Undertale

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Here is a game created by indie developer Toby Fox which was released in 2015. Initially Undertale was released on platforms Windows and OS X. Ports later followed for the Vita, Linux and the PS4.

Inspirations for this title really shine through as people who have played the Mother series (Earthbound in the west) will immediately feel the familiarity here. From the sprites to the battle screen this was clearly meant as a love letter for fans of that series.

This is not to say that all is cut and paste. Undertale takes a unique twist to the battle system which Japanese developers had yet to touch on. These additions make each battle  interactive and fun. After initiating an attack you control an on-screen heart which you then must dodge incoming projectiles for a set amount of time to avoid losing HP. If you are very good at these mini-games perhaps you can make it through without sustaining any damage at all.

It also has a quintessential linear level-design with the option of returning to prior areas in unique ways so you will never feel like you missed something.

Characters you meet have witty dialogue and are quite likeable which can keep you smiling a long the way. All the way to the very end creativity spews forth which will quell any sensation of tedium, if such an emotion ever sets forth.

Undertale will clock in at around 6 hours depending on how much of the terrain you choose to explore. With its riveting synthetic sounds and creative gameplay aspects Undertale will keep you entertained for hours.

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Platforms: PC, OS X, Vita, PS4

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The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns

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A neat tale featuring romance and travesty

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Here we have a game developed by Sekai Projects and written and programmed by Emi-hime. The story revolves around the romance of 2 female characters taking place in the 1800s. The story is told from the perspective of a deceased Emmeline Burns who is now a ghost who slowly iterates her tale of romance and struggles of not being able to live a full life.

Music is quite ho-hom, yet does the job of providing adequate mood to the story unfolding.

This tale will last you a mere 2 hours but will leave you with quite a satisfactory feeling at the message delivered throughout.

Platforms: Steam

Castlevania – Harmony of Dissonance

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Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance is the 2nd game in the GBA lineup of Castlevania titles. Released a year after ‘Circle of the Moon’ and still utilizing the Metroid-esque (Metroidvania) formula which started with the critically acclaimed ‘Symphony of the Night’ released on PS1.

Story

The story takes place 44 years before Rondo of Blood and 50 years after Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.

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Game of the Year

Regrettably, still playing catch-up with gaming titles and not really having the opportunity to play many 2016 games it is not wise to crown a 2016 game of the year, per se.

Instead I will simply crown the best game I have played this year, but not necessary released this year…

Award goes to:

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Ninja Gaiden II

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Ninja Gaiden II is the follow-up to the immensely satisfying, albeit difficult, Ninja Gaiden I for the Xbox. Team Ninja has ramped up the intensity on the 360 by adding new mechanics and weapons into the mix. Where does this title take Ryu Hayabusa this time?

Story

CIA agent Sonia is searching for the elusive Ryu Hayabusa when she gets attacked by members of the Black Spider Ninja Clan in Muramusa’s shop. Ryu discovers this attempt and after a vain attempt to stop this capture he chases the clan towards the skyscraper in Tokyo.

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Talos Principle

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Talos Principle is a rather unique title that has been spat out by a Croatian developer known as Croteam. The main object of this puzzle adventure is self-discovery.

Story

The journey begins where you start off as an android and is confused about its present whereabouts. There is a voice from an omnipotent being who guides you around your current surroundings. As you continue your journey you learn more about yourself and life through philosophical texts at terminals. These terminals are based on the DOS OS which had more common usage in the late eighties and early nighties.

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Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment

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           A giant leap from the last outing but not without flawsdivider
Here we have another entry into the world of Sherlock Homes by Frogwares Studio. With quite a number of Sherlock Holmes titles under their belt the series has constantly been getting better with each iteration. Without further undo onto the story shall we?

Story

You begin your adventure in the apartment of Sherlock Holmes who we find none other than Sherlock Holmes at one of his crazy antics involving firing a gun blindfolded in his own living room. Watson questions Sherlock’s behavior and eventually arrive the story arrives at the beginning of the first of 6 cases in this adventure. Some stories have been directly adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories in the original books.

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