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Dec 21, 2015

Harry Harrison’s Top 10 Games of 2015


To date, Harry has only written one review for Saving Content, but it hasn’t stopped this self-proclaimed “Designer / Developer by day and Designer / Developer by night” from playing more games throughout 2015 and giving you his thoughts on them.

10. Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure

Space Age was released very late into 2014, and I’ve only recently taken the time to actually play it. I should also add, the only reason Space Age is tenth on my list and not higher is down to its duration. It does however feel the perfect length for the story and the iOS platform. It’s no doubt enjoyable from start to finish, but even so, I just did not want it to finish. I could happily replay it and it’s one of the three games I keep installed on my iPhone.

9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I never thought I’d enjoy “Fantasy” style games. The concept has never appealed. It took a lot to convince me to try Skyrim for the first time. The Witcher 3 grabbed my attention at the various press events it featured at, it’s fantastic visuals helped, but it’s promises of a truly deep RPG seemed daunting at first, but eventually amalgamated into what for me was the perfect balance between arcade-y gameplay and precise role-playing mechanics. I’ve yet to try the Hearts of Stone DLC, but I expect it’s more of the same well structured story with a few strong performances from NPCs, just like the core game. I only wish I’d waited to play through the lengthy main game until after a few of the impressive and game-changing patches had been released.

8. Fallout 4

Like a lot of people, I had been really looking forward to finally playing Fallout 4. I even went so far as to build myself my first gaming PC in anticipation of its release. Promises of the next generation of Bethesda’s very unique blend of post-apocalyptic RPG and FPS helped justify that. But I can’t help feel slightly disappointed in the game. Admittedly I’ve not finished every side quest, explored every town or built up every settlement, but graphically and mechanically I feel I was maybe expecting something a little more on par with what Metal Gear Solid V achieved. That’s not to say the game isn’t gorgeous at times and hasn’t raised the bar that little bit higher like every Bethesda game does, just that my enjoyment of Fallout 4 feels as though it’s been tainted by my own expectations.

7. Grow Home

I love casual games, but I rarely end up buying them. So often they’re lacking in an engaging plot or deep rhythm. When Grow Home was voted into the PS+ Instant Game Collection platform I couldn’t resist trying it immediately. I was hooked! The relaxed exploration of the island and each of the mechanics available to you felt so incredibly natural and endearing that once I’d hit the “end goal”, I continued on to completing the alternate second goal and then started over again. Grow Home is a game I recommend to everyone, seasoned gamer or not. It’s unique movement mechanic is balanced on that line of rewarding and ridiculous, which only helps make the gameplay more rewarding.

6. Lifeline… 

I play maybe thirty iOS games a year. Most I discard after 10 minutes, some I play once a week for a month or two. Lifeline has changed my iOS gaming habit hugely. With it’s core mechanic of relaxed and staggered interaction, it’s the perfect interactive novel for when you just want to get two minutes in on your own time and enjoy some of the fantastically written dialogue. Sure it’s not the lengthiest game, but it’s clever use of choice allows you to roll back to a decision you feel might have been poor and restart from that point which only helps absorb the plot more so. It’s also very refreshing to play a game where the art style is completely irrelevant.

5. Tearaway: Unfolded

I’m a sucker for clever narrative, more-so if it breaks the fourth wall consistently and is self-aware. The original Tearaway on the Playstation Vita is arguably the best Vita title to date regardless of the fact that it’s now two years old, which says a lot about the game itself (and more about how that platform’s been treated). Tearaway: Unfolded takes all of what made the original game so enjoyable and brings it to a bigger screen, wider audience and enhances the hell out of it while maintaining its flawless tongue-in-cheek concepts. I recommend Tearaway to everyone I know with a Playstation 4, whether or not they have children. A game this endearing and cheerful should not go unplayed.

4. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

DL,TTTTCE:AWH is in my opinion is a pure masterpiece of short-story telling. Obviously this isn’t really a surprise if you’re familiar with William Pugh’s previous works and the catalogue of his newly formed team at Crows Crows Crows, of whom which this is a debut release. DL,TTTTCE:AWH’s thematic storytelling and excellent use of an adaptive voiceover plant this title securely in my all-time favourites. Of course, my enjoyment of DL,TTTTCE:AWH is only sweetened by knowing something else from Crows Crows Crows is surely underway, and if this is anything to go by it’ll be a doozy.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

MGSV:TPP was exactly the game I was hoping it would be. Any game that manages this feat these days secures a spot in my top ten. As sad as that sounds… It’s true. The Fulton extraction feature also marks the first time a Stealth game has actually stopped me from just silently killing enemies. Instead rewarding players for making careful decisions and forcing the to change their plans just to add one more skilled recruit to their Mother Base. Think about that for a moment. Even in previous MGS games, killing an enemy silently has always proven to be the safer route. To finally find a stealth focused game that fixes that inherent oversight is a joy to behold.

2. Kentucky Route Zero

Until now I didn’t think there’s ever been a video game really capable of blurring that line between games and other art forms. Kentucky Route Zero, it’s acts and the numerous extended standalone experiences the developers Cardboard Computer have released steadily since 2013 continue to challenge the “Games as Art” question that rises constantly. But not only does it challenge it, it obliterates it by being the most incredibly engaging experience while still being beautiful to watch and play. Although the latest core chapter wasn’t released in 2015, Act 4 is still very much in development as is Act 5. The first three acts are certainly worth your time while we wait for the fourth and fifth.

1. Else Heart.Break()

I’m a developer by trade and I dabble in game design/development on occasion too. Not one game has ever given me that feeling I enjoy from my work when I figure out the right solution to something tricky quite like Else Heart.Break() does. The puzzles and the freedom of the possible solutions make Else Heart.Break() not only my favourite game of 2015, but also my favourite game within in the last few years. With only one “objective” the game sets you free in a small, very alive, town and eases you into the systems at play while maintaining a challenge with clues and subtle dialogue. Although I can see Else Heart.Break() not being for a lot of people, if you’re at all interested in code or game development it’s a real treat.