Fair warning: I tried to keep this list to games I bought in 2016, which wasn't a lot, so this list is basically "Games Joe Bought in 2016 and Why He Liked Them, but I still think they're worth talking about.
Okay let's do this.
10: No Man's Sky
I won't go into the three ring nightmare the PR for this game ended up being, since you can find that on any gaming website, suffice it to say that we were literally promised the sun moon and stars and were given the last level of Spore with a graphics upgrade. That being said, I loved the last level of Spore so this game was a blast for me. If not for the insane amount of grind and the hard crashes, this game would be higher on my list, but since this game won't be seeing a lot of top ten lists, I think 10 is a good spot for it.
9: Magic Duels
While this game came out in 2015, I personally didn't start playing it till 2016, but when I did I played it a LOT. If you're into Magic: The Gathering this game is a must, as it follows all the core rules and keeps up with the expansions as it comes out. The game is free to play on Steam and does offer the option to pay for additional boosters and decks but 70+ hours in and I nearly have all the sets without paying a dime. This game is also great for those who enjoy playing Magic: The Gathering but aren't as keen to deal with talking to other players, since in the PVP there is no chat. Check it out if you're a Magic: The Gathering fan or trying to become one.
8: The Curious Expedition
I was so excited when this game finally went on sale and I could buy it. This is a great game for anyone who's a fan of Kipling, Indiana Jones, or even a little Lovecraft. You play a world famous explorer (Or H.P. Lovecraft) and lead an expedition into the unknown all around the world. While the levels can feel a bit samey, even on different continents, the game play of exploring maps and seeing what's just beyond the draw distance is enough to keep any explorer engaged. The turn based dice combat takes a second to get used to, but once you do it's like playing a very aggressive form of Yhatzee.
7: Far Cry Primal
In my "Not Suitable for All Audiences" category we have Far Cry Primal: a cave man sandbox game. I thought the masculine power fantasy in video games was solely focused on guns but there's nothing like leaping from a cliff with spear in hand onto an unaware Neanderthal in nothing but a loin cloth and war paint to make you feel all sorts of manly-then try doing it in a video game! Plus you get to train saber-tooth tigers to do your bidding so my cat got a kick out of the game as well.
6: Gems of War
So this game came out in 2014 which pretty much makes this a retro review but since this year I clocked in over 80 hours I think its time to talk about it. The game is a hybrid of Magic the Gathering and Candy Crush where you build and upgrade a team to take on other people's team through color matching combat. The game carries the same addicting quality of Candy Crush where you just want to try one more game but find yourself still up at 1 AM looking for a fight. Gems of War is free on Steam so give it a look but make sure your well hydrated and ready for a new addiction before you do.
5: Stardew Valley
This year's indie darling, Stardew Valley is a throwback to the Harvest Moon games with the addition of also being able to fight monsters. As far as improvements go, any game without the ability to fight monsters can benefit from fighting monsters so this game was a winner in my book. Building your own farm and maintaining the plants and animals has honestly never been so much fun, and the top-down 2D controls is so much better than the clunky 3D-ifying the Game Cube tried to pull in the day that made it look like you were trying to grow balloon animals. Have a go at it if you long for the simple life but can't afford to move to rural Wisconsin.
Officially released this year, I was playing this thing all the way back in early access. The game is the typical rogue-like with the twist that the horrors and fighting your adventurers face can have a toll on their sanity, making them contract afflictions like addiction and paranoia if you don't keep an eye on them. The game is a dark Cthuhluesque adventure set in an 1800s backdrop, giving the feeling of watching a black-and-white horror movie while playing Dungeons and Dragons on a rainy night.
3: Worlds of Final Fantasy
No, this is not Final Fantasy XV. Frankly I decided to skip on that since it looked like the goth clique of a high school was having an Entourage style road trip, but Worlds is a whole different kettle of fish. Set in a wacky mix of Final Fantasy worlds, the game allows you to collect classic Final Fantasy monsters and train them like Pokemon, up to and including evolving them. The game play is fun, the story is funny in a self-referential fourth-wall Deadpool sort of way. The only reason this game isn't higher up is because the support character grated on my spine right out of the gate and there's no way to Old Yeller it in the starting area.
2: World of Warcraft: Legion
While not a full game, most expansions to WOW can be classified as stand-alone games given the amount of content they add,
and Legion is no exception. I immediately made a new Demon Hunter character and jumped right into the Legion expansion and quickly found myself falling in love with the game all over again. The massive demon invasions leading up to launch made it feel like the world was in peril on an epic scale and the coordinating quest was interesting and varied enough to keep my interest and never wore out its welcome in length. This game earns the #2 spot on my list because of all these I still predict its the game I'm going to dump the most hours into.
1: Pokemon Moon
With every addition the Nintendo gang tries to mix up the formula with the Pokemon franchise and this time they not only mixed it up but added diced pineapple to the batch. Set in a Hawaii inspired Aloha region, the game throws out the conventional 8 gym leader model in favor of puzzles and tests that truly challenge even the veteran Pokemon trainer. It honestly feels like every annoyance I ever had with the series has been either removed completely or revamped in a fun new way. My favorite example is the new Pokemon Uber system in the game (No I don't remember what it's called). What you have is a little device that you press to summon a Pokemon friend to you who will basically preform the functions HMs used to preform, from flight to rock smash to even just moving you faster so you don't even need the stupid bike or roller skates. This means you don't need to waste a slot on a Pokemon's moves to use an HM that can never be removed. It's also just a simple joy to jump on a Charizard and use fly right on his back.
What games did you love in 2016?