I am nearing the end of this series now, with the penultimate part of my 2018 video game rankings ready to go today. I love everything on this portion of the list and beyond, so my rankings are going to begin feeling somewhat arbitrary. How do I pick which title I loved more between two that I consider favorites? Regardless, I highly recommend everything here to anyone looking for some great games to pick up!
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28. Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut
I am a huge Portal fan, so I always try to find mind-bending physics puzzlers to fall in love with. Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut isn’t the best title of this genre (my heart belongs to The Talos Principle), mostly due to its weak story, but I still quickly grew addicted to moving cubes around and finding the path to the next room. There’s also a sequel out that I can’t wait to play soon!
27. Prison Architect
When I started Prison Architect, it was mostly because I knew it was coming out for Switch and I wanted to give my Steam copy a review. I didn’t expect to love it, yet I honestly did. There is something about this management title that reminds me of the old-school tycoon titles I have an unhealthy addiction for. It has a decent tutorial, so players unfamiliar with simulation titles should be able to pick up the mechanics pretty quickly. There is a possibility that this game may expand into an entire Architect series helmed by Paradox Interactive, and I am incredibly excited by this possibility.
26. Grim Dawn
Grim Dawn is one of my go-to relaxation games. I realize that it’s actually a difficult game at times, but as a Diablo clone, the mechanics are simplistic enough for me to play it in short bursts over a period of six months. Therefore, whenever I am frustrated with my current game or can’t find something interesting to play, I run through a few more quests and level up. The story definitely wears on a little longer than I prefer, but I always have a great time and intend to eventually run through the campaign on a harder difficulty.
25. Mass Effect Andromeda
I put off Mass Effect Andromeda for a long time because of the massive fan backlash against it. Everyone seems to hate the game and I didn’t want to ruin my memories of a fantastic franchise with a bad experience. After a while, though, my love of Bioware won out so I decided to give it a try and, as it turns out, I adore it! Yes, it will never live up to the original trilogy, but to compare it is unfair. It’s introducing new characters and a completely different storyline. I still hope that Bioware gets another chance to revive the franchise and that it isn’t dead forever, because I think some additional love and attention could make a potential sequel to this title absolutely phenomenal.
24. Last Day of June
Sometimes, I go into an indie title blind and just see where the experience takes me. In the case of Last Day of June, I went in expecting a light puzzle title and came out with an experience I would never forget. With a touching narrative, a unique graphical style, and puzzle-solving mechanics unlike anything I’ve ever played before, this is an absolute must-play for fans of indie games that put an emphasis on strong narratives.
23. Finding Paradise
Speaking of story-heavy indie games, Finding Paradise is the follow-up to one of my favorite titles of all time, To the Moon. I don’t want to say much about this and give away its secrets, so I’ll just give some general advice, instead. Play To the Moon first, as it is the stronger of the two titles and will give additional backstory to Finding Paradise, and go in as blind as possible. This series packs an emotional punch and doesn’t hold back, though, so be prepared.
22. Subsurface Circular
Thomas Was Alone is one of the first indie titles I ever played and I have a lot of respect for Bithell Games. Therefore, when I found out about Subsurface Circular, I knew that I needed to play it immediately. The title plays out like a visual novel with some light puzzle-solving, allowing me to become fully immersed in the world and characters. For more information about this, check out my review!
21. Quarantine Circular
Quarantine Circular is the follow-up to Subsurface Circular, taking everything that made the first game great and building upon it. Characters have complex motivations and the story’s stakes are sufficiently high to create some tension while making dialogue choices, allowing me to become completely immersed for a few hours while playing through it in one sitting. The multiple endings also add replayability, as I wanted to go through multiple times and find out all of the different ways this story could wrap up. Hopefully, we see more games in the Circular series in the future, but regardless, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more Bithell Games productions. Check out my full review here!
I have a weird relationship with strategy titles. When I love them, I get addicted and can’t stop playing until I have perfected my tactics. Unfortunately, the games in this genre that I enjoy are few and far between. Volantia, while simple, is one of the better strategy experiences that I’ve had recently, mostly because it doesn’t try to do too much or get overly convoluted. Rounds don’t last longer than an hour and the mechanics are simple to pick up and play without any trouble. There isn’t more than a few hours of content, but what is here is wholly enjoyable.
19. NieR: Automata
I didn’t want to play NieR: Automata at first because of its infamous narrative choice of playing through the game three times. One of my gaming pet peeves is forcing me to replay segments in order to see the full story, but thankfully, the reputation that the title gets is undeserved. Yes, it can be a bit tedious to run through the same desert a million times as three different characters, but the actual story being told between each playthrough is different, breaking up the repetition. If nothing else, it’s worth playing simply for the sublime musical score that I will likely have on repeat for many years to come. Go here and see my review for more of my opinions on this title.
18. HIVESWAP: ACT 1
HIVESWAP: Act 1 made me fall in love and then broke my heart. As far as point-and-click titles go, this may be one of my favorites. It has an interesting story, cute graphics, logical puzzles, and a plethora of funny moments. Unfortunately, as I covered previously, if act two ever comes out at all, it is still nowhere near release. I’ll fully admit that I have never read or experienced anything involving Homestuck before, so I cannot speak to the current status of the fandom, but I know that the lack of updates for this game has been a crushing blow to many people that supported the crowdfunding campaign. I still recommend playing this because I think it’s still a fun game regardless of the status of future updates, but it’s sad to think about how much potential is being wasted with future entries still missing in action.
17. Donut County
As a longtime fan of the Katamari franchise, Donut County is exactly the kind of game that I enjoy. Between the fun humor and wacky gameplay of creating a giant hole to suck the world into, I played this title from start to finish with a huge smile on my face. I definitely recommend picking this up on Switch, as its short levels are perfect for playing on the go. If I’m not getting a new sticky ball-rolling game anytime soon, then sucking the world up is the perfect alternative!
16. Spyro the Dragon
I owe my interest in gaming to Spyro the Dragon, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the remake that came out last year. Obviously, I was not disappointed. Due to my time being sucked up by another title that I will talk about in the final part of my rankings, I didn’t get a chance to play the second or third entries, but I did take the time to follow Spyro’s first adventure. The graphics are gorgeous, I am in love with the remastered soundtrack, and the levels are as fast-paced and fun as I remember them as a child. This plays like a love letter to fans of the purple dragon and I am definitely getting to the rest of the trilogy this year.
15. Disgaea 2 PC
My final game for this list is Disgaea 2 PC, which I have a bit of a complicated relationship towards. After finishing the first title, I immediately jumped into this one because I wanted more tactical combat action. Unfortunately, it didn’t hook me the same way, mostly because I found the characters to be weaker and the plot to be less interesting. After a few months, I came back to it, however, and finally got hooked. It doesn’t live up to the first entry in the series, but it’s kind of unfair to expect it to be as good, either. I have a review here, and I plan to play more Disgaea in the future.
Well, that’s it for this part of the list! There’s only one more part to go and it’s filled with fourteen games that I would consider to be new personal favorites of mine. Have you played anything on this list? Let me know in the comments below!