Games / Indie Games / PC / PS3

Best Games of January 2013

After the end of each month, I’ll be choosing my 3 favorite games that were released in that month. Think of it as an ongoing Game of the Year selection process to help us decide the best of the best as the year goes on. Let’s get started with my favorite game from January…

1. Antichamber


Antichamber is an incredibly confusing game to describe, and even more-so to play. You first steps into Antichamber won’t make a whole lot of sense, and the strangeness of it all doesn’t subside even as the credits roll. This game is about slowly coming to grips with a reality that is nearly indecipherable at first, but it slowly works itself in and around your brain until it’s logic melds with yours. I love a game that isn’t afraid to leave you so completely in the dark, because the rewards for stumbling onto answers are that much more satisfying when they come from your own perseverance.

A puzzle game to its core, you peel back the layers over the course of around 9 hours and make your way through increasingly complicated puzzles. Nearly every puzzle in the game is there to teach you rules of how you can interact with it, and are basically complex tutorials without much instruction. After you’ve learned everything there is to know, the game can be completed from beginning to end in about 8 minutes.

If you’re willing to beat your head against some walls in order to break through some seriously mentally taxing puzzles, Antichamber is almost perfect. Just don’t expect to mindlessly waltz through; Antichamber refuses to accept less than your 100% best.


2. Kentucky Route Zero


The first episode of what is certainly going to be an exciting five-part series, Kentucky Route Zero relishes in being mysterious. I finished Episode 1 in a little over an hour, and I’m still thinking about what I saw. I still can’t totally understand it, but I don’t even know if Route Zero isn’t something can be understood, not in its entirety at least. It simply asks you to spend a small portion of your time to participate in its oddness, and wisps away. I couldn’t forgive myself to ruin the experience of playing the game, but suffice it to say, it is weird. In what essentially is a ghost story about a man driving through Kentucky to deliver…something, most of the events that occur are just odd enough to make you wonder, but never beg that you decipher their meaning.

It’s a point and click adventure game that loves to toy with your expectations of storytelling. The genius of some of the moments would only be understated if I tried to write them out with words. This is one game where you really have to sit down and play through it without distractions. You’ll be completely absorbed into the world Cardboard Computer has created. Only months after Telltale’s The Walking Dead, my 2012 Game of the Year, we’re getting another fantastic adventure game, and I couldn’t be happier.

3. DmC Devil May Cry


I’ve never played a previous Devil May Cry game, and only within the past few years I began playing some of the most popular character action games out there. Bayonetta still reigns supreme for me, but DmC sure is a fun ride while it lasts. With some great pacing throughout the entire game, you’re never are offered an excused to be bored. Weapons are constantly being handed to you, along with new abilities and special powers to use on the enemies and the environment.

The environmental effects are top notch as well, and was definitely the thing I’ll remember from DmC. At one point, you fly through a physical manifestation of a television new show, jumping on Fox News-ish graphics, fighting inside a huge television world. That’s one cool part in the game. There is a ton of creativity to behold in the level design, and I recommend this to anyone who wants to see what a really talented team can do when there clearly aren’t many restrictions on what can be done.

Honorable Mentions:

#strys: A fantastic high score chasing game for iPhone.

Surgeon Simulator 2013: One of the most ridiculously entertaining and hilarious ways to spend 5 minutes.

Polar: A surprisingly fun riff on last year’s Super Hexagon, complete with seizure inducing colors and twitch based action.

– Zach

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