Top 10 Of 2017

2017 was a very strong year for video games. I had to narrow this list down from a solid original group of 20 or so to get what I have here. I present the 2017 Giraffe Feels Top 10 in ABC order…as always, games from the previous year that I did not play until this year can qualify for this list.

1. Cat Quest (Nintendo Switch)
Cat Quest is a ridiculously fun isometric platformer that was a hit on phones before being ported to consoles. The, literal, slash and burn attacks in this game are fun and never get too difficult, or too easy, as you traverse a small kingdom helping cat peasants and trying to find your sister. The slash, then jump away, then attack again with your weapon or magic dynamics had me wondering what Zelda II would have been like in this style instead of its side scrolling aesthetic. The cutesy nature of the game, and especially its strong soundtrack, remind me of Dragon Quest as well. This is a fun and engaging game that never takes itself too seriously either.

2. Cosmic Star Heroine (Steam/PS4)
It should be pretty clear from the podcast that I love 1990s RPGs. Cosmic Star Heroine takes the best of games/series like Lunar, Earthbound, and Phantasy Star to create a fantastic, albeit short, game that wears its influences on its sleeve. There are plenty of 1980s anime style influences here at play too: Like Cat Quest, CSH has a great sense of humor that, despite a fairly dark plot, keeps things light throughout. It is a game that offers a lot of meta-commentary on the genre and glides from serious to lighthearted like the best of old anime. All of this is combined with an excellent soundtrack that sounds deeply influenced by the Saturn and PS1 era of RPGs. My only regret for this game is that it did not come out for the Switch.

3. Disney Afternoon Collection (PS4)
This is another sensational collection from Digital Eclipse and Capcom. Duck Tales is one of the best platformers ever made for any system. While its sequel is not so great, Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers makes up for it plus other games in this collection. I would strongly considered picking this one up as soon as possible because who knows how long it will be available. We have an episode in the archive about Duck Tales and will have episodes about its sequel and Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers coming in 2018.

4. Everybody’s Golf (PS4)
I was always a big fan of the Hot Shots Golf series, despite finding golf to be an utterly repulsive sport, and am thrilled to see it come back over to North America under its real name. Everybody’s Golf is a delightfully fun game that never takes itself seriously, but, like Super Mega Baseball, manages to be a strong sporting simulation. I can pick this game up and play a quick round in a few minutes. My only regret about this game is that it is not yet on the Switch. I do wish that Hot Shots Tennis would come back as well. Tennis is a sport that could really use a fun game too.

EDIT: Minutes after I typed this entry, Mario Tennis was announced for the Switch. It looks fun!

5. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
In another year that didn’t have the next game on this list, Horizon Zero Dawn would probably be a Game Of The Year candidate. The combination of an open, futuristic, high tech, dystopian world with an interesting narrative and great game play lead to a fantastic game. This game can be quite fun at times, but also very dark. The narrative’s denouement, showing WHY modern civilization was destroyed and the reality of how people like Alloy came to be is rather brutal and, especially if you are troubled by the rise of AI and algorithmic decision making, deeply sobering. Horizon Zero Dawn also has absolutely breathtaking graphics that make me stop and take pictures all the time. I am about half way through the Frozen Wilds DLC right now and hope there is more to come. So much of this game, especially The Frozen Wilds, is what Dragon Age Inquisition should have been really.

6. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch) ***Game of the Year***
It’s hard to really fully writeup how wonderful this game is, but for now let me just say that BotW is the best game I have played in a very long time. It is beautiful, quietly lovely, and so open ended that it took me about 70 hours into game play before I really began to engage with the main quests of the game. Sometime soon, I am going to write up a bonus podcast about the game because there is so much I want to discuss here, but it needs something bigger.

7. Mega Man Legacy Collection II (PS4)
The later Mega Man games are not as good as the classic ones, but still worth checking out. I had all of these on systems as varied as the PS3, 3DS, and Vita. I am looking forward to these collections coming out on the Switch.

8. Stories: Path of Destinies (PS4)
This game was recommended on the Player One Podcast and turned out to be really good. An isometric, Diablo style, non-linear game that allows the user to replay the game over and over until they get the “correct” version of the narrative to beat the game. This game is really fun and I spent a lot of time in the summer trying to decipher the correct path through it. The hack and slash game play is also very fun and while at times very difficult, like Cat Quest I kept coming back to it. More games with this clever combinations of styles please!

9. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
I have mixed feelings about a lot of Mario games of recent vintage. Super Mario Odyssey wears the influence of Mario 64 on its sleeve and is a stellar game that, despite completing the story, I feel like I have barely even touched yet. Like Breath of the Wild, there is so much to discover and explore here. This was the first Switch game that I really felt comfortable playing in tablet mode too.

10. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (Steam)
I have not dove deeply enough into Yonder yet, but I love the mix of Zelda and Animal Crossing that this game offers. The free reign that gamers are given in this game have you permanently “going for a walk,” as I like to say, which is great.

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