Polly's Game 2014 Best Of Compilation For Text-Preferring Parasites
For Games Not Necessarily Released In 2014: FULLY NOIDED VERSION!
by Polly

Oh, hello there! If you're reading this you're here for one of two reasons.

1. You were two lazy to listen to the podcast, and for that reason I hate you.
or
2. You listened to the podcast (and are a cool person) and wanted to find out what kinda extra stuff might be in the text version of the list.

But, for whatever reason you may be here (seriously, if it's number one, I really do hate you!), we all know the drill by now. It's the end of the year and it's time we start having all those life-changing, super important discussions about what interactive video entertainment made our genitals tingle the most, and then maybe rank them based on how well they made our genitals tingle and maybe mention if they gave us the ol' happy ending or not.

2014 seemed a bit of a dry year for gaming for the most part. At least from my perspective, which is admittedly about 92% ignorant most of the time. I didn't really see any of the AAAs bringing it in terms of anything I was all too interested in, and indie games felt a little more hit or miss than they have been over the last couple of years. Still, I managed to find my way through quite a few great titles whether they were released this year or not, and that's what you're here for, so let's get intimate with fifteen games I had some pretty gosh darn diggity good times with this year, shall we?



Honorable Mentions

Ahh, the good ol' honorable mention. A great way to cheat on these kinds of things and include more selections than a numbered list might normally include. And hey, this is sorta like the DVD extra of my list from the podcast, because I didn't really bother going over my honorable mentions on there, so at least there's something of substance here.

Anyway, the five games here just barely missed being in the big ten, but I feel strongly enough about them that any one of them would easily qualify as a "number eleven" if I was some kinda freakin' weirdo and did lists with a weird number of entries.


Road Redemption (Early Access)


Well, this is awkward. I'm sure many of you already know my thoughts on Steam's Early Access and how incredibly stupid I tend to find it that devs release unfinished games with distant and far away promises that a game might be good or even finished at some point, but I also found myself surprised this year by a few cases where things either turned out alright, or are showing all signs of being something worth the money in the end. Klei's Don't Starve was my first experience with the platform and that game's turned out alright, and Vlambeer's Nuclear Throne is saying all the right things to me, but Darkseas' Road Redemption is the game that's stood out to me the most so far.

Road Redemption is what you get when you combine classic arcade style motorcycle racing and combat, a-la the Sega Genesis classic series Road Rash, with modern roguelike elements of harsh permadeath penalties mixed with elements of permanence that keep you coming back for more. Like Rogue Legacy, The Binding of Isaac, and a touch of Super Meat Boy, Road Redemption kept me coming back after every failure and success with its fun twist on racing and beating the shit out of your competition (or blowing them the fuck up, whichever), varying mission varieties, and the knowledge that no "bad run" ever felt like a bust since you can still buy persistent upgrades that would carry into your next playthrough. The riding is smooth as all hell and the combat system is simple enough to pick up and grasp, and has just enough depth to keep it interesting.

I guess, if anything, right now all I have are high hopes for this game. In its current state, it still feels like it has a way to go and it's not too hard to burn through the content and persistent upgrade tree that's currently there. That said, I'm still having a grand ol' time with it and hope that its eventual full release will see its way onto next year's list in some fashion.


Super Cyborg


If Konami's not gonna nut up and continue doing something with the Contra brand anymore (I'm still steamed about that fucking E3 teaser they did back in 2011), then leave it up to a few talented folks with a serious passion and understanding of what makes the Contra series tick to pretty much fuckin' nail it.

Super Cyborg is pretty much the definition of "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Many Contra-like fangames have come and gone over the years, but none of them have understood the core mechanics and feeling of what makes a great Contra game the way Super Cyborg does. Even looking at the provided screenshot, I don't think it's all that difficult to believe someone may think this a lost Probotector game of some sort, and within moments of being in control, one may be even more convinced. Admittedly the game's asset imitation is a little shameless starting out (I mean, they even nicked the "SUPER" part of their logo directly from Super C), but Super Cyborg is a game that manages to have its own voice by the end.

The key to what makes this game work is its level design. Super Cyborg is in no way content to just copy and paste or make direct nods to some of Contra's finest level design work, it's a game that LEARNED from those examples and provides its own little creative sparks on the formula. Contra veterans will be able to go into nearly any situation the game throws at them and have a pretty good understanding on how to get out and those who aren't so lucky to be gifted with the twitch reflexes these games demand will still be able to learn from their failures. It's a delicate balance that the game maintains throughout most of its seven-stage shootyfest, but the balance tips a bit into the "oh, fuck that bullshit" level of difficulty by the end that may make some give up in frustration with the precision the game asks of the player.

