You might have spent a good part of the year trying to ram giant balls with your car or look for adhesive out in the Wastelands. While you were off slaying mythical creatures, a number of amazing games probably slipped under your radar. I’m talking about games ranging from murder mysteries to sending a man up into space. Every year is an amazing year for games and 2015 was no different. Here are our top 5 games that you probably didn’t get around to, but really should play right now.
Imagine taking a great murder mystery, pulling out all the pages, and stitching it back together one word at a time. That’s the idea behind Her Story. In the game, you’ll have access to an old computer database filled with three months of interviews from Hannah Smith, the wife of the victim. You start out only knowing that she’s a suspect, but you have no other info on what or even how the murder happened. By typing in search terms into a 90s-style console, you pull up the first five videos that happen to match. From the words you glean from the testimony, the story starts to build around ideas, places, and important objects to the murder. Only by understanding what happened will you be able to piece together all the videos.
One of the remarkable bits about this game is that you’re dealing with full motion video. There’s something amazing about seeing a live human on the other side of the interview tapes. Viva Seifert’s portrayal of Hannah runs the gambit of emotions as she turns from victim to accused, but it’s that bit of realism that makes you feel like you’re really scrolling through old police files from years ago. Her Story is a remarkable game that blurs the lines of cinema and interaction.
An hour into the game, you won’t get it. Two hours in and you think that it’s cute idea. Five hours into the game and you’ll start to understand what kind of magic lines underneath all of this. Undertale is one game that pretty much everyone I know has fallen in love with after playing it.
A long time ago, monsters and humans used to live together in harmony. Something happened to destroy that and the monster all hid from humanity. You play as a child who falls down a hole in the mountains and finds these missing monsters. Like most RPGs, you fight through random monster encounters to earn money and experience to help you level up to fight even harder monsters… or not. Undertale allows players to pass through the entire game without swinging a punch by talking with each of the monsters you encounter. Compliment, bribe, even date; the system allows every monster to bring their own little bit of story into the drama.
But that’s really not everything. The game remembers choice you make in other games, knows if you are streaming the game online, and hides some of the deepest mysteries that players are still trying to solve online. With its simple color pallet and minimal animation, Undertale may be one of the deepest and most intriguing games you play this year.
A game is not always about what happens on screen. Sometimes it’s about what’s going on beside you. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes puts you into the role of a bomb disposal unit. One person will be faces with the task of disarming the bomb while the rest of the team must flip through a physical manual filled to the brim with info. The interaction between the groups that makes this game so much fun to play since no one person has enough info to completely solve the puzzle and disarm the bomb. It’s a game of shouting, laughing, and trying to explain what you mean when you are looking at the business end of a bomb.
It’s kind of like the SimCity of space travel. Play around with SimCity long enough and you start to understand zoning, public transportation, and where to best put fire stations in a city. Start poking around Kerbal Space Program and you start to understand what it takes to put a little screaming guy into space and bring him back down. You run a NASA-like program to shoot things up into the depths of space. The missions start out small, but you’ll quickly find that even perfecting a stable orbit around the planet takes some time. Manage to land in one piece and you’ll get new toys to play with to take you farther and hopefully cheaper into space. If you’re someone who just wants to play around without having to worry about pesky money, Kerbal Space Program lets you build just about anything and watch it blow up to your heart’s content.
With the release at PSX a couple of weeks ago, this quick-twitch shooter made it just under the wire. Two years of early access has not only given Nuclear Throne a gleam that makes even the deaths feel good, it also built up a community to support the daily and weekly challenges the game throws at you. You play as any number of mutated gun-wielding characters as you fight for your life and one more bullet as you work your way to the elusive throne. Along the way, you get to mutate your character with different traits like more health, regaining ammo, or the ability to shoot water out your butt. If you are looking for that next “one more time” kind of experience, look no further than Nuclear Throne.
Others you might like:
Downwell – Take one dungeon crawler and point everything straight down. Downwell straps a pair of gun pants on you and lets you fall through multiple levels of enemies, power-ups, and some of the best game design you’ll see all year.
Prison Architect – Sooner or later, it’s all going to come crumbling down around you, but Prison Architect lets you live out your warden dreams of keeping inmates in line and for a profit.
Crypt of the Necrodancer – Do you own a DDR Pad or have any sense of rhythm? Then you need to play one of the most innovate and fun dungeon crawlers to ever have dancing skeletons.
The Magic Circle – It’s a game that knows it’s a game. It’s not even a finished game, but it will be up to you to finish The Magic Circle or break it into a million pieces.
There are hundreds of other games that also came out this year that never got the spotlight that they deserved. Let us know which game need more love in 2015 and we will high light them in an upcoming article.
Feature Image Credit: Squad/Kerbal Space Program