Top 10 Best Games of 2015 You Might Have Heard Of
2015 was a good and a bad year in gaming that gave us an eclectic menagerie of titles you may not be familiar with. Which is why I'm here, I'm here to talk about the "Top 10 Best Games of 2015 You Might Have Heard Of" If you've heard of any of these titles, that's great, I hope you found them as enjoyable as I did. If you haven't heard of these titles, that's great too, I hope I introduced you to a great game!
The games on this list may not be nearly as obscure as my worst of list, but many of the bigger titles have been largely forgotten by the community, heard in passing, or just ignored all together. Undertale and Life Is Strange won’t be on the list because their fandoms can fill a small country of their own. Don’t worry obscure game enthusiasts; we still have some bizzare ones on this list that you may not have heard of.
Let’s begin shall we?
Remember when I said that I’d also be talking about games that the gaming community largely forgot about or still hadn’t heard of? Well this is my first case of it. Catlateral Damage. Despite being an extremely successful Kickstarter and getting all sorts of coverage, it’s like the gaming world has gone nearly silent about after the release.
The game’s main gimmick, playing as a cat is it’s main draw but despite that the game manages to stay fresh and fun for hours on end. There’s a variety of levels, unlockable cats you can play as and ways you can play within the levels. It’s one of those titles that you just run around and have fun with and not put in too much thought while playing it. It’s entertaining and mindless to just be a cat, but there’s also a weird amount of strategy to knocking down just the right amount of things to proceed to the next level.
There’s also plenty of references to various other licensed products that may get a chuckle out of you every once and a while. Truthfully, I put this Catlateral Damage on the list because I wanted those people who just needed a game to play for some goofy fun, to have something to go with. It’s been a destressor of mine since I’ve purchased it and in this hustle and bustle world, I think we need a game like Catlateral Damage to relax and cause some havoc with, in a family-friendly sort of way.
Tabletop games have been around for years and it’s only fitting we’d get some video games that’d represent this like Armello eventually. Armello is a beautifully drawn game about a kingdom that’s in danger of collapsing after its monarch goes mad, and it’s up to you to claim the throne. You’re competing against 3 other players, whether they’re AI or player characters, and you have to defeat them in win. There are 5 distinct clans: Wolves, Rats, Bears, Rabbits and Bandits, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Each character also has their own backstory that factors into why they want to become king of the land or any history with the king. There are countless guides about this so I won’t go into it too much detail here, but each hero has their own way of winning and learning this is half of the fun of this game.
No two rounds of Armello are the same and there is a wide variety of things you can do within the game in order to win. A lot of it is RNG, but you can put the odds in your favor by doing quests, fighting other players and gaining prestige, which acts as reputation for your feats. This means you can conquer your foes in a multitude of ways that they might not even see coming. There’s also added elements involving what’s infecting the monarch, The Rot, forcing you to not only compete against the other
There’s also added elements involving what’s infecting the monarch, The Rot, forcing you to not only compete against the other players, but against the king himself who is also out to get you. What’s interesting is that in general, the monarch’s AI seems to be a lot smarter than the AI of the other controlled characters, which is a grand challenge and also slightly frustrating. There were entire rounds where I was able to go around decimating all of the characters but then end up losing because of something the monarch did.
Something about Armello that I immediately noticed was that while the game does plenty of things to keep it fresh, Armello isn’t a game you want to marathon for hours on end. That, and the game shines a lot more in the multiplayer than it does in the single player, which is a shame since there could have been a lot done to make it just as interesting as multiplayer.
Armello is the sort of experience you need to share with others and it’s a game that shouldn’t be hidden away to Rot in the background. With its expansion coming out soon, I’m looking forward to playing more of this Game of Thrones, Redwall chess game that is Armello.
7. Bulb Boy
Bulb Boy is a unique beast, and I knew that the moment I saw it on Kickstarter, which made me interview the developers and got me excited for its eventual release. It’s a game that did everything it promised in its Kickstarter, offering a point and click adventure horror game with a unique art style, gross monsters and some platforming twists. Bulb Boy himself has an infectious laugh and an impish yet easily frightened persona that really does make you feel for him when you’re fighting the horrors of the house.
