We’re hitting that point in the year where it’s just games, games, and more games. It’s great! For the rest of 2017 I assume I’ll have plenty to play and write about. In just the next week or so we’ll have Cuphead and Danganronpa V3, a couple of games I’m dying to devote a ton of time to. And October? Wolfenstein, The Evil Within 2, and Mario? Jeez. This year rules. Well, for games at least.
1. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
I’m still working my way through this one very slowly, but I can say it has more effective storytelling than most other games this year. And the puzzles are no slouch either. As you travel through this broken world and fight weird demon-ish things, you learn what is pushing Senua to struggle through her fears and the illness in her own mind. If you’re in for something unlike anything else this year with a dark as night narrative, this is something to drop your $30 on.
2. West of Loathing
Did Mel Brooks make this thing? Nope, but he might as well have. The team behind Kingdom of Loathing (Zach, Riff, everybody else: you guys are great) have hit another home run with this hilarious tour through the Wild West. It’s goofy in all the right ways, and never wastes a line of dialogue to say anything worth skipping past. Most of the usual fluff behind a JRPG style game is gone here, and every character has a purpose and something silly and dumb to say. The battle system is still typical fare for the genre, but isn’t as excruciating as sitting through time-wasting battle animations. You click a couple buttons and everything dies, then you move on. This one’s a breezy, joke-filled adventure and everyone should give it a shot.
3. Slime Rancher
This is a weird one. I dumped over a dozen hours into it over the course of a few days, staying up late every night just to complete one more task I had in mind. Then I realized that I was trapped in a Skinner box and decided to escape while I still had the chance. Slime Rancher is a grind towards Dopamine release, find something in the world, bring it somewhere else, collect money, repeat. The environments and creatures you’re collecting may change but once you take a step back you realize that you’re basically doing chores. Chores that I very much enjoyed for a handful of days, and chores that I recommend you try out to see if you get the same enjoyment out of them that I did. But just remember, once the fact of the grind hits you, dip out.
Dead Horizon: A western with a lot of heart, and one of the best tiny indies to come out of 2017.
Tacoma: A decent follow-up to Gone Home that didn’t hit me anywhere near as hard. It’s a good time for a few hours, and the characters are fun to get to know, but the story peaks and never hits the highs its predecessor soared to.
Monster Hunter XX (demo): Please just bring the whole game to the West. Pretty please?
Nidhogg 2: It’s more Nidhogg but uglier!