I was going to make my top ten releases of 2019 but realised I'm not the most up to date gamer and some of my picks were from earlier, so I present the games I played of 2019 in no particular order.
Tetris Effect (PC VR)
The gameplay hasn't changed since the 80s and mechanically it's the same game I've played on nearly every system I've owned. The difference here is the experience, with the appearance of the board and tetronimos synchronised to the movements of the player while thousands of particles shift in the background to create stunning imagery. The soundscape has been really well thought out with perfectly complimenting tracks (still waiting on that OST 😢) and matching sound effects, but I think the biggest stand-out feature is the VR Support. I tried it with RiftCat on my Oculus Go and was blown away by how immersive it was, I'm not going to lie I might have shed a tear or two upon taking in the absolute beauty in this latest culmination of the classic game. Highly recommended.
Untitled Goose Game (PC)
I'd been following development of this game on Reddit for a while, the teaser trailer was hilarious and I was so excited when the game finally came out earlier this year. In Untitled Goose Game you play as the titular Goose who, to be blunt, is a complete ass. Your objectives vary from area to area but you basically need to cause as much inconvenience and bother to the humans as you can to fulfil your crazy whims. The game was developed in Melbourne and at it's height soared to charts even outranking Nintendo's Zelda franchise on the Nintendo Store, a good effort from a small team. The music matches the pace of the game perfectly (and actually brought back memories of Playschool) and if I had to sum it up briefly I'd say it's reminiscent of a stealth survival game needing some strategy and planning to complete the objectives.
I found Celeste by accident and was immediately hooked. The soundtrack is amazing, pixel artwork charming and gameplay tough as nails with some interesting changes throughout the journey to make the experience fresh. The story is interesting and I found myself talking to all of the NPCs and trying to learn more of the backstory and about the characters. The gameplay is strong platforming in the same vein as Super Meat Boy and I think I died over 1,000 times beating the game, but through no fault of the controls (they're tight) and I never got frustrated at the game, just my lack of skills. Being able to pick up the game again from the last screen I was on saved my sanity as I couldn't do it in long sittings but instead I'd pick it up and do a few levels or an area at time. A great game but the difficulty ramps up in the later levels.
Quake Champions (PC)
The latest iteration of the Quake series, focusing on what made the franchise so famous, the multiplayer arena shooter component. This game feels like a spiritual successor to Quake 3 with the same fast-paced gameplay but adding abilities for each player character and different attributes. Sadly it's let down by lack of community and a credit system with loot boxes (booo!). Also long load times cut into the action, I found half my time was spent in the menus and waiting to connect to servers. The latest Unreal entry doesn't lok promising either. Maybe I need to travel back to the 90s...
OpenTTD (Open Source Transport Tycoon Deluxe engine)
Do you remember when I said I needed to travel back to the 90s? You should, it was literally the last sentence. Anyway I've still been playing OpenTTD, a faithful recreation of the classic 90s Tycoon simulator Transport Tycoon. With simple geometric graphics, charming MIDI synthesised music and easy to pick up but tricky to master gameplay this is a blast from the past I'm always going back to. It's like playing with model trains without the huge costs!
Sayonara Wild Hearts (iOS)
This is one of the best iOS games I've ever played. The aesthetic, music, gameplay and story are all on point. The gameplay changes up dramatically even within the same stage and one minute you could be riding a motorcycle and the next you're having a dance battle or a sword fight. If you get stuck the game is gentle and will ask if you want to pass up a particular section but come into this knowing you're going to need good reflexes and sometimes blame the mobile controls if you're on iOS (I did anyway). So much magenta and cyan! 😁
Hopefully you give some of these a go, I would ask for your thoughts in the comments but you can't comment on my blog (maybe in the future 😎)