By Josh Speer / January 8th, 2016
It’s funny. When I look back at 2015, I see all the Vita games I played, but when it came to making this list, there are very few. The only reason for that is, since I got my Vita, I’ve been making up for lost time, picking up classic PSP games, enjoying PS+ freebies and the like. What I haven’t been playing much were new releases from 2015, and as such, I didn’t feel it fair to mention games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Rogue Legacy, Ultratron or Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. Sure I spent countless hours in each of those, but none were recent games, so they didn’t make it on the list. Instead, most of the games here are either 3DS, Wii U or Steam games I enjoyed. I tried to keep the list small, but couldn’t keep it to a top 5 or even 6, and instead ended up with a grand total of 8 games that made 2015 for me. Listed in alphabetical order, here they are!
Game #1 – Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash
I don’t care what the vast majority of people out there said, I rather enjoyed my time with Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash. I thought it was creative, fun, had great graphics, a fun new hook, and decent replay value. There’s just something about the Chibi-Robo! style that endears it to me, and makes me a fan. Hell, I even loved my Chibi-Robo! amiibo that came with the game, even though I didn’t have a New 3DS to utilize it with. If you like fun platformers and thought Zip Lash looked interesting, I encourage you to find it and give it a chance. It might not be the groundbreaking next huge hit from Nintendo, but it’s a great little niche title.
Game #2 – Dementium Remastered
I don’t know if you’ve caught this about me yet, but if developer Renegade Kid was a rock band, I would be one of their rambunctious, panty throwing groupies that cops would have to restrain for “making a scene”. There’s something really special about the small team, which seems to bring a lot of polish and bravery to a often uninspired game market, and I have enjoyed all of their games that I played. First and foremost was the original Dementium: The Ward. It was ahead of it’s time graphically, had amazing atmosphere and made good use of the DS architecture. Unfortunately it was held back by a couple of features, but all of that was fixed when they remade it for the 3DS in Dementium: Remastered. There’s really nothing scarier on the 3DS, and if you are a fan of indie developers, survival horror or just cool, well made games, you’re in for a treat with this great remake. Just don’t play this one in the dark…
Game #3 – Guild of Dungeoneering
I love when a game absolutely takes me by surprise and makes me a fan, and Guild of Dungeoneering certainly did that. I didn’t know what I was in for when I played the game at PAX Prime, and I was so pleased with it that I got an opportunity to review it as well. Though I have beaten the game by now, I’m still putting hours into it each week trying to get 100% of the achievements, and that is a feat I reserve for games I truly enjoyed. If you like rogue-like, D&D lite experiences, with lots of humor, replay value and charm, then look no further. And if you really enjoy it, you should consider picking up the Pirate’s Cove DLC. Nothing makes a game better than pirates, monkeys and mermen!
Game #4 – Shutshimi
Speaking of pleasant surprises, I couldn’t have this list without Shutshimi. Though it’s now available for a variety of consoles, I first played it at PAX Prime, and quickly grew to love it on my Vita. Choice Provisions may have taken a risk publishing something so out of left field, but I’m glad they did. Developer Neon Deity Games really got my attention with this one. Shutshimi plays a lot like the love child of WarioWare and Darius, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s crazy, fun, frantic and has immense replay value. My only complaint is that the Halloween DLC hasn’t been brought to the Vita version of the game yet, but that’s no reason to neglect it. Shutshimi is the perfect example of why I love Choice Provisions as much as I do, and I eagerly anticipate their next collaboration with Neon Deity Games.
Game #5 – Stella Glow
Stella Glow was another fantastic, if surprising, game. The surprising part is that it made its way to 3DS instead of a more RPG friendly console. What wasn’t surprising was how fun, polished and creative the game was, since it was the last hurrah of developer Image Epoch, who I’ve loved since I first played Luminous Arc way back when. Though it was a bit bittersweet, since we won’t get anything else from the developer, I’m glad they ended on a high note. For any 3DS fan who loves fan service, great characters and dialogue, fun combat and a compelling plot, look no further. It’s a must have title for anybody with a 3DS.
Game #6 – Super Mario Maker
If you know me at all, this one shouldn’t be a surprise. I tout myself as a platformer master, and this is in part due to my love of all things Mario. Like many of you, I’ve been a fan since I was a wee gamer, and when offered the chance to finally make my own levels, it was like a dream come true. When you add the fact that they keep updating Super Mario Maker with free new content, it’s even better. I can’t recommend this game enough to those of you who want to make your own levels, or just those of you who love Mario games. In my opinion, this is a must have title for any Wii U library. I love it so much I even do a monthly editorial for it!
Game #7 – Yo-Kai Watch
For a while now, my interest in the Pokemon series has been waning. I still love a lot of the basics in the game, but feel like they are always phoning sequels in, with less and less innovation. Enter Yo-Kai Watch. I’ve been watching this game for the last couple years, and even before I saw how wildly popular it became in Japan, I was intrigued. It seemed like Pokemon, but not. Yo-Kai Watch is very much it’s own creature, and I am very happy Level 5 took a chance with something besides Professor Layton. They have proven themselves capable of succeeding in more than one genre, and I’m glad for them and for gamers in general. I hope Yo-Kai Watch continues to succeed in the West and Japan, maybe even encouraging a little friendly competition with the monolithic Pokemon franchise. Who knows, maybe that competition will force Pokemon to innovate in ways we haven’t seen in years! In the meantime, I’ll be wandering around befriending naughty Yo-Kai.
Game #8 – Yoshi’s Woolly World
This was it, guys. This was the sequel that Yoshi’s Island fans have been clamoring for. For years, we have wanted a game that was as creative, fun and challenging as the original Yoshi’s Island, and the folks at Good Feel finally made it happen. Not only is Woolly World utterly gorgeous, it turns many standard Yoshi mechanics on their head, and keeps players on their toes with very fun and very tricky levels. I may have beaten this one a while ago, but there’s still plenty for me to do. If you are a fan of Yoshi or even if you aren’t, Woolly World is a great Wii U exclusive. After this one, I can be happy if the Yoshi series of games decides to finally coming to an end, now that they did so on a high point.
So that’s it, guys! My top games of 2015. Join us shortly for our oprainfall awards, and stay tuned for our coverage of more games in 2016.
Thanks to Brandon for the awesome Featured Image!
Chibi-Robo: Zip LashDementium RemasteredGuild of DungeoneeringJoshShutshimiStella GlowSuper Mario MakerTop games of 2015Yo-kai WatchYoshi's Woolly World