There’s a fine line between “best” and “oh wow, I played that a lot.” This is one of the many things that makes picking the best games of the year such a daunting prospect. We need to filter out the great games from the pretty good games that we played endlessly.
We asked the staff at Gamezebo which games were their guilty pleasures this year; their shameless addictions that they returned to time and again. Some of their answers may surprise you!
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
“Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector delivers everything it promises on the tin: It’s a game about collecting cats… though they’re only on loan, really. Cats are their own masters. Your role is simply to invite them to your yard, feed them, and fawn over them. If you’re a cat-lover and you’ve seen footage of the game (I’ve written more words about it this year than words of praise and gratitude for my loved ones), you understand where I’m coming from. Those dot eyes. Those contented kitty smiles. Those balls of yarn tumbling in between little paws. Those sleepless nights waiting for Peaches to visit. This has been my 2015.” (Nadia Oxford)
“I have played DomiNations from Nexon every single day since the April launch and my journey has been grand. I have built and tended my defensive Japanese civilization from the dawn of humanity to the Age of Enlightenment, battled under the leadership of Alexander, Nobunaga and Cleopatra, all while harnessing the protection of the Greek Acropolis, the brawn of the Roman Colosseum, and the healing of Angkor Wat. I have plundered over 75 million resources from warring factions and have led my alliance Killer Queen (named after the song) in prosperous and bountiful times. I consider my time spent in this game to be one of my greatest personal achievements and a triumphant legacy that will be lauded by generations to come. Long live Killer Queen!” (Lian Amaris)
“At the start of 2015, I was a little scornful of idle RPGs. Who wants to play a game that only requires you to tap things mindlessly? Then I played Clicker Heroes and lost my soul. An RPG with no story, it simply involves tapping to beat up monsters to earn money. Use that money to buy allies to do the fighting for you, even when you’ve closed the game. It’s all too addictive, probably because it requires so little upkeep. Am I proud to be hooked? Not exactly. Will I be deleting it any time soon? No chance. I want to get to level 1000 one day – even if it will look the same as the previous 999.” (Jennifer Allen)
“Typically mobile games keep me interested for a few hours, or maybe a few days in some rare cases. Dungeon Boss has managed to keep me playing for months after I first gave it a try. Even while Hearthstone (my mobile staple) collects dust between my weekly Tavern Brawl runs, Dungeon Boss is booted up at least once a day. Big Fish Games has found the mobile game fountain of youth with Dungeon Boss thanks to a combination of the game’s charming blocky visual style, its more than fair in-app purchases, and its fast and responsive gameplay. There is so much game to play in Dungeon Boss, three months in and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface.” (Tom Christiansen)
Demon Blade: Darkness Fall
“I downloaded this game on a whim because of the “Diablo” reference in its description, and 52 days later, I’m still playing. How do I know it’s been 52 days? Because you receive daily login rewards, and I haven’t missed a single login. Why am I still playing it? That’s harder to answer. First, the only part of Diablo it’s related to is loot management. This is basically a loot-heavy RPG broken down to just the equpment management part. You “fight” enemies in “dungeons,” but it’s really just tapping an icon until you get their item drop. There’s a “story,” but it’s mostly filler about elves and your character (who is sometimes referred to as “he” even if you chose a female avatar). And yet, the leveling, equipment progression, recurring rewards, and ridiculously generous energy system have kept me coming back for weeks. Anyway, what am I going to do, uninstall and forfeit my 15,000 damage sword and +5 Tenacious Armor? Please.” (Jillian Werner)
Puzzle Craft 2
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“I’m a busy guy, so I definitely should only be playing mobile games that either blow me away or I need to check out for review purposes. NHL SuperCard fits neither criteria since it’s been out for a while, and the gameplay can politely be described as “shallow.” Get hockey players, level up said players, use them in games that require you to make three quick decisions, repeat. And yes the animations are cute, but I’ve seen them approximately 736,495 times by now. I can’t stop playing daily though, scared I won’t enough daily log-ins to earn another Epic card or worried that I’ll miss the next event. That would upset me and I can’t even adequately explain why.” (Nick Tylwalk)
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
“As I sit here typing this, I’m charging my Android tablet. Not because I need to for work reasons, but because of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. There’s a new update today with free characters available that differ on each mobile platform, so now that I’ve unlocked Poe Dameron and a First Order Stormtrooper on iOS, I’m jumping over to Android to get my Captain Phasma. It’s tricky, but I know it will work… because I’m engaged enough with other players to have had a conversation that confirms it before breakfast this morning. In fact, fellow Gamezebo writer Nick Tylwalk and I have had lengthy nerdy discussions in our team chat about Galaxy of Heroes, much to the dismay of our fellow writers. The game is everything I loved about collecting Star Wars toys as a kid mixed with everything I love about streamlined free-to-play RPGs. As a full and proper nerd, it’s hard to think of a more winning combination than that.” (Jim Squires)