This list was a bit tough to put together, if only because I played so few new games in 2013 that it was hard to come up with five since the ones I did play were pretty universally quality titles. That said, I’ve reached across what I did play and tried to create a nicely varied list of the titles that I either got the most fun out of, or were ones I found myself routinely suggesting to as many people as I could. And so, without further ado, here is my top 5 for 2013!
I picked up Valdis Story: Abyssal City for Steam in order to review it (you can read the review here) and while I scored the game a 3/5, it’s still one I’ve encouraged a ton of people to try out because of its uniqueness and depth; I’d say this one is the easy get for a value game on this list, and it’s one I’ve gone back into more than once after wrapping up the review. I think it’s grown on me more since my initial play, and there’s a lot left to explore – while there are some areas I found lacking, there’s plenty to explore to make this a game worth playing.
4. The Novelist
Another one I picked up to review, The Novelist (which I wrote up here) won me over from the get-go; an oddly charming and emotionally complex indie outing, this one earned its place by being unlike anything I’d ever played before and by leaving a lasting impression. I don’t think it’s a game for everyone, but I was absorbed by it when I played, and found myself lost in the narrative of this exceptionally well-written story of a family struggling through life during their summer vacation.
Being a family gamer and fan of prior LEGO games, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was one of the few games this year that I was really amped up for before I got my hands on it. The highly talented Muaz Zekeria offered his opinions of this one here, and I think he nailed it pretty well – though, to be honest, I think I’d have scored it even higher. I picked this one up on the Wii U, and it’s still a staple in the rotation of games we put some time into when I sit down to play with the six-year-old. For lovers of the Marvel Universe or the LEGO games, I wouldn’t hesitate to say this one is a must-own title.
We reviewed Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch back in February, before I joined Twinfinite – you can read that here – and I agree with the score set by my predecessors. While I’m admittedly predisposed to JRPGs, as they’re the genre that really brought me into being a gamer beyond casual interest, Ni No Kuni brings something really special to the genre, and hooked me in a way that no game had since Chrono Trigger, which remains my all-time number one game to this day. Whether it’s the childlike wonder of the world and characters or the wide breadth of the story itself, I fell in love with this game from the start and would happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys RPGs.
1. Super Mario 3D World
If you know me at all or if you read my glowing review of Super Mario 3D World here, then this one’s no surprise. I absolutely adore this game — to the point that I find myself actually striving on to achieve full completion which I’ve never done in any game until now. From the charming yet challenging level design and unique new twists on classic Nintendo formulas, this game is fantastic whether you like to play alone or with a group — we’ve had some frantic, phenomenal fun with three players leaping around the playful early lands on into the difficult latter stages that push the limits of the kid’s skill, but without being discouraging or impossible to overcome together.