All in all, if you find yourself needing more Contra action in your life (and hell, don't we all?), then Super Cyborg is most definitely the answer to all your shooty/'splodey prayers.


The Room


AH HA! SEE? THE POLLY ISN'T ALL ABOUT GUNS, EXPLOSIONS, AND VIOLENCE! SOMETIMES SHE LIKES TO JUST CHILL OUT AND ENJOY THE QUIETER MOMENTS IN LIFE!

The Room is a game that impressed me a while back when I saw a Giant Bomb Quick Look of it, but I wasn't really super into mobile games at the time. I'm still not, which is why I'm glad The Room ended up making its way to PC this year.

Each chapter of the game is a big ol' progressive puzzle box for you to poke and prod at in order to solve. In most chapters you're presented with what looks like an ordinary decorative box and it's up to you to mess around with all the bips, bops, and boobles on it in order to unlock keys, contraptions, and otherworldly puzzles in order to open the giant puzzle box even more.

What really makes The Room's presentation special is how all of the puzzle boxes are so elegantly pieced together. The way all of the bits and pieces of each box and puzzle mechanically contract, fold out, and transform into one another is just incredibly impressive, and the newly reworked HD assets and shaders go a long way toward making the game even more impressive to look at when cool things start happening.

The game does have a bit of a story, but I found it mostly inconsequential and mostly uninteresting. I enjoy this little game more for its mood, atmosphere, and explorative puzzle solving than anything else.


Lovely Planet


Lovely Planet kinda came out of nowhere, and I don't really remember seeing too many outlets talking much about it, even though I feel it's a shining example of smart and fun game design that appeared in a year when not much else was going on.

In a time when first-person shooters have to be grey, military-based snore fests, Lovely Planet is just...well...LOVELY! It's right in the title, ya shmuck, come on, now. It's a game with a simple and fun pastel-splattered art style that's just easy on the eyes and a bouncing cute soundtrack to match. Its look belies its true intention however, and that is to test your reflexes and aim in ways that only skill-based FPSs like Quake and Unreal used to.

There ain't no auto-aim, left trigger right trigger nonsense here. Lovely Planet demands a high level of skill and timing, and if you ain't got those skills or any intentions of learning them, then this little trip won't be so lovely for you in the end. The difference between Lovely Planet and other modern offerings is that your and your enemies' bullets exist in 3D space, have a set speed, and must be aimed and dodged with a high level of accuracy.

While it's outrageously difficult, and admittedly I hit my skill ceiling by the final batch of stages, what keeps the game from becoming too frustrating is that every stage is a bite-sized 20-30 second obstacle course for you to figure out and failures result in instant restarts which keep the pace going. It's basically the Super Meat Boy of shooters and even though I hit my limit, I don't really feel that being able to finish the game is something out of my reach. Just like the Dark World, stupid crazy Warp Zones, and Cotton Alley in Super Meat Boy, I feel that if I stuck with it, I'd probably be able to 100% it someday. It's a game I know I'll come back to and if you like that kinda challenge then a trip to this Lovely Planet is something you may wanna think about taking.


Crimzon Clover: WORLD IGNITION


I defy you to find a game released this year that has more things exploding per second than Crimzon Clover: WORLD IGNITION. It's a world-class bullet hell shooter created by a world-class player of the genre and with as meticulously as most aspects of the game feel planned out and implemented, it really shows. It features four playable ships that offer varying playstyles, three different modes to play through the game, and a pretty extensive training mode to help you figure out those rough spots in stages you just can't quite seem to high score or even survive just yet.

What really makes this game stand out, aside from careful and meticulous stage design and progression, is just how bad-ass and overpowered you feel at all times. It's a bit like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in a way, where you've got a very simple mechanic that has the ability to make you a damage dealing/damage tanking machine, but the game designed around that mechanic is still able to completely crush your spirits if you're not careful with it.

The mechanic of which I speak is, of course, BREAK MODE! Popping your ship into Break Mode offers a satisfying array of lasers, explosions, and skyrocketing point totals that already edges out some of the most hardcore games in the genre in terms of spectacle. Learning when to use Break Mode for huge point multipliers or just to save your own ass is key to playing Crimzon Clover. The real "cream your pants" moment comes when you're able to activate DOUBLE BREAK MODE, which offers an insane rate of fire, larger lasers, bigger exposions, point-based power ups bleeding out of literally everything, and the satisfaction of knowing that you'll be able to do that again VERY soon. Seriously, I can't think of a moment more gratifying this year than the first few times I popped into Double Break mode. I still can't figure out whether it's just the raw power on display, the sound effect that's triggered when you activate it, or if it's just me being stupid and overhyping it in my mind. It just feels SO FUCKING GOOD, I CAN'T HELP IT!

