaris is set in space, offering a great variety of strategy and customization of space creatures. The early to mid game provide the player with a fantastic array of emergent stories of victory, wonder and defeat. While the game launched with it’s criticisms, Paradox is well known for their continued support and expansion of their properties, which I’m glad to say they have already made good on throughout 2016. Similarly, the grand daddy of 4X Civilization saw it’s 6th major entry, with a new more stylized art pallet and some changes to the base game that shook up the structure of play. Civ VI launched way more of a full game than Civ V did, which is good news for players already on it and for future expansions.

 

The 3DS Games

Dragon Quest 7, Pokémon Sun/Moon, Super Mario Maker 3DS, Fire Emblem, Bravely Second, BoxBoxBoy, Kirby: Planet Robobot, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice

Though the 3DS is starting to come up on it’s sunset years, the little handheld that could showed that it still had a slathering of great games to give in 2016.

It was a great year for RPG’s on the handheld, with Dragon Quest 7, Bravely Second and 7th Dragon III Code: VFD all launching throughout the year. The little downloadable game about a boy who is a box got a sequel with BoxBoxBoy, while the latest Kirby game turned out to be one of the best in Kirby: Planet Robobot. We also got a new Phoenix Wright game, which is on par with the better games in the series. Even Super Mario Maker was ported to the 3DS, and while it was fairly looked down upon for lacking features of the Wii U version (in particular not containing the ability to share levels online), if you are the kind of person who just loves to play some awesome 2D Mario levels on the go, this game turned out to be great.

There were of course 2 major games that reached must-play status for the system: Fire Emblem Fates and Pokemon Sun/Moon. Fire Emblem Fates deviated a little from past entries, offering up 2 separate games as well as a 3rd downloadable extra - thankfully though, each one plays as a separate timeline from the same campaign, making it essentially be 3 separate games in one. The largest success story though was of course Pokemon S&M, which, while being a traditional Pokemon game, made some fundamental changes to the formula that breathed new life into the game. Diehard fans and newcomers alike loved the new region, setting, characters and Pokemon to be introduced in the 7th generation.

 

The PS4 Exclusives

Ratchet & Clank, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4, Gravity Rush Remastered

The PS4 continued it’s trend of not really releasing many tentpole exclusive games this generation, instead focusing on a select few - which has turned out to be for the best for them, as they are nearly always producing terrific games. 

Ratchet & Clank rebooted the PS2/3 series from scratch with stunning visuals and a fun campaign that turned out to be great for gamers young and old. The best first party Vita game made it’s way to PS4 in Gravity Rush Remastered, opening up the fantastic action game to a whole host of people who wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise. One of the several of gaming’s white whales to come out this year also managed to sneak out was The Last Guardian, which while not having the most fantastic camera controls, was exactly the final game in the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus series fans had been waiting for.

But of course, the biggest story for the PS4 in 2016 was it’s crown jewel franchise. Proving that they are among the top echelon of developers and are almost Nintendo-like in their ability to make the most of their hardware limitations, Naughty Dog finally put out the final chapter in Nathan Drake’s series with Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End. This game smashes the bar for realistic graphics, whether it be the scenery or the incredible motion capture and animation of the fantastic cast. What made this game special however was it’s story - if ever there was a game to match movie quality in writing, production, performance and emotion, Uncharted 4 is it. 

 

Tokyo-Mirage-Sessions-FE-Art.jpg

The Wii U Exclusives

Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Paper Mario Colour Splash, Star Fox Zero & Guard, Zelda Twilight Princess HD, Pokken Tournament

As the decline of the Wii U continued and Nintendo switched focus (heh) to their upcoming console release, the system that lagged in sales and lacked 3rd party support still managed to provide a few gems throughout the year.

While Star Fox Zero was basically a dud with a forced control scheme, it’s side project Guard was actually quite a good tower defence game that made clever use of the gamepad. Pokken Tournament brought a fighting game across to the system, using one of their biggest franchises to boot. The Gamecube/Wii Zelda, Twilight Princess, was also a welcome addition to the library - while not necessarily a favourite of many hardcore fans, the game still holds up as a fantastic Zelda game (especially without the need for motion controls.)

But it was the 2 more left field games that left quite the impression for the Wii U - Tokyo Mirage Sessions and Paper Mario Colour Splash. While it still doesn’t quite live up to the games that started the series for some, Colour Splash is a fun game with some interesting RPG mechanics built in. Tokyo Mirage Sessions, easily the number one Wii U game of the year, was a whacky, extremely Japanese game that crossed over not only characters from 2 great franchises - Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem - but also RPG mechanics, pop star aspirations and Japanese teen life.

