2018 was a year, wasn’t it? Overall, it went mostly the way I expected it to, which is a bit unfortunate, because my expectations for the year weren’t very high to begin with. Regardless, a lot of games came out this year, and I played some of them. Most of the games I played were bad, because I hate myself and buy tons of Steam shovelware to stream it and see how bad it is. That being said, I think I played at least a dozen or so good games this year. Here’s my Top Ten:
10. Marble It Up!
A new marble-rolling game by the creators of Marble Blast, arguably the second-best marble game ever made (behind Super Monkey Ball). It plays very similar to Marble Blast, although the controls are floatier, which took some getting used to, and I still wish the marble had more grip. The game is pretty short, but more levels are going to be added to the Switch version (the version I played) at some point, and the PC version has Steam Workshop support.
9. Picross S2
It’s Picross! Pretty much exactly the same as the first game, except there are more puzzles thanks to the Clip Picross mode, which is just a bunch of little picross puzzles that fit together to make a big image.
8. Donut County
Very short, but very fun. It’s kind of like Katamari, but instead of attaching objects to a ball, you’re dropping objects into an abyss. The dialogue is fantastically written as well, which I wasn’t expecting from this type of game. This seems like the type of game you’d play instead of watching a movie on a Friday night, as it’s the about the same length and price as seeing a movie in a theatre. I just wish there was more of a post-game to make me want to come back to it.
7. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
I had way more fun than I expected putting all the cardboard pieces together to make the various designs featured in the Variety Kit. Maybe because it came out right before finals week, so it was a good way to reduce stress. Admittedly, the software side of the kit is lackluster, and the cardboard toys have been sitting on top of my windowsill for the past six months, but I kind of want to buy the Vehicle Kit just so I can put more cardboard together.
6. WarioWare Gold
It’s WarioWare! There’s a ton of different microgames to play, and most of them are fun. There’s also a bunch of collectables to get, most of which are pointless. The game is held back some by being on the 3DS, a platform which really shouldn’t still be relevant in 2018. It makes sense though, as the game is a compilation of microgames from previous WarioWare entries. Hopefully there’s a WarioWare game on the Switch soon.
I don’t have a picture for this one because it’s a 3DS game. Just use your imagination or something.
5. Katamari Damacy Reroll
It’s Katamari! Pretty much a straight port of the first game from the PS2, but with HD graphics and a weird motion control mode that I didn’t try. The music and gameplay are fantastic, as you’d expect. The game is short, and beyond finding the presents in each level, there’s not much replay value. It would have been nice for some of the features in later Katamari games to be included, like choosing which cousin to play as.
4. Tetris Effect
It’s Tetris! I was surprised to see this game so high up on many people’s GOTY lists. As someone who cares a non-zero amount about Tetris being played competitively, the lack of any sort of competitive multiplayer makes Tetris Effect feel like it’s missing something. That being said, it’s indisputably the most stylish Tetris game ever made, even considering I turned on the setting that makes each tetronimo a different color.
I tend to get tired of “splatformers,” as someone from Giant Bomb once said, pretty quickly, but I played through all of Celeste in a single day because it was so good. The movement options are surprisingly varied and feel great to execute. The chapters are fairly long, but each one having its own gimmick made the game feel fresh throughout. The story is fantastic, too, as you probably know if you’ve heard anything about this game. I did have a problem with dashing up-right when I wanted to dash right, but I think this was because of how I was holding the Switch while playing. After playing through most of the first B-Side, I’m pretty sure I won’t like them very much, but beating them isn’t necessary to really enjoy this game.
Honorable Mention: Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion
The Octo Expansion isn’t its own game, so I feel like it’s ineligible for this list. But if it was, this is where I’d put it. It’s single-player Splatoon at its finest. There’s a ton of variety to the missions, and almost all of them are fun. The brevity of the shorter missions compared to the main single-player mode really helps prevent the mode from feeling tiresome. Not having to do each level nine times to unlock everything was nice, too.
2. Forza Horizon 4
It’s Forza! In many ways, this game feels very similar to Forza Horizon 3, but many of the gripes I had regarding the single-player experience have been fixed. You don’t have to complete a championship in each event, doing nearly 200 races just to fully complete the game, anymore. You can search for liveries across all cars now. The driving is as good as ever. It’s one of the best single-player racing games I’ve ever played. The multiplayer mode is unfortunately a downgrade from its predecessor. Ranked modes are broken, and 2 out of the 5 events in each series are just driving to the next event, making any car that’s not set up for going off-road almost useless. That being said, it’s still the best Forza Horizon game yet.
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
It’s Smash Bros! I was one of very few people though legitimately enjoyed Nintendo’s amusingly long E3 presentation of this game. The idea of having every character from older games returning sold me, even if the total number of returning characters that weren’t in Smash 4 was less than ten. Pichu and Young Link are favorites of mine (before you ask: my mains are Kirby, Corrin, and Ridley). The single-player World of Light adventure is surprisingly fun, even considering it overstays its welcome, and is a valid replacement for Event mode in the previous games. I found myself playing through the Spirit Board a lot, even after completing World of Light. Classic Mode is also the best it’s ever been, even if the battles are somewhat similar to those in World of Light and the Spirit Board. I do miss the Home Run Contest though, and the online modes could be structured better. More new stages would have been nice as well, but it’s hard to complain about having over 100 in the game. The game itself is as fun as it’s ever been.
I hope you enjoyed reading me complain about the ten games I liked the most this year. It was pretty tough to choose between Forza and Smash; my winner didn’t feel as clear-cut this year as it did in 2017 (Splatoon 2) or 2016 (Forza Horizon 3). No game this year felt spectacular to me, like some did in previous years (Splatoon 2 in 2017; Rocket League, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker in 2015). I thought 2017 was a better year for games than 2018 (Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 would have both beaten Smash on this year’s list), but this year was a pretty good year too.
Hopefully you’ll appreciate me not writing gibberish for like ten pages this year. I didn’t include Taco Tom 2 on the list because that would be cheating, and also because I don’t think it would have quite made the top ten even if I hadn’t disqualified it. I’ll probably make a post or two in the near future about either the development of Taco Tom 2, or a post-release reflection on the good and bad parts of the game. So look forward to that, I guess!