2017 was an absolute whirlwind of a year for me. At the end of each month I found myself in a minor state of shock that yet another month had passed by. That’s not including the several insanely hot summer months we had up here in Northern California, which made time and productivity move at a painfully slow rate. In hindsight, deciding to set up my home office upstairs was such terrible, terrible idea. However, air conditioning made those months a little more tolerable…at a price (literally)! 2017 was also filled with some firsts for me. I had the tremendously cool opportunity to visit Germany and attend Gamescom. The Cologne Cathedral is breathtaking! I bought a Nintendo Switch, which I guess counts as the first Nintendo system I purchased since the launch of the Wii. Fortunately, I didn’t have to camp out at a Circuit City for this one. I performed my first turbo swap/upgrade. Which, for those of you who don’t know (pretty much everyone reading this outside of the MV staff), I’m pretty big into cars. I also got to track my garage queen for the first time on the Streets of Willow in Rosamond, CA with some fellow car buddies from the California Mazdaspeeds Facebook group, which was awesome up until my fuel line ruptured, resulting in gas spraying into my car’s hot engine bay. I oversaw the production of my first game trailer from start to finish and launched my first Nintendo Switch title with Mastiff. And to wrap up 2017, got my first DSLR: the Panasonic Lumix G7 <3. Now I can plaster stunning pictures of my car all over social media that aren’t shot with my archaic Samsung Galaxy Potato (S5). OK, enough yammering from me. If you’d like to shoot the breeze and talk games, horror films, cars, or teach me some neat camera tricks, please hit me up on Twitter @DavidBruno. Now let’s get to my top 5 games from 2017.
As a preface to this list, I should note that I rarely play AAA titles. I did play some Battlefront 2, but you’ll notice that it failed to make the list. I’m sure that a quick Google search can bring up plenty of those reasons. ;P
Super Mario Odyssey
A fun romp through colorful worlds that you’d expect to see from Nintendo. Admittedly, the controls took a little getting used to, and it was a little bizarre to see Mario mingling next to normal human characters in New Donk City, but the fun-factor prevailed! Scaling monuments and leaping from skyscrapers in Mario Odyssey is a total blast! It transported me back to playing Crackdown on the Xbox 360 in 2007. Hard to believe it’s been a decade since that game was released. Where, does the time go…. Mario Odyssey is definitely a must-have for every Nintendo Switch owner! It’s a shame I can’t possess things by throwing my hat at them. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Confused Pelican’s medieval twin-stick shooter caught me totally off guard. I think I picked this one up during a flash sale on PSN for a few bucks, and am I happy I did because it was well worth every penny! While later levels will challenge even the toughest, most hardcore players, Iron Crypticle does well to reward players with plenty of weapon unlocks and power-ups. I found myself dying a lot, only to restart and give it another run. The dev team captured that just-one-more-game design loop perfectly! It’s one of those games that you just can’t bring yourself to get upset with or mad at because there aren’t any cheap deaths. Every run requires careful route-planning, power-up stockpiling, and a lot of quick thinking to get yourself out of sticky situations. The game also features local 4-player drop in/out support. More people need to be playing this hidden gem!
Tiny Barbarian DX
A challenging 2D action platformer wrapped up in an 8-bit Conan-meets-Groo world. I believe this was the first physical game I purchased for my Nintendo Switch. I hadn’t really followed the game too closely prior to its release, but the price point was sweet for a physical game packed with goodies (thank you, Nicalis) and being a fan of 2D platformers I couldn’t pass it up! While I haven’t had the time to complete the game, I’ll let this serve as a reminder to pop it into my Switch and get back to punching evil snakes square in their scaly faces.
Raiden V: Director’s Cut
When it comes to shmups and fighting games (primarily Arc System Works titles), I’m already sold! And while I’m not a master of either genre, I will say that I’m pretty damn good at them. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always had a soft spot for the Raiden series. Back in the 90s I don’t think there was a pizza joint across CA where you couldn’t also find a Raiden cabinet ready to claim your hard-earned quarters, and like a moth to the flame I was always drawn straight to its vibrant glow. The Director’s Cut of Raiden V delivers on every front. The online functionality with live score charting and the addition of the Cheer System have got to be two of the coolest features I’ve ever seen in a shmup. MOSS and UFO Interactive really did a knockout job with this one.
Sometimes you just want to unplug and mindlessly beat the living piss out of countless waves of enemies. And sometimes you want to be commanded by a race of otherworldly, anthropomorphic characters who give you no choice but to fight in order to save their world if you ever want to return back to your own. Such is the case with Warriors All-Stars. Featuring characters from Ninja Gaiden, DEAD OR ALIVE, Samurai Warriors, Atelier Sophie, Dynasty Warriors, Nights of Azure, Nioh, and other KOEI TECMO games, Warriors All-Stars is such a blast, and features heaps of unlockable bonus content with dozens of hours of gameplay. Oh, and did I mention the ridiculous bath house scenes? No? Well, you’ll just have to play it to find out what I’m talking about.