Tuesday, December 28, 2021

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards - Top Five Most Overlooked Games

This is always a fun awards category and list to do at the end of the year at each SPC Best of Awards, and it's of course back this year with a new batch of five games! These are those games that didn't get the credit they deserve, that fell through the proverbial cracks, and quickly slipped out of the limelight, if they were ever in it to begin with. Make no mistake: There are so many worthy games to be on this list, so no worries if your favorites aren't featured. Now, onto the list of winners!

5) Dodgeball Academia (Multi)

We aren't any stranger to dodgeball on the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards, at least not so far, but how about an RPG based on the gym class sport of choice? Dodgeball Academia is just the game for you, offering intense real-time dodgeball matches, special abilities, BALL-timate attacks, equipment to wear, items to use, and a fantastically funny and well-written story full of humorous dialogue and eccentric, quirky characters. The art style is drop-dead gorgeous too, bringing with it balls-to-the-wall beauty. If you're looking for an 8-10 indie adventure more than worthy of your time, hit the court with Dodgeball Academia. 

4) Game Builder Garage (NSW)

A budget release for the Nintendo Switch, Game Builder Garage is a piece of software that delivers the opportunity to make your own games. This is nowhere near as complex or decidedly convoluted as say, Dreams, but it does offer a lot of ability to push your creativity. The amount of tutorials, each centered on a different genre of game, comes packed with lessons that slowly and steadily teach prospective game builders how to use the lessons learned to design their own would-be masterpieces. Plus, challenges that put what you've learned to the test are sprinkled between games to make sure you can practice what's been preached and successfully do so. It's essentially coding for beginners with the cute and whimsical No-dons that connect to one another to perform functions in each project. All in all, Game Builder Garage didn't light the Switch world on fire, but it did give a lot of wannabe beginning game makers an entry point into the wonderful world of game design.

3) Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World (NSW, PS4, PC)

There has been no shortage of classic games getting remarkably well done remakes and touch-ups these past few years. The Wonder Boy series alone has seen three thus far, with Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World being one of those. While faithful to the original game perhaps to a fault with some obtuse design, super challenging gameplay at times, short length, and miss-able collectables along the way, there's no question that a lot of love was poured into this remake of Monster World IV. The game looks absolutely adorable with brilliant and vivid colors, detailed polygonal graphics, and it's all accentuated by some superb sound design. Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World definitely delighted this player of the game, and it's my wish more folks give the game a shot.

2) Kaze and the Wild Masks (Multi)

For those looking for an outstanding indie game that shows true appreciation to and takes inspiration from Rare's classic Donkey Kong Country trilogy, look no further than Kaze and the Wild Masks. This charming 2D platformer is far from just a clone, it's a highly competent adventure with exceptional level design housing myriad well-hidden secrets, tricky platform placement, and some fun obstacles and gameplay gimmicks inside them. The Wild Masks that Kaze wears at specific parts of the game are essentially DKC's animal transformations, offering unique gameplay hooks to each. Throw in a visually stunning art style and a well done soundtrack, and you have a real winner. Don't sleep on Kaze and the Wild Masks, people!

1) NEO: The World Ends With You (NSW, PS4, PC)

On one hand, it's quite fortunate of an event and we're lucky that a true sequel to The World Ends With You even exists. On the other, it's an absolute tragedy how many gamers and potential players passed on the game. I don't blame the gaming populace for this aforementioned tragedy either, as Square Enix did next to nothing to promote or even push the game, not even featuring it in its E3 2021 conference. All that notwithstanding, NEO: The World Ends With You stands as an excellent modern JRPG with terrific action, a masterful visual style and soundtrack, and a riveting story and cast of characters. It all gels well to make for one of the more engaging titles of 2021, and yes, sadly, also one of the most overlooked games of the year, as well.

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