Good news, everyone! There were so many amazing games in 2009 that it's practically impossible to make a top 10, or a list of awards that accurately captures just how incredible these games really are. Instead of revisiting games like Uncharted 2, Borderlands, or Batman: Arkham Asylum, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites that never received the attention they deserved.
If you take any enjoyment from adventure games then you have to play Machinarium. You'll be introduced to the robot world of Machinarium one step at a time, and every step will blow you away. From beautifully created backgrounds and sprite-work, to the small quirks each robot in the city has, the richness in detail will pull you in and you'll find yourself spending more time than you should exploring each scene with your eyes. You'll tromp through the game only looking forward, but it's when the game ends that you'll wonder about what's really going on in the city. So hopefully you'll play it again, much like I did.
Little King's Story (Wii)
It's an obsession of mine to build in video games. I've spent hours in ActRaiser maxing the population of every area, burning forests and destroying rocks so my people might grow another crop. Endless hours moving my buildings around in Dark Cloud 2 so I could get all of the little bonuses. So when Little King's Story starts off in what's basically a barn, but teases images of a giant castle, my eyes widened and I never looked back. It's reminiscent of Pikmin with human soldiers, and though it's never complicated it's still very strategic. The kingdom must be built, a barn is not fit for a king.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS)
Dragon Quest's infamous amounts of grinding has always kept me away from the series. After the first moments of the Heavenly Bride though, I couldn't put my DS down. You live the protagonist's life, experience his pain, his love, and fight a billion monsters along the way. While Heavenly Bride is completely average in regards to its mechanics, you can't help but care about what will happen next.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS)
Diabolical Box is in essence the exact same game as the original, with new puzzles, new characters, and a delightful story that will draw you in and never let you go. While playing the first game I spent the majority of my time searching out each individual puzzle, but with the sequel I just couldn't slow myself down from solving the larger mystery. I anxiously await the multiple sequels (and movie) coming down the pipeline from Japan, but hope they'll continue to create larger conflicts and characters that grow in a similar way to the Harry Potter books.
League of Legends (PC)
This Defense-of-the-Ancients style multiplayer game snuck up on me. When I tried playing DotA on Warcraft 3 I hated it. If you could join a game without being kicked for being a noob, or having to download a map, you'd still end up being punished by obsessive min/max-ers and their inate knowledge of what item would create an unfair advantage 5 minutes into the game. Demigod cut it down to a small list of characters and a few unhelful items, but was relatively unimpressive. League of Legends brings back the large list of characters, though each has more personality, but with their matchmaking service and the combat dynamics they've created made DotA accessible even to a noob like myself. Oh, it's free!
Plants vs. Zombies (PC)
Pure. Addicting. Fun. Zombies with safety cones on their heads, attacking a house that's protected by cute projectile firing plants. SO AWESOME! I've played through Plants vs. Zombies at least four times now, and it's still amazingly fun. It's so simple but so engrossing that every person on Earth, and those astronaut dudes too, should have this game installed on their computer. Or with the upcoming iPhone release, on your phone as well. We don't want zombies on the lawn. :3 <3<3<3 SUNFLOWER!
These are just a few of my favorites of the year, a year that had so many great games! Again, I can't really disagree with Destructoid or any other gaming site's "Top 10 Games of the Year" though I could never pick which is better than which. If you've got some spare cash and haven't tried some of these out, I can't recommend these more.
So have a happy New Year everyone! Will 2010 be better than 2009? I can't see how, but if it even gets close we're pretty fucking lucky!
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