The atmosphere can be tense and spine-tingling at times thanks to the music and sound effects, leaving you shaking in your boots. Each area has a unique way of solving its puzzles that are shown in the bright dream-like sequences, without spoon feeding you its answers. Bulb Boy is rather easy overall, and it leaves much to be desired in the sense of being actually challenged. Death is only a mild inconvenience, which works because the game itself is a bit on the short side and having to replay the longer platforming parts after dying would be a chore.
Bulb Boy is only around 2 hours, and the pacing was incredibly fast, so it goes by in the blink of an eye. It just ends suddenly after a rather tense boss fight, leaving you wondering just what happened. There’s also a focus on bodily humor, which I can’t say I particularly care for, especially when it’s used excessively.
Nonetheless, Bulb Boy is a creative gem that needs to be recognized more and while I know it’s gotten a fair amount of exposure from other YouTube channels, I was there long before it had a playable demo, but I’m happy to have seen it grow into the game it is now.
7. The Deer God
Reincarnation isn’t a subject that’s covered too often in games, at least not in the more traditional sense of the word, and that’s part of what makes The Deer God such an interesting title. It takes a more spiritual take on things: you start off playing as a hunter who shot a baby deer, and are later killed by wolves. You’re then brought back by the eponymous Deer God, who tasks you to live out your days as a deer, from fawnhood on.
It goes about this by making you start off nearly powerless and slowly gain more power as time goes on, mixing platforming with oddly megaman-style difficulty and power ups. Now I know this sounds a little odd to the normal gamer, maybe even a little hipster and pretentious. Well, you’re not necessarily wrong about those assumptions.
The Deer God does talk down to you sometimes and it has a tone of condescension that I don’t think the developer intended, but it is there in some of the text, especially with the “moral choices” you have to make. Nobody likes being told they are a bad person, especially when The Deer God punishes you for killing things like bunnies, by turning you into a fish if you just so happen to die. It’s a very judgemental game that almost puts Undertale to shame with how bad it makes you feel about your actions. I was deeply enthralled with
It was a creative concept with beautiful artwork that enthralled me from start to finish. It’s why I interviewed the developer back when it was on Kickstarter and why I did a preview of it on Early Access. The Deer God was a Kickstarter game I believed in and since it’s on my list, you can see I wasn’t displeased with the results.
6. Shelter 2
When it comes to unique and creative titles, Might and Delight tend to be one of the first studios that come to mind. And with that comes the Shelter series and its entry on this list: Shelter 2. In Shelter 2, you play as a mother lynx who, after giving birth to her cubs, must hunt down various creatures in order to keep them alive, along with traveling from place to place as danger stalks you.
It takes a semi-realistic approach, with you as the mother Lynx having to care for all of your babies, having to portion out their meals between each one, teaching them how to hunt with you, and avoiding dangers like wolves and the terrain itself. The difference is that it does veer more on the artistic side at times with how you navigate with the symbols with your lynx vision and how the art style looks like it came straight off the pages of a storybook. It helps tell the story of this very beautiful yet very dangerous world you’ve found yourself in.
Now, there are quite a few gameplay issues that, while they are slowly getting fixed in patches, are extremely noticeable. Things like framerate drops, odd little glitches that cause the cubs to spaz out and get lost when they’re following you, and more, which takes away from the Shelter 2 as a whole.
It can also get a bit repetitive, but luckily no two playthroughs are the same since you can have any surviving cubs you have be your next protagonist and it changes the path you take. Slightly, but it does change. Personally, I’d recommend getting this game when it’s on sale because despite the bugs I mentioned, it’s still very much worth owning if you enjoy artistic titles or games that go against the grain of what’s considered a normal game.
Shelter 2 may not be perfect, but it’s worth it to see your precious cubs grow into big, strong adults, going off to continue this cycle of nature.
Hope everyone liked this first part of my video, stay tuned for part two coming out very soon.
