Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2015 Awards - Top Five Biggest Surprises

The second of two lists being posted today as part of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2015 Awards is here! Some games come out of nowhere and floor you with their quality. You go in not expecting anything or expect something negative, and you're blown away by how good the game is. That is the modus operandi of these next five games, the biggest surprises in 2015.

5) Adventures of Pip (Multi)

We start this list of five games with Adventures of Pip, a downloadable delight for a myriad of home consoles as well as PC. The game is a standard 2D platformer, but the real fun comes from interacting with different objects that turn the titular character into different pixel forms, such as 8-bit and 16-bit. The latter is great for breaking big blocks, though it lacks the maneuverability and is quite heavy. Many rooms of the game's levels require switching between multiple forms at once to solve environmental and platforming puzzles. I didn't doubt that Adventures of Pip might be good. I did doubt that it'd be one of my favorite releases this year.

4) Freedom Planet (Wii U eShop)

Another digital game, Freedom Planet started out as a fan project before turning into a serious indie game, somewhat similar in gameplay to the Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games in some regards. I knew I would probably enjoy the game because of its influences, but I never would have dared to hazard the guess that I would like the game as much as I did. Yes, the levels drag on a bit too long, and they should have been split up into more bite-sized chunks. Other than that, I have no real complaints about this terrific and charming 2D platformer.

3) Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash (3DS)

After hearing and reading complaint after complaint about Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash's level select system, I didn't think I would find myself so attracted to the game. I was wrong with my thought process, as not only can the level roulette be cheesed with coins or proper timing, but the actual gameplay is quite remarkable. Using Chibi-Robo's plug to whip enemies into shape, grab onto ledges, and pull himself across chasms was innovative for this storied genre of gaming, and while the vehicle stages left something to be desired overall, ultimately I found much joy playing Zip Lash. Don't think of it merely as a game to sell an amiibo. It's a rather good 2D platformer.

2) Until Dawn (PS4)

A choose-your-own-adventure-type game for fans of horror movies, filled with the typical tropes one would expect, along with some curve balls that many would not, Until Dawn was one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year. It proved to be an excellent title to add to the exclusives of the PlayStation 4, and became a popular game to stream for many players. Every choice, no matter how simple, leads to the conclusion and affects the eight characters placed together in the game.

1) Splatoon (Wii U)

Between being a new IP, being on a struggling system, and having countless folks saying that the game would bomb, Splatoon managed to be a success. Not just that, but it also managed to be way more fun than it had any right to be. While the launch offered a handful of maps, the post-release content-- all free, by the way-- has added a seemingly endless amount of gear and weapons options, as well as a total of 15 maps thus far. Splatoon is as addicting and original a third-person shooter can get, and it's a total blast to dive into the mechanics and the hidden depth. No doubt the success of Splatoon has surprised many, including Nintendo itself.

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