Chris’s Top Fifty Videogame Competitions of the Year #10 – #01

For the full context of this list, please make sure to read part 1 of this fantastic feature.

10: Lego City Undercover

Developer: TT Fusion

Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, WiiU, Nintendo Switch

Dave and I absolutely loved Lego City Undercover mainly due to its imaginative open world gameplay, and dizzying array of pop culture references that often had us laughing out loud. Lego City Undercover is a great game for children and adults, or big kids as I like to refer to myself. Please check out my full review here.

9: Little Nightmares

Developer: Tarsier Studios

Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The first time I heard about Little Nightmares was at Eurogamer Expo 2016. As I was walking around the show floor, my eyes were drawn to a huge cage which was being patrolled by an oversized ogre wearing a chef’s hat! Sat on top of the cage was a little girl wearing a bright yellow raincoat, watching the monster who was carrying a huge meat cleaver! It’s fair to say that Little Nightmares left a lasting impression on all who queued up to play it! I once heard Little Nightmares described as “the bastard child of Unravel and Inside”. I think that is a fairly accurate description of Little Nightmares, as it shares similarities in terms of the gameplay and tone of both of those games. You play as the small girl I mentioned earlier. There is no dialogue and little is explained as you walk around a hellish vessel being pursued by gigantic creatures who are intent on catching you. Although Little Nightmares isn’t necessarily as polished as Unravel or Inside, it does leave a lasting impression, and at times I felt very uneasy mainly due to the sound design and creatures themselves. There is almost a stop motion quality to the characters that are chasing you, as they jerkily shuffle around with oversized and exaggerated features. Little Nightmares is a relatively short game to complete but is well worth checking out.

8: Splatoon 2

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Available on: Nintendo Switch

I never got the chance to play Splatoon on the Nintendo WiiU, so I jumped at the chance when the sequel was released for Nintendo Switch earlier this year. Splatoon 2 is an 8-player online shooter with all the charm and playability that you would expect from a Nintendo game. Like all the best games, the aim is simple, but there is a lot of fun to be had, especially with that “just one more go” feeling. As part of a team, the objective is to cover the floor in more paint than the other team. As you can imagine, the matches are often very fast and frantic. Throw into the mix; dozens of special weapons and perks from different clothing and there is a surprising amount of depth to the game. One of the main criticisms of Splatoon on WiiU was the lack of any kind of single player content. Splatoon 2 has remedied that now with a fully-fledged single player experience. You could argue that it is a thinly veiled tutorial for the multiplayer however, there are some tricky boss fights that require skill to beat. Nintendo have had a stellar year and Splatoon 2 is another fantastic game for the Nintendo Switch.

7: Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap

Developer: Lizardcube

Publisher: DotEmu

Available on: PC. PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap is one of my all-time favourite games from my childhood! I loved the Wonder Boy series, and The Dragons Trap was the best of the bunch, with beautiful colourful graphics and excellent gameplay. I completed the game multiple times and it was one of those games that really made you proud to be a Sega Master System owner. I could barely contain my excitement when I heard that The Dragons Trap was being released for the current generation of consoles. In all honesty, even though the game is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, it was the Nintendo Switch version that I wanted the most, and ended up being the deciding factor in buying the console. The game takes place at the end of Wonder Boy In Monster Land as you defeat the final boss. As a final act of revenge, you are turned into a monster and your quest is to return yourself into human form. Throughout your quest you are transformed into different animals such as a mouseman, merman and birdman. Each animal has different unique abilities which made the game feel really epic when I was a child. The remaster remains unchanged from the original, but the absolute best thing about the game is the ability to instantaneously change from the original graphics to the updated visuals. Developer Lizardcube have done an incredible job creating brand new hand drawn graphics that looks absolutely astonishing, especially on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. Switching between old and new graphics really shows just how much work they have done to the game, and it feels like a real labour of love. I think this is what makes The Dragons Trap remaster feel really special, because the makers of the game obviously share the same passion that I did for the original. I loved revisiting a game I adored from my childhood and I cannot thank Lizardcube enough for making me feel like a 13-year-old again.

6: Resident Evil 7

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

I’ve been a fan of the Resident Evil games since the original was released in 1996. For anyone who is interested, (and I assume you are seeing as you are reading this) here is where I rank the Resident Evil games.

