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Cary's Best Games of 2015 Awards Show!

On 01/06/2016 at 03:40 AM by Cary Woodham

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Can you believe that 2015 is already over?  What I like to do around this time is write about the best games of the past year.  Keep in mind that no outside opinions went into the making of this list.  It’s just my own picks.  And if a game is missing from my list, it either didn’t appeal to me as much, or I just simply haven’t played it yet.  Can’t play all the games out there, you know!  Plus I do apologize if this list leans toward the Nintendo side.  I don’t have an Xbox One or PS4 yet, so you’ll just have to deal with it.  So with that out of the way, welcome to my Best Games of 2015 Awards Show!


Pokemon Shuffle (3DS)

I really didn’t want to give the award to a free-to-play game, but Pokemon Shuffle does two things right.  One, it doesn’t really pressure you too much to buy things, or make the game overly difficult so you can’t continue without spending money.  I got to past stage 150 before I felt it was getting too hard, and that’s not bad at all.  The other thing the game does right is that it’s just plain fun.  Not too simple, but not too hard either.  And they have lots of special events and Pokemon you can catch, too!

Runners Up:

Puzzle & Dragons Z/Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition (3DS)

I REALLY wanted to give the award to this game instead of Pokemon Shuffle.  This one’s not a free-to-play puzzler and it has loads of content, what with it being two games in one.  But at the end of the day, I felt that Pokemon Shuffle was more fun.  Puzzle & Dragons just got too hard and fiddly, even on the Mario version, which was supposed to be easier.  It took me forever to get to World 3!  And there are 8 worlds plus 8 harder worlds after that!  I just don’t think it should’ve been that hard, and managing all your teams and powers just got too complicated.  I guess I just wanted a more relaxing puzzler, and this wasn’t it!

Stretchmo (3DS)

I really like the Pushmo games.  In this one, you can stretch blocks to the side as well as the front.  You can even buy a whole set of levels based on NES characters.  But the character you play as in these levels is the old guy.  What are they trying to say with that?  Are they saying I’m old?

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U)

This Lemmings style puzzler plays almost exactly like the ones on the DS, but this one has a more involved online community where you can build levels and share them with others.  You buy level packs with stars, and while you can earn stars in the single player game, it’s easier to earn stars online by playing a bunch of people’s levels.  I’m pretty sure they made this game as a test run for Super Mario Maker.  I even made my own level that looks like the original Donkey Kong arcade board.  I don’t know how you can find it, though, but the level is called “Arcade Bliss.”  Also, if you download the Wii U version, you’ll get it on the 3DS for free, and vice versa!

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure (3DS)

This is just a collection of Dr. Mario games that includes the original, Dr. Luigi, and Brain Age’s Virus Buster.  And they added new miracle pills to keep the game somewhat fresh. 

Lara Croft GO (iPad)

While I do like the idea of a female Indiana Jones, I never really got into the Tomb Raider games for some reason.  But I sure liked this one!  It’s an isometric puzzler where you help Lara Croft solve block pushing and switch puzzles while avoiding enemies.  I kind of like those games.  It also reminded me of Captain Toad.  I think that Lara Croft and Captain Toad should team up for a game, what do you think?


Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

I guess a game where you make your own Mario levels isn’t too weird, but considering they used the Mario Paint motif to do so, that makes it feel weird to me.  I loved Mario Paint because it had a level of quirkiness to it, and that shows up in Super Mario Maker, too.  Plus, the game is just darn fun to make and play levels!  Be sure to check out some of mine!

Runners Up:

Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Wii U)

Originally a PC project, they fleshed it out and put it on consoles.  You play as an octopus who has managed to stay disguised as a human and get married and have two kids (best not to think too much on that).  In the game you control the octopus’s limbs separately as he tries to do basic tasks and not get noticed as being too suspicious.  So even menial tasks like grilling burgers, going grocery shopping, and taking the kids to the aquarium becoming challenging, and very funny!  Two people can play at the same time, too, one controlling the ‘arm’ tentacle for picking up and moving things, and the other player moving his ‘legs.’  That’s how I played the game with my brother Jeff, and it was very fun.  The play control may not be the best, but this game is played for the humor, and there is tons of it.  Octodad’s kids are especially funny, and the humor rivals cartoons like The Simpsons and Gravity Falls. In fact, I could see Octodad being a cartoon!  The game even has its own theme song!  It really reminds me of some of the more creative and funny games that would come out in the PS2 era like Katamari Damacy, Mister Mosquito, and A Dog’s Life.  Those games weren’t perfect, but they were sure creative and funny.  I miss those days.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)

It’s just a game where you design and decorate houses for character in Animal Crossing.  I bet the tools they used here will make it to the next main AC game.  I just think it’s weird that you’re basically playing a game about interior decorating!

