It’s time to sit down, relax and talk about some of the best games that 2018 has given to us!
Oh boy, how much I’m enjoying 2018! Wait… what do you mean it’s December? Wait… what do you mean it’s LATE December?! Really?! Time flies when you have fun… Anyway, I think it’s a great time to talk about some of the best titles this year has offered to us fellow players. And what better person to share some thoughts about hidden gems and lovely games than me, the guy who doesn’t even know how to write in proper English! Here are my top 10 games I played in 2018 and spoiler alert: almost all of them are indies, so be warned if you think they are not worth the title of best games of the year and, come on, open your mind for once if you think that, OK?
10: Guacamelee! 2
Don’t bother, I already know: I said that this game was more of the same. Same structure, same layout, same feel as the first Guacamelee. And I still believe it’s true, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a fantastic time with the second adventure of Juan. If you want to know my opinion about this one, you can check the review right here.
The challenges are, well, more challenging, and the jokes hit better at times too! And let’s not forget the huge number of easter eggs from other titles and games, which are always fun to find and laugh at. It may be playing too safe, but at least it’s not as insulting as Hitman 2 in terms of playing without taking any risks.
9: Lucah Born of a Dream
One of the things I enjoy the most about writing and talking about video games is discovering a hidden gem that makes my mind explode in awe. Sometimes the game doesn’t manage to work and ends up being really forgettable, but other times it makes the experience worth remembering. This honour goes to Lucah Born of a Dream.
This is one of those titles that it’s enjoyed if you go completely blind. All you need to know is that Lucah BoaD is an isometric Hack and Slash with some really heavy symbolism and really creepy enemies. I made a really simple review about this game, but talking about its elements and features would be spoiling some of the fun of this title. Be sure to play it in order to know what this creepy and awesome experience is all about.
My relationship with the title made by Konjak is weird. At first, I thought it had some really bad bosses that tainted the overall experience, but as time passed, I started to love the gameplay and plot more and more. Heck, its heavy themes can make you think some stuff about your life at times! Also, the music is pretty catchy, although I don’t know why but the first tune you can hear when the journey begins reminds me of Drawn to Life quite a lot.
Regardless of its excellent story and a great soundtrack, Iconoclasts is not a perfect experience. As I stated before, the bosses feel either cheap and annoying or well executed in terms of patterns and fun factor. And sometimes exploring doesn’t feel really rewarding, which, on my book, that blows. But aside from these problems, Iconoclasts is a fantastic experience that you should experience at least once. Also, come on, it was made by one single guy and it took him 7 years to make it, and that deserves some praise.
What can I say about this game? Nothing new, to be honest. Celeste is one of those games that are just amazing to play and to see. The level design is one of the best one I’ve seen so far, reaching Megaman levels of teaching the players without constant messages of “press the X button to jump!”. Yes, it is THAT good in terms of level design, but what about the rest of the game? Well, it’s damn amazing too!
Celeste’s soundtrack evokes a great feeling of overcoming your problems and keep going towards your goal, as well as making you feel fear and dread at times. And let’s not forget about the plot, which is just great to experience when you are a Spanish person with self-esteem problems like me!
Jokes aside, Celeste is one of those titles that I don’t mind people talking about it because it’s that good. And this is only the 7th title of this list…
I have to admit that playing Moonlighter is quite a blast, even if the premise may sound boring at first… For some. Selling stuff in a shop and gather materials for it on a Zelda-esque dungeon system? That’s not going to work. But it actually does work. And oh boy, this game is a joy to play.
You see your shop grow with every upgrade. You are constantly eager to sell your things and go dungeon crawling at night in order to restock your materials and put your new ones on display the next day. It’s a cycle that never ends and never gets boring. You have to deal with shoplifters, bringing certain materials to a customer in a set number of days, and complain about how much is that old lady is going to stare at something she’s not going to buy YEAH THAT’S RIGHT GERTRUDE I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU, GET YOUR ANCIENT ASS OUT OF MY SHOP IF YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO GET ANGRY WITH MY PRICES.
Ehem, sorry about that. Oh yeah, Moonlighter also has some really good boss battles too! And let’s not forget the number of weapons you can get, being one a Jojo’s reference. And it had a recent free update too, so there are more things to do! Be sure to grab Moonlighter, is one of those games you won’t be disappointed to play.
5: The Messenger
Games with retro aesthetic are my jam since 1996 (I’m 22, so do some math), and The Messenger is no exception. But this one manages to offer a sense of surprise and familiarity at the same time, followed by a really fun plot (although not really effective in terms of showing anything new).
