Say what you will about 2016, but at least it’s been a heck of a year for games. January feels like about a decade ago, and with all the great releases since then it feels impossible to keep track. Here are some of the ones that stood out for us the most:
This game was hotly anticipated in the wake of its predecessor, Limbo, and the consensus around here is that the long wait was worth it. We loved Inside’s puzzles, its surprises, and its jaw-dropping polish. The only complaint Graham could manage was that he wished it let him spend more time in such a well-realized world.
Speaking of long-awaited followups — several Drinkboxers spent weeks trading notes and expressions of awe about the unyielding, intricate puzzles of The Witness. Said Graham, “I’ve been waiting to play this for years, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Some of the most satisfying puzzle solving I’ve ever felt in games. Now I guess we’ll have to wait another 7 years for Jon’s next masterpiece?”
Thumper proved every bit as intense and overstimulating a rhythm game as the trailers promised. David loved getting to play a fresh new take on this slightly calcified genre, especially such a lovely-looking and -sounding one.
Pony Island is the best playing-a-satanic-arcade-machine game we could have asked for. Graham called this ridiculous trip down the rabbit hole his biggest surprise of the year.
Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter draws you in with fantastic music and pixel art, then treats you to a mysterious adventure filled with intense, snappy combat. There’s no words, no nonsense, and the sum of it all just feels immediately classic.
Dark Souls 3
As enigmatic, melancholy and hellaciously tough as ever, Dark Souls 3 kept some of us in its sadistic grasp for a good while. Cuxo praised the game’s “haunting and memorable imagery”; David thought From’s ongoing refinements to the combat mechanics made it the best-feeling Souls game yet.