The Secret World
I don't typically play MMOs, but The Secret World
got its hooks into me bad
this year. With a modern setting, free-form leveling system and a story strongly rooted in urban legends and horror, it stands well apart from many MMOs. The best parts of The Secret World
, however, are the investigation missions. Rather than slaying four whatsits
or finding ten thingamabobs
, investigation missions charge players with solving riddles. Many of these require real-world knowledge or research. In the few I've played, I had to decrypt Morse code, look up Bible verses and brush up on my art history.
These missions break the fourth wall, helping to tie The Secret World
into the real world
and offering a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys a good brain teaser. And, of course, The Secret World
is now free
of subscriptions, so it's a great time to try it out.New Super Mario Bros. U
I didn't expect New Super Mario Bros U
to be as good as it is. 2D Mario games peaked with Super Mario World
, and the disappointing New Super Mario Bros. 2
didn't leave me with much hope. To my surprise, however, New Super Mario Bros. U
breathes new life into Mario's 2D exploits, offering up a beautiful world map, some fun new power-ups (including adorable new baby Yoshis) and top-notch level design. Not only that, but it's packed with secrets. If you're anything like me, finding every single one will be a necessity.
I'm pleased to say that I'm genuinely excited to see what Mario does next.SpelunkySpelunky
was a nice surprise for me this year. Game designs don't get much simpler, with players simply trying to reach the exit before time runs out, but Spelunky
layers on lots of clever mechanics to keep things interesting. Warp tunnels keep permanent death from becoming tedious (most
of the time, anyway) and the ever-shifting random levels keep each play session interesting. On top of that, the adorable character designs make each death just delightfully
Now, if I could just keep from hitting myself with my own
arrows, I'd be set.Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
Confession time: I didn't actually play Rain-Slick Episode 2
. I did, however, play Zeboyd's hilarious Cthulhu Saves the World
, and so I was very excited to learn that the small indie dev was taking the reigns of Penny Arcade's previously canceled Episode 3
. The result was an excellent, old-school RPG with a great, Grandia
-esque battle system and tons of laughs. Seriously, even the monster descriptions are funny.
The game is incredibly cheap too, and already has free DLC. RPG fans should definitely check it out.