 

The Action Games

Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Hitman, Dishonored 2

AAA Third Party action/adventure/immersive sim/action RPG games also managed to step up their game this year, offering up a great array of adventures for us to embark on.

Rise of the Tomb Raider finally made it’s way off the Xbox One onto the PC and PS4, which not only provided a further bump in the graphical options but also a bunch of fun DLC, from Baba Yaga to Lara’s family mansion. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was on par for the series, allowing the player to play through a conspiracy story with all manner of gadgets and augments. Hitman proved their decision to take the series episodic was the best thing for it, releasing top quality content almost every month for the entire year - the move proved to be so successful that 2017 will see them continuing their work with a season 2 of content.

Dishonored 2 topped many a game of the year list in 2016 for good reason - flexing it’s pedigree as a successor to the Thief/System Shock/Bioshock franchises, Dishonored 2 is a masterful production in level design and gameplay. The options this game provides is staggering - from 2 protagonists with varied power sets (or none at all, if you choose), levels that can be approached from 20 different directions, objectives that can be interpreted and carried out multiple ways, world building that is unsurpassed. The story itself might not be the grandest, but it more than makes up for that by being a game you can play 10 times through and have 10 completely different experiences.

 

The “Under the Radar” Indies

Stardew Valley, Hue, Virginia, Abzu, Hyperlight Drifter, Devil Daggers, The Turing Test, Event [0], Pavillion, Halcyon 6, Rimworld, Stories: The Path of Destinies, Salt & Sanctuary, Owlboy, Pony Island

As I’ve already mentioned, it’s the indie games that provide breadth to the gaming scene in ways that the AAA just don’t - this year was no exception. While I’ve already got a list of 15 fantastic game mentioned here, there were dozens more great games released across platforms that are still hiding amongst the fluff in places like Steam. These were some of the best.

Virginia - An experimental movie like experience that has you walking through a Lynchian style story. A little weird, very up to interpretation, uses jump cuts in interesting ways.

Abzu - “Journey but under the sea” is a reductive description, but apt. The art style is striking, and the sea life are all created with painstaking detail.

Devil Daggers - A game with a singular purpose that does it fantastically well. One arena, the same enemy spawns every time, one weapon. With an art style hearkening back to the pixelated shooters of the 90s, your aim is to survive for as long as possible. Surviving for one minute is a feat in itself.

Pony Island - The less said about this game the better, but this game was one that actually was smart enough to fool me. was 2 of the best gaming hours I spent playing this year.

The Turing Test - A Portal-like experience, right down to the wielding of a gun-like device. Based on the actual test of the same name, this is a first person puzzler with a clever premise.

Event [0] - A clever first person game with an accompanying AI, this game works by you interacting with the AI through typing organically. It doesn’t always get it right, but the game and AI have a real charm to it.

Owlboy - A 2D sidescrolling platformer that is the 3rd "in the making for 10 years" game to be released in 2016, Owlboy has a great story, a beautiful art style and a ton of heart.

Pavilion - a self prescribed “fourth person adventure”, Pavilion offers a strange, eerie puzzle platformer that lets you work out what’s going on in the world all on your own rather than spoon feed you text.

Halcyon 6 - A clever mix of FTL, old school Final Fantasy and XCOM. This pixel art adventure will have you base building, fighting turn based battles, making diplomatic relations and collecting quirky crew members for hours on end.

Rimworld - A cross between Starbound and Dwarf Fortress. As it's basically endless, you pretty much always die, but boy the stories you get out of it are intriguing.

Stories: Path of Destines - An action game that takes the idea of replayability and puts some clever twists in place based on your decisions between chapters. The combat is clever and deep once you start unlocking more perks.

Salt & Sanctuary - A 2D sidescrolling game that is unabashedly Dark Souls, mechanics and all. Thankfully it pulls off the feeling to make for a clever take on the Souls’ series ideas.

Hyoerlight Drifter - A 2D adventure game that visually looks like FEZ but plays like the original Legend of Zelda from the NES. The game has it’s own language which you need to decipher yourself to learn what’s going on.

Hue - A gorgeous 2D puzzle platformer that takes colour and uses it in very clever ways. Definitely the most overlooked gem of the year.

