The year that was 2015 is coming to an end, and as we tend to do as a community, let’s take a look back at the games that made the year memorable. There were some awesome indie releases, some great first party titles, and even some out of nowhere hits for just about every console out there. Instead of counting down the highest rated games across the board, here at SlickGaming I’m only looking at the games I actually played in 2015. Sorry Xbox One fans, you won’t see anything on this list. That being said, there were actually a great many awesome games released this year, and it was pretty challenging to narrow it down to just ten! Let’s get this grand spectacle started!
10. Pokemon Picross (3DS)
Maybe because it just released and is fresh in my head, but probably because it’s a Picross game and I freaking love the series, Pokemon Picross for the 3DS comes in at the number 10 spot. It’s simple-yet-incredibly-addictive gameplay is only enhanced by the inclusion of Pokemon related images and goodies. Even better are the use of Pokemon abilities which give you hints and help on puzzles, something totally unnecessary but greatly appreciated! Couple those with the fact that the game is free to download (with some microtransactions which aren’t required) and you’ve got yourself a great game to play on the go. Ironically this isn’t the best Pokemon themed puzzle game on the 3DS this year…
9. Rocket League (PS4)
Like many gamers, I was first introduced to Rocket League as a free game for PlayStation Plus subscribers. And like many gamers I was pleasantly surprised by how fun Car Soccer I mean Rocket League was! It took a good while to get used to how to play and handle the game’s speed and physics, but when I found a good online match there was plenty of excitement and disappointment with each goal and game! Almost a gaming phenomenon, Rocket League really came out of nowhere and surprised a ton of people in 2015. To this day I still hop on and get a round or two in when I’m short on time but want something fun! Even for retail price, this game is a great time!
8. Fallout Shelter (iOS)
The only game I played on iOS this year more than a couple of time was Bethesda’s excellent time waster Fallout Shelter. Announced at E3 along with Fallout 4, this little simulation game was full of Fallout spirit! Everyone’s delighted demeanor despite the post-apocalyptic world pretty much being shit gave the game a lot of charm. Even when killing rad roaches for the hundredth time the vault dwellers were happy! Sending someone out into the Wasteland to scavenge for supplies was exciting and dangerous! And, if you got lucky and earned (or bought) some Vault-Tec lunch boxes you could even unlock some unique and memorable characters. Three Dog was in my vault, and that’s all I really needed!
7. Pokemon Shuffle (3DS)
What a year to be alive! Two free to play Pokemon games are on this list! Sadly, the third game, Pokemon Rumble World, didn’t make the cut. But Shuffle sure did thanks to its addictive gameplay, lovely art design, and simple mechanics. It’s kind of like Candy Crush but not as random and not as dumb/mindless. In Pokemon Shuffle you still have to clear rows of Pokemon by matching like creatures, but there are special power ups to use, daily and weekly challenges from the developers, and a not-so-awful way to get more hearts you need to play the game. In short, it’s a solid entry for Nintendo into the free to play market. And it’s even on iOS! If you like Pokemon and puzzle games, you should play this.
6. Mario Party 10 (Wii U)
I don’t know why there was so much hate for this game. Sure, it doesn’t hold as much of a nostalgic feeling as the original Mario Party games, and it might be a different formula than we’re used too, but Mario Party 10 was and still is a really great way to spend time with friends! I think that might be why people felt Mario’s tenth box social wasn’t as good: they didn’t have friends to play with! It makes a big difference! Speaking on the game itself, the Bowser’s Party mode is an excellent new mode that incorporates the Move-As-One idea from Mario Party 9 in a much better way, and the amiibo Party mode is a solid, if not flawed, throwback to the old Mario Party days! There’s really no reason to not buy this game if you have a Wii U and play with friends. It’s a no brainer for a good time.
5. Until Dawn (PS4)
Until Dawn follows in the footsteps of games like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, but I somehow never played those games to tell you about them. After getting a remarkably good deal on this one and hearing from a lot of sources it was wholly worth my time, I decided to give it a go. And man, saving (or not saving) a bunch of dumb kids from a cabin in the woods festering with creepy crawlies is great! The dialogue and character reactions in particular stood out as something I’d actually say or do if I were in that situation. There were almost too many choices to make here: do I take the flare gun or give it away? Whatever you choose it’ll have consequences later (“Boom… Butterfly Effect”). This game won’t be for everyone, but if you like atmosphere and story in your video games, look no further!
