Friday, January 2, 2015

Review Round-Up - December 2014

Captain Toad was ready for adventure
and so was I in December.
The final month of 2014 brought with it seven unique reviews. SuperPhillip Central started this month of reviews with the infamous heroes in a half-shell in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze. This game booyakasha'd its way to a competent 6.0. The highest score of December was Killzone: Mercenary, a game that far exceeded my expectations and has become one of my favorite FPS games ever. The score it received was a 9.25. Some mediocre games then followed with my reviews of Mario Pinball Land (4.75) and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (4.5). Then, a great surprise in the form of Super Mega Baseball scored in some runs for an 8.25. Next up was a retro review with Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge (7.25). Lastly, SuperPhillip Central's featured game of the month, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, warmed my heart to earn a 9.0. Its clever design might have also helped, too.

The first month of 2015 will see SuperPhillip Central's 550th review, reviews of games like Fantasy Life and LittleBigPlanet 3, and lots more fun surprises for games you otherwise wouldn't expect.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze (PS3, 360, 3DS) - 6.0
Killzone: Mercenary (Vita) - 9.25
Mario Pinball Land (GBA) - 4.75
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U) - 4.5
Super Mega Baseball (PS4, PS3) - 8.25
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge (GBA) - 7.25
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U) - 9.0

"Whee!" That simple exclamation exemplifies
everything about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Thanks for making the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards a pleasant success!

First of all, Happy New Year! Secondly, thank you for sticking with SuperPhillip Central and reading the content I provide. I didn't know how well the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards would work out with an entirely new top five-centric format. However, it managed to turn out rather great. It was a lot more fun this time around to work on instead of feeling like a chore.

If you missed an award category, look no further than these links!

Top Five Best Box Arts
Top Five Best Download Only Game
Top Five Best Original Soundtracks
Top Five Best Platformers
Top Five Biggest Surprises
Top Five Local Multiplayer Games
Top Five Most Overlooked Games
Top Five Most Pleasing Visuals
Top Five Worst Disappointments
Top Ten Games of 2014

I hope you'll stick with SuperPhillip Central for the new year. Of course, it helps if you're a fan of Nintendo, as I currently only own one non-Nintendo current gen system, and that is the PlayStation Vita.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards - Top Ten Games of 2014

Welcome to the final list of SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2014 Awards! This is the list where I talk about my favorite games of 2014, so it's an extended top ten list this time around. Game-wise, 2014 was a year that I will look back on fondly, due to its staggering amount of gameplay-centric releases. Without further ado, here's my Top Ten Games of 2014!

10) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)


Nintendo is great at putting out games that I didn't even know I wanted until they're released and I play them. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one of these games-- a puzzle adventure game with levels that are more akin to interactive dioramas than anything else I've ever seen. With an abundant array of adorable characters and worlds, clever puzzles, and plenty of replay value, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was a big surprise to cap off a great year of games that was 2014. Each level introduces a new component to the level design that delights, shows off the impressive knowledge of game design that Nintendo EAD possesses, and wows players with its brilliance.

9) Shovel Knight (Wii U)


Indies continue to astound me with their quality. When a studio devised up of a dozen or less can create an experience that rivals what big developers can do, my jaw drops to dangerously low levels. Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight is a NES-era retro game inspired by action platformers like Mega Man and DuckTales. The end result is a two hour tale that offers immense value, tight platforming, unparalleled action, and terrific level design. The entire package of Shovel Knight is polished so incredibly well that it makes games made by some bigger developers look like student projects in comparison. Since the game is on sale for 33% off at both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShops at the time of this top ten list, there's no better time to see what the hubbub around Shovel Knight is all about.

8) Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS)


The rhythm game genre is one I absolutely adore-- even as someone without much actual rhythm (d'oh!). The original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy made its mark on me greatly, making it my favorite music game of all time. Curtain Call, its sequel, adds so much to the formula-- over 200 songs from both mainline and spin-off Final Fantasy games, a wealth of Final Fantasy characters to choose from, and multiple new modes like Quest and online battling to create a fantastic rhythm game. Throw in the simple yet tough to master gameplay of tapping and touching the screen to make Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call a fantastic musical journey.

7) Fantasy Life (3DS)


Many people throughout my gaming career have told me to get a life. Well, with Fantasy Life I outperformed their meager expectations of me and got twelve different lives! Har-har... In all seriousness, while the campaign of Fantasy Life is short compared to the rest of what the title offers, the real meat of the game happens when you try to take your life (i.e. job type) and become better at it. There are a wide amount of objectives to complete for each job as you make your way from fledgling to master, massive numbers of lands and areas to explore, creatures to defeat, and a wondrous world to journey through, making Fantasy Life one of my favorite original handheld games of 2014.

6) LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS3)


Next to Ratchet & Clank, the LittleBigPlanet series is my favorite that SCEA publishes. Although released with many issues (welcome to next gen, baby!), by the time I picked up the game and played it, these problems were taken care of. LittleBigPlanet 3 is a game that features 16 layers of depth to play and create levels in, allowing for levels that look and play absolutely awesomely. The way tutorials are implemented into actual levels rather than having you sit through the dry humor of Stephen Fry makes LittleBigPlanet 3 a much better game in teaching the player to create than past entries. Throw in different characters in how they look and how they play, a bustling community that is as creative as any I've seen on a console, and you have a fantastic game and tool kit to work with.

5) Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)


The last Musou styled game I played while Dynasty Warriors Gundam, and that wasn't the most varied gaming experience around. However, Nintendo and Tecmo-Koei managed to mix two series that originally seemed like the gaming equivalent of oil and water, The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors series, to create one of my favorite games of 2014. It's certainly one of my most played. Hyrule Warriors is fan service comes to life for Zelda fans like me, and it definitely doesn't hurt that the actual game is a blast to play, teeming with a massive amount of content and modes. Even without DLC, Hyrule Warriors is packed to the gills with content, co-op play, and fan service that oozes out of every orifice of the title. The game is without question a fantastic love letter to both Zelda and Dynasty Warriors fans, doubly so if you're a fan of both!

4) Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)


I am a definite sucker for a good arcade golfing game. For the longest time, the Nintendo 64's Mario Golf was my personal choice when I wanted to hit the links with Mario and friends. That is until Mario Golf: World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS came out. This game is absolutely packed with cool characters, well designed courses, deep golfing gameplay, a solo mode that while not an exact RPG mode like the GBC and GBA Mario Golf games offers longevity and entertainment, online play, tournaments, and so much unlockable content. The DLC which is essentially the N64 Mario Golf courses and four different characters is the icing on the cake, solidifying Mario Golf: World Tour as my favorite golf game of all time. I just didn't know I'd love it as much as I did and do.

3) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)


I haven't been this enamored with a Mario Kart game in quite some time. Perhaps the long-missing inclusion of being able to play Grand Prix mode with a buddy added to my love of the game. Perhaps also the 32 expertly-designed tracks, terrifically tight controls, and gorgeous graphics makes for a Mario Kart that is as much a treat to look at as it is to play. The all-new anti-gravity sections of tracks makes for a Mario Kart that is heavily reminiscent of F-Zero, and since that series is in hiatus until who knows when, that's definitely not a bad thing! Add in excellent online and offline multiplayer, one of the best soundtracks the series has ever witnessed, and some of the best valued downloadable content around, and you can see why Mario Kart 8 is on a lot of folks' game of the year lists this year.

2) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)


When Retro Studios was revealed to be working on a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns and not something new like Metroid, gamers collectively turned up their noses. However, when the actual game, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, released to the public, many of these critics quickly aimed their noses back downward and enjoyed what I absolutely consider one of the best 2D platformers ever created. Each level is a new adventure. Each of the four Kongs is a dream to control. The return of David Wise to the series' soundtrack adds a gigantic exclamation mark to what is otherwise an immense treat to experience. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is gaming nirvana, particularly if you're a big fan of the platformer like I am.

1) Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)


After the relative disappointment that fans experienced with Super Smash Bros' showing on the Wii with Brawl, many felt that they were owed a better game from the ever-hardworking Masahiro Sakurai and his team. Well, while I wasn't one of these people, I definitely am of the opinion that Sakurai and friends achieved practical perfection with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a game which not only plays well for both casual and competitive players (and everyone in between), but it is an absolute love letter to any fan of Nintendo history. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is jam-packed with content-- so much so that even after nearly a hundred hours of playing the game I have yet to see all that there is to see. Most importantly, though, this new console version of Smash Bros. is just an amazing pleasure to play. It feels responsive, it plays great, and it looks extraordinary, making it my favorite game of 2014.

===

As you can see, Nintendo dominated this year for my SuperPhillip Central end of year awards ceremony. I think it's more to do with the fact that the majority of Western gaming continues to move in a direction that has pretty much alienated me. The only main platforms for big Japanese-style gaming, the style that I really appreciate and meshes with my tastes, are on Nintendo systems. That isn't to say that the PS3 and Vita have let me down. That's not the case at all.

Regardless, I hope your 2015 is a joyous year full of fun games and gaming experiences! I will be here on SuperPhillip Central for another great year. I hope you are with me, too!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U) Review

Let's pause the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards festivities with the last review of 2014. It's for a game from a developer that is a showstopper. That developer is the immaculate Nintendo EAD, and their game is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Here's the SPC review.

Toad-ally ready for adventure!


Shigeru Miyamoto once said in a relatively recent interview that Nintendo was planning on creating more spin-off titles in order to fill in the gaps between major Wii U releases. Because hey, third-parties ain't going to do that, am I right?

It seems that the first of such titles has released this past month with the launch of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, starring the lovable adventurer who debuted in Super Mario Galaxy and his partner in crime Toadette. The game is based off of the Captain Toad levels within Super Mario 3D World, only expanded upon greatly for a $40 retail game. The end result is one that exudes charm and adds a new dimension to the Wii U library.

Treasure Tracker begins with a cold open, putting the player, Captain Toad, and Toadette within one of the game's many diorama-inspired levels, albeit this is a very small and simple one. Upon reaching the top of the level where a Power Star stands, the two begin a victory celebration around the prized trinket. However, it's not that much later that the talons of a giant, fierce bird clinch onto the Star. Toadette gets carried away along with the Power Star to which she equally fiercely clings onto for life. It's up to Captain Toad to summon up the courage to rescue Toadette while doing some treasure hunting in the process.

"Just let go, Toadette!"
Despite the setup of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, the game's story isn't all about saving Toadette. In fact, there are three episodes within the game, each with its own particular objective. In the first, Captain Toad must reach Toadette and Wingo, the bird who nabbed the Power Star in the first place. In the second, its Toadette who must do the saving of Captain Toad. The final episode has Captain Toad and Toadette separated, needing to reach a joint destination.

One of the first levels in
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Each episode features more than a dozen-- sometimes two dozen-- levels to play through. Each are pretty much bite-sized adventures that feature the goal of reaching that level's particular Power Star. It's all about how you go about getting there which is the objective of each level. Reaching the Star presents players with a series of miniature puzzles in order to solve to get to their final destination and the prize that awaits.

Don't mind Captain Toad, Mr. Shy Guy.
He's simply passing through!
Captain Toad and Toadette do not have the ability to jump in Treasure Tracker. This might seem like it closes the door for plenty of interesting gameplay possibilities, but it's actually quite the opposite. Most of the levels involve you needing to drop down from a higher platform to reach where you need to go, and there are plenty of times where you'll need to manipulate the environment to create paths for Captain Toad and/or Toadette to saunter along.

