163 points, 10 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
if: The first section of Limbo was unrivaled in atmosphere all year – it may have been mostly basic 2D platforming but that was not as important as the darkness, the sense of dread, the creeping realization that yes, the entire world is against you! It later went on to lose the singular feel a bit and do some clever but rather more conventional puzzling, but the art and feel of it was still strong enough to make it all still hang together as one enjoyable experience. I enjoyed the deadpan sick humor of the deaths in it a lot more than similar in other games, too.
Salsa Shark: One of the things I absolutely love about this game is that all of the puzzles can be figured out if you just think about them a bit. Limbo often rewarded contemplating and surveying your environment rather than jumping right into it.
forksclovetofu: If you liked the idea of braid but couldn’t handle the preciousness, this is your game. Best played after it gets dark; it’s not an appropriate before noon game. That goddamn fly puzzle! And the moment when you see your sister, there she is, in the light, so close AND THE GODDAMN BRAIN WORM TURNS! Totally worth fifteen bucks and one of my favorite gaming experiences of ’10.
Craig G: I dropped the full 1200 MS Points just to play this for Coint and Plick a day before the end of polling and I’m so glad I did. The atmosphere is great and the puzzles were *just* hard enough that I eventually figured them out, but at times they kept me occupied for quite some time. The game is brutal, both in how violent the deaths your character suffers at the hand of bear traps, giant spiders, crushing blocks, etc and in how it teases you with glimpses of (what I assume is supposed to be) a way out of Limbo before snatching them away because a brain worm forces you to go the other way and when you return the landscape has changed into further trials.
bnw: Beautifully done. We really need more games like this.
ledge: Very reminiscent of Another World (aka Out of This World). Inventive puzzles, evocative atmosphere, yadda yadda.
Polyphonic: Another game that goes a long way with atmosphere and good level design. Everyone I’ve shown Limbo to has loved it, gamer or not. Reminds me of sidescrollers like Out of this World and the original Prince of Persia, but with great intuitive puzzles that never veer into the absurd like Braid and enough story to intrigue but never get in the way.
Jordan: I love its positive attitude toward dying.
112 points, 8 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Cozen: If you own a current gen system and you are not currently playing this game, then you are a n00b.
Polyponic: It is the perfect Pac Man game, basically. Easily the best re-imagining of a classic arcade game ever and arguably more fun than the original. The revamped gameplay is like eating all of the pixie stix on God’s green earth at once.
Antexit: I’m a little uncomfortable with how much the giant five-second serotonin burst that comes with nailing a line of 100 ghosts feels like an orgasm. It makes me not want to play too much.
Unpredictable Johnny Rodz: Basically “Pac-Man: The Benny Hill Years”.
Will M: Not as mindbendingly fun and fresh as the first one but still a hell of a lot of fun. Plug in your arcade stick for maximum greatness.
Forksclovetofu: Compulsively replayable and intense to the point of tears. Somebody explain to me why they don’t put a mini version of this to play during the loading screens of every other game ever made for the rest of eternity.
jamescobo: The Portal of 2010: an elegantly compact, bite-sized (YEAHHHHHHHHH) celebration of pure game mechanics. If at all possible, play with a joystick; it’s so much fun that it threatens to rip open the space/time continuum.
40 points, 3 votes
if: Beyond basic functionality, I actually don’t really care at all for the aesthetics of SMB (now there’s a deliberate acronym). I think I may also, finally, have reached the point where I see ‘<Item> get!’ and ‘Sorry but the <person> is in another <location>’ and feel absolutely nothing in response. Fortunately the controls, jumping/walljumping mechanics, sense of speed and level design were near perfect. The replays in which you watch a cloud of your failures gradually and harshly narrowed down to your success were also rightly praised. The number one thing above all of that that made this stand out and be so addictive, though, was the simple but ingenious idea to make all the levels so short. Coupled with NO RELOADING TIMES and the aforementioned speed and responsiveness, this meant that the difficulty could be ramped up to the level where winning often feels exhilaratingly like achieving the impossible, whilst barely ever suffering from un-fun frustration. And each level offering multiple routes with rewards for quick times meant that even if you spent twenty goes repeating the same first section of a level: i) it was really short anyway ii) It wasn’t time wasted, as it could be used to whittle an extra 0.05 seconds off the time for that part and increase your chances of opening up a more sadistically hard level!
silby: Only managed to spend a few minutes with this game so far, but since it combines brilliantly designed puzzle-platforming with an insane glut of content, by the time it’s finally out on a platform that I have regular access to, I might actually bother to beat it.
