It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best new IP from 2017. Voted on by our editors, these were the new intellectual properties that our team felt stood above and beyond the competition. Let’s start with some honorable mentions, and then our top vote-getting runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!
Honorable Mention: Cuphead
Best New IP of 2017
Cuphead has been a long time coming to the Xbox One and PC, having been shown during Xbox’s E3 press event back in 2014. But oh boy was it worth the wait. The game’s hand-drawn art style, fiendishly challenging gameplay, and bucket loads of 1930’s cartoony charm make it an absolute pleasure to play. It might not seem that way when you’re 50 deaths deep on one boss, but when you finally do emerge victorious, it sure feels amazing.
StudioMDHR brought something to the 2017 table of video games that felt distinctly different from anything else we sampled this year. Its boss battles were so unique and varied that they were a real joy to learn and overcome, its visual style can stand out from a mile away, and the fact you can even take on the action in co-op helps to sweeten the deal that little bit more. Though its story is no masterpiece, it’s enough to give the stellar gameplay some context within its beautiful environments.
Second Runner-Up: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Best New IP of 2017
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle took many by surprise when it was officially announced for the first time at Ubisoft’s E3 conference earlier this year. Though it was no secret by that point that we could expect some sort of Mario and Rabbids crossover at some point, many had it pegged for some tear-inducing mini-game compilation that didn’t really need to be a crossover in the first place. Oh, how wrong we were. Instead, we got a surprisingly deep turn-based strategy game with all of the charm of the Mushroom Kingdom and humor of the Rabbids wrapped up into one.
Though its story is somewhat convenient, that’s not really what you’re here for in Kingdom Battle; you’re here for the gameplay. The combat system at play in Kingdom Battle is actually fairly complex, more than you’d probably think from a game that has a Rabbid dressed up as Peach that takes selfies and is essentially the queen of queens. You’ll have to position units in safe areas or vantage points, use different weapons to hit enemies from afar or exploit weaknesses, and utilize character-specific abilities to get the upper hand in battle. There’s plenty to factor into each one of your moves, and one bad decision can easily cost you the fight.
With a co-op and a new PvP mode introduced into the game for free via a recent update, there’s a good haul of local multiplayer offerings to keep you playing after you’ve defeated the final boss in the single-player. With plenty of potential for a sequel (more unit types, weapons, abilities, and online multiplayer please), Kingdom Battle certainly stands strong as one of the best new IP of 2017 with plenty of potential for the future, too.
First Runner-Up: Night in the Woods
Best New IP of 2017
Returning to your hometown after being away for a while can be jarring. That’s essentially what Night in the Woods is if you distill its story right down to the bare bones. You’ll follow the story of Mae, a college dropout returning home around fall to Possum Springs. And what’s a college dropout to do now she’s back home? Hang out with friends and do the same ol’ things she did back before she left!
You’ll jam with your band, smash some stuff up (because why not), and go have a few drinks at a party in the woods. There’s a bunch of other stuff you’ll do in Mae’s day-to-day life in Possum Springs, but it’s the characters themselves and the first-class writing behind them that makes the game truly shine. Mae may be a small black cat, but the problems her and the rest of the anthropomorphic cast are dealing with feel real. Night in the Woods tackles these very real issues in a very humane and elegant way. Yet, things never feel doom and gloom. Mae and her friends still joke around and have a ton of lovable traits that help prevent it from feeling all too somber.
Night in the Woods is a powerful tale filled with memorable characters, lessons to be learned, and some straight up bizarre moments that’ll have you reminiscing about all of the dumb stuff you did back as a child. Mae may not look like the most realistic character we saw in a video game this year, but she’ll certainly feel it by the time the credits roll.