3 – Shovel Knight
And the nostalgia train continues. Shovel Knight was everything I loved about old platformers brought forward to this generation of gaming. You play as Shovel Knight, on a quest to stop the Enchantress and the Order of No Quarter, shoveling your way through variously-themed levels rife with enemies and secrets, each culminating in a Megaman-esque boss battle.
Shovel Knight was just the right amount of challenging, had a great but uncomplicated storyline that had me tearing up at the end, and in spite of being in 8-bit style, gosh it was beautiful somehow, with a rockin’ soundtrack. I played the game on PC, Wii U, and 3DS, but the 3DS version was the best by far. Something about the game just made good sense on the handheld (the bottom screen for easy menu access helped a lot).
There’s a reason this game is on pretty much every possible system at this point. It’s a “complete” game, with all the parts working together to create an enjoyable experience for just about anyone who picks it up (okay, maybe if you are terrible at platforming). Both silly and serious at times, with a reasonable learning curve that teaches you to play as you go and plenty of hidden surprises, Shovel Knight was easily one of the best games this year.
Next: #2 Has More Characters And Game Modes Than You Can Cut A Tree With!