So, why isn't Crimzon Clover on the main list? Well, it's admittedly a pretty hardcore game that doesn't really have the dynamics of something like Jamestown. The only difficulties the game offers are "A Step Above A Little Too Easy" and "Way Too Fucking Hard." With enough mastery, the harder difficulty is entirely doable, but I can't help but feel this game would have been perfect if difficulty would have had just a bit more nuance. As it stands though, shmupheads definitely need to get in on this action.


The "I Don't Know How I Feel About This Game" Award 2014!
Dark Souls II


Because Dark Souls II is neither the most disappointing game I've played all year, nor is it the worst game I've ever played. I wouldn't put it at number eleven on this list, but I'm also not sure I'd put it at fifteen either. I just know my thoughts on this game are quite complicated, so I'm giving it more of an off-handed mention disguised as some kind of back-handed award.

I've played Dark Souls II for 95 hours.
I've completed it twice and nearly a third time.
I can fully admit that the combat and character movement are the best the series has to offer.
But why on earth can't I bring myself to give it a proper space on my countdown, or even an Honorable Mention that isn't more than a backhanded award in some way? I honestly don't know.

Technically, Dark Souls II is everything anybody could want as a follow-up to the original. Nearly everything about interacting with the game and its various sets of complex systems is refined in a way that almost feels foreign to From Software-released titles. Yet, with as much as I enjoyed the core gameplay experience Dark Souls II has to offer, I came away from my time spent with it feeling empty and unaffected.

In no way was I drawn to the world or the stories it wanted to tell me in the same way that I felt connected to the previous game. Everything about this game's world, characters, and story felt like a cheap imitation, skirting by on being intentionally vague or by vaguely referencing the previous game for cheap pops. Further insult to injury is that the overall design of the game world went from feeling organic and natural in the original game to simple "level-based" videogame...stuff. There's little to no connective tissue holding the world together or making it feel cohesive or believable.

Even more disappointing is that most of the boss encounters, which a Souls game worth its stuff should definitely be known for, mostly boiled down to "big guy with a sword I can easily circle strafe around." The lack of creativity goes even further when the game just dumps in random enemy spawns during a boss fight to make things a bit more challenging or has you fighting more than one of the "big guy with a sword I can easily circle strafe around" at once. It's a weak effort to try and create a sense of intensity that just isn't there since none of the enemies actually work in concert with one another to make the player employ different tactics.

As much as a joy that Dark Souls II can be to play, it also feels so utterly soulless and devoid of creativity beyond its level of polish. I want to like it, because a huge part of whether I like games or not depends on their mechanics and how well they're executed, and Dark Souls II clearly nails that. The game those mechanics are built around however, doesn't really inspire feelings of wanting to return to it anytime soon though.



The Top Ten Games Polly Played in 2014!
(PLAY THEM OR I WILL KILL YOU!)
(Not really! In all truthfulness, I'm not that violent of a person!)


And now we're onto the main show, where everything gets deadlier. Choices have to be made, numbers have to be assigned. This is the only way we, as people who play videogames, can understand the world around us.

Let's not dilly-dally, though and get right to it.


Number The Tenth:
Enslaved: Odyssey To The West



For a game taking place in such a dystopian setting where Mother Nature is pissed the fuck off and taking back what's rightfully her's, Goddamn is Enslaved: Odyssey to the West an amazingly gorgeous game. Really, the game's visuals are something that really stuck with me throughout my entire time with the game. I found myself wanting to explore every little nook and cranny of Enslaved's slavishly linear world just to look for more pretty vistas to gawp at and let the art design's stunning use of color wash over me.

Admittedly, a huge part of my enjoyment of Enslaved has a lot to do with the world, the way it's presented, and the well-written and approrpiately-voiced cast of characters. Not many games can grasp the kind of cohesion in those areas that this game does, and I found that my enjoyment of those aspects made me quite a bit more forgiving of its flaws relating to the actual gameplay and the somewhat rushed ending sequence.

