I don't actually know what games you played in 2015, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you didn't play more than two or three of these 12 games. Five, tops. I've only played 11 of them, and some of those for only an hour or so..
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Well, I did play (and back!) Sunless Sea, a little bit. I didn't get far in Sunless Sea because of the tensions between its narrative side and its roguelike side. I am most in it for the narrative, so I should probably just go ahead and not play it like a roguelike. But darnit, it's got persistent elements between captains which I feel like I should be engaging. But then I get to repeat a lot of not super-replayable content. Ultimately, trying to decide between those two things caused me to put it down entirely.
Otherwise, ya got me, though.
Damn, you're right! I only played Mini Metro and I .... returned it. I didn't hate it or anything but after a couple games I just didn't want to play it again and I was under the 2 hour limit. I think the problem was that I didn't feel like I could actually plan for anything. From what I could tell, there wasn't any pattern to how the different shapes popped up and it felt arbitrary to me.
Arrggg, how I wish I just could have returned Anno 2205. Sometimes it just takes too many mistakes on my part before realizing that a game won't be in my wheelhouse.
I played Mini Metro a bit on the website for free and I feel like I got my fill. The way I had to keep revamping my lines in response to new stops being dropped in were just frustrating. One of the fun things about builders is planning. This game is a lot closer to, say, Flight Control on iOS.
RE Revelaitons 2 is sadly quite underrated. It's interesting because RE6 sold quite a bit better even though it got a lot of hate and fury online.
Ooh, that vampire RPG sounds right up my alley, and I didn't realize that Regicide was more than Warhammer 40k chess! Thanks for the tip!
Have they done anything to address the mind-numbing repetition of Sunless Sea? I so wanted to love it, but having to play through the opening islands over and over every time I died, with really nothing available to make it easier to get to more distant islands, was soul-crushing.
Small correction: in the Human Resource Machine entry, I think you mean "Little Inferno".
Debatable correction: in the Conquest of Elysium entry, you mention those who "think videogames are necessarily a visual medium" might overlook the game because of its lo-fi graphics. Do you perhaps mean "aesthetic" rather than "visual"? You're making a point about the perceived beauty of the graphics. I quibble not because I disagree with your point but rather because CoE is a game that relies on visual representation to convey information and provide players with something to interact with. Games like Rock Band or those featured at the Wild Rumpus events would be more compelling arguments for nonvisual games (i.e., ones that use sound or physical interaction as primary mechanics).
I backed Sunless Sea. I should love Sunless Sea. I want to love Sunless Sea.
I do not love Sunless Sea. I think Barac gets most at why, too. It's a roguelike with the same map every time, because it's beholden to the narrative elements of the game. The other problem I have is that it's a very slow game to get into. Not lore-wise; I actually appreciate being thrown in the deep end, and the atmosphere of the game is second to none. But trudging along the same well-worn path at the beginning of every game is not fun, and devolves into skipping text and so forth. Maybe I'll come back to it next year.
WH40K Regicide: I've played that! It's really fun, with gory animations and the way the solo player campaign consists of not-quite-chess-puzzles. The unlockables are a bit all over the place though, and last time I tried (November) I couldn't find anyone online to play against.
Bedlam I want to like, and I think I do, but for some reason it doesn't have that one-more-game pull on me like FTL did. The resource management seems a shade too much for what the overall package is trying to be.
First I've heard of Beyond Sol, but it looks delicious. Thanks for the list!
Great filenames, Tom. I particularly like McMaster on the flashlight.
It's actually not the same map every time. The close in ports are kept the same, but as you get into the deeper Zee, stuff changes. That said, their narrative content doesn't.
I'm zero for twelve on this list, though Beyond Sol sure sounds intriguing.
"yet another a never-ending action RPG mode"
Good to know! I must not have gotten as far as I thought in my plays.
My Roguelike I really wanted to like award goes to Ironcast. Great idea, great setting, better than usual Match 3 execution, better tying the Match 3 to the combat than most.
It fell flat on its face though because it's 90% chance. Unlike FTL where you can at least mitigate unlucky shop selections by spending your money upgrading other important systems like shields, Ironcast was entirely dependent on random equipment drops. You either got shield and weapon drops keeping pace with the enemy and won, or you didn't and lost.
I like your take on this, but when I say it's a visual medium, I mean like movies and paintings as opposed to books and music. A medium that necessarily has a visual component. That's where a lot of developers focus most of their effort, particularly in high profile games. And while there are visuals in Conquest of Elysium 4 -- and very goods ones considering how few pixels they have to play with! -- they're mostly functional and a relatively low priority for how that game appeals to the imagination.
I'm not sure what the differences are between the free website Mini Metro you mention and the Steam release I played, but the Steam release has a variety of scenarios, many of which include tools you use to modify and manage your routes. But you're right that a lot of the gameplay is dealing with random growth. You never know where people are going to want to go next.
Have you tried Train Valley? That's another relatively modest train game recently released on Steam. I haven't tried it myself, but it looks interesting in terms of bite-sized train strategy games.
You'd better add Nuclear Throne to the list, the one to beat the rest on this list. Though if you're looking for story, you'll be sorry you spent the money, haha
Nuclear Throne is pretty good, isn't it? It did make my list of games that I like in spite of being so over that retro 16-bit graphics style.
Wish it was a bit more cleaned up for its PS4 release, though. Crashed on me a couple of times (once where I finally made it to 7-1... imagine that) and a serious lack of cross-save between Sony platforms hurts it.
And hey, if it made me grab a second controller for couch co-op, that says a lot nowadays, faults be damned.