Stardew Valley - A true happiness simulator, this PC take on the Harvest Moon formula lets you work your own farm, woo the local townsfolk, delve deep down a mine for minerals, go fishing e'ery day, or do whatever your heart decides.

 

The VR Games

Thumper, Rez Infinite, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Google Earth

While 2016 wasn’t exactly the explosive year for VR that some seemed to think it would be, there were a few titles that launched alongside the hardware that were “oh, this is why this is awesome” style experiences. 

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes has been around for a while, but VR is definitely the way to play the game - trying to talk to someone while in VR looking at this device that is about to blow up is quite the rush. Google Earth, while not a game, turned out to be one of the crowning achievements for the medium - the feeling this game has been described as how you imagine actually being on the international space station feels like.

But if there is one genre of game that fits perfectly with VR, it’s rhythm music. Rez made a comeback with Rez Infinite, which lifts the game to what felt like it’s original vision was always meant to be - while providing a whole new experience with Area X that blows the game right open. In the same vein, the self confessed “rhythm violence” game Thumper became the intense, all consuming experience that draws the player right in to it’s hellscape world.

 

The Open Worlds

Watch_Dogs 2, Mafia 3

After the smorgasbord of open world games that hit in 2015, 2016 ended up being (thankfully) lighter on such experiences. Thanks to the convergence of Assassins Creed taking a break and the lack of a Rockstar game to be released, there were only 2 major titles to hit the genre - both of which were of a high quality. 

Mafia 3 boldly pushed the series into the mainstream, and while it’s gameplay was mostly seen as average, its AI was laughable in some cases, the story felt a bit too padded and the open world was a little sparse, the story and world it presented was stellar and unabashedly real. Where a lot of AAA games shy away from saying anything meaningful, Mafia 3 has the balls to put racism front and center, while also touching on sexism, white supremacy, corruption and a whole host of real-world issues. The documentary style presentation is also a high for the game and gaming as a medium. 

Watch_Dogs 2, in a lot of ways, was an over-correction for the series - after the dull and dour tones of the first game, the sequel hits on the complete opposite direction. While this can seem overbearing from the outside, the characters end up being quite endearing once you get to know them. The game is thankfully also quite fun on it’s own merits, giving you a bunch of toys and options to play with when approaching missions. It may not be GTA V level of detail, but it comes closer than any other modern open world game has ever come to date.

 

The Mobile Games

Pokémon GO, Deus Ex Go, Super Mario Run, Clash Royale, Pocket Mortys

Every now and then, a mobile game will come and take the world by storm - and boy, did this year provide that in spades.

Clash Royale, the successor to Clash of Clans, would be a brilliant game if it wasn’t so pay to win. It actually has extreme strategic depth, but at the same time can be entirely one-sided to anyone willing to drop big dollars. On the other end of the scale we had Pocket Mortys, which was basically a Pokemon game for mobile but set in the Rick & Morty universe. Deus Ex Go was the third refinement in the Square Enix series and rounds out the Go franchise while maintaining what makes the IP so strong. Nintendo’s first game in the smartphone market, Super Mario Run, proved to be quite a great game from multiple angles, even if analysts weren’t happy with it’s “pay once, play forever” monetization model.

But of all the games to come out this year, none hit the same cord with the entire world as Pokemon GO did. attracting well over 100 million downloads, the game wasn’t actually that great in a lot of ways at launch - though Niantic are continuing to add features - but that didn’t stop the world from latching on to it. The perfect storm of the novelty in AR, the IP in Pokemon, the price point being free and the fact that it was available on hundred's of millions of devices already in everyone’s pocket skyrocketed this game to the most downloaded app ever. The game became a cultural touchstone around the world - it hit major publications, it caused stampedes in public places, parks that were empty before launch were flooded with people. It got people from all corners out of their houses and walking around their streets - at best, it got people rediscovering their neighborhoods; at worst, it was a lure for muggers or a causing people to walk off cliffs. Very few games ever hit the kind of cultural impact that Pokemon GO did during the middle of 2016.

 

The Sports Games

Forza Horizon 3, FIFA 17

Of course we saw the yearly entries across the board in Madden, NBA, NHL, Wrestling etc, but there were two standout experiences for the year that bled across into the general gaming audience as opposed to being just for the hardcore crowd. 

FIFA 17 was, for all intents and purposes, another refinement of it’s core soccer gameplay. What it added this year however, was the shooters equivalent of a big budget campaign - a mode titled The Journey. This mode isn’t perfect, but the narrative is a brilliant way to bring context and spectacle to a those who may like the sport but never pick up the game. 

