Games of 2015

[titles eligible for 'Game of the Year 2015' accolades]

1. LEGO Jurassic World by Traveller's Tales [PS4]
"'LEGO Jurassic World' is a light-hearted, funny and generally excellent take on the four movies. Filled with enough chuckle-worthy moments to lighten up even the sourest of sourpusses, and featuring addictive and worthy gameplay, the game is a no-brainer for 'Jurassic' fans and a must for casual gamers. The only downside is that it's more of the same. If you are tired of TT Games' LEGO offerings by now, steer well clear. All others can safely pick up this title - get it now while the free LEGO Gallimimus is still included!"
Full review here.

2. The Smurfs by Magic Pockets [3DS]
"'The Smurfs' for 3DS is a far cry from the extreme excellence of the 1994 title, but it's also a completely different game. The 21-year old classic was vintage platforming goodness, this is a solid collection of mini-games aimed at the youngest amongst us. Good, clean, harmless, and solid fun that comes recommended for lovers of the comic or the cartoon. A perfect handheld game to play in short bursts."
Full review here.

3. Until Dawn by Supermassive Games [PS4]
"'Until Dawn' should be on top of every horror fan's must buy list. The game effectively presents the tropes and the stereotypes of the genre in a graphically stunning interactive adventure. Those who loved 'Heavy Rain' or 'Beyond: Two Souls' and thought those titles lacked genuine scary moments, will almost certainly eat up 'Until Dawn'. It shortened my life expectancy by a considerable margin".
Full review here.

'New' and/or secondhand
[new: not from 2015, but mint when bought]

1. Donkey Kong Country Returns
by Retro Studios [Wii]
Wow. This plays exactly the same like the trilogy on the SNES (three of my favourite games of all time), just graphically enhanced. A major masterpiece. Love love love it. The 3DS version is even better, because it ditches the motion controls.

2. Jurassic Park: Institute Tour Dinosaur Rescue by KAZe [GBA]
Five Japanese mini-games based on the 'Jurassic Park' franchise, and mostly variations on decades-old concepts (Simon Says, Frogger, etc.). Still one of the most fun games I played in 2015, and beyond. It's still in my GBA Micro as we speak. Great stuff. Recommended.

3. TaleSpin by Capcom [NES]
Difficult yet fun shoot-'em-up based on the Disney cartoon. Not as good as Capcom's DuckTales, but then again, few games are. Finished most of the game on NES, but had to give up during the later, harder stages. Was eventually able to complete TaleSpin thanks to the rewind function on the The Disney Afternoon Collection re-release on PS4. Cheating, yes. Paid $10 for a boxed copy on NES, by the way. Bargain if you check current prices. This is the cheapest PAL copy today:

4. Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream [PS3]
SEAN!!!! Not the flat-out masterpiece it so desperately wants to be, but a very fine and accomplished game nonetheless. Definitely worth playing.

5. Atlantis - The Lost Empire by 3d6 Games [GBA]
Yet another proof that not all licensed games based on movies are stinkers.

9. Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
by Artificial Mind & Movement [Wii]
Hm, hm. Part-good, part-mega frustrating. Certain levels absolutely depend on pixel-perfect motion controls, and the Wii just can't handle it. I cried out in absolute frustration more than once. Other levels are a genuine delight. Still, Emperor's Tomb is a better game. Can't wait for Bethesda's next-gen Indiana Jones game.

10. Road Runner's Death Valley Rally by ICOM Simulations [SNES]
The letdown of the year. Ever since 1993, I had been wanting to play this game - based on the box art and my love for the hilarious cartoons. When I finally found a boxed, affordable copy (£10 on the London Film and Comic Con) and popped the cartridge in my SNES, the 22 years of anticipation quickly turned sour. The game's framerate is horrendous. You ""control"" the Road Runner, but he seems to float on thin ice, jittering and stuttering in the air whenever you jump. Was this game developed by ICOM, or ACME?

Honourable mentions

11. Zelda/Bomb Sweeper by Nintendo Research & Development 1 [G&W]
Two Game & Watch games (a series my dad, a non-gamer, collected in the 80s), received for free from the kind Sam De Wilde. 'You do know these are worth some money, right?' I asked him, but he wouldn't hear of any payment. I gave him a self-designed T-shirt in return.

12. Hook by Telltale Games [SFC]
Game based on my favourite Spielberg movie. Unplayed as of today, so no opinion.

Julian De Backer, 22 July 2022