Hello there my good friends and welcome to Quillstreak’s GOTY Christmas countdown. We asked our Twitter followers and our staff to list their top games of 2017. Each day we’re dropping one of the final five with the GOTY being revealed on Christmas Day. Today though, we’re doing honourable mentions as there were too many great games this year and they all deserve some love. Let’s go!
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – Michael Hicks
Vicarious Visions blew me away with their remakes of these beloved PS1 classics. The gorgeous, colourful visuals polish the Saturday morning cartoon world of Crash to a mirror shine. The controls feel as tight as they ever were, the soundtrack beautifully remixed, and the levels have been faithfully remastered from the ground up. It’s clear to see that a lot of love, skill and dedication was poured into the remasters to bring Crash into 2017 with a bang. A masterclass on how to remake a game, and definitely worth a spin.
Cuphead – Ollie Burton
Top pick for me this year has to be Cuphead, from the unbelievably devoted team at Studio MDHR. It’s essentially a 2D platform-shooter in the style of a Fleischer-era cartoon, featuring a bevy of bouncing characters complete with goofy grins (they also want you dead). While its charming appearance and delightfully faithful 1930s jazz soundtrack will entice you in, be prepared to succumb repeatedly as navigating your way through the run-and-gun levels and around the boss stages is no picnic. Tight controls, stunning attention to detail and the aforementioned glorious score make this my game of the year.
Sonic Mania – Errol Kerr
Sonic Mania is the definitive Sonic experience. Simply put, this game managed to perfect the 1990s side-scrolling Sonic experience that Sonic Team has struggled to replicate for years, and breathed life into a franchise we all had very little hope in. It’s classic Sonic, but every modern tweak is well-placed. Sonic 4’s pace-slowing mechanics are replaced with gameplay designed to increase the focus on raw speed that made Sega’s mascot so exhilarating. Multiple characters, new special stages, and new ways to experience old levels make this the Sonic game of 2017, beating a Sonic game actually made by Sonic Team.
A Mortician’s Tale – Joshua Cass
In video games, we never really explore the topic of death, and the effects it has on people when someone close to them dies. This is where A Mortician’s Tale comes in, heavily inspired by Caitlin Doughty and the Order of The Good Death. A Mortician’s Tale tackles topics such as death, the death industry, death positivity all as you play as a mortician named Charlie. This game blew all my expectations out of the water in terms of its storytelling. It’s smart, funny, relatable, sad and teaches you something without being preachy. Games like A Mortician’s Tale make me look forward to the future video games as it shows we don’t always have to play on some grand adventure to have a great experience.
Heat Signature – Jared Moore
Ever since first playing Hotline Miami, I’ve been searching for a game that brings me the same level of top-down down indie fun. I can finally say that my search has ended. Combining space exploration with fast-paced brutal combat Heat Signature tasks you with one monumental objective – to liberate the galaxy, one-star system at a time. Meanwhile, you’ll get to play out the parables and whimsical adventures of various deep-space bounty hunters. With each, Heat Signature dares you to push farther, assassinating foes and rescuing allies each leg of the way. Death plays a significant role throughout the game, each new character, once killed, remains that way. However, with each daring hunter that fades into the cosmos, there is another born to take their place, pick up the mantle and help restore order to the galaxy.
Yakuza 0 – Diego N. Arguello
I first played Yakuza (now reborn as Kiwami) on the PS2 when I was a kid. Since then, I tried to get into the series but I could never invest the time I desired. Yakuza 0, on the other hand, managed to introduce two iconic characters in the best way possible thanks to its ass-kicking story. Side Quests are funny, well thought and plain hilarious. It is, in my opinion, the best way to get into the series. And my personal pick for 2017 as a game I’ll remember for years to come.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Ally Paige
I’d never played Animal Crossing before, so the free-to-play mobile app was a great intro. I was quickly enamoured with the aesthetic and the characters I was introduced to. As with many mobile games, it isn’t without fault. The looming presence of micro-transactions and the constant need to ‘download data’ were hard to ignore. But the idea of Tom Nook finally obtaining real-world money was amusing. This easy to play game was a great way to pass a few minutes… or an hour. I was incredibly busy this year and missed the chance to play a lot of major platform release games, so this quick fix was perfect.
