First, I’m baaaaack! Well, sort of… this is one of the two year end posts I told you all I’d be writing, I’m just posting it a day early since I’ll be on a plane back to DC on the 30th…
A little while ago, my dear friend Leafy asked me if I planned on doing a top games list for 2016 and at the time I gave her what I thought was a pretty solid, Nah… I’m terrible with lists and schedules so I go out of my way to avoid them when I can. But, as we got closer to the end of the year I found myself thinking about all the games I’d played throughout the year; the good, the bad, and the meh titles and before I knew it this post kind of wrote itself! So here I am, a few days before the start of a new year running through my favorite games of 2016…
Now, I will say this in advanced, not all of these games were released in 2016, most were, but there are a few titles that were released prior to this year… Also, I am not including the Voltage games I played (save Liar), because I plan on doing a separate list for that. Finally, before ya’ll start grabbing your torches and pitchforks because your favorite game isn’t on the list, or you don’t agree with my picks, remember this is my list, if you have suggestions feel free to tell me about them in the comments section (I am always open to game suggestions)! *claps hands* Let’s get this show on the road!!
First, I thought it fitting to list out all of the games I played this year and now that I think about it, I didn’t really play as many as I thought… only 18 games in total (replays and Voltage games not included). Out of all of the games, there is only one that I am
seriously currently still playing and since I’m not one to rush my playthroughs for the sake of a review, I can’t very well give it the top spot… However, I did create a special category for it, because it is just that good! Who am I to punish such a perfect game, just because I am dragging my feet with my playthroughs!
Alice in the Heart– Quinn Rose
Seduce Me 2: The Demon War– Michaela Laws
This World Unknown– Ebi- Hime
Amnesia: Memories– Idea Factory
C14 Dating– Winter Wolves
DRAMAtical Murder– Nitro-Chiral
Starry Sky in Spring– Honeybee
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side– Idea Factory
Sleepover– Black Monkey Pro
The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car– Lox Rain
Norn9: Var Commons– Idea Factory
Mystic Messenger– Cheritz
Liar Uncover the Truth– Voltage Inc.
Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons– Aeon Dream Studios
My Horse Prince– USAYA Co.
Storm Lover Kai– D3Publisher
No Thank You– Parade/ MangaGamer
Code Realize: Guardians of Rebirth- Idea Factory
So there was no complicated system used to choose any of the games on this list, like all things on this blog, I went with my gut! Each of the games are on here, because I genuinely enjoyed playing the entire game… not part of the game or a specific route or character, the ENTIRE game, from start to finish! Also, because I want this to feel like an awards ceremony of sorts, each of the games that I choose will be awarded a special title, because why not!
I am and will always be a big fan of Winter Wolves and their line of English language dating sims, they were my first real introduction to the world of OELVNs and for that I will always be grateful. However, even I have to admit that most of their games are pretty hit or miss, luckily one of their newer titles, C14 Dating was one of their hits!
You play as Melissa Flores, a 3rd year anthropology student participating in a summer archaeological internship. The field school takes place in Belgium, over 5000 miles away from your native California!
Okay, it’s a little bit out of your comfort zone, and the fact you’ll be staying in an unfamiliar country for two months can be nerve-racking, but you couldn’t pass up such a learning opportunity! You get to excavate at an authentic prehistoric site, which has uncovered Neanderthal remains in the past.
Maybe you’ll dig up some bones, or even unearth tools that were manufactured by early humans. And of course, you might forge friendships and find romance during your stay…
–Synopsis (Winter Wolves)
The premise was solid and as a whole, the game was very entertaining, but what really set this game apart from the rest was the inclusion of non-traditional romance interests. Winter Wolves is no stranger to non-Hetero romance options, they tend to include one or two female romance options in their otome games. However, this was the first time that I played a game with a romantic partner that identified as asexual, or romantic partners living with disabilities! Characters like these so rarely appear in the media, and to put them in prominent roles in an romance game is very progressive, especially for a commercial release of this scale. While I do acknowledge that the game is not without its flaws, as a whole this is a step in the right direction!
When I heard that this game was created in only four days, I wasn’t expecting much, and boy was I wrong! Despite the relatively short production time, The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car managed to be one of the best games I’d played all year!
The road is long.
Two strangers sit side by side as night falls over. The car speeds down the open highway.
Without a soul around them, everything seems to slip away. On a journey to no one knows where, all they have is words and time. And that time is dwindling fast.
The shadows are chasing.
–Synopsis (Lox Rain)
This is one of those titles that proves that you don’t need much to tell a compelling character driven story, all you really need is a car and two characters to occupy it. With just a few lines of dialogue spoken between two strangers, Lox Rain managed to make me experience a lifetime’s worth of emotions in the span of two hours! Every click, every word adds another piece to the puzzle and adds a new layer to the underlying suspense of this phenomenal game. If you haven’t played this game already, I highly recommend you do so… like right NOW!
So, I started this game because that stupid man-faced horse was all over my Twitter dashboard… Sue me, I was yet another victim of internet hype. When I downloaded this game on my iPad, I expected to play it for a day or two, write a short ranty review, and wash my hands of the whole dirty affair. But, not only did I not drop the game, I actually went on to finish the silly thing! Yes, I finished My Horse Prince…
-Will you be my owner?-
There stands a horse with a handsome human face.
Before you know it, you agree to start training him…
Is this a dream or a nightmare?
Life on this strange ranch awaits…
–Synopsis (Google Play)
At first I kept playing, because I wanted to see just how ridiculous the whole thing would get, but around the halfway mark it became more than that, I actually enjoyed playing this game. There is a quirky charm to My Horse Prince, that keeps you coming back day after day, it’s like an addiction… you can’t stop until you know how it ends!