At its core, Enslaved is a fairly simple two-button brawler without a lot of depth. The combat isn't really satisfying beyond the first few times you get a cool slow-mo finish on one of your robotic foes, and the "big moment" set pieces feel a little few and far between, which leaves a lot of downtime to engage with the lackluster combat and insanely linear platforming and climbing puzzles. The final chapters of the game also unfortunately feel a little rushed, and the conclusion will smack you upside the head abruptly, really driving home how short this odyssey is.

I know it sounds like I'm talking a lot of shit about it, but I really do think Enslaved is a bit of a hidden gem from this past generation. It's a game with a hell of a lot of heart that manages to shine fairly brightly despite its mechanical shortcomings.


Number The Ninth:
Volgarr The Viking



Sometimes I'm all about those kinds of games that are completely unafraid to try and break you over their knee with their difficulty. Volgarr The Viking sets its tone up front, unabashedly bragging in all of its promotional materials about its hardcore, old-school difficulty. Usually there's good reason for pause when a game tries to play itself up as some second coming of "Nintendo hard," but I feel that Volgarr does a great job at capturing, at the very least, a specific kind of "Nintendo hard." Or as I'd more accurately put it, "Capcom hard."

While the game's visuals and character designs are clearly inspired by Rastan, Volgarr owes much more of what it is as a whole to the Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts legacy. Fiendishly simple enemy design coupled with downright irksome placement make contant failure and memorization the root of how the game tries to ensnare you. It's a game that's only going to appeal to those with a lot of patience who don't mind the constant back and forth argument they're having with the game that some might see as "unfair."

What really makes the game work however, is that unlike Arthur, Volgarr's moveset feels much more versatile. His double-jump has a super effective 360 degree attack you can use to vanquish enemies coming from all sides, he has a handy dodge roll to deal with fast attacks and smaller enemies, an infinite supply of spears that can be used for combat as well as traversal, and using your shield plays a vital role in your survival since it's not just aesthetic. Volgarr's depth and the stages that are built entirely around his versatility and combat ability make the game shine in a way that Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts doesn't quite live up to anymore.

Simply put, Volgarr The Viking is a game that has a very simple set of tools and mechanics that it works with almost flawlessly. It all comes down to whether you have the patience to to dig deep for those victories or not, and I think those that do will end up feeling rather satisfied by the end.


Number The Eighth:
Jazzpunk



Doing humor in is fucking hard. When you actively set out to make something that you hope people are going to find "funny," the weight of the world is now on your shoulders. You're really just throwing yourself into the winds of appealing to others' sense of humor, and honestly that's a scary prospect. Sometimes the best idea is to just make something you yourself find funny and hope that others are along for the ride, and that's exactly the route that Jazzpunk takes.

This isn't a game that's going to appeal to everybody. Its absurdist, subtly referential, nonsensical, and straight-up weird most of the time. It's a laser-focused brand of comedy that's so charmingly sure of itself, yet has an attitude of not really giving much of an eff if any of its humor clicks with you or not. Jazzpunk is clever and funny for itself and its creators first and foremost and if others are on board, hey, the more the merrier. I know I'm certainly much merrier after playing this game.

The comedy in Jazzpunk is positively freaking dense. I don't mean stupid (though, admittedly a lot of it is stupid for great effect), I mean that it's a game that's absolutely packed every single byte of information with some kind of gag or joke. It's easy to miss the smaller, more subtle bits of humor because the game is firing off visual gags, snappy one-liners, and crazy setpieces at an absolutely wicked pace. Simply running through each episode's critical path will provide a good bit of what Jazzpunk is about, but it's the absurd amount of optional side missions and gags that can be found from exploring each of the game's highly-detailed and elaborate maps that's the most rewarding. This is a game where you wanna poke EVERYTHING to see what it does, because the odds are pretty damn high that they tucked something into whatever little corner of the world you're digging through.

Jazzpunk's brand of slapstick, goofy, and absurdist humor really hit all the marks for me, and while it's definitely a honed and singular vision of comedy, I still think that the sheer volume of jokes and content it packs into its relatively short run time has enough variety to have a little something for everybody. It's really only a question of whether you prefer it in Kimono or Kistereo.


Number The Seventh:
Monument Valley



A MOBILE GAME? WHAT THE FUCKERSHIT IS THIS BULLHOCKEY? ALL MOBILE GAMES ARE FUCKSTUPID BARF MACHINES THAT COMPLETELY GO AGAINST THE VERY IDEA OF GOOD GAME DEVELOPMENT IN THE INTEREST IF SIPHONING MONEY OUT OF THEIR STUPID, DON'T KNOW BETTER PLAYERS! DID YOU GET PAID TO PUT THIS HERE, POLLY? THAT'S THE ONLY RATIONAL REASON A MOBILE GAME COULD MAKE IT ONTO YOUR LIST, LET ALONE BE THIS HIGH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN!