Sym is a curious game that tries to emphasize what it’s like to live with social anxiety disorder through a series of keyboard snapping puzzles in between two worlds, and it’s a fascinating take on it. you, the player, explore the world as Josh the young man with the disorder, using his two alter egos. There’s Caleb, who lives at the fringe of reality and wants to conquer his fears, and Ammiel, who doesn’t want any social contact. Sym has a very abstract artstyle, using only black and white to show what’s happening on screen.
They convey this through two distinctive worlds that you have to navigate through, and small textless cutscenes allowing you to interpret what’s going on. The game often throws up random phrases throughout the levels that people with anxiety will likely recognize; things about self-worth, that everyone is laughing at them, things of that nature. Us navigating through these puzzles is a way for the main character Josh to navigate his way through his problems and figure out a better reality. Even if the way it goes about it is by throwing us into the spinning blades of death for missing our jump slightly. The controls are tight, which means it leaves very little room for error to the point of frustration.
As in, the deaths in the Sym aren’t always your fault like they are in other platformers of its kind. Sym isn’t quite as refined as something like, say, Super Meat Boy, but it’s still a well put together platforming puzzle title.
Not only that, but there’s a mode you can play where you have the ability to design your own levels and play in other players’ levels all around the world, which increases the replay value exponentially.
Sym tactfully handles the subject of social anxiety in a way that makes it easy to understand and fun to play, a game like that deserves to be on a list like this.
4. Hand of Fate
When I came across Hand of Fate, I truly hadn’t seen anything like it before; it’s a deck builder-based, DnD-esque action RPG with roguelike elements to it.
All of these concepts on their own have been used countless times before, but the way that Hand of Fate goes about making them work together is what makes it truly special. You play as an adventurer who has stumbled across a mysterious card game that takes his memories, turns them into cards for both you and the dealer to play with. But, the dealer also has unique cards exclusive to his deck that’ll make your journey through the ‘levels’ even harder.
Luckily, you can unlock special gear unique to your deck to combat this but it’s all up to chance. The player gets to create the deck you play with, which means the majority of encounters you come across are your own doing, unless they’re locked into the deck by the dealer. The encounters change the gameplay from a card game to a third person hack and slash, where you try to survive against the hand you’ve been dealt.
While there is an element of luck in it, since you’ll often not know what’s coming up next and the dealer tries some slick shuffling moves in order to trip you up, it gives Hand of Fate another element of danger to it. Especially when you land on an encounter that you weren’t prepared for and have to switch to 3rd person hack and slash, mode with little life left. It also helps that Hand of Fate does have some lore to it, which I won’t spoil here, but it adds just another layer to it. I’d like to bring up this was made in unity, as were many of the entries on this list but I digress, and while it does have occasional stuttering issues, it doesn’t detract from the experience over all. That’s why I highly recommend you sit down with this mysterious dealer and test your skills against the
It also helps that Hand of Fate does have some lore to it, which I won’t spoil here, but it adds just another layer to it. I’d like to bring up this was made in unity, as were many of the entries on this list but I digress, and while it does have occasional stuttering issues, it doesn’t detract from the experience over all. That’s why I highly recommend you sit down with this mysterious dealer and test your skills against the Hand of Fate.
A while back I had a friend of mine approach me about a game called Stasis, which involved body horror, human experimentation, what-if scenarios and space. Needless to say, I was 100 percent on board with it from the start. It’s a point and click adventure, but it’s a little more on the basic side than other entries in its particular genre. Most of the puzzles can be solved by common sense, but that’s not really what people come here for. They come for the story of John Marachek trying to find his wife and daughter, and in that regard Stasis doesn’t disappoint.
John and you become witnesses to the horrors of the station, giving way to plenty of moments of shock,
me witnesses to the horrors of the station, giving way to plenty of moments of shock, anguish and disgust throughout the entire journey.This isn’t an adventure for those with a fragile heart, or a weak stomach for that matter, there’s some parts that are just stomach-churning to behold, but that’s part of the beauty of it. Each moment you find a sickening slab of mutilated human flesh, you learn more about the story through their data logs and it really helps build up this world that the developers had in mind. There's notably barely any music in it either, other than the distant sounds of machines whirring.