This game has all the ingredients to be a fantastic experience: amazing controls, pretty visuals, a fun story and challenging platforming levels. Is it perfect? Well, not really. The second half feels pretty weak even if it’s also the most interesting one. And the final boss ends on a QTE, and no matter how good your game is, that’s just freaking dull. But hey, if you want to read a nice review about the tale of The Messenger, just take a look at the one made by the lovely Kyle. Worth the read as much as this one is worth the place on this list.
4: Dragon Ball FighterZ
You thought I’m just a guy who loves 2D platformers? Well, guess again Internet, because if there’s something I love to suck is at fighting video games, and sweet mother of Nappa, this one is a joy to play online or with friends.
Dragon Ball is one of my childhood animes, but all the prior titles felt just okay at best. I loved the Budokai series, yet they were really dull in some areas. It felt like they never reached the level of epic fights present in the anime. And then this bad boy comes out of nowhere and blows everyone’s socks, and with reasons to do so.
FighterZ is just a visual feast. The dumb smile that appears on my face whenever I see a “Dramatic Finish” it’s priceless, and so it is that same smile when I play with my favourite characters of DB. Not everything is great though: the DLC characters can go eat some Namekian Dragon Balls, as most of them are just completely broken. Also no Janemba, an insult for someone who owned and almost burned out his VHS of Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound. Regardless of that, FighterZ managed to make me enjoy fighting games once again, and for that I’m thankful.
Also, Kyle wrote an in depth review too, so make sure to check it out here.
3: Dead Cells
Dead Cells. I’m going to be completely honest: as a Metroidvania, Dead Cells sucks a lot. It doesn’t feel well laid out and the permanent power-ups you’ll find don’t make you feel more powerful at all. Also, it’s a roguelike, so runs are defined by RNGesus. So why is this game here? Simple: because it’s a blast to play.
Not many games encourage you to play over and over in order to see the next thing that will kick you pretty butt. And Dead Cells does that and then some. It’s one of the titles from this list that I find really flawed, yet it makes me say every single time “I should try once again just in case this time everything goes better”. You want to know why this game is good? Just take a look at Chris’ review of Dead Cells. Also get ready to die. A lot.
2: Way of the Passive Fist
What can I say about this game that I haven’t said already? I love it, plain and simple. I wrote a review that doesn’t show how much I really love Passive Fist. I even had the awesome chance to talk with Jason Canam and write an interview about this freaking great game on a Spanish website!
Way of the Passive Fist is a short, simple, challenging game with a simple premise that works so well and fits so nicely with the theme of the game (that tries and manages to evoke an arcade version of an old-school cartoon) and a level design so clever, so straight to the point and with bosses that also teaches you how the final boss is going to behave without telling you is just… THIS GAME IS SO GOOD, OKAY?
Play Way of the Passive Fist. You know what happens when a team listens to feedback, works hard and manages to put true love in their creation? They release a title as f*cking rad as Way of the Passive Fist. Am I a blinded fanboy? I don’t know, did I obliterated Hitman 2 even though I love the franchise? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Now go and get this beast of a game!
Honorable mention: Agony
As I said on Twitter, you need to be one hell of a Metroidvania in order to be above Way of the Passive Fist. And Timespinner is one hell of a Metroidvania, with an emphasis on the “-vania” part.
I wrote a review of Timespinner-no, I wrote a love letter about Timespinner, and you can tell how much I love this game if you read it. This title struck the big Castlevania fan inside of me really hard and left a scar made out of joy. This game is the reason I still believe that Castlevania titles can still be made today and everything that Timespinner throws at the player proves that beautifully. You have a fantastic OST, a plot that makes you love the person you are controlling (Lunais is now the Official Badass of the Year, come fight me) and gameplay so solid, so fun and so damn tight that replaying this game is just fantastic. I bought this game full price on Steam and I love so much that I bought it again on my Vita. I repeat: I loved the game so much that I bought it on a dead console. Let that sink for a moment.
And those were my top 10 games of 2018! I have to admit: this year has been great for video games (not so much for the rest of the world but hey, at least we are going to die due to climate change in less than 10 years so let’s enjoy the little time we have I guess), and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has to offer. Again, regarding games, regarding other things were are really f*cked.
Anyway, be sure to share your favourite titles down in the comments! I can’t wait to read people telling me how wrong I am by not adding Cowboy Bebop Redemption 2 or Daddy of War.