32 points, 3 votes
Mordy: I really only played this for one night – the evening of Halloween – but what a night it was. Costume Quest is colorful and cute and just long enough for a single extended evening of play. Though it’s hampered by a rushed third act and gameplay that is about as challenging as you’d expect (not very) it’s really fun and irrepressible.
litel: Costume Quest is really, really fantastic.
forksclovetofu: Okay, I just beat Costume Quest and knocked out 100% of the trophies; it’s actually three worlds, not four. It’s a very likely one-sitting game, so be aware that you’re plunking down 15 bucks for a short, sweet adventure that’s wonderfully done but is NOT going to keep you busy even through halloween.
polyphonic: Much more fun than Brutal Legend.
stevie: just hit the french fry costume bug in costume quest. and so now… the game is broken? don’t think i’ll be buying any further doublefine games, tbh. this is bullshit.
20 points, 2 votes
Mitch Krpata: Comedy is the hardest thing for a game to do right. DeathSpank does it right.
Salsa Shark: This game was made for me. All the best elements of a Fable-esque adventure and a LucasArts point-and-click in one game? YES PLEASE. It feels like so much effort and thought and love has gone into this game that I almost felt bad getting it for only 600MP on a sale. However, I don’t think this is for everybody; people who grumble at fetch quests and mock unsophisticated combat systems probably won’t enjoy it. But for the right person (or for the right gaming mood) this is a swell little game. If I want full-on RPG capabilities I’ll play Dragon Quest or any other proper, well-rounded, 80+-hour adventuring saga. Deathspank is for those times when you need a lighthearted, uncomplicated game to fill a couple hours.
20 points, 1 vote
Despite being more well-known in the West for games like DonPachi and Deathsmiles, Guwange is one of Cave’s most revered shooting titles in its native Japan. This is for two reasons: its medieval setting is a nice break from the usual science-fiction fare found in the genre, while its unique “shikigami” mechanic turns what could be a tedious shooter into an enthralling blend of frantic action and delicate positioning. – Kotaku
Alan N: This was the year that I officially regressed into a moldy retro gamer. the focus is really narrow on my list: shmups, j-rpgs, and platformers. I’m basically OK with that.
15 points, 1 vote
Salsa Shark: I’m going to be honest here: I’ve never played the campaign mode of either this or the N64 version. And I probably never will. If you feel that this should discount this vote because of that then fine, but given the number of people who vote for FPS games in these GOTY things without bothering to play the single-player mode it might be a bit unfair. Anyway, I’ve given this 15 points because there are some differences between the remake and the original, but almost all of these are positive. Perhaps the best change is that you no longer have to play through various combat challenges to unlock MP maps (though some weapons remain to be unlocked). Since the combat challenges get controller-throwingly difficult towards the second half and the default map selection in the N64 game was dire, this is a hugely welcome change. The starting line-up of weapons is decent enough that MP can be played straight after downloading with enough weapon variation to satisfy most people. The only minor complaint I have is that you can only load in four sims, which limits the possibilities for local MP team-based games. Still, the game is just as fun as ever and finally actually playable now that the consoles have caught up to the online and technical aspirations of the original version.
cozwn: perfect dark. xbla. 1080p. 60fps. fuck. yeh.
10 points, 1 vote
Matt D: A solid mobile shooter that will procedurally generate levels based on any music stored on my device? The core gameplay of Space Invaders Extreme with brand new presentation and added elements? This is one of a few iOS titles that convinced me I never need to own a mobile gaming platform other than my phone