With so many “Top” lists going around, I figured I would give a list a shot. Instead of bringing you a Top 10 or 5 of the best games of the year, I decided to bring you a list of my favorite games that I played in ’09 that didn’t actually come out in ’09. So enjoy my personal picks, and maybe some of them will inspire you to hunt them down and try them yourself if you haven’t already.
For whatever reason Soul Bubbles is a Toys R Us exclusive. I don’t really know who thought that was a good idea, but it is what it is. I happened across Soul Bubbles around June of ’09 and saw it for a measly 10 dollars. Hearing nothing but good things about the game I decided to give it a shot. Developed by a little company named Mekensleep, Soul Bubbles feels like a modern day version of the cult classic PC and Gameboy game Bubble Ghost. The idea is that the player has to protect a bunch of spirits by drawing a bubble (or bubbles) around them and navigating them through a series of mazes and obstacles. It is a simple concept, but the developers throw a few curve balls throughout the game that requires the player to use their head a bit, like knowing when to split bubbles, suck the air out of them, and eventually mixing them with different elements like water and gas. It is a breezy, often times relaxing game that is worth a serious look. In fact, I just spotted a bunch of them at my local Toys R Us just last night for the same price I bought it back in a June. Check it out.
Braid is one of the few games I played through on my Xbox before it decided to shit the bed on me back in February. I have already gushed about Braid in this review, but I think it’s worth mentioning again just how good it is, especially since it has just been released on the PS3 and PC fairly recently. Braid is a fantastic little puzzle game that cuts out all the fluff of most modern games and gets straight to the point. The time mechanics introduced in each stage are a lot of fun to play around with and some of the puzzles really tested me. Towards the end there was one puzzle where I stared at the screen for probably more than an hour. That is the genius of Braid, all the elements are right there on the screen and you always have exactly the tools you need to complete the task at hand. Steam had this on sale for 2.50 cents about a week or two ago, I hope a lot of people grabbed it. What a steal for that price!
Without a doubt the oldest game on my list by far. Considering I just got into the whole Genesis thing this year, I’ve been playing a ton of old Genesis games. Of everything I’ve played this year on Genesis, Shinobi 3 is the true standout. It’s about as bad ass as a 16-bit game can get, with really nice graphics, tight control, serious action, awesome bosses, and some sweet tunes by Yuzo Koshiro. This is another game I’ve praised earlier this year after having played through the whole “trilogy” on Genesis, and I still stand by it being THE action game on the system. If you enjoy classic 2D action games in the vein of Contra, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, and Gunstar Heroes, please do check out Shinobi 3. The game can be found on the Wii Virtual Console as well as being included on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for PS3 and Xbox 360. It’s pretty damn sweet.
Another game I have sung praises about after I had played through it. I really wanted to hate on Dead Space, but thankfully my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give the game a fair chance. Like I have said before, it’s Resident Evil 4 in space, along with the cool modern refinements you’d expect from games today. I feel like I’ve already beaten this one to death (and rather recently too) so I’m going to keep it short. Go hunt this game down, it’s cheap as hell and a really good time.
I love Burnout so much that I bought it twice. I picked it up in January for the Xbox and then lost my marbles and also decided to download it for my PS3. I’m actually glad I did buy it on the PS3, because Burnout is probably the reason my Xbox broke in the first place. While I am nowhere near close to finishing Burnout, it is such a great game to pick up and play here and there. The speed is only rivaled by the likes of F-Zero, and the control is spot on. The amount of stuff to do in Paradise City should keep most players from getting bored. There have been so many times where I was on my way across town to a particular event only to come across a sign I just had to destroy, which then lead me to some small hidden pathways in which I’d then notice I was about to get the high score on a road causing me to crash and then go right into Showtime mode. Like I said, it’s easy to be distracted by the amount of things you can do, and on top of that, it is always a pleasure to play. Players are constantly being awarded with new cars, trophies, and events so there is always something new to see. The fact that developer Criterion supported it with lots of cool DLC throughout the year (with game changing free downloads and paid content) means it has only gotten better since release. This is an essential game to own this generation.
So, what were some of your favorites over the last year that you finally got around to playing?