Wednesday, December 29, 2021

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards - Top Five Biggest Surprises

Night three of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards brings with it two more awards categories. The first of these is the Top Five Biggest Surprises of 2021. These positive surprises in game form were either ones that knocked folks out with their unexpected quality--being better than they had any right to be--or just came from who-knows-where to absolutely delight players. Here is the list of winners.

5) Knockout City (Multi)

Our first game on this list of biggest surprises of 2021 features some good old fashioned dodgeball. Well, actually it's more dodge-BRAWL. I was amazed by how much I became addicted to Knockout City, whether it was the game's enjoyable easy-to-learn, hard-to-master matches, sensational style, copious amounts of cosmetics, and just all-around fun. I did not expect to enjoy Knockout City as much as I did, but you won't see me complaining about that fact at all. I'll be too busy to complain, sniping opponents with dodgeballs and rushing around the arenas of the game.

4) Cruis'n Blast (NSW)

I knew full well of the existence of Cruis'n Blast in arcades, but never got the opportunity to try it out, especially with the pandemic now. Thank the heavens--or rather, in this case, developer Raw Thrills, for porting this high-octane, insane, point-to-point arcade racer to the Nintendo Switch so I could finally get my hands on the game and have a... *ahem* blast. Racing as a car is fine and all, but when you take control of a triceratops, U.F.O., or even a unicorn, going 100+ miles per hour through dinosaur domains, chaotic cities, and even through a Midwestern twister, you are in for an absolutely wild ride. That's exactly what Cruis'n Blast delivered to me in spades with its September release, and I'm happy to have played it.

3) It Takes Two (Multi)

I didn't know exactly WHAT to expect with a wholly co-operative adventure with It Takes Two, but the end result ended up being one of my favorite gaming experiences of 2021. Playing multiplayer with my brother was a hilariously good time, having us use teamwork to get through the game, and the amount of variety on display in the gameplay was exhilarating. The fact that essentially every individual moment in the game, varying wildly from the last, worked so well is a testament to the developers. It Takes Two is a polished and pretty awesome co-op game, and it's certainly worthy of all of the Game of the Year nominations it has been bestowed with thus far.

2) Chicory: A Colorful Tale (Multi)

These last two games came out of nowhere to pleasantly surprise the gaming populace, including myself. Starting off as a console exclusive on PlayStation platforms, Chicory: A Colorful Tale allows you to journey through a whimsical world all the while painting the environments to solve puzzles and just make things pretty and vivid rather than the otherwise drab and dull black and white (though that is still pleasant to look at!). In some ways, Chicory reminds me of a Zelda game in its design, and that is one high compliment to receive! Chicory: A Colorful Tale ended up positively coloring my opinion of the game as one of my favorite experiences this year to partake in.

1) Death's Door (Multi)

Death's Door delivered a phenomenal Zelda-like adventure with tough-as-nails battles, awesome areas to explore, and a magnificent soundtrack to accentuate the action and more melancholy moments of the game's world. I absolutely adored Death's Door, so much so that I double-dipped on the game, purchasing it on the Nintendo Switch as well as the original Xbox release. That was a surprise to me all on its own, but the positively high quality of the game--the reason for double-dipping to begin with--was the biggest surprise of them all this year. And more surprising is that we're not done focusing on the game this year. Let's just say we haven't seen the last of Death's Door on the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards and leave it at that! After all, why would spoil the surprise? 

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