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December 31st 2013 2:15 pm

Favorite games from 2013

We've had some exciting gaming discussions here in the forums over the past year. We talked about our initial impressions of the new consoles, if Nintendo can survive, and even what games we're all playing. As the year wraps up I thought it'd be fun to get a good idea of the communities favorite games to come out in 2013. This serves as a great way to check out games you may have missed or forgotten about.

QuizUp (iOS): This is nothing more than a simple trivia game that you can play against friends or strangers. There are probably thousands of these in the App Store but there is something about QuizUp that makes it better. There are dozens of categories ranging from General Knowledge to Futurama to Physics to The Wire (my top category). You build points and leveling per category which is annoying at first but it gets you try out different categories.

Ridiculous Fishing (iOS/Android):
I wish I could say this game offered actual satisfication in the form of knowledge or emotional connection but it really doesn't. It is so mindless and pretty stupid but it's incredibly fun. You're a fisherman who has to miss fish on the way down, catch them on the way up, and then you blast them out of the sky. You earn money for some sweet upgrades that can add some extra value to the game.

KAMI (iOS): Where Ridiculous Fishing offered no satisfaction beyond time wasting, KAMI delivers the satisfaction of beating challenging puzzles. It's even more enjoyable thanks to the beautiful design and paper feel of the game.

Spelunky (Windows, XBLA, PS3, Vita):
Technically this was an older game but it came out for the PS3/Vita in 2013 so I'm throwing it in here. It's a platformer that is challenging and rage inducing but it's so damn fun. I can play this game for 2 hours without even realizing it because I get so engrossed in it.

Hotline Miami (PC, PS3, Vita): This is a 2d top-down game ala GTA 1, but less chaos. You pull of jobs for an unknown organization and earn different masks as you progress through the game. The masks offer different power ups and factor into how easy or hard it is to make it through a stage. The music really takes the game to a whole new level.

Sound Shapes (PS3, Vita): Another platformer with a flat design but incredibly awesome soundtrack. As you progress through levels the background music adjusts to items and objects in the world you touch. If you ever played Auditorium this has a similar musical style.

Papers, Please (PC): I'm only about two hours into this but the game is incredibly mundane, yet it's so awesome. You're a security guard at a fictitious Eastern Bloc country border (if it's not supposed to be that then they need to tone it done). You're job is to deny or grant people access to the country and each day new rules come about. What would seem easy to do becomes pretty tough as each new rule comes forth making you pay even more attention to detail.

Bioshock: Infinite: For as much as I'll rage on why this game should not be in the top 5 for GOTY, it was still a good game. The world of Colombia was incredibly beautiful and the world you get brought into was fantastic (for the first 3-4 hours). While game play gets to be tiresome and the story falls apart a bit, it was still an enjoyable game with an interesting twist.

The Last of Us: No doubt my favorite game I played this year. I tend to really enjoy Naughty Dog games and this was no different. While the game is not without its flaws (shooting mechanics are pretty bad and AI interaction is terrible too) the story, music, and environment elevate the game to a high level. I can't go into much detail without spoiling some areas but if you like games that help illicit emotional feelings this a good game to pick up.

Games I still need to play:
Gone Home

You also may notice a lack of 3DS titles but I'm confident that if I had one Super Mario World and Link Between Worlds would be up here.

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I also enjoyed Bioshock Infinite and Papers, Please, but definitely encourage everyone to check out both Gone Home and The Stanley Parable - two diametrically opposite games that both offer incredible experiences.

I'm in the midst of playing Pokémon X right now (really enjoying it), and plan to visit Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Saints Row IV soon. I've purchased a lot of games in the Steam Holiday Sale (including DMC, Divekick, and Guacamelee) and will hopefully get the chance to try those out in the near future.
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For me, 2013 was the year to catch up on classics or replay old favorites. I even bought a PS2 to play old PS1 & 2 games. The only current game I bought and played was Fire Emblem on the 3DS, which I loved. It was my first time playing the series and has inspired me to go back and play the DS and GBA entries, which I hope to get to during 2014. I did finally get Steam setup, so maybe 2014 will be the year I finally bother to play some current games. :)
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I played Papers, Please over the weekend and enjoyed it but I would say it's not actually a fun game, just interesting and addictive.

Of other 2013 releases I'll have to include Pokémon X and Animal Crossing New Leaf. I have issues with Pokémon X, in that I found some of it too easy, and the friend characters are annoying glory-hoggers (who defeated the bad guys and captured the Legendary Pokémon? not you.). But, while some annoyances still remain (caves still suck and the Box is still a pain to use) there have been some nice improvements that at least bring the series forward, like the 3D.

As for Animal Crossing New Leaf, it's probably my favorite 2013 release I've played, and will keep playing periodically over the next year. It doesn't move the series forward in any significant way, but that's okay because the formula is already excellent, and it's so much better on a handheld than console since it makes it much easier and convenient to play.

Though that was my favorite, the closest I come to a Game of the Year is probably the new 3DS Mii Plaza/StreetPass games. StreetPass is an amazing feature that does a good job of convincing me to take my 3DS everywhere I go, and the games are the primary motivator in that. In themselves I would not say any of them are particularly brilliant, but they're interesting and/or fun enough for you to keep wanting to gather tags to advance in them. My favorite of the games might be Warrior's Way, though I think over the long run Flower Town is more rewarding.
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Of the games I got around to playing this year, Bioshock Infinite was an early favorite and I think a lot of the criticism, however valid, is sort of a testament to how much it actually aspired to. GTA V was a lot of fun, I enjoyed the story but the ending, the one i chose, was just so, anticlimactic that it ruined a lot of it for me.

A late ringer for me is Hearthstone, granted its still in beta, but its addictive and challenging and frustrating and I'm a big fan of that.
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I agree, Bioshock Infinite got a bit tedious with the whole vigor, shoot-out, repeat, but the ending made it all worth while. On the other hand, Papers, Please offers the most addictive repetitive gameplay in such a depressing package.

I'm psyched for the Steam Sale that's going on right now. I can finally get caught up on all the indies I missed out on, like Gone Home and Hotline Miami.
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There are plenty of games that everyone here has already mentioned that I really enjoyed, but to try not to repeat answers I'll list some new ones. And not all of these were released this year, but if I played them this year, I vote that counts.

I really loved Steamworld Dig on the 3DS. It's a great fairly short 8 or so hour game that is really addicting.

Tearaway on the PS Vita was a late favorite in the year that was overlooked by many but worth a look as a great original non-port title for the port-dump heavy Vita.

Everyone lists Super Mario 3D World, but I think I personally enjoyed Rayman Legends more just for the co-op especially on the Wii U.

I just grabbed Borderlands 2 from the Holiday Steam Sale, and have been playing the heck out of that just this week. It's been a lot of fun playing that game with some friends, and I think in the future I'll grab some of it's DLC.

If you have a 3DS and like puzzle games, I highly recommend the Picross e, e2, e3 games, they are very fun and addicting. I bought each of them and went through most of the puzzles in one day, the harder ones took a little longer.

Other favorites:
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Pokémon X
  • Guacamelee
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf
  • Gone Home
  • The Stanley Parable
  • Resogun
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Can we count games that didn't come out this year but we continued to play alot this year? That's the only way I'll be able to contribute :)

If so, then I still play the hell out of Bastion. It's my favorite game of the past several years. Other than that unfortunately I haven't played a lot of games :(
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I think I will add Saints Row IV to the list. I had never played one prior to this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it both in Single Player and Co-op.

On the mobile side, I thought Super Mario 3D Land was the best mobile game this year.
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