Galaga: Tekken 20th Anniversary Edition (iPad)

So apparently, Tekken is 20 years old.  So how does Namco celebrate it?  In the weirdest way possible: combining Galaga with 8-bit graphics of Tekken characters!  But the game is still pretty fun (you can’t ruin Galaga) and best of all, it’s free!

Dot Arcade (Wii U)

Remember the old Mattel electronic games from the 70’s that didn’t use graphics, but blinking lights instead?  Well someone made three of their own and released them on the Wii U eShop!  They’re actually pretty neat mini-games and even the artwork looks like something you’d see back then. 


Never Alone (Wii U)

This is a puzzle platformer where you play as a Native American Alaskan girl and her white artic fox.  But the story of this game is based on a legend from the native people in that area!  They even have videos and images of artifacts and stories of their way of life.  So it’s like a Social Studies lesson in a game.  And the game is pretty fun, too, and very calming. 

Runners Up:

Fruit Ninja Academy: Math Masters (iPad)

This one teaches elementary school math skills with Fruit Ninja gameplay.  It has some problems here and there, but if Halfbrick keeps at it and improves, they could become as good as educational game maker greats like Humongous Entertainment!

Art Academy: Home Studio (Wii U)

This painting program is like the ones on the DS and 3DS, just on the Wii U.  It’s not the same game, but similar.  While it’s not quite as good as actually painting on a real canvas, it still does a good job of teaching painting techniques and art history.  And it also makes me think of my grandmother, who loved to paint when she was alive.


Story of Seasons (3DS)

Some wouldn’t consider this an RPG, but I’m still putting it in the RPG category because it’s my list.  And it held my interest more than the other RPGs I played this year.  It’s really a Harvest Moon game, but since they have a new publisher now, they had to call it something different since Natsume still owns the Harvest Moon name.  It’s still a fun game, though, and Iris is still my favorite character.

Runners Up:

Yo-Kai Watch (3DS)

This is a really charming Pokemon style RPG featuring Yokai, which are ghosts and monsters from Japanese folklore.  It’s super popular over there in Japan.  It’s like playing out a cartoon, which makes sense considering there is a cartoon based on the game (which you can watch on Disney XD).  It’s fun, but it still has some problems like some unclear goals and lack of control in the battles.

Tales of Zestiria (PS3)

I really only got this game because my favorite video game music composer: Go Shiina, did some of the music for it.  But I don’t think he did a lot of it, because much of the music still sounds like bland old Tales stuff.  The storyline in this one drew me in right away, but I’m afraid it may get heavy handed with the political and religious stuff later on.  And while I like the action packed battles, they get bogged down with extra and unnecessary rules, too.  It still has some interesting ideas, but it’s certainly not the best Tales game.  But then, my favorite Tales game is one nobody else likes (Tales of Legendia), so what do I know?


Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations (Wii U)

At first I thought I’d give this award to Minecraft: Story Mode.  But that ended up being like a family friendly Walking Dead clone where they just lead you around by the nose all the time (and how did Walking Dead get on everyone’s Game of the Year lists back then anyway?).  But when I reviewed this Adventure Time game, to my surprise it played like a classic TellTale point and click adventure, and it was pretty fun, too.  If you enjoy TRUE point and click games and really like Adventure Time, you should check this one out.


Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)

I played a lot of 2-D games this year!  But the best one was definitely Yoshi’s Woolly World.  It’s probably the best Yoshi’s Island game since the original, and the new yarn and fabric graphics are fantastic.  Lots of fun Amiibo support, too!

Runners Up:

Runbow (Wii U)

This is a multiplayer platformer for up to eight players!  It’s kind of like Smash Bros. but more platform-ey.  The background changes color every so often, and can hide certain colored platforms, so you always have to be on your toes.  And you can also play as a selection of certain indie game characters, even Shovel Knight!

