This article titled “The 25 best games of 2015: 15-11 – not the end of the world as we know it” was written by Keith Stuart , Rich Stanton and Jordan Erica Webber, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 16th December 2015 10.05 UTC
We’re halfway through the countdown of this year’s finest games, and today’s instalment provides another eclectic selection. From apocalyptic drama to bizarre role-playing escapades, these are the titles our games writers were playing most this year.
As ever, have a read then add your own suggestions in the comments section.
15. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4)
If Fallout 4 is a classic American post-apocalypse then Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is the perfect British alternative. As you traipse around an abandoned 1980s West Midlands village, listening to the ghosts of past conversations to try to figure out what’s happened, you get the feeling this is exactly how Brits would respond to this kind of catastrophe, especially in a time before Twitter. We’d have meetings in the town hall, we’d complain about the inconveniences, and we’d gossip. People called Rapture “The Archers meets the end of the world” and it is certainly as beautiful and eccentric as that suggests (and the soundtrack is exquisite too).
14. Beginner’s Guide (PC/Mac)
The beginner’s guide to what, one may ask? And there are no easy answers in this quizzical world of abandoned and half-finished games, which we are guided through by a tricksy narrator. This is something of a mood game, an experience that shouldn’t be pried into too much beforehand, and enjoyed in one sitting. At times whimsical, at others melancholy, it is always unusual. Like its predecessor, The Stanley Parable, The Beginner’s Guide is for gamers who want to think about what games are.
13. Life is Strange (multiple formats)
French studio Dontnod had already hinted at its idiosyncratic narrative skills with the underrated Remember Me in 2013 – but Life is Strange is the genuine article. The story follows teen time-traveller Maxine Caulfield as she attempts to solve a missing person mystery while exploring her relationship with spirited friend Chloe. Although at times the dialogue is awkward, the game deals with issues around depression, anxiety and sexuality that few games go anywhere near, making for an utterly refreshing and emotional experience.
12. Grow Home (PC/PS4)
Plants are the ubiquitous euphemism for sexual organs, so you’ll be forgiven for seeing phalluses everywhere in Grow Home’s growing beanstalk and the dozens of offshoots you create. The compliment in that is that Grow Home is such a joy to play that you’ll totally forget after the first few giggles, engrossed instead in carefully clambering the little red robot to new heights, planning both his path and the path of the beanstalk’s growth, and keeping an eye out for the pretty polygonal views and charming surprises that make the slog worthwhile.
11. Undertale (PC/Mac)
The lo-fi visuals suggest a game in thrall to the past, and in particular Nintendo’s exceptional Mother series of role-playing games. But this facade hides a fizzingly contemporary take on the genre, one that accommodates a bullet hell combat minigame alongside the idea of talking to the monsters instead. Original, funny, constantly surprising – and with a long memory – Undertale should not be overlooked.
- The Guardian Games ‘Review of the Year’ is taking place at the Guardian’s Scott Room on Thursday evening, 7-8.30pm. Featuring Keith Stuart, writers Simon Parkin and Cara Ellison and game developer Mike Bithell, we’ll look back at 2015, with mince pies and a giant (free!) Xmas tombola with amazing prizes! Tickets available here.
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