  1. Resident Evil 4
  2. Resident Evil 7 (played with PSVR)
  3. Resident Evil: Code Veronica
  4. Resident Evil 2
  5. Resident Evil Remake
  6. Resident Evil
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Resident Evil 3 Nemesis
  9. Resident Evil Revelations 2
  10. Resident Evil Revelations
  11. Resident Evil Zero
  12. Resident Evil 6

My hopes for Resident Evil 7 were relatively low, especially after the total crapfest that was Resident Evil 6. Add to this that the game was going to be played in first-person perspective, which isn’t a traditional Resident Evil trait, I’m sure you can understand my trepidation. As it turned out, Resident Evil 7 was one of the most terrifying experiences I have ever had! I have to preface this by saying that I played it with PSVR, so it was a completely different experience to playing on a standard television. Resident Evil 7 would have still been a fantastic game had I played it without PSVR, but it wouldn’t have had the impact you get from feeling like you are actually in the game. My wife will confirm (because she heard me from another room) that there were times where I would literally scream out in terror as I was playing the game. I would say that if you have the opportunity to play it using VR, then please do so, but make sure that you have a spare pair of underwear on standby!  The first few hours of the game lend heavily from the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead 2. You feel utterly powerless running around a dirty, disgusting house in the dark, never knowing what is around the corner. Resident Evil 7 is an unparalleled experience, especially in VR, and as such was one of my favourite games of the year.

5: Sniper Elite 4

Developer: Rebellion Developments

Publisher: Rebellion Developments

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

There aren’t many games out there that allow you to shoot Nazis in the testicles! Sniper Elite 4 allows you to do this, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the game relies too heavily on a gimmick, as Sniper Elite 4 is the most accomplished game in the celebrated series. Sniper Elite 4 features primary and secondary objectives, and the game feels like an open world sandbox that allows you to play how you want to. Imagine the Hitman games set in World War 2, and you have some idea of the scale and scope of Sniper Elite 4. There is a lot of versatility in the game which means you can set traps, use sound to cover your tracks, stealthily take out soldiers, or going in all guns blazing, the choice really is yours. Sniper Elite 4 was without doubt one of my favourite games of the year and you can read my full review here.

4: Cuphead

Developer: Studio MDHR

Publisher: Studio MDHR

Available on: PC, Xbox One

My award for the best visuals of a game I completed in my top 50 goes to Cuphead! 4 years in the making, Cuphead is a remarkable achievement, especially when you think that only a handful of people made the game. Based on cartoons from the 1920’s, you play as the titular Cuphead, who along with his friend Mugman, has lost a bet to the devil. The forfeit for losing is that the Devil now wants Cuphead to collect souls to cover his losses. Cuphead is basically a series of boss battles where you have to learn the patterns of each enemy to determine the best strategy to defeat them. You can buy new weapons and special moves to help you, but that doesn’t make the game much easier. Cuphead is one of the trickiest games I’ve played in a long time, but more importantly, one of the most rewarding as well. In fact, the penultimate boss battle took me over 4 hours to beat, what was effectively a 3-minute level! When you inevitably die, the game tells you how close you were to beating the bad guy, which leads to an incredible sense of ‘just one more go’! When you do fail, it always feels like it is your fault, rather than the game is cheating you. As I mentioned earlier, the graphics in Cuphead are absolutely astonishing! At times, it feels like you are playing a cartoon, which is complimented with some wonderful music that totally nails the aesthetic of the game. Cuphead is a fantastic game that reminds me of games such as Gunstar Heroes and Contra. Yes it is tough, but the sense of achievement when you beat a boss is utterly fantastic! Cuphead won’t be for everyone, but if you fancy a challenge then I highly recommend you pick it up.

1: Shovel Knight 2. Shovel Knight Specter of Torment 3. Shovel Knight Plague of Shadows

Developer: Yacht Club Games

Publisher: Yacht Club Games

Available on: PC, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, WiiU, PS3, PS4, , PlayStation Vita, Xbox One

Shovel Knight and its spin off adventures are without doubt the favourite game(s) I have completed over the past 12 months! To think that I had these wonderful games sitting on my PlayStation Vita for nearly 2 years, and that they may not have been played at all if it wasn’t for my YOLG challenge is a crying shame. Developer Yacht Club Games, have done an absolutely incredible job creating a modern game, but making it feel like it was made 30 years ago. Shovel Knight and its two spin off adventures are 2D platform action adventures. Although the games are tough and will test your dexterity, it isn’t unfairly punishing and provides a sturdy challenge. I think the reason why Shovel Knight resonated with me so much was because I am from the era of gaming that Shovel Knight takes a lot of its inspiration. The music in the game is absolutely wonderful, and there are times where I found myself humming the various tunes throughout my day. The spin off games Specter of Torment and Plague of Shadows each feature characters you meet in Shovel Knight. These add back story and help to create an overall package that is incredible value for money. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are cheap cash ins either, as each adventure takes at least 6 hours to complete. Shovel Knight, Specter Knight and Plague Knight all control differently which adds its own challenges, but also helps to keep the games feeling fresh. The dialogue throughout is very funny, and even though the characters are pixelated, they have more charm than a lot of so called AAA games. The biggest compliment that I can give these games is that when I wasn’t playing them, I was thinking about playing them. In fact, I once pulled over and parked up in Sainsburys car park on the way home, just so that I could play another level. Shovel Knight, Specter of Torment and Plague of Shadows are wonderful games that will stay will me for a very long time and I loved every second of them.

Reviews by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)