There was no shortage of games in 2018, both big and small. And while I didn’t get to play as many as I would’ve liked (hence this only being a Top 5), there were still some gems among what I did play.
These aren’t all indie games, and they are presented in no particular order.
Forza Horizon 4
The Forza series is my favourite racing series, with the Horizon games being particularly fun. Horizon 4 sees you hurtling around various regions in England and Scotland in a variety of different vehicles and challenges. The changing seasons also bring new challenges, and you have to make sure you have the right vehicle to cope.
My one biggest gripe with the game is that, for a game centred around a big racing festival, the open world does feel a bit quiet a lot of the time, with not much going on. But honestly, that doesn’t take much from what is a massively fun title.
Two Point Hospital
One of my all time favourite games is Theme Hospital, so when it was announced that some of the team behind that game were working on a spiritual successor, I was all in.
Two Point Hospital does a fantastic job of capturing what was great about Theme Hospital. The various comical illnesses, differing staff personalities and sarcastic announcer are all there, as well as a radio station with a group of various differing hosts wittering away.
Two Point isn’t the most challenging game out there, but whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends on what you’re looking for. But it’s an excellent game which will really scratch that nostalgia itch.
Inspired by The Settlers and the Anno games, The Colonists sees you controlling a group of cute little robots who want to create a colony all their own. And while a lot of the time is spent building stuff, this game is more about managing where your resources are going and upgrading and researching tech to make your colony faster and more efficient.
The Colonists is generally quite relaxing in the early levels, but things get more hectic when combat and territory battles are introduced, forcing you to gobble up as much land as you can to prevent another colony from doing the same to you.
Very tricky at times, but also adorable and enjoyable.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about this one. The definitive Super Smash Bros. experience, with a frankly ridiculous roster of characters to choose from.
The World of Light mode is a great addition for single players, and of course there are a variety of multiplayer options to ensure fun for everyone. Just pure joy.
I first played this at last year’s EGX Rezzed and managed to spend almost a whole hour playing it without noticing. STAY sees you talking to a guy who has found himself imprisoned in a room with a computer and you have to try and help him escape and stay calm by talking to him.
The story branches out in a variety of different directions depending on what you say and do. What makes this unique is that the game calculated both how long you’ve been in game and how long you’ve been away. While you’re away, the prisoner will try stuff in your absence and you’ll have to figure out what’s going on when you get back.
The sheer number of paths the story can take means there’s a tonne of replay value here. You’ll never be stuck here.
Here follows a few games that I also enjoyed but either I didn’t play as much as I wanted, or just didn’t make the top 5.
Donut County – A very brief but fun and ridiculous game involving holes in the ground swallowing everything up. And raccoons as well. Absolutely no replay value at all, but well worth going through.
Celeste – Didn’t get to play a lot of this, but it’s a challenging and interesting platformer that has gotten a lot of praise.
Train Valley 2 – Mainly including this in here because it’s still in early access so not technically fully released, but I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time with this game. A fun, addictive resource and train management game that always manages to throw new and interesting challenges in your way.
The Station – A story driven exploration game where you’re sent to investigate what happened on a space station that was observing an alien race until it’s cloaking devices failed and it was discovered. Eerie and compelling, without being out and out scary.