I have a terrible habit of buying games that I’ll probably never play. After purchase, these poor
souls titles, usually wind up in my ever growing backlog where they will most likely never see the light of day. I’m not very proud of this fact, because there are a lot of great games stashed away on hard drives, SD cards, and shrink wrapped boxes… But every so often I take it upon myself to dig through my never ending backlog and rescue one of those poor unfortunate titles, Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons was 2016’s backlog rescue!
During your first year of university, immense magical powers are forced onto you, thus revealing the supernatural world hidden within ours. But you must learn to control your powers with the help of a partner or risk destroying everything around you. Will your new fate be one of tragedy or serendipity?
–Synopsis (Aeon Dream Studios)
I can’t believe I had such a great game hidden away and the biggest tragedy of it all is that I don’t remember buying it at all (I do that more than you’d think)! So, what saved this game from backlog hell? The gorgeous artwork! Oh my gosh, I am in love with the semi- realistic style, it actually made the characters seem more alive and relatable! Story wise, the game addresses some rather deep and complex theme specific to whichever guy you choose to pursue. I love all of the characters, whether they’re apart of the main cast or the supporting cast, each one is just really well developed! This was just an all around great buy and I can’t wait for the final route to be released and for the sequel, Mystic Destinies: Echoes!
It’s no secret that I avoid free to play mobile games like the plague, so why is it that Voltage Inc.’s newest free to play game is on my Favorite Games of 2016 list? Because I loved Guess Who as a child… nope… because yet again, I was the victim of internet hype… *sigh* Oh, and for those of you wondering why Mystic Messenger isn’t on this list, it’s because *in a serious voice w/ a straight face* I prefer sleep over Bishies.
Lies, truths, and misunderstandings…
Which of these men can you trust?
“Have you been cheating on me?!”
A breakup with your cheating boyfriend leads you…
…straight into the arms of ten gorgeous men?!
But beware! Nine of these ten guys are no-good liars!
Just you watch. I’ll find Mr. Right.
These liars don’t stand a chance!
–Synopsis (Voltage Inc.)
So for those of you still playing the game, I won’t reveal who Mr. Right is, because that would be cruel… But, let me say that I couldn’t have been more pleased with the guy and after playing his Lovers Route, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the perfect guy for the MC…without question! After a month of Cool Points grinding and putting up with ridiculous scumbags, I found Mr. Right. I guess it was all of the time and effort, I put into this game that made the ending so satisfying! I laughed, I cried, and I literally jumped up and down on my bed squealing like a school girl; I don’t say this often, but that ending is worth it!
In 2016 I covered a lot of Kickstarter campaigns for upcoming visual novels and I can honestly say that there will be some awesome games coming out in 2017! So I figured, why not choose one for this list…
Four years after the end of the Great War and the loss of her mother, Crown Princess Lucette of Angielle is still struggling to come with her new life and step-family. Cold-hearted and bitter, Lucette fails to recognize the suffering of those around her as she is consumed by grief and resentment. But Lucette’s life is once again turned upside down when she is given the Fairytale Curse.
Join Lucette as she goes from rices to rags, and journeys to regain her life and break her curse.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to all of the upcoming games I’ve covered throughout the year, but out of all of them, Cinderella Phenomenon really stood out from the rest. From the first scenes of the demo to the last, I was hooked! The characters are well developed and the story has a little bit of everything, and it will be completely free! Now price doesn’t really effect these choices much, since you can’t really put a price on a good game ( I mean you can, but ya’ll get the point). From what I’ve seen in the demo, I can’t wait to get my hands on the final release!! Dicesuki did a fantastic job introducing us to their newest project without giving too much away.
And last, but certainly not least… Code Realize ~Guardians of Rebirth~… I bought this game a few days after it’s release and it sat on my desk (still in the shrink wrap) until about a week or so ago. So after I brushed away all the dust and cut through the game’s plastic prison, I popped the cartridge into my Vita…
Restricted to an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of London in fulfillment of a promise to her father, lonely Cardia lives day to day isolated from the world. Her body carries a deadly poison that rots or melts anything her skin touches, prompting the locals to call her a “monster.” Her last conversation with her father two years ago, telling her to stay out of sight and never fall in love, is the furthest back she can remember.
One day, her quiet solitude is interrupted as the Royal Guards break in to capture her. It is then that Cardia meets Arsène Lupin, a chivalrous thief, who helps her escape the soldiers’ clutches. She soon finds herself on a journey with Lupin to locate her father, who holds the answers to her mysterious condition. The two are soon joined by four more interesting and handsome gentlemen…
–Synopsis (Aksys Games)
Since, I’m still playing the game (stuck on Impey’s route… I think) I can’t say that this is the best game I’ve played all year, because I’m not finished with it, but I can say that this is a damn good game so far!! I am in love with the characters and the story, and for once, Cardia is an MC I can really stand behind! While I was out wasting time with my Voltage backlog, I could have been playing Code Realize! *Looks into camera* I will make it my mission to finish this game before the end of 2017!
Well, that is my list and I stand behind each and every one of the titles on it! Each of the games on this list had their flaws and shortcomings, but overall they were the best of the best so I highly recommend giving them a try if you have the chance!
Now, I thought about writing a “least favorite” games list, but that felt like overkill, so if you want to know which games/routes I liked the least this year click, HERE, HERE (nsfw), HERE, oh and HERE!
Also, you’ll notice there weren’t any honorable mentions, that’s because I really didn’t have any… *shrugs* Well, that’s it for my 2016 Favorite Games list, I’ll be posting a Year End Review post about all of the progress I’ve made in 2016 on the 31st and then that’ll be it until 2017! 😀
What do you think of my picks? Are there games you think should have been on the list that weren’t? Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you like what you see, like this post or follow Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! As always THANK YOU FOR READING!!