As a game, Wattam is a scatterbrained assembly of goofball logic and cumbersome mechanics. As an experience, it's an earnest expression of love, affinity, and forgiveness shared by all of its moving pieces. The product is a game that elicits joy without the videogame-y demand for precooked gratification. Wattam feels like a birthday party where all of your friends actually show up.
Valfaris is a collection of conventional run 'n gun elements amplified by one of the gnarliest and most committed heavy metal aesthetics ever pledged to pixels. Ideas that belong to Valfaris may not be as well tuned as the Greatest Hits it so liberally samples, but it's easy to overlook in light of the vibrant carnage. Valfaris, in the parlance of its god, shreds.
Death Stranding reinvents how video game design can work. It takes you through an experience you didn't expect, doesn't hold back with its design intentions and execution, and takes the gamer through a journey like no other. This is a masterpiece that only Kojima could pull off.
Untitled Goose Game is a body-swapping fantasy that transforms any would-be suburban miscreant into a waddling force of mischief and destruction. Instead of putting your finger in everyone's freshly baked pie, you menace around town and devastate an ordinary Saturday afternoon. Untitled Goose Game is philosophical exercise to determine if the conniving will of a large annoying bird is either innate programming from a bored deity or a product of our broken society.
I haven't had a game hit me emotionally quite as Concrete Genie has. An emotional story blended with beautiful artwork and seamless gameplay creates an incredible experience. I am beyond impressed with Pixelopus's work and you can easily see all the blood, sweat and tears poured into the game. Concrete genie may not scratch the gameplay itch that you have but rather it delivers an important story to tell. I highly recommend it for any hardcore gaming fan as well as the creative types.
Neo Cab's malevolent tech-noir is a vehicle for exploring, and ultimately surviving, the tenacity of its passengers and the ambivalence of its driver. As a narrative adventure Neo Cab is full of conflicted, enigmatic, and sophisticated characters all vying for validation in a tortured world. As an opaque lens on social responsibility and morality, it's as distressing as it is compulsive. Neo Cab's tech-addled dystopia functions a travelogue to the pain and purpose of being human.
Flaws and shortcomings in Control are utterly few and far between, while the gameplay is highly satisfying and fun. The world Remedy created is full of intrigue from the get-go and stays enthralling throughout. Barring any major surprises, Control is my personal game of the year for 2019.