Tekken 7 – Jack Gash
Tekken 7 marked the franchise return to the spotlight in dramatic fashion with a killer roster of new and old faces and the introduction of the legendary Street Fighter; Akuma. Everything about this entry screams precision and fine tuning with superb combat across a wide variety of martial arts, with awesome art and graphic design and a sublime soundtrack that ratchets up the hype and tension. Without a doubt the best fighting game of this year and with King of Fighters / Fatal Fury boss; Geese Howard recently being added with Final Fantasy 15’s Noctis Caelum landing sometime next year, this is definitely one triumphant party that isn’t over yet.
Splatoon 2 – Georgina Howlett
Nintendo’s beloved Splatoon franchise received its second instalment on the Nintendo Switch earlier this year, and boy, is it fantastic. With all-new weapons, stages and modes to enjoy, a new story mode to play through, and brilliant new mechanics to get to grips with, Splatoon 2 takes everything good about its predecessor’s experience and manages to improve it tenfold. Playing online is a delight, and especially when travelling, the ability to play the story mode on the move is a wonderful experience – as is local multiplayer. To put my love of this game into perspective, I’ve spent over 185 hours on it so far already, with my next highest-played game on the Switch being Mario Kart 8: Deluxe – with just over 20 hours played. I honestly can’t recommend it enough, and consider it a must-have Switch title. Just remember: don’t get cooked, stay off the hook! (And stay fresh, naturally.)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Conor Clarke
It might not have topped many GOTY lists, but I’m sure no one will argue that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is potentially the bravest game released this year. Penned as the first ‘AAA indie’ title, Ninja Theory’s game here was a massive gamble. Not only did it look to have AAA-quality graphics and gameplay, but it attempted to do it with a minuscule budget. And, without a doubt, they pulled it off. The game also looked to tackle serious mental health issues and does so in a sensitive and illuminating way. To top it off, the use of binaural audio in Hellblade also marks a landmark achievement in sound design. The immersion was so strong, that I could hear those voices in Senua’s head as if they were inside my own.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Helena Vesty
In a year marred by political plots and grand public downfalls, it is quite fitting that the fiercest set of rivals made a valiant return to our screens. Yes, hell-bent on death and destruction, the Mario Kart mobsters lined up on the grid once more to gift us with their diesel-fuelled warfare. There’s nothing like the rich sound of roaring engines to ignite the desire for a crushing victory, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch is no exception. Nintendo keeps the formula simple by focusing on exciting, tight races on classic tracks, boasting bright and sparkly gameplay to complement the wonderfully colourful trash talk it inspires. Mario Kart has once again given a master class in perfect party fun for all ages on the two-player console, which is perhaps the game’s best feature, serving to inspire even more intense and creative competition.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider – Jordan Oloman
I literally got finished playing this game on Christmas Eve, but it has to go on the list for its pure immersive magnetism. It just leapt over Prey as well when I finished it, so props to Arkane. I love the Dishonored franchise, but Death of the Outsider is like a sweet, warm pocket of goodness coagulating all of the beauty that the Arkane team has brought to the genre and just cranking it up a notch. Basically an expansion with five missions that are infinitely replayable and captivating, Death of the Outsider shines in its writing, gorgeous environments and remarkably addictive gameplay. Dishonored characters have never been this fleshed out, and the small scale of the game allows for the story to be cohesive and moving, with ramifications for the entire franchise. Definitely something to pick up for a short jaunt into the void for some of the best action-based gameplay we’ve ever seen. Please Arkane, never stop making immersive simulators.
Doki Doki Literature Club – Conor Clarke
Doki Doki Literature Club wasn’t just the best free game to be released in 2017, but it was also one of its best games, period. The game takes the standard model of the slice-of-life Visual Novel game and totally deconstructs it from the inside out. What starts off quite straightforward, soon morphs into a psychological meta-fiction that is bound to take you by surprise. The writing here is razor-sharp, with every piece of dialogue having double-meanings and delicious subtext. There’s not much more I can say without giving away too many spoilers to this game, so if you haven’t tried it yet, you should do so. Doki Doki is an original, astonishing and genuinely terrifying take on the Visual Novel genre, that absolutely blew me away this year.
Welp, that’s it for our honourable mentions. Damn. 2017 was pretty great for games, huh? Have we missed any gems? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter. Oh, and have a happy holidays! Love yall.