A novel exploration of the underpinnings of game graphics, Fez at once pays tribute to classic 2D platformers while revealing the shenanigans that went into their design. Borderline inscrutable at times, Fez is a puzzle on many levels. Yet its mysteries, clever as they are, deserve to be unravelled.
The fundamental premise of NES Remix 2 remains sound, but the shift in focus to more complex source material crimps its style somewhat. Thankfully, the bonus modes go a long way toward restoring some of the shine to its star. It's not quite as essential a play as its predecessor, but it offers an amusing, self-referential distraction nevertheless.
Even if you tend not to care much about Kirby games – understandably, given how toothless they can be – Triple Deluxe merits attention. Smart level design and a remarkable level of detail make this portable platformer one of Kirby's greatest adventures to date.
Capybara has designed a devastatingly complex game that manages to feel wholly intuitive and approachable in practice; I just wish it explored more of its potential. If ever a game begged for a sequel to fully realize a great concept, Super T.I.M.E. Force is it.
Great combat mechanics and excellent writing help Transistor transcend the familiarity of its individual components. A gorgeous, intriguing, and ultimately moving tale, Supergiant's sophomore effort builds on the strengths that made Bastion so memorable without feeling like a mere retread.
The latest of Nintendo's experiments to create games with appeal beyond the usual clichés of the medium, Tomodachi Life may actually be the most humanistic creation the company has ever put together. While it could (somewhat notoriously) stand to be more inclusive, its focus on the concrete personalities and tangible interactions of tiny digital people make it one of the most addictive and fascinating life sims ever made.
As fun in this beefed-up incarnation as in its original release, Guacamelee Super Turbo Champion Edition offers one of the best-designed and most original takes on the well-worn metroidvania phenomenon you'll ever find. The new material may not quite bring enough to the table to warrant a second purchase, and the game doesn't exactly push PS4 or Xbox One to the ragged edge of their capabilities, but once again excellent game design has less to do with technical specs and more to do with creativity and thoughtfulness: Features Guacamelee possesses in spades.
There's not really enough distance between the PS3 version of The Last of Us and this new Remaster to make it worth double-dipping, unless you're simply that fixated on counting lines of resolution. If you missed out the first time around, though, you really shouldn't let it slip past again. While it often works better as a movie than a game, it still stands at the state of the art. And the writing is good enough to enjoy even if you hate zombie genre fiction (like I do). The Last of Us is about refinement, not innovation, and this version takes the art of refinement another step forward.
Hyrule Warriors is basically a one-note experience, but it hits that note with perfect pitch. The Zelda universe works better as a musou button-masher than you might expect, and much of that success is down to Tecmo's obvious love for the subject matter. This isn't a patch on what we've seen of the next "true" Zelda, but it should tide fans over quite nicely until that one arrives.