As you may or may not have noticed, 2014 is almost at an end. This provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on all the things the year has contributed to history. Here at Kantaloupe, we love games, and that’s why we’re announcing the first ever Kantaloupe Game of the Year award. We’ll be presenting this highly coveted award to the 2014 game we most enjoyed playing. Note that we’re only two people here at Kantaloupe and we don’t own all the consoles out on the market, so there are plenty of great 2014 games we haven’t played. All that aside, let’s get started with the contenders for Kantaloupe’s GOTY 2014.
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Bravely Default (3DS | 2.7.14 | Our review | Buy from Amazon)
Bravely Default was my very first JRPG and is single-handedly responsible for getting me hooked on a new genre. A tribute to the great Square Enix RPGs of the mid to late-90s, Bravely Default is a lengthy and enjoyable experience and rivals Fire Emblem Awakening as the best RPG on the 3DS.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Vita | 11.2.14 | Our review | Buy from Amazon)
Though it came out in Japan on PSP in 2010, it wasn’t until last February that North America got to experience NIS America’s excellent Vita port. Danganronpa is a mystery visual novel with an excellent story and colourful characters. Often shocking and always eerie, Danganronpa’s builds up to a bombshell ending that leaves no stone unturned.
Child of Light (PC PS3 PS4 Vita Wii U 360 One | 29.4.14 | Our review)
Ubisoft Montreal emulates an indie style with JRPG-like Child of Light. With everything from watercolour environments to rhymed dialogue, Child of Light really succeeds in feeling like a fairytale. The gameplay is complex and engaging, adding real-time elements to a traditionally turn-based genre. There’s also no need to be intimidated, because Child of Light isn’t too difficult, nor is it too long. It also isn’t a game you’ll soon forget, however, because Child of Light is one of the most endearing adventures in recent memory.
Shovel Knight (3DS Wii U PC | 26.6.2014 | Our review)
A Kickstarter success, Shovel Knight can safely be called one of the best platformers of all time. Marrying old-school visuals and gameplay with modern design choices and accessibility, Shovel Knight is challenging but never feels frustrating or unfair. Shovel Knight manages to honour NES classics without feeling derivative.
Freedom Wars (Vita | 28.10.14 | Our review | Buy from Amazon)
One of the only top-tier titles on Vita this year, Freedom Wars is a coöperation-centric monster hunter. Where Freedom Wars struggles with story it makes up for with interesting mechanics and a quirky post-apocalyptic world whose design could only have been conceived in Japan. Freedom Wars really shows off what the Vita can do, and is a no-brainer for anyone seeking an action-oriented Vita experience.
A couple of honourable mentions: First off, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, a decent, albeit slightly disappointing remake of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. I’ve played it a couple hours but I haven’t finished it yet. I’d say you should give it a try if you haven’t played the original games, but it just doesn’t bring enough new things to the table to make it a must-play. Second, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, a 3DS compilation of three GBA games. It came out a couple of days ago, and I haven’t played it too much, but I actually quite enjoyed what I played.
Tune in towards the end of the month for the winner. If you played any of these games, why not vote for it in the poll below? Also, there were loads of great games this year, so we likely missed your favourite. Tell us about it in the comments!
I’m juggling an apocalyptic amount of games at the moment, so I can’t really tell you what I’ll review next, though it’ll probably be Borderlands 2 or Final Fantasy VII. Until we announce Kantaloupe’s GOTY 2014, check out our other game reviews here, and see an always-up-to-date ranking of my favourite games of all time.