Looking back at the games I played over the past twelve months, there were two very different platformers that stand out among some of my favorite experiences of the year.
The 80’s and 90’s were a tough time to be a kid. Shows like Fraggle Rock and Dinosaurs filled our tv screens with weird, wonderful, and often freakishly unsettling puppetry. Adults loved to fill our heads with bulbous creatures, whose exaggerated features and dark, beady eyes inspired both awe and terror.
When Little Nightmares released, I was two days shy of 35 years of age. Yet the creatures and environments I encountered in the game made me feel like I was five again. While the platform-oriented puzzles may not be as inventive as some other games in the genre, controlling the protagonist felt natural, and it was an easy game to pick up and play.
The general sense of unease lasted right up until the credits rolled. In the end, it was a journey I both loved and dreaded. Little Nightmares is an experience unlike any game I can remember playing, and I look forward to experiencing more of it whenever I get around to checking out the DLC.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I love Cuphead. If you are my wife, who was sitting on the couch behind me while I played Cuphead, you think I hate it more than I’ve ever hated anything. I may have been a little bit… vocal? …as I made my way through this one.
As a former (wannabe) animator, and an animation lover in general, Cuphead has been on my radar since I first set eyes on it. With whimsical, hand-drawn graphics that harken back to the (not so innocent) ‘toons of yore, the game’s visuals don’t disappoint.
The games is known for being more than just eye candy, however. It’s difficult. Very difficult. “I’m a vet of the Soulsborne games, and Cuphead makes me want to cry” difficult. The more you suffer, the more it shows it’s really good. Right? (Yea-a-eah)
The game did catch a lot of people off guard, and initially, a lot of people weren’t happy about that. That’s understandable – nobody likes taking a big swig of what they think is ice-cold cola only to discover it’s actually iced tea, even if you like iced tea. Unlike my terrible metaphors, however, Cuphead is a game that does make sense.
Cuphead gave us both a visually stunning game, with graphics unlike anything else on the market, and also a hardcore platformer that, for the most part, played as well as it looked. The game is difficult, but I’ll say what I always say: If I can beat it, anyone can.