Now, hold on there, Scooter. First of all, there's no need for the all-caps. In my hood that gets people killed. Secondly, Monument Valley is the only mobile game I played this year for any significant amount of time, and it's also the only mobile game I paid for. Monument Valley deserves its place on this countdown, and it most certainly deserves a place on your mobile device or any other platform it may end up coming to in the future.

Monument Valley is just...well..."nice." It's one of those games where when I was playing it, I just felt really good. It's a soothing, clever, and adorable experience that is so consistent in its presentation and mechanics that it's hard to find much wrong with it. It's one of those rare, short-but-sweet gems that does its thing and knows when it's time to let you go.

The game operates on a very simple set of touch and slide mechanics to solve cleverly designed MC Escher-esque navigation-based puzzles. It also forces you to bend your mind a bit as your character can walk up the sides of walls and across ceilings which may not sound so mind-bending on paper, but seeing it in action is a whole other story. FEZ played with perspective in a similar way, only it took place in a rotating 3D space. In Monument Valley you have to sort of trick your eyes and mind into understanding the 2D spaces as 3D space and adjust your approach to each puzzle accordingly.

As crazy as the idea may sound, Monument Valley is in no way devious with its puzzle solutions. They're all pretty easy to suss out with a little bit of tinkering around, and there's no way to die or get stuck, so you'll never feel under pressure or stumped for too long. It's a game that I'm sure wants you to see it through to the end, but gives you a nice set of mechanics and puzzles to play around with to keep itself interesting. It's pleasant in ways that a lot of games just aren't these days and the fact that it's fun to play just makes it all the more appealing.


Number The Sixth:
Freedom Planet



What if I told you that someone had the perfect vision of what it would be like if Treasure made a brand-new 2D Sonic The Hedgehog game? You'd be pretty damn excited wouldn't you?

Well, your lack of a response tells me that you're too busy picking your jaw up off the floor to form a coherent sentence, so I'm gonna go ahead and assume that, like me, you think that's probably one of the coolest shits ever! And check that out, you're absolutely, positively right!

Freedom Planet has about everything you could possibly want from the above-mentioned formula. It's got charming characters with beautiful backgrounds and sprite animations. It's got a great sense of speed mixed with competent melee combat and huge bosses that always feel satisfying to take apart. It's got expansive level design, with tons of alternate pathways and secrets to dig up. Really, Freedom Planet does about everything it could possibly do to not only tug at those strings of nostalgia, but also builds upon the formula with its own unique tool set that helps it rise above being a mere carbon copy of its inspirations.


Number The Fifth:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D



OH, COME THE FUCK ON, POLLY...REALLY?

WHAT? I can't help that I'm so hip and with the times when it comes to my videogame consumption! I mean, shit, where were you when I played that hot-new banger Super Mario 64 for the first time a couple years ago? I can't help it. I'm just destined to always be ahead of the curve as it relates to these things and you invisible people that are staging these pretend arguments with me are just gonna have to learn to deal with it!

On the real, this one's simple. I can admit when I'm wrong or when I unfairly never gave things a chance. It was the case with Super Mario 64 and it's the case with Ocarina of Time.

Back in the day, I resisted 3D gaming with a vengeance. I didn't want it, I didn't like it, I hated trying to control it. I was the equivalent of an old person calling up their grandsons and granddaughters because they're too afraid to turn on their PC without the slightest bit of assistance. I couldn't do it, didn't want to have the patience to do it, and didn't give a crap if what I was missing out on was worth it or not.

Ocarina of Time is certainly worth it. I had a hell of a time with it and am glad I finally got around to playing SOME version of it. I enjoyed its simple and straightfoward story, found myself surprised at some of the creativity on display with its dungeon design, and I had the benefit of playing at a stable framerate with some prettier graphics and grab bag full of modern conveniences that made playing the game a bit less tedious. THANK YOU TOUCH SCREEN CONTROLS WHAT THE FUCK AM I SAYING NOBODY SHOULD EVER SAY THAT AUGLHGLHGLHGLH!

While the final confrontation with Ganondorf does pale a little in comparison to the N64 original, that one minor hiccup isn't enough to take the shine off a game deserving of its "classic" status.


