LGR 2016 GOTY: 10-6 by Stuart Neill

  1. Reigns

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Whoever thought to use the mechanics of Tinder as the basis for an RPG is a genius. The premise is simple: As the King you need to maintain the fine balancing act of keeping the church, your subjects, the army and your wealth under control without letting any one of them hit the minimum or maximum of their respective meters. You do this by swiping either left or right to make a decision on any choice put to you. Easy, right? Not even slightly! You mostly get an indication on each of the meters as to whether the decision effect will be large or small, but no indication as to whether it will be positive or negative. There are also other effects that could potentially cloud your judgement such as old age, deafness and occasionally the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms! There are also side quests that pop up from time to time that see you trying to escape a dungeon, and outrun your captors while blindfolded after being kidnapped. When you die (and you will) you continue as the heir to the throne. There are 26 deaths to avoid, 40 Royal deeds to fulfil and 37 characters to meet. How long will your Reign last? (My best is 63 years)

  1. Mini Metro

mini-metro

Mini Metro is part transport resource management and part puzzle game. You have a number of stations on your map and a number of train lines to connect them to each other so that passengers can get to the stations the need to go to without getting into a backlog at a station. The game excels in the simplicity of design as it uses bright bold colours for the lines and plain simple city maps for the background. It is also a disarmingly laid back game. That‘s not to say that the game will not have you frantically rearranging lines to reach the level goal of passenger numbers transferred, but for the opening minutes of each level you have time to gather your thoughts and consider the problems the map presents eg. needing bridges over rivers. A thoroughly satisfying experience that has multiple modes ranging from free play to permanent lines to keep you coming back and keeping the challenges fresh.

  1. Hyrule Warriors

hyrule-warriors

I have a vague recollection of Dynasty Warriors from back in the PS2 days, but I just didn’t get on with the one that I had a go at. Coming forward to 2016 and I own and love a Legend of Zelda themed version. Maybe that’s what was missing to grab my interest.

Like Dynasty Warriors before it the premise of Hyrule Warriors is that you presented with a map and have to carry out objectives on your way to the ultimate goal for the map. There are key strategic points for you to defend and rally points to capture to make your progress easier. You only control one character for the hack and slash gameplay, but your actions aid the actions of the AI army that you are fighting for making this a real time strategy game as well.

My criticisms of the game mostly stem from the battle areas in the Story Mode as it is possible to lose because of something happening on another side of the map when you are dealing with something else, but the game has a variety of modes including an Adventure mode that has just one objective on each map which helps ease you into the style of play.

Since the release of Hyrule Warriors Legends on the 3DS both games have been supported well with a variety of free DLC as well as having content packs that can be purchased separately. The Wii U version also supports local 2 player mode.

  1. Resident Evil 4

resi-4

There’s not much more that I can say about Resident Evil 4 that hasn’t already been said. It is a game that defined and has greatly influenced the 3rd person action genre. It reinvigorated the Resident Evil franchise even if subsequent releases haven’t been critically lauded. It regularly appears in the Top Ten of the best video games ever and deservedly so.

So why is it only my number 7? I have a few simple reasons for this. As I was playing it for a playlist episode for LGR my time with it was short and I didn’t complete it, but thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. I was playing on the newer PC remastered version which graphically looks beautiful, but control wise is starting to show it’s age. It’s not a clunky control scheme, but it just doesn’t feel as natural as it could be. My final reason is that I just enjoyed other games more due to either the fun I had with them or the experience I got from them. I’d still highly recommend this though to anybody who hasn’t played it.

  1. Space Grunts

space-grunts

The idea of a turn based sci-fi action rogue-like sounds like a weird mashup, but there is something about Space Grunts that makes it really special.

The game is set in the year 2476 and Earth’s space-federation has been building moon-bases across the galaxy. One of those moon-bases has been sending a distress signal and it is your missions as a Space Grunt to investigate.

You have a choice of three Grunts when you start a new game, each with their own differing abilities and stats, and your goal (if you ever manage to complete it it) is to get to the end of the levels. Spread throughout each of the procedurally generated levels are aliens, weapons dumps and other consumables. There are also a number of other potential hazards to navigate your way past.

There are other games like Space Grunts eg. Nuclear Throne and Assault Android Cactus, and even OrangePixel’s (the developer) own Heroes of Loot games, but Space Grunts eschews the frenetic and constant action of those games and opts for a turn based system instead. This slows the game down and makes it perfect on mobile devices with touch screen controls (the game is also on Steam and is a joy to play on PC too) and as a dip in when you have the time to play game.

I spent most of my summer playing this on my phone and enjoyed my time immensely with it while barely scratching the surface of the game. You can’t say fairer than that for a cost to gameplay time ratio.

Stuart (@saintlystuart)

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