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash (3DS)

It’s not the best Chibi-Robo game out there, but it’s still a fun and charming, albeit not perfect, 2-D platformer.

Freedom Planet (Wii U)

What do you get when you cross Sonic and Treasure games like Gunstar Heroes?  You’d get Freedom Planet.  A huge hit on Steam, it also fits perfectly on the Wii U.  If Sega wants us to like Sonic again, they should get the Freedom Planet folks to make their next game!

Gravity Falls (3DS)

I love the cartoon this is based on; in fact, I haven’t been this into a cartoon since DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, or Animaniacs.  While it’s kind of a generic 2-D platformer, it’s still fairly fun, looks great, and has a lot of the humor from the show.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)

This is a sequel to Kirby Canvas Curse on the DS.  Believe it or not, Canvas Curse is one of my least favorite Kirby games.  But this one is a little better.  It’s still not the best Kirby game out there and it does have some problems here and there.  But it’s still fun, the clay graphics are amazing, and the multiplayer mode is nifty.  It has catchy music and replaying levels to find all the hidden treasures is fun.  So yeah, still a pretty slick game. 

Adventure Time: Game Wizard (iPad)

The main game is a fun little Metroid style 2-D platformer where you can play different Adventure Time characters in a sketchbook world.  That part is pretty fun on its own (surprising for an iPad game), but what’s cool is that you can draw symbols on graph paper and scan them into the game to make your own levels!  Or just use the in-game level editor, which works a little better.  It’s not perfect, but still a neat idea, I thought.

BoxBoy! (3DS)

In this puzzler platformer, you play as a box in a black and white world.  You can create boxes to solve all sorts of creative puzzles.  You can use boxes like stepping stones, shields, and even use them to climb up ledges.  This game was made by HAL Laboratory, makers of Kirby, so you know it has to be good!

Adventures of Pip (Wii U)

There sure are a lot of games out there where you just play as a box, huh?  In this 2-D platformer, you can defeat certain enemies to evolve from a pixel, to an 8-bit sprite and even a 16-bit one!  Each type has different skills and abilities, and you’ll use them to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles.  It’s also made by ex-WayForward employees, so you know it’s good.  It’s not quite “this year’s Shovel Knight” like I had hoped it would be, but it is still very fun and reminds me of SNES games I used to rent back in the day.


LEGO Dimensions (Wii U)

It’s basically LEGO Skylanders and plays like any other LEGO game, but what I liked are the licenses they got for you to play as.  There’s Portal and The Simpsons and Back to the Future (and much more), and this year we get Ghostbusters and Midway Arcade Classics!  It’s like they were specifically trying to get me to want to get this game with those kinds of licenses! 

Runners Up:

LEGO Jurassic World (Wii U)

While it’s still very buggy and not a whole lot different from other LEGO titles, LEGO Jurassic World is still fun and probably one of the silliest and absurd in the series, at least as far as humor goes.  And video games can certainly use more humor. 

Skylanders: Superchargers (Wii U)

This entry in the Skylanders series includes vehicles.  While it’s still the same game otherwise, it’s still simple fun and I love the designs of the characters. The toys just scream, ‘play with me’ and you know that if you were a kid, you’d think Skylanders was awesome, too.  Admit it, you know you would.

Transformers: Devastation (360)

It’s not as good as Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, but I still loved how this game was based on the cartoon I watched in the 80’s as a kid, and it even used a lot of the original voice cast!

And now for my pick for Game of the Year.  Taiko drum roll, please…


Splatoon (Wii U)

I was on the fence about this game for a long time, because it was a shooter and I’m not as big into those kinds of games.  But it was colorful and neat looking, so I still kept my eye on it.  I enjoyed the Global Test Runs they did, but I still wouldn’t get the game unless I could get the Splatoon Amiibo 3-pack, because it would unlock some single player modes you couldn’t get anywhere else.  Luckily, I got the 3-pack so now I have the game!

I think what I like best about Splatoon is that it is very accessible and not intimidating.  A non-gamer could look at a game like Call of Duty and be very intimidated by it.  Heck, I’ve been playing games for 30 plus years, and I would be intimidated by Call of Duty.  But Splatoon is very encouraging to play.  In fact, I’ve had several non-gamers and inexperienced players over to my house, and they pick up Splatoon right away and even win in online matches!  Like Wii Sports, anyone can look at Splatoon and say, “I can do this!”  And that’s a really good thing for a game to be.

