2015 was a hell of a year for gaming, with AAA and indie games alike producing some of the finest titles we’ve seen in years. But honestly, I haven’t played most of the games that will likely appear on my fellow journalists Games of the Year lists. So what did I play? A whole bunch of JRPGs, doujin games, and other small scale stuff, my favorite of which you can read about below.
(In no particular order.)
1. Undertale (PC)
Few games this year have garnered as much praise as this little homage to quirky JRPGs of years past, and with good reason as well. As Undertale is a game that simply sucks in players with its mix of quirky humor, strange characters, and emotional yet minimalist plot in a way few games have in recent years.
The only real problem here is just how in love Undertale is with its cleverness. For example, certain plot points rely entirely on a narrative device that is extremely silly and immersion breaker to the point that it nearly ruins the game’s otherwise enjoyable ending sequences on one of its routes. But aside from that, this is a great game in a genre that really need a good shot in the arm as of late.
If you like RPGs and want to see the genre and its tropes through a different set of eyes, by all means play Undertale, you won’t regret it.
2. Touhou 14.5: Urban Legend in Limbo (PC)
In the past year alone, three different Touhou games have come out, the Playism release of Double Dealing Character, the devilishly difficult Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, and this little gem, the Twilight Frontier developed Urban Legend in Limbo.
In a year that saw the release of many big name anime fighters, including new Blazblue and Guilty Gear games and the oddball but endearing Dengenki Bunko Fighting Climax, it was Urban Legend in Limbo that entertained me the most. I don’t know if it was the fluid animation, simple but effective controls, or the fact that the game was unhampered by most of the awful tropes of the genre, but it stands out as an effective and enjoyable fighter floating in a sea of convoluted Arc System Works games.
This one might be a pick only for fans of Touhou’s unique brand of colorful characters, but it is certainly the best fighting game in the franchise. So pick it up if you’re a fan, or looking for something neat to play between rounds of more competitive fighters.
3. Stella Glow (3DS)
Stella Glow is nearly the Platonic ideal of Japanese SRPGs; that is really the best way to describe it.
While most of the games in the genre as of late have either fallen in NIS’ endless grind fest model of game design, Stella Glow instead takes the higher road and simply manages to be a good RPG. You won’t have to grind here, at least not often, nor will you be punished by a story consisted of an endless number of in-jokes, fourth wall breaking moments, and sarcasm. Instead, what you will find here is good gameplay, a mildly interesting story, and the last hurrah of Image Epoch, a company that will be sorely missed given Stella Glow’s excellent quality.
This might be the last good SRPG we get for some time, so if you enjoy the genre at all, do yourself a favor and pick this one up
- The Fruit of Grisaia (PC)
- Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita)
- Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax (PS3, Vita)