We’ve all said it at one point or another, but it bears repeating: 2014 was pretty much ass. Purely focusing on the games-side of things, there were far more disappointing and broken games that released this year than any of us would have expected. Still, even in this most ass-y of years, there were still games that came out that were worth rewarding. But before we get to those games, let’s start off with a category that’s pretty representative of 2014 as a whole.
Making its way to western shores after nearly four years, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is simultaneously a familiar and fresh experience. Playing Danganronpa oftentimes feels like developer Spike Chunsoft took a lot of the best ideas from Japanese games of the last decade and threw them in a blender, with games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Persona 4 being the most obvious examples. It’s easy to end it there, but Danganronpa is successful at combining its various influences into a game with unique ideas on its mind. Danganronpa is simultaneously dark, cute, and surprisingly relatable, making it one of the best times you’re likely to have all year.
In a feverous haze one Tuesday night, Evan sent me a link to a new Kinect indie title. Within moments of briefly skimming the press release and seeing that it said FMV, Kinect, and Chris Evans, I dropped everything I was doing and rushed to my Xbox. Fearing this was some kind of joke or PR stunt or something, I thought I should download it as soon as possible before it gets pulled for being too crazy or something. Well, it’s plenty crazy and we played through the whole thing so you won’t have to.
Dean Dodrill. That’s a name anyone interested in playing XBLA’s Summer of Arcade closer Dust: An Elysian Tail should know. An artist by trade, he decided he wanted to make a video game, all by himself. So he taught himself how to program. That was nearly three years ago. The road to release has been a long one, for sure, and I can’t imagine how difficult designing a game by yourself must have been. I’m happy to report that from the designer’s perspective, it was worth the effort, and from the consumer’s perspective, it was worth the wait. Dust is fantastic.
The word “dyad” means a great many specific things across different fields, but those definitions are all bound by a simple similarity: in all cases, a dyad is a pair. Whether it be a pair of sister chromatids, a pair of musical notes, or a pair of people. The new PSN-exclusive racer Dyad is aptly named.