Splatoon does have some problems here and there.  There’s not a whole lot to the game if you look at it closely.  I think it would’ve been an arcade game if arcades were still popular.  But it’s still really fun, uses all the unique features of the Wii U, and best of all; it’s a new Nintendo IP.  You can’t complain about Nintendo making nothing but Mario and Zelda games now (well, you still could I suppose).  And it looks like Splatoon certainly has legs to stand on, and should have a future at Nintendo.  So that’s why it wins the award.  Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World were other candidates for Game of the Year, but I felt Splatoon made more of a splash.


And that’s my awards show!  In the comments section, let me know what you think of my picks, and tell me YOUR favorite games of 2015.  That’s all for now, later!  --Cary



Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/06/2016 at 09:28 AM

did you finish Zestiria?  I got busy during the holidays and need to get back to it, I really enjoy it so far though.  

Cary Woodham

01/06/2016 at 01:31 PM

No, I haven't finished it yet.  I actually got it late in the year as a Christmas present, and that's one of the reasons why my Game of the Year blog is a little later than usual because I wanted to play Zestiria enough to formulate an opinion on it.  I haven't played it in about a week, though, because I got distracted again by Yo-Kai Watch.


01/06/2016 at 03:00 PM

Hey, I liked Legendia, too!

I didn't play enough new games last year for me to have an opinion on a game of the year. While I've liked what little I've played of Zestiria, I agree with you about the overly-complex battle system.

Cary Woodham

01/06/2016 at 05:15 PM

I'm really lucky that I get to review games, because it gives me the opportunity to play more games than what I normally would otherwise.

I play most Tales games on the easiest mode because of battle mechanics getting too complex.  That way I can still have fun and not have to worry about all that complicated stuff.  I know some folks would scoff at me for that, but games are supposed to be fun, not frustrating.

Speaking of Zestiria, I think my favorite character is Lailah because she reminds me of Grune from Legendia, who was also funny.  I also like those annoying cat things.


01/06/2016 at 03:56 PM

I liked Pokemon Shuffle better than Puzzle & Dragons too. Dot Arcade and Freedom Planet look neat. I kinda wonder how Nintendo didn't do Splatoon earlier given the popularity of games like COD. It's totally a kid friendly multiplayer shooter.

Cary Woodham

01/06/2016 at 05:16 PM

You should try Dot Arcade and Freedom Planet if you get a chance.

Why didn't Nintendo do Splatoon earlier?  Well, as much as I love Nintendo, they do tend to be a little behind on things.

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/06/2016 at 06:12 PM

Splatoon is the best-looing art style of last year as well I think. I've only played Forever Alone out of these and it was good. The videos of Alaska were beautiful.

Cary Woodham

01/06/2016 at 11:35 PM

Yes, Splatoon definitely had creative themes and characters.


01/06/2016 at 08:00 PM

My gosh thats a lot of games! I liked the characters in ZESTERIA and I played quite a bit of POKEMON SHUFFLE. I wouldnt mind if that game came to mobile. 


Cary Woodham

01/06/2016 at 11:36 PM

There are a lot of Nintendo games that would fit well on moblie devices.  If they ever decided to go that route, they'd already have an existing library of games.  I wonder if they're doing that on purpose...?


01/07/2016 at 12:52 PM

Lots of games on here that I want to play!

I got Pokemon shuffle on my phone, I hate how it needs to be connected to the internet though. But it's very addictive.

Cary Woodham

01/07/2016 at 05:13 PM

I didn't know Pokemon Shuffle was available for phones.  Most free-to-play phone games always have to be connected to the Internet to play, but I don't think it does on the 3DS.  Just some special events require a connection.


01/10/2016 at 05:31 PM

I may have to get it on my 3DS instead!

Cary Woodham

01/10/2016 at 07:10 PM

It's free so it won't cost you anything!


01/07/2016 at 03:56 PM

Among other games, I bought Splatoon from Amazon together with a female inkling amiibo and I can't wait to play it. 

Cary Woodham

01/07/2016 at 05:13 PM

I bet you'll like it!

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