Thursday, December 29, 2016

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2016 Awards - Top Five Most Overlooked/Underrated Games

SuperPhillip Central regularly covers overlooked and underrated video games with its Most Overlooked series of game articles. It only makes sense for the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2016 Awards to dedicate a category to those overlooked and/or underrated games of the year that either flew under the radar or didn't get the credit that I arguably feel that they deserve. From Zelda and Wave Race-inspired games to Nintendo's own works, this list has a good amount of variety on it.

5) Star Fox Zero (Wii U)

For many fans, Nintendo just keeps shooting the Star Fox series in the foot. Many just want a version of Star Fox 64 with completely new levels and they'd be satisfied. However, Nintendo opts to keep tinkering with the formula, or in Star Fox Zero's case, the controls. With the Wii U release this year, the Wii U GamePad allows players to get two vantage points on the action, one a full screen view of the Arwing or other vehicle, and one in the cockpit. Using both smartly, which takes some time to get accustomed to, one can take out enemies by flying their Arwing in one direction while using the GamePad to aim in a completely different direction. This is something that would be impossible without the GamePad. Though this control setup is indeed convoluted, it makes for a more involved and, for me, entertaining experience. Featuring amazing action and memorable scenes, Star Fox Zero deserved more fanfare for what it successfully set out to do.

4) Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U)

We take for granted that Mario and Sonic have been appearing together in games for quite a while now, even if it's just mostly relegated to the Olympics. While many passed by or just utterly dismissed the latest installment of the series on Wii U, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games delivered a wide range of events, content, and a nice presentation to boot. For those who groan about motion controls, particularly the waggle variety, this year's Wii U version features all analog and button controls, something new to the series. Between getting gold medals, breaking records on each event, unlocking Mii costume pieces, and new remixes of Mario and Sonic music, the latest Mario & Sonic is a great one that deserves more attention even though we're way past the summer Olympic season.

3) Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)

Oh, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, you never stood a chance, my dear game! The disgust from Metroid fans towards this game might have had some merit, and it certainly wasn't the game from the Metroid series that fans were expecting, but overall, you were a fun excursion. Completing missions with varied objectives gave me a lot of enjoyment, whether sneaking stealthily into a Space Pirate base out of my mech, taking down a behemoth-sized boss, or solving simple puzzles to progress. It was especially so with some close friends online or off. The bonus mode of Boost Ball added a competitive side of the package, and a just as fun one, too. Despite my disappointment with Federation Force not being a true Metroid game in the traditional sense, I feel that coupled with the interesting mission design and fluid combat that Metroid Prime: Federation Force got more criticism than it deserved.

2) Ittle Dew 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)

While we won't see The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild until sometime next year, there was a title that released this year that took on the Zelda mantle, but in an overhead perspective. That game was Ittle Dew 2, a game that is a far better experience than the already good original. With eight unique dungeons that can be played in practically any order, a world map that is sensationally fun to explore as you search for hidden caverns full of worthwhile treasure, puzzles that can really perplex but feature clever, never unfair solutions, and enjoyable combat, Ittle Dew 2 is a Zelda-like experience that I was absolutely addicted to from start to finish.

1) Aqua Moto Racing Utopia (PS4, PC)

It's no doubt in my mind that the price point of Aqua Moto Racing Utopia turned off a lot of prospective buyers. I mean, $30 for a digital game from a not-so-well-known indie developer doesn't really whet the appetite. However, for those that take the plunge will find an aquatic racing game that rivals Wave Race 64 in content, control, and value. Sure, you won't get the same nostalgia as turning on the old Nintendo 64, but with Aqua Moto Racing Utopia you get a multitude of venues with a myriad of buoy-to-buoys races, tricky time trials, awesome stunt potential, and multiplayer in both split-screen and online forms. It's just a darn shame that so few played this game this year.

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