4. Etrian Mystery Dungeon (3DS)
Having played and loved the past couple Etrian Odyssey games, I was on the fence with Etrian Mystery Dungeon. I hadn’t played any previous entries in the long-loved Mystery Dungeon franchise, and the idea of constantly changing floor layouts coupled with a game known for it’s incredibly challenging gameplay seemed a little too much for my tastes. But man, I’m glad I got over that ridiculous thought, because Etrain Mystery Dungeon is amazing! Excellent RPG elements combine with fun and engaging strategy and action segments to make this game well above average. It’s a great example of a blend of two genres/franchises rather than one franchise just being in the style of another: this felt like an Etrian game and a Mystery Dungeon game. If you call yourself a fan of either, you owe it to yourself to check out this gem on the 3DS!
3. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Admittedly I haven’t played this game as much as I would have liked, but I can still tell you I haven’t had this much fun with a “Classic” Mario game in ages. There are limitless possibilities with this game, and the reason it’s so high on this list is because I’m seeing weekly updates of new user created levels I actually want to play! Some stages are so advanced I can’t even imagine what it took to make them. Speaking of which, I don’t even LIKE making levels, and that’s literally in the name of this game. But the amount of content and playability in the package makes it a must-have for any Mario fan. Challenge, fun, and creativity are par for the course in Mario’s latest outing, and it’s easily one of his best yet. That’s saying something!
2. Fallout 4 (PS4)
What will likely top many a gamer’s best of 2015 falls to number two here, but it’s still an incredibly, amazing, addictive game. Fallout 4 definitely isn’t Fallout 3, and I’m happy for that. As a fan who has played every game in the series (including Brotherhood of Steel and Tactics), I think this is a good thing. Fallout 4 has it’s own style, it’s own personality, and while it’s different it still feels like a Fallout game. I am probably not even halfway through exploring the Commonwealth but I still want to keep going! The vastness and magnitude of the world is staggering! Never before, probably not even in Fallout 3, have I felt like wandering just to see what’s out there! The Fallout franchise is a gigantic world, and Bethesda has captured what made everything about Fallout in the past and changed it yet again into something equally awesome. It’s just not as awesome as one other game…
1. Splatoon (Wii U)
A brand new IP coming completely out of nowhere this year, Splatoon made the Wii U relevant even after Super Smash Bros.! The squad-based online shooter was a first for Nintendo, and a huge risk all things considered, but blasting your opponents with ink while trying to cover the map in your own team’s color proved incredibly fun! The interesting approach in Turf War, the game’s main mode, took the goal away from killing enemies and instead on covering the map, meaning your gameplay style would have to adjust if you were a seasoned FPS fan. Frequent and free updates (which are still happening to this day!) added new modes, new weapons, new weapon types, new gear, and new stages breathed new life into the game! The Splatfest events which pitted two topics against one another (like Cats vs. Dogs) were silly but fun ways to engage the player. And that art style! No other game in the whole of 2015 can even come close to how polished and beautiful Splatoon is. If that’s not even to earn it the top honors, the game’s soundtrack is so exceptional I’m thinking of dropping down $50 to import the official soundtrack (appropriately called “Splatune”) from Japan! Hell, the game was so fun, Laura and I actually cosplayed as the Inkling Boy and Girl at PAX 2015… and we weren’t the only ones! If you have a Wii U you need Splatoon. If you don’t have a Wii U, you need to buy one and Splatoon.
Do you agree with the list? Keep in mind, these are only the games I actually played during the past year. Sadly, many games I never got around to playing. And many more were pushed into next year that I really wanted to play!
If you were wondering, some other games were left on the chopping block for this top ten. In no particular order, they included: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Legend of Legacy, Yoshi’s Woolly World, The Sims 4, Grow Home, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D among others.
What are you top games of 2015? Let me know in the comments below!
So many titles are coming out next year, I can only hope their as good as this year’s!