Pokkén Tournament has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully lets Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.
Available on Wii U
At its core Pokémon has always been a fighting game, albeit a turn-based one. Mapping Pokémon onto a traditional 3D fighting game makes perfect sense. Pokkén Tournament on Wii U has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully let Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.
Pokkén Tournament is structured like a typical fighting game. You select from a roster of a little over a dozen fighters and fight one-on-one with opponents.
Executing moves is similar to Super Smash Bros. Simple combos fire off various flashy attacks. Each fight is structured around two phases – a bigger 3D Field phase and a more intimate side-by-side Duel Phase. Knowing when to close in and when to back off is an interesting strategy. Different pokémon excel at different techniques.
I recap a full year’s worth of gaming in 2015, including new games and my backlog progress.
I should really cut down on all these annual blog posts. The holidays are busy enough, and in 2015 I expanded my Top Ten list into ten separate posts, followed by my full Game of the Year awards and Most Anticipated Games of 2016 lists.
It’s all done in self-indulgent fun. My annual Year In Gaming post is probably the most navel-gazing thing I write on here. Part journal entries and part gaming calendar, I recap what I played on a month-to-month basis, and what really stood out.
2015 was the first full year of being a part-time freelance writer, and most of that was spent writing about video games. I maintained my blog both here and on Game Informer, appeared on podcasts, and can now say I’ve been published on Playboy. I also played lots of great games!
Though not as many as last year. I mentioned in my last recap of Rogue’s Adventures that I generally have less game time these days.
Since I enjoy recording my play times and my game library, it has helped me cut down on buying new games – which is painfully easy when you primarily play on PC thanks to rampant Steam sales. I played less games in 2015 but overall my “Progress Index” improved this year, so I’m pretty satisfied.
Progress Index is how Backloggery.com measures your finished-to-unfinished games ratio. Currently I maintain a Beaten ratio of about 63%, which has held fairly steady all year.
On to the monthly breakdown! Continue reading “2015: My Year In Gaming”
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a fantastic genre blend of the best elements of Western and Japanese RPGs.
Platform: Wii U
You stand on a cliff overlooking the Grieving Plains. The grasslands and lakes of Primorida stretch out in every direction. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the fascinating native creatures. Humans are the aliens here. The domed city of New Los Angeles is your last bastion of safety in a dangerous world full of tyrants and treasures.
Welcome to planet Mira. Welcome to Xenoblade Chronicles X.
The astonishingly gigantic open-world RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X is my #3 Game of the Year for 2015!
My Top Ten Games of 2015
#3 Xenoblade Chronicles X
I’ve gained a real cynicism and disdain for Japanese games over the last decade. JRPGs were and are among some of my all time favorite games – back in the 90s.
Since then I’ve largely fallen out of love with them. Their storytelling goes in increasingly bizarre and goofy directions, and my distaste for anime is exemplified by grating cutscenes, voice-work, and writing that was previously the marquee of cutesy pixels and simple text.
So, it’s a pretty damn big deal that not only did I enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles X, but that I’ve ranked it so high on my Game of the Year list. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2015: #3”
My #6 Game of the Year is a must-play if you’ve ever enjoyed a 2D Mario game – Super Mario Maker!
My Top Ten Games of 2015
#6 Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is such an obvious winning formula it’s amazing we’re only just now playing it in 2015. Super Mario Maker lets Mario fans craft their own original levels using most of the props and objects from multiple generations and decades of classic Mario games.
Nintendo has always been the king of accessibility. Their Mario level editing software is a brilliant mix of freedom of tools with a structured interface. Built-in sharing tools and a ranking system help players find and share an infinite amount of content.
A campaign mode of sorts lets you shuffle a random selection of levels together, creating a gameplay experience that can be just as fun as building new levels. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2015: #6”
Charming, but also incredibly fun with brilliant level designs and a wealth of content, Yoshi’s Woolly World is my new favorite Wii U platformer.
Yoshi has been destined for stardom since his first appearance in Super Mario World. He started his video game career as a power-up for Mario, but soon the lovable dinosaur starred in his own spinoff series of 2D platformers. These focused on his unique ability to eat foes and lay eggs, which can be used as weapons. Yoshi’s Woolly World combines this simple but effective mechanic with a beautifully realized art style and clever level design to create not only the best Yoshi game, but one of Nintendo’s best platformers in years.
I leveraged my extensive Super Mario Maker experience into a yearbook style list of user made levels. From Most Insanely Difficult to Biggest Existential Crisis!
Super Mario Maker has been available for only about a month. But already the community response has been incredible. The game gives players most of the tools from the biggest Mario games of the last 30 years. It lets them run wild with crazy concepts and inventive ideas.
New sub-genres of the traditional Mario platformer have already been established. There’s everything from “Don’t Move” automatic levels to faithful remakes of other classic Nintendo titles. I’ve scoured the top charts to find some of the best levels.
A list of fun, downloadable Nintendo eShop games for the Wii U that can be enjoyed by younger children and toddlers.
There comes a time in every gaming parent’s life when your young child is no longer content to sit there with an unplugged (or unconnected) controller, happily mashing buttons along with parents or older siblings. They know the controller is supposed to light up. They know the on-screen characters should respond to their inputs.
When your young child begins to express an interest in games, there are sadly too few console games for toddlers they can explore. While the mobile market and tablets in particular have made leaps and bounds toward kid-friendly gaming, the big consoles still lag behind.
Nintendo is a bastion of family-friendly gaming. But for decades they’ve had a limited selection of games that very young children can operate and enjoy. I probed the depths of the Nintendo eShop and found several fun games for toddlers and younger children for the Wii U—all kid-approved by my own 3-year-old daughter….
Two Thousand Fourteen! I spent most of the year editing and writing for gaming site Leviathyn, got through another two seasons of Rogue’s Adventures, did a ton of live streaming and video content, began freelance writing for multiple game sites and finally bought a Wii U – all while still blogging here on Game Informer (I also started my own personal blog at roguewatson.wordpress.com).
2014 was a weird year for games. I predicted a huge year with exciting new franchises a la 2007, but instead we got mostly middling disappointment and sequels. However the indie game scene is stronger than ever, and thanks to platforms like Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, more and more developers are finding success making some really wonderful games. And I played a ton of ’em.
I’m also a big organizational nerd, which is to say I love making charts and lists, and this end of year recap is the grand daddy of them all. Or rather, it’s the love child of a year’s worth of note-taking of games I acquired, played, beat and/or 100% completed. Sites like Raptr.com and Backloggery.com help immensely, and you can see my year-end breakdown from Backloggery below:
That’s 68 New Games versus 50 Beaten and/or Completed ones – Not great! Interestingly I beat almost the same number of games as last year, but I acquired many, many more. I’m presuming it’s a combination of steam sales and review copies. Either way, despite playing through my backlog dutifully via Rogue’s Adventures, I ended up adding even more onto the pile. What a terribly glorious problem to have.
Anyway, let’s get to the month by month breakdown! As always I’ll give a brief rundown of the games I played, as well as the backlogged games I finished for Rogue’s Adventures (as well as links to my written Final Thoughts).
Read the full month-by-month breakdown over on Game Informer >>
Read the full list over on my blog on Game Informer >>
Now that my Top Ten Games of the Year list is out of the way we can focus on what’s really important – being excited for future games! Many of the biggest 2014 games were pushed into the next year, and many new Kickstarter and Early Access games will be debuting. I’m feeling fairly confident that all of these will actually release this year, but time makes fools of us all….
Read the full list over on my blog on Game Informer >>