This leaves a nice eerie feeling which makes the player feel uneased. There's no moral choice system here either, there's either a bad choice that gets you killed, or a good choice that lets you live. You find out which one that is really quickly after you do it, so be prepared for those moments.
Full transparency: I love this kind of stuff. I’m a huge fan of medical horror, body horror and sci-fi which meant this game was like my bread and butter for quite a while. I’d like to say Stasis is flawless but it isn’t, since there are some turns the story takes that are just eye roll worthy but otherwise, I was thoroughly engaged.
Stasis is a game that truly capitalizes on the phrase “In Space, no one can hear you scream.”
2. Grow Home
Now I know what you’re thinking “Grow Home is on the list? Grow Home is popular!” Well, you’re sort of right on that; it is popular, but not nearly as popular as it should be and the fact I can still mention this game to gamers and they have no clue what I’m talking about is rather telling. Compared to the likes of Undertale or Life Is Strange, Grow Home doesn’t have the same sort of fan base and I must say, that’s disappointing, because Grow Home is truly a treat.
You play as B.U.D., a little robot on a quest to save his planet by growing strange plants to the stars. While there is a lot more to do in this game, like collecting strange flora and fauna, gathering various “seeds” and just exploring this huge planet you’re dropped on, that’s the main premise. You’re given this big world that BUD has to make sense of in order to save his own world, with the help of “M.O.M”; an AI designed to help BUD throughout his journey.
You’re given pretty much free rein, but there is a sense of progression if you collect certain things, because the more you explore and gather, the more you’re rewarded with things that make your life as a little robot easier.
This is the sort of game you can explore for hours and still might not unlock everything, which gives Grow Home quite a bit of replay value, especially for those who want to get all those shiny achievements. There are a couple of issues with BUD’s controls: since he seems rather top heavy he will oftentimes collapse without warning, or sometimes you have to be too on point with Bud’s controls, but nothing too big to complain about.
B.U.D. is somehow the most expressive character I’ve seen in a while and if this little guy pushes the Assassin’s Creed boys out of the way and became Ubisoft’s new mascot, I’d be completely fine with that.
Actually, please do that B.U.D., maybe if you’re around we’ll actually get a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil. Grow Home is a trip to the stars and back, let’s just hope its sequel can live up to the predecessor.
Dropsy. For anyone who knows me, you knew this would be number one no matter what. Even with B.U.D and his never-ending charm, you knew that Dropsy was going to win out in the end for just being so delightfully bizarre. Dropsy is a point and click adventure that is unlike any game I’ve seen in a long time.
You play as Dropsy, a clown accused of murdering his mother and setting the circus on fire. Now he has to go around town and change the way people feel about him so he can give them a hug. You heard that right, I’m not kidding, that’s the entire premise. Just go hug people in your warm, damp, loving embrace, you weird clown you. To do that, you need to solve puzzles, which usually involve the things the people are angrily yelling at you or clues hidden throughout the world.
There is no dialogue in Dropsy, it’s all told through the artwork itself and the speech bubble with pictograms in it. It honestly works well, almost too well in fact. I found myself getting far more moved emotionally by things that were happening in Dropsy than I did from any other title in 2015. All because of this game that looks like a silly little story about a clown but turns out to be more about love, friendship, suffering, loss and all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect from a game where your main character looks like a scary clown.
Dropsy is, much like BUD, a painfully endearing character that you just want to see things go his way for once. This poor guy gets pushed around constantly, and yet despite that he still wants to make friends with everyone, that’s dedication right there. The art is delightfully exaggerated looking; the music is varied as well as catchy, and let’s not forget that the controls and everything functions without a hitch. There was obviously a lot of love and dedication put into Dropsy and it shows.
This is also the only game this year and the only game that I’ve played in a long time that I can, without a shadow of a doubt, call perfect.
Yeah, not only is this my “Game of the Year,” despite me hating to use that term, but this is a game I would say is flawless as a diamond. Dropsy has made an official fan out of me and I couldn’t be happier.
There were a lot of good indie games I could have put on this list, but these were the ones that stood out to me the most. Well, that and I could have filled this list with point and click adventure games only, but I wanted to give you a little more variety than that.