Driving games were a little sparse in 2016, but all that was made up for by the release of Forza Horizon 3. Set in a beautiful amalgamation of separate parts of outback Australia, Forza Horizon 3 is a peak in an already extremely good series. The cars handle fantastically well, the world is open and ready for exploration and adventure and the graphical showcase this game provides is unrivaled. It’s the kind of game that you can tell was created by a team of dedicated car lovers - hell, Playground Games sent several of their devs to Australia to film the sky for an entire month just to get the skyboxes right.

 

Bonus: The Misses

Recore, Homefront: The Revolution, Technomancer, Mirrors Edge Catalyst, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Battleborn, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS, Mighty No. 9, Destiny: Rise of Iron

While the year was certainly filled with an array of fantastic games, it’s important to recognize the games that didn’t quite hit the way everyone hoped they would.

A few of these games were pretty firmly in the “OK” camp, such as Recore, The Technomancer and Destiny: Rise of Iron. Recore started off really well with some neat ideas, but does unfortunately fall off during the back half. The Technomancer was very much a AA game - a standard game that would have been groundbreaking if it was released last generation. The Rise of Iron expansion for Destiny wasn’t all hardcore players had hoped for - it was much shorter than the Taken King and way less side content. Tthough it was a good bonus for Destiny players to play, it just didn’t hit the same as the Taken King expansion. 

The Division was a good game at it’s base, but unfortunately suffered similar problems to Destiny at it’s launch - frustrating loot loops and a lack of end game content. The devs have made good on their word to support the game, and have taken large strides by adding in a survival mode, overhauling a lot of the base loot systems and adding in some other new content. Unfortunately the player base dwindled not long after launch, leaving only a hardcore player base behind. The Division ended up not being the Destiny competitor Ubisoft hoped for.

The 3DS, while being a stellar year in some cases (as above) did also include some unfortunate misses. Meteoroid Prime: Federation Force, while having potential to be an interesting experiment on it’s own merits, couldn’t get past the fact that it was attached to a franchise who’s fans wanted something completely different. Hyrule Warriors should have stayed on the Wii U - even with the new 3DS and the extra horsepower, this game just couldn’t handle the action and dipped it's framerate considerably during play. Much like Super Mario Maker but without any redeeming features, the 3DS version turned out to be the crippled one.

The rest ended up being disappointing for fans of each franchise. Homefront: The Revolution needed more time in the oven, as it’s development hell history showed through a little too much in the final product. Mirrors Edge Catalyst, the not-reboot of the franchise, was OK in some parts, but didn’t quite capture the appeal of the original, nor did it do anything to pull in a new audience. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was more than just a strange name - it was a mish-mash of odd ideas and harried design that might have been well received in the days of the PS2. But of all the games to come out this year, none were as disappointing as Kickstarter success story Mighty No. 9. After missing several self-set release dates and launching with terrible trailers, the game itself was a total letdown from a gameplay and design perspective. This game was to be the Mega Man game fans had been dying for for years - it turns out, fans are still waiting.

 

Bonus 2: Shoutouts to non 2016 games that are awesome

Xenoblade Chronicles X, FTL, Rebel Galaxy, To The Moon

I tend to play a mixture of games that are new and old, and there were a few I got to this year that were utterly fantastic.

Xenoblade Chronicles X released quite late in 2015, and didn’t get much attention in doing so. As it turns out, the game is absolutely fantastic for such a massive open world RPG. You can read my review for more on Xenoblade Chronicles X.

FTL is an indie darling from a few years back, so after hearing that the best way to play it was on a touchscreen, I decided to break my iPad Pro in with it. Turns out, the internet was right! I’m never usually into roguelikes, but FTL completely broke that for me. Not gunna lie, there were a few 1am nights after getting deep into a run. 

Rebel Galaxy is amazing for what it is. Want a little space trucking? Rebel Galaxy is your game. It’s low budget no frills, but it has so much style and heart that it was just such a blast to play. It knows what it is and revels in it.

To The Moon… man. I actually teared up a little at the end of the 2 hour journey this game took me on. That’s all I’ll say. Definitely worth the money/time.

---

And that my friends was 2016 in gaming. Thanks for coming along for the ride this year! 2017 already has a lot in the pipes - the Nintendo Switch, Horizon Zero Dawn, A new Zelda. I’m aiming to change things up a little more this year on how I put out content, so please stay tuned to Press Play Gaming. Let’s make 2017 a good one guys! Happy New Year!