You guys sure know how to give a lady a lift!
The camera is a big help in Captain  Toad: Treasure Tracker, offering 360 degree movement, and can be maneuvered in pretty much every way except an underside view of a particular level. It can also allow for a relative closeup view of one of the Toads, though there's a glaring omission in that there is no regular zoom function. It's either zoomed all the way out for the player or a closer view of Captain Toad or Toadette. Additionally, the GamePad sports off-TV play, but moving the GamePad at all results in the camera moving with it. This means that playing while laying down becomes more problematic that it should have any right to be.

Regardless, despite these very small camera issues that don't take away much from Captain Toad, the camera is otherwise a godsend in the game. Just maneuvering the camera slightly can reveal otherwise impossible to see hidden alcoves filled with coins and other treasure, particularly Super Gems.

Sorry, Piranha Creepers, but Captain
Toad is absolutely NOT on the menu!
Yes, most of the 70+ levels in Captain Toad possess three special Super Gems to collect. Super Gems, like the Green Stars in Super Mario 3D World, open up locked levels that block your progress, so it's a good idea to collect these when you can. A nice thing about collecting these is that even if you die, as long as you don't quit the level, you don't have to nab ones you've already gotten. Of course, you have to finish the level for the game to save your progress of getting all of them. Regardless, the three Super Gems per level not only encourage extensive exploration of each level, but they also add to the longevity of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Beat the cold weather with a tropical retreat!
Furthermore, each level has a secondary objective apart from obtaining the Power Star. This varies each level, and the objective only reveals itself after the level's Power Star is initially acquired (though you can complete the objective beforehand and the game will count it anyway). For example, some levels require you to find a hidden gold mushroom, while others force you not to take a hit. These are fun little objectives that can completely change the way you would ordinarily play a level.

Not really fighting fairly, are they?
Even after the game is beaten, there's plenty to do. Outside of acquiring every Super Gem and completing every bonus objective each level has, several special bonus levels unlock. Such levels put Captain Toad into the levels of Super Mario 3D World with the goal of obtaining a Green Star, or better yet, they pit Captain Toad to survive a fifty floor gauntlet for a very special prize. My point here is that for a $40 game with plenty of replay value, the approximate 15 hour play time you'll spend with Treasure Tracker makes the game worth owning.

The Wii U GamePad is used in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and while the usage is full of gimmickry, I'm pleased that Nintendo at least tried to make the GamePad have some worthwhile use all the same. Aside from moving platforms up and down or side to side with a tap of the screen, there are special mine cart levels where you use the GamePad to aim your veggie cannon as you roll down the track. Still, there are very lame and unnecessary GamePad uses. I'm primarily thinking about blowing into the microphone of the controller in order to move certain platforms, an artifact of Super Mario 3D World.

This level uses Super Mario 3D World's
Double Cherry power-up.
Using the already beautiful engine from said game, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a gorgeous title, teeming with luxurious environmental variety, wonderful animation, and plenty of polish. It's a series of colorful cartoon worlds come to life, and I have a hard time imagining Captain Toad and friends looking much better on the Wii U hardware. That's definitely no slight to Nintendo's system, by the way.

This trip to the pachinko table starts with a bang.
Sound-wise, the grunts and hums of Captain Toad and Toadette are simply adorable, much like the characters themselves, and the music features several new and remixed themes. While there's more remixed stuff than new, I'm glad that Nintendo didn't just rip the music directly from Super Mario 3D World and place it in Treasure Tracker.

Although the game suffers from some issues in its camera control and lack of a quick restart option in levels, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an unexpected gem in the Wii U library. Then again, how could I ever even think about questioning a game which is made by Nintendo EAD? That studio has proven time and time again just how masterful they are at creating fun, engaging games. If you're looking for a game that oozes with personality, adorable characters, entertaining puzzles and levels, and has great value, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the prize you seek. No need to hunt for this one. Just head to your local video game retailer or buy it on the Nintendo eShop today.

