It’s been a good year for games. It’s been an exhausting year for games. Keeping up with everything you want to play – everything you’re supposed to play – has become impossible. There are many games I would like to have played but didn’t; many games I spent a short amount of time with that I’d like to get to know better – including (but not limited to) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Invisible Inc., Undertale, Rock Band 4 and Soma. Regardless, here are the 15 games I enjoyed most in 2015.
- Grayout (iOS)
A very late entrant, but a deserving one. Terrific, absorbing prequel to the excellent Blackbar.
- Code Name STEAM (3DS)
Widely misunderstood, but I loved this unorthodox and characterful strategy game.
- Sunset (PC)
Similarly maligned, Tale of Tales’ commercial swansong was a moody, stylish treat.
- A Good Snowman is Hard to Build (iOS)
Alan Hazelden does Sokoban with snowmen (and hugs). Satisfying, smartly designed and oddly touching.
- Box Boy (3DS)
HAL’s elegant puzzler starts with a simple idea and keeps building. Clever; charming.
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
Until X arrives, the best Monster Hunter to date. As rich and complex as ever, yet friendlier to novice hunters.
- PES 2016 (PlayStation 4)
Would have been higher but for its online woes. An outstandingly nuanced, fluid and exciting simulation.
- Until Dawn (PlayStation 4)
Deceptively smart horror game blessed with superb direction and strong writing.
- Guitar Hero Live (PlayStation 4)
An unpretentious delight that captures the empowering thrill of performance better than any other rhythm game.
- Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
The world’s best game-maker gives us the keys to the kingdom, with inconsistent but thrillingly unpredictable results.
- Yakuza 5 (PlayStation 3)
Sprawling, vibrant crime saga that finds the poignancy in flawed people trying to make a new life for themselves.
- Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U)
Ludicrously unsung action-adventure with some of the smartest design all year, and possibly the best ever use of Miiverse.
- Life is Strange (Xbox One)
Captures the messy sensations of adolescence with remarkable clarity. Not without flaws, but affectingly goes where few games dare.
- Her Story (PC)
Outstanding, thought-provoking FMV detective game which made listening the year’s most exciting new game mechanic.
- Splatoon (Wii U)
Wonderfully energetic and inventive shooter, delivered in truly unorthodox fashion. 200+ hours of fun makes it my Game of the Year.