Favorite Games of 2017


I tried to dedicate more time to actually finishing games this year. Usually I will buy games as they come out, play about 30% of them, and move onto the next new thing. Luckily there were a ton of amazing games this year so sticking with them was pretty easy. Here’s a list of my favorites:

10. Nioh (PS4)

Samurai Dark Souls had me on board immediately, and the core combat loop is just flawless. I just wish Nioh was half as long as it is because then I might stand a chance at ever beating it.

9. Tacoma (PC)

I really enjoyed exploring the world of Tacoma. Fullbright does an amazing job at setting a mood and Tacoma is no exception. Also doesn’t hurt that Tacoma takes place in a weirdly plausible future where corporations are feudal overlords.

8. Universal Paperclips (iOS)

I’ve only played a few of popular clickers over the years, but Universal Paperclips really got its hooks into me. I played the browser version at first, got stuck, and dropped it. Eventually I picked up the iOS version and beat it over the course of a couple days. Maybe now I’ll check out SPACEPLAN again.

7. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PC)

PUBG is a terrifying game to play solo. You’re dropped in the middle of nowhere and every sound you hear could be some maniac trying to kill you. My heart starts racing just thinking about it.

On the other hand, playing in a group is hilarious and insane. Everything can and usually does go wrong, and its almost always a lot of fun.

6. Dead Cells (PC)

In Dead Cells you can jump off a ledge, hold down and then Tetris-drop style fly toward the ground and obliterate any enemies below your feet. This mechanic alone is why Dead Cells is on this list.

5. Steamworld Dig 2 (Switch)

Steamworld Dig 2 is a really solid metroidvania that took me by surprise. It is perfect on the Switch, and just an extremely chill place to spend some time. While it is never particularly challenging, the puzzles are interesting and traversing the world quickly becomes very fun. I think I just have a soft spot for grappling hooks.

4. Everything (PS4)

You could put some Alan Watts quotes over anything and I would be on board, but Everything blew me away. You control everything from a fleck of dust to a flock of seagulls, an entire planet to section of fence. There isn’t really a point beyond fiddling around and thinking about the interconnected nature of the universe, which is Extremely My Shit.

3. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (PC)

I saw Getting Over It when it was initially released as part of Humble Monthly, and decided I could wait. It seemed like a silly idea that I didn’t need to try out immediately.

Months later the game arrived on steam and, surprisingly, iOS. I picked it up on iOS and quickly realized I should be playing it with a mouse. It took me about 10 hours to learn how to climb everything – culminating in a run that takes about 10 minutes on a good day.

What I didn’t expect was that Getting Over It would be a incredible piece of art, critiquing both itself and the medium. I could listen to Bennett Foddy talk about games as art/failure/garbage all day.

2. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

Odyssey is just a masterclass in game design and polish. Every single nook and cranny is filled with charm. Over 60 hours I ended up with about 560 moons and all of the purple coins. I loved every second of it.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

I don’t think I could have asked for a better launch title on the Switch. I wrote more about Zelda earlier this year, but recently went back to check out the new DLC. After 100 hours Breath of the Wild is still one of my favorite games of all time.

Other games I played and liked

Nier: Automata (PS4)
Night in the Woods (PS4)
Cuphead (PC)
Yakuza 0 (PS4)
Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)
Absolver (PC)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PC)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Plenty has been written about Breath of the Wild. It’s fantastic, and easily one of my favorite games of all time. That said, I’ve had somewhat of a checkered past with Zelda games so let’s recap:

Ocarina of Time (N64)

I was exactly the target market for this game when it came out, yet somehow it completely missed me. We must have rented it at some point, but I’m mostly bummed I never got to play it back when it was still technically impressive.

When the 3DS remaster came out in 2011 I put in an honest effort to make my way through it, but just couldn’t do it.

Wind Waker (Gamecube)

I loved Wind Waker all the way up until the final 1/4 with the protracted Triforce fetch quest. At some point I must have hit a wall and just figured it wasn’t worth it anymore.

Wind Waker: Remastered (Wii U)

Played it straight through and absolutely loved it. Some of the changes they made to quest structure and sailing around were 100% necessary.

Link Between Worlds (3DS)

Really enjoyed this one but eventually sort of fell off about 2/3rds of the way through. I should probably get back to it at some point.

Minish Cap (GBA)

I picked up an awesome backlit original Game Boy Advance , and started playing through Minish Cap. It was generally pretty enjoyable, despite some of the usual trappings of a Zelda game. I think I made it about halfway through before diving back into one of the Catlevanias.

Breath of the Wild (Switch)

Over the last 10 years or so, open world games have sort of bloomed into a weird genre of their own. The GTAs of the world present you with a [basically] open world where you can go and do whatever you want, whenever you want. Many games started to emulate this structure, and design tropes started to set in.

  • Climb towers to reveal parts of the map
  • Your map gets checkered with a bunch of boring crap to do
  • Nothing is fun, and none of it matters

Alright so maybe I have a chip on my shoulder, but I’ve definitely gotten tired of this style of game. Far Cry 3 was pretty good, but most of the recent open world games have been largely boring (Assassins Creed, Watch_Dogs (sorta), other Far Crys, Dragon Age: Inquisition, etc). I’ve learned that I just don’t really get any enjoyment walking around checking off pointless quests just to do it.

One exception is The Witcher 3, which was mostly exceptional.

Anyway, Breath of the Wild took a lot of those tropes and turned them in interesting ways. The whole world actually felt like it was worth exploring. I spent about 75 hours total in that game, primarily just climbing and walking around looking at stuff. The whole thing just oozes a level of craft you don’t normally see in games.

My only problem is that now that I’ve done all 120 shrines, I don’t really have much of a reason to go back to it. I mean theres no way in hell I’m going to find all 900 Korok seeds.




Nioh is a terrific video game. It’s definitely in that weird genre of super difficult, but rewarding games that beat the crap out of you. Calling it just a samurai Souls game undersells everything it brings to the genre.

Nioh treats the Stamina bar a bit like Active Reload from the Gears of War series. Blow a bunch of stamina swinging at a dude – then wait a split second and hit R1 to regain all of that stamina immediately. Early on, it becomes clear that you will need to be juggling this at all times – especially during intense fights.

To take it to another level, the enemies in Nioh can create temporary pools of stamina-regeneration-stopping Yokai realm. Then, if you nail a perfect Ki pulse the ground around you will clear any of those pools. The game is built around having you spinning several plates at the same time.

Bloodborne rewarded aggressive play by giving you back lost health if you kept swinging at enemies. This was a nice addition to the Souls formula, but Nioh’s stamina button feels much more active.

From Software’s Souls series has an endearing charm to them. Everything’s kinda janky, but the overall experience is top notch. The quality of Team Ninja’s Nioh is almost stunning. Moving around feels tight and deliberate. You can dodge in and out of encounters with confidence. The sort of thing that really matters in an intense action series.

One knock against Nioh is the lack of a large, interconnected world. Given the context of the story, it makes sense – but some of the isolated levels can be kinda boring.

Anyway, if you’re even remotely into the Soulslike genre, I highly recommend Nioh.