[SPC Says: 9.0/10]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards - Top Five Best Platformers

The platformer, whether it be 2D, 3D, or a combination of the two, is my favorite genre in gaming, so that is why I am dedicating a top five award list for this genre and this genre only. That, and because there's actually a good number of platformers to choose from this year! That notwithstanding, this year we saw a grand deluge of different platformerss in different perspectives, making deciding which platformers to include and which not to a real challenge. Still, here are my choices for the top five best platformers of 2014!

5) Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (Wii U, PS3, 360)


3D platformers used to be a dime a dozen in the PS1 and PS2 generations, but now it's hard to find the genre anywhere, really. That's why it was a breath of fresh air to not only play a 3D platformer in retail release form, but one that was a licensed property and actually pretty darned good, for that matter! While not a wholly original platformer, what ideas Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 did present were cleverly designed and well implemented, making for a game that was enjoyable and engaging from beginning to end.

4) Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)


Kirby's latest platforming adventure took him into new depths-- literally! He could walk, run, and do all his platforming stylings in the foreground and background, as levels were designed to take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS's stereoscopic 3D technology. The level design was smart, goodies were hidden well, and the traditional Kirby goodness oozed out from the surface to create one unforgettable Kirby game. While not better than the Wii's Return to Dream Land, Kirby: Triple Deluxe is worth giving Nintendo's pink puffball another look!

3) LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4, PS3)


What do you get when you cross an adequate platforming engine with a robust level creator? Why, not only do you get a game that will grant you hundreds of hours of entertainment, but you also get LittleBigPlanet 3. The favorite "it's too floaty" criticism can be rendered extinct by toying with the gravity of individual levels to make the jumping as floaty or as tight as a creator likes. With the immensely well designed levels already in the game, the all-new 16 layers of depth that can be switched in between that changes up the level design significantly, and the awesome level creator all makes for LittleBigPlanet 3 being an amazing piece of software for PlayStation 3 and PS4 owners.

2) Shovel Knight (Wii U, 3DS, PC)


The only non-retail release on this list (but don't confuse that for other downloadable games not being worthwhile platformer-wise!), Shovel Knight was Yacht Club Games' first offering as a new team. This Mega Man-inspired 2D retro platformer brought with it stellar levels, each with their own entertaining tropes and themes to them, tight platforming action, and a great Jake Kaufman-composed soundtrack. It all adds up to a game that is astonishing to play and engaging from beginning to end!

1) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)


Retro Studios' first go at Donkey Kong Country was with Returns on the Wii and then later the 3DS. Tropical Freeze takes everything they learned from designing and developing Returns and makes a game that is not just the best platformer of the year, but also one of the best 2D platformers ever made. No hyperbole intended. It's just that good. Everything feels so great control-wise, the level design constantly surprises and amazes, and the level of polish is just so incredible. Retro Studios continues to be a development team that I can't help but envy, and games they create like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are why.

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards - Top Five Most Overlooked Games

I like spotlighting those games that fall between the cracks. This way I can give them the attention I believe they deserve. On the other hand, I don't like having to do so because that means they're highly overlooked and unplayed by the masses! These five games on this list are just that. They are not only overlooked in general, but they also have a nice quality to them. From Yoshi's latest to a terrific Final Fantasy spin-off, these are my picks for top five most overlooked games of 2014.

5) Yoshi's New Island (3DS)


Yoshi gets no respect, I tell ya'. While Yoshi's New Island was nowhere near the eggs-quisite quality of the SNES original (but then again, what is?), the game is indeed a great platformer. It strays on the easy side, but those bonus levels will certainly make you gnash your teeth and tighten your fists with rage. If you play these levels or have already, I'm sure you'll egg-ree. Its presentation isn't the most fantastic in still images, but in motion it works well. Hopefully with Yoshi's Woolly World, we'll see Yoshi get the attention from gamers and eggs-cellent dedication from Nintendo that he deserves!

4) LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4, PS3)


Selling around 100,000 units in North America in November across both PlayStation 3 and PS4, LittleBigPlanet 3 did not sell to its potential by any means. It's a darned shame, as LittleBigPlanet as a series continues to be charming, fun platformers that allow players an accessible set of tools to create incredible levels. Even if you don't care for level creation, there's plenty to be seen with LittleBigPlanet's bustling community of creators, pumping out amazing work that rivals what you get from the developers of the games.

3) Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS)


The original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy did relatively well in sales, so much so that it got its sequel localized. However, Curtain Call isn't faring as well. Seeing as its much better and more content-heavy than its predecessor, that makes me disappointed, as I'm sure Square Enix is with the sales, too. Having over 200 songs, 30 characters to choose from, and an abundance of modes including online battles, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a phenomenal music game package for fans of Final Fantasy, music games, and just great songs in general.

2) Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (Wii U, PS3, 360)


I said how much this game amazed me in my Top Five Biggest Surprises list this week, and that is what makes Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 being overlooked so unfortunate. While the original Ghostly Adventures was an okay 3D platformer, its sequel has the developers learning from their mistakes and crafting a more streamlined and enjoyable game in the process. Don't write this game off as just some random licensed shovelware. It's much better than that, and it's honest to goodness worth a look and, most importantly, a play!

1) Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)


Bayonetta 2 is a niche title on a niche system, so it seemed like the game was destined to be overlooked. While not so much within the most hardcore of gaming communities and gamers, Bayonetta 2 might as well have been invisible to consumers. Well, it practically was, at least, as it sold as well as sand to a man dying in the desert. What those who got to experience Bayonetta 2 will tell you is that the game is one of Platinum's best and one of the genre's best, too. Now that I think about it, I better get to playing this supposed gem!

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards - Best Download Only Game

This is a first for SuperPhillip Central. I've never had a Best Download Only Game award before, but here it is this year! I've been able to review and experience so many different digital games this year across a fair amount of platforms. I'm of the opinion that indie games and digital games are just as important as full-scale releases, and I hope you do, too! Here's the five download-only games I enjoyed most for 2014!

5) Super Mega Baseball (PS4, PS3)


Baseball isn't football, so I don't care for it that much. However, playing baseball games that aren't entirely simulation-like in structure makes for a very entertaining time. Super Mega Baseball is one game that released late this year that combines a wacky arcade aesthetic with accessible gameplay. However, don't think this is some dumbed down baseball experience, as Super Mega Baseball presented plenty of options and detailed mechanics to make for a game that swung for the fences and hit a home run.

4) Armillo (Wii U)


Reminding me of a mascot-driven N64-era 3D platformer (and I don't say that in a bad way), Armillo featured the titular character rolling around spherical planets in order to clear each level. Perhaps because it reminded me so much of games in my favorite genre that I grew up on that I hold Armillo to such high regard. Still, its creative design, fun levels, and amount of content made for a game that I really enjoyed.

3) Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones (Wii U)


Temporarily a Wii U eShop exclusive, Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones was a 2D puzzle platformer that brought a robotic hero through the testing chambers of an industrial facility. Using different tools to solve chambers full of deathly traps and means for our hero to wind up in a crushed, incinerated, or sawed apart heap, Stealth Inc. 2 crafted ingenious puzzles that wracked my mind in solving them, fun platforming challenges, and a stunning presentation.

2) Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition (Multi)


Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition was released on a multitude of home consoles this past year. It was designed as a Metroid-style adventure that used luchadore moves for combat and allowed for insane combos. However, these moves were also helpful outside of combat, great for finding secret little alcoves on the map and various upgrades. The ability to team up locally with a friend or family member, humorous dialogue, and myriad of game references added to just how fantastic Guacamelee was.