Number The Fourth:
The Swapper



2014 was a pretty interesting year for me, because it's really the first time I got a bit more into a bit more of the ol' puzzle-based gaming than I tend to. Blame it on my small, simple mind that enjoys Contra a little too much or whatever, but 2014 was a year I spent a bit more time than usual thinking while I play videroogames.

The Swapper, despite its name, is actually much more than a gross-sounding sex act, it's a fantastic puzzle platformer with the amazing gimmick of cloning yourself to solve puzzles. The ability to clone yourself is only the beginning as you'll also need to jump your consciousness into the clones you create to bypass certain obstacles or navigate your way through perilous falls or climbs that would otherwise kill you. On paper, it may sound a little overwhelming, but the game is great about easing you into the experience, and the puzzle design is damn-near flawless all around. The world is also open enough that you can leave and come back to harder rooms later if you're left scratching your head too long.

The real selling point of The Swapper however, is its bleak atmosphere and the stark feeling of aloneness that it exudes from start to finish. The dismal surroundings, the frail and foreboding sound design, and the overall arc of the game's plot make playing The Swapper feel like more than just "playing a videogame." It's unnerving at every step, yet at the same time I found myself endlessly compelled to dig deeper into the mess I'd gotten myself into. On the other side atmosphere and fantastically-designed body-swapping puzzles was an ending pay off that made the journey more than worth it.


Number The Third:
Shovel Knight



It's just damn-near impossible to find much fault with Shovel Knight. Bottom line, it's probably the best stab at the "retro" craze that's taken over indie games development the last five or so years, but even though its influences are proudly emblazoned on its sleeve for all to see, Shovel Knight is still very much its own game.

Look, there's not really much more I can say about this game that you haven't already said or heard. It's been talked to death on nearly every corner of the web and on our own podcast. I'll just close by saying, yes. It's that damn good.

Also, Troupple King, motherfucker.


Number The Second:
The Last of Us



No game hit me in the feelings tank harder this year than The Last of Us. No, the game didn't leave me feeling like I wanted to cry, or even made me all that sad at all. No, when anything of substance happened during The Last of Us' gameplay or story, I only ever had one single shocked reaction.

"Well...damn...."

The Last of Us is genuinely unsettling because its world, characters, and the situations it puts them in are so believable. It's a game that earns its scariness and somber moments, and in the same scene, rips you directly out of that moment, creating a detachment that's not unlike the one we feel in real life when terrible and scary things happen to us. While it's a technique that may be narratively jarring, the sense of feeling lost and confused after a climax makes total sense with how a lot of people can feel after major and traumatic events happen in their lives. The narrative deprives you of instant gratification in favor of unplugging you and making you feel disoriented while time for its characters marches on.

This is also a game where I truly felt the term "emergent gameplay" finally clicked for me. The combat situations in The Last of Us are connected at the hip and on par with its narrative's unpredictability. I found I had to be on my toes for nearly every encounter, and when things went to shit, I had to improvise fast in order to save my ass. The urgency with which The Last of Us' combat plays out only strengthened the bond I felt with the world and the characters that were taking the journey with me.

If The Last of Us is last generation's swan song, then they picked a hell of a note to go out on.


Polly S. Hate's Game of the Year 2014:
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth



When The Binding of Isaac was originally released, I was not the biggest fan. I didn't really dislike the game for any of the dumb reasons folks tend to give (though there are legitimate reasons for not liking it), but it just didn't grab me for some reason. I Knew I wanted to dig further into what was there, but I just wasn't feeling it at the time.

Around the early part of the year, Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb started streaming the game almost daily, and I found myself once again giving it a go. That ended with me playing the game and its expansion for about a month straight, unlocking and achieving damn near everything in it, and finally getting the kind of replayable enjoyment others got out of it.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is essentially the perfect version of that game. It's finally running on an engine that doesn't chug like crap or bug out in extremely weird ways, and I feel that's really made the game much more accessible than before.

Though Rebirth isn't a massive change from the original, it provides just enough new content, features, and conveniences that make it the essential version you need to be playing. Its feedback loop of constantly unlocking new items, having great runs, or somehow saving a ridiculously shitty one just keep me coming back. Even though I've unlocked about 90% of the content in this new version, it's a game that I'm still going to be playing for fun well into the new year and with talk of an upcoming expansion already starting to heat up, my excitement to stay tuned into this twisted and sinister little world only grows.



And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Let's hope that when 2015 kicks off, we're all enjoying a glut of new experiences and games and that the gaming community as a whole is a little more tolerable in a year's time.

Much love. Catch you on the podcast!






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