Little did we know what we’d be in for when 2020 started. If you’d asked me if I’d be in school by the end of 2020 back in January, I would’ve said no way. Yet here I am! Aside from returning to school, some of the only bright spots were the games that came out this year. So, what were my favorites to play while holed up at home?
Genre: Board Game, Multiplayer, Strategy
Developer/Publisher: Nomad Games
Why it’s awesome: Most deck-builders have you start with weak cards, use them to purchase better cards, and then have you try to discard the weaker cards over the course of the game. Mystic Vale has space for three card segments on every card. So instead of discarding cards, you build on them to make better ones. I love this mechanic.
The luck pushing element of being able to draw cards at the risk of losing your turn if you “spoil” also adds a lot of fun to this title. My review is here.My review is here.
Handheld rating: Decent. Like many games I play on Switch, the developers could’ve done a better making the text readable.
Wintermoor Tactics Club
Genre: Adventure, Board Game, Strategy, Role-Playing.
Developer/Publisher: EVC | Versus Evil
Why it’s awesome: This game combines a diverse cast of characters, a great story, and some fun RPG elements into a memorable game that had me both laughing and in tears by the finale. I particularly enjoyed how the characters play their own tabletop RPG where the tactics and relationships spill over into their real-life problems. A very engaging title all around. My review for the game is here.
Handheld rating: Decent. Text is a bit small but not an unusual issue.
Genre: Visual Novel
Developers | Publishers: Design Factory| Otomate| Idea Factory|Aksys Games
Why it’s awesome: A woman leaves her miserable job to take over her grandfather’s café after he passes away. This being an Otame game, there are 5 handsome, eligible, and magical men waiting for her at the shop when she arrives. I’ve said it before, but it really does feel like playing through a Hallmark movie (just with more magic and less Santa). Absolutely gorgeous visuals. Yvonne reviewed the game, find that here.
Handheld rating: Otomate does a good job making games I can read well on my Switch Lite. This one is no exception.
Genre: Other, Board Game, Strategy, Multiplayer
Developer/Publisher: Monster Couch
Why it’s awesome: With seemingly endless combinations of birds to draw and play, this ornithology-themed strategy game has been gobbling up my digital board game time. It’s very relaxing and easy to learn, but complicated enough to maintain interest. My review has just been published, find it here.
Handheld rating: Good! The cards are fairly easy to read even on the Switch Lite.
Immortal Fenyx Rising
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developers | Publishers: Ubisoft Quebec | Ubisoft
Why it’s awesome: This is a late edition to the list since it only came out recently. I haven’t played much yet, but I absolutely love the running commentary by Prometheus and Zeus, which puts it a cut above other similar titles for me. I realize many will find its relatively simple fight system a drawback, but as I’m not really into this sort of hack and slash game I’m very glad to only be expected to mash buttons. The user controlled difficulty levels make playing this title for the humor even more inviting. Paula reviewed the game here. reviewed the game here.
Handheld rating: Works beautifully! Rather expected it to tax the battery, but that hasn’t been the case.
Quick look at what I’m looking forward to in 2021:
NEO: The World Ends With You
I can’t TELL you how excited I am to finally get a sequel to The World Ends With You, one of the reasons I bought a DS lite way back in 2008. This is a pre-order for me for sure!
Dairoku: Ayakashimori (English title not yet available)
An Otome revolving around a protagonist who can see ghosts? I am very interested. Aksys games always does a great job with localization so this will probably be a pre-order for me.
Another Aksys localized Otome game, this one involves the struggle for unity in a society split by a class system. I’ll have to investigate this one a little more, but it may also be a pre-order for me.
And the dream announcement I want to see in 2021:
Please, please, please, please, please, PLEASE announce a Disney Magical World 3. There are so many more Disney realms we could be exploring, and after this cruddy year we could all use the light, fun fare this series offers. Make one already!