1) Shovel Knight (Wii U, 3DS)


Winner of the Biggest Surprise of 2014, Shovel Knight took the classic Mega Man style of gameplay and made it its own with amazing level design, polish, and new game mechanics. Everything about Shovel Knight was crafted with stunning care, creating a 2D action platformer that delighted every step of the way. With it releasing on PSN next year, PlayStation system owners will get the chance to see what the big deal is when they get to play Shovel Knight, my favorite download-only game.

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards - Top Five Worst Disappointments

Is it really 100% the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2014 Awards when I have a Worst Disappointment award? Sort of goes against the whole "Best of 2014" thing I've been going with so far. Anyway, 2014 has been a great year for games, but there's been some huge disappointments from publishers and gamers alike. This list talks about some of those that I deem the worst disappointments of 2014.

5) Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)


I am right about things occasionally, but I'm also wrong about things occasionally. I haven't had a written tally of which happens more, but for my ego's sake, I'll say it's the former! At Sonic Boom's announcement, I was hopeful for the game. It had folks who had worked on the Jak and Daxter series. I just didn't expect the game to be released when it wasn't nearly completed. I underestimated just how sucky Sega is. It turns out Rise of Lyric, the Wii U entry of the Sonic Boom series, was released in a totally unfinished state with numerous bugs, abundant signs of lack of polish, and many more problems. To this day, I will argue that Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric's failings are more to do with the publisher than BigRedButton, the developer.

4) Wii U sales


With a sales trajectory under the Dreamcast, a console that was discontinued and turned a first-party into a third-party one, Nintendo's Wii U is an unmitigated sales disaster. I argue that it has nothing to do with the quality of the library and definitely, without question, more to do with how the console is marketed. To this day, there are still a profusion of people who do not know what the Wii U is even supposed to be, mixed messaging, and otherwise laughable decisions being made. I cannot properly organize my thoughts in such a way that would properly explain how horrid Nintendo's marketing and handling of the Wii U has been. Going from record-breaking high sales with the Wii to record-breaking low sales with the Wii U was an extraordinary challenge, but we can always count on Nintendo to come through and completely blow it in one way or another.

3) The PS4 and the Xbox One

The PS4 and Xbox One are somehow worse off platforms library-wise than the Wii U was in the same time span-- a year from launch. Before you get angry over something as stupid as some random nobody's comment regarding game consoles of all things, let me put it this way. Most of the games released in the first year on the PS4 and Xbox One can be found on other platforms. The games that interest me most are such titles like Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, and LittleBigPlanet 3. The ones that aren't are rare or better yet, broken at launch (looking at you, DriveClub and Halo: MCC).

If you want to argue that sales = quality and that's why people are picking the Xbox One and PS4 over the Wii U, then I hope you were also saying the same thing when the Wii was handily beating the PS3 and 360 in sales last gen. Otherwise, you're a predictable hypocrite. The end.

2) Broken games at launch


Ah... Next gen is finally here, and you know it's a next gen console if your biggest releases were somehow broken at launch! From DriveClub's embarrassing launch to Halo: The Master Chief Collection's launch issues that still plague the game after months, I've found myself understanding why some gamers haven't made the leap to next gen yet. I also beseech gamers to stop pre-ordering, but like moths to the flame, they'll do so anyway. Oh, well. Just don't complain when more incidents of broken games at launch happen. I mean, you guys are really showing those companies good by still pre-ordering their games despite all of these problems!

1) GamerGate

Beyond broken games, next gen systems being underwhelming game-wise, and releases that I thought would be good but turned out differently, the biggest disappointment was GamerGate. This isn't something I expected to be good. I just didn't expect it to blow up so badly, showing just how ****ty a good portion of the gaming community is (sending death threats, rape threats, and forcing women out of the hobby and industry). GamerGate is definitely something that has set the industry back a decade in terms of mainstream acceptance, and it's all the fault of a faction of manchildren who are truly human garbage.

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