It’s been a long time since I added to this list. But since we moved on to #69 (nice) in the latest podcast episode, it’s time for me to release the next 10 games in my top 100 list for the 2010s! Enjoy!
#80: Bayonetta 2 (2014)
(Discussed on Make Me A Gamer Episode 62.)
Bayonetta 2 is one of the best character action games in existence. It’s fun, fast, and flashy. The plot is pulpy nonsense with weird, goofy humor and Bayonetta is a great character. Once you know how to do combos and understand how Witch Time works it feels great in your hands and you look really cool doing all of Bayonetta’s moves. The enemies and bosses are also expertly designed to be difficult but satisfying to beat. And the best part is, it’s not stuck on just the Wii U anymore!
Platforms: Switch, Wii U
#79: Days Gone (2019)
(Discussed on Make Me A Gamer Episode 61.)
Days Gone ended up being the perfect game at the perfect time for me. I got it a few months after it released during a drought where I wasn’t really playing anything else. My girlfriend enjoyed watching me play and keeping along with the story because the characters were well-done and it also kept things moving. The first ten hours or so could have been shortened because it’s just a bunch of pointless quests that don’t really mean anything to the overall story, and beyond that you don’t face the large zombie hordes until you’re nearing the end. That aside, it’s a fun game and traveling on the motorcycle was pretty awesome actually, and if they can shore up the pacing issues a sequel could really be an amazing experience.
#78: Until Dawn (2015)
Until Dawn is one of those games that came out of nowhere for me (and a lot of other people). It’s made it onto my list for multiple reasons: first, it’s the peak (so far) of the choose-your-own-adventure genre involving quick decisions and life-threatening situations. It perfects the Quantic Dream formula while using a setting that people can really get behind. On top of it, the unique premise of controlling every character and holding their fate in your hands adds a bunch of tension to the story on your first playthrough.
But secondly, it’s unquestionably tied to the original experience I had with it: I invited all my friends over and we stayed up through the entire night until dawn (ha-ha!) playing it from start to finish. We did great – except an accidental misunderstanding of the finale left only two people alive. Whoops. But the experience itself was what made me such a fan: from my friends screaming decisions at me, to yelling support as I played through crazy action sequences, to the complete and utter shock when our first character died. It was a group memory that comes few and far between in video games nowadays when most everyone plays multiplayer over the internet.
It loses its charm after multiple playthroughs because you start to see how the cogs behind the scenes are working, but that first time will always stick with me and be a special memory with my friends that I’ll cherish from now on.
#77: Bastion (2011)
No no no! Not you Bastion! The other Bastion!
Bastion was the first game by Supergiant Games, done in their very unique and recognizable art style. It’s an isometric action game that has an amazing story and tight gameplay. You play as The Kid and start off at the Bastion, the last safe haven (supposedly) after an unknown Calamity. You explore the world and upgrade the Bastion as you progress, adding new structures that enable you to level up your weapons and abilities. It’s a pretty straightforward action RPG but the visuals are perfection and the story comes out of nowhere to gut punch you.
What makes this game special to me is that it was the first time I truly realized “indie” games were something to pay attention to. Most of my gaming experience up until this point had been dictated by what was popular and what cost $60 for a “full” experience. Getting this on the XBox 360 was an eye-opening experience. Lower priced games that were shorter experiences could still be amazing! This was a critical darling at the time, but it still gave me the foresight to start paying attention to games that were slightly out of the way, so to speak, and for that I’ll always be grateful to it.
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, XBox One, XBox 360, Switch, PC, iOS
#76: Resonance of Fate (2010)
Resonance of Fate is a hard game to explain. It’s because not only is it a weird and out there video game story, but it’s also the most complicated battle system I’ve ever come across in gaming. There’s a literal area in the game that goes through a 16-step process (or maybe even more) for you to learn all the intricacies of this RPG’s battle system. I can’t even begin to explain it here in this post because it’s been so long since I played this. I’d have to spend an hour with the game to refresh myself, and then another hour typing out a 2000-word essay to explain what I just refreshed myself on.
That being said, if you’re willing to dive headfirst into this complicated game, the battle system is extremely rewarding and fun. Navigating the field doing flips and tricks with all your guns is one of the most rewarding RPG mechanics I’ve ever experienced once you start pulling off insane combos. If you’re one of those people that thinks turn-based = slow, Resonance of Fate exists to prove you wrong. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on this game – hell, there’s a hex-based world map grid that you have to reveal yourself to progress into new areas that takes its own long explanation!
This is not a casual game, but it is a game that’s stuck with me. If you have the time and energy nowadays – and I stress TIME – and you like RPGs, you could do a lot worse than this one.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, XBox 360, PC
#75: VVVVVV (2010)
(Discussed on Make Me A Gamer Episode 63.)
I’m a big fan of platformers and I’m usually very adamant about playing them with controllers for the best experience. VVVVVV is one of the few platformers I played on the PC because of its simple gravity-based controls. You move left and right, and flip the gravity back and forth to help navigate your lost little dude through the treacherous areas he finds himself in. The soundtrack is bangin’, the platforming control is tight, and the platforming difficulty is challenging but rewarding once you manage to complete tough sections. It’s a classic platformer in every sense of the word – if you enjoy the genre this is a game you can’t miss playing.
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, Switch, 3DS, PC, Mac, Mobile
#74: Towerfall Ascension (2013)
Towerfall Ascension is the multiplayer precursor to the much beloved Celeste. It’s a frenetic 2D platforming archery combat game where as soon as the action starts you’re yelling and screaming with all your friends. I found it through YouTube Let’s Plays of four people having a ball while playing it. Later, I found myself having a ball when I recorded my own Let’s Plays with friends. The mayhem is spectacular and the shield system allows for comebacks from people who aren’t doing well, which keeps everybody in the game.
It’s a great competitive couch game in the vein of Smash Bros, where it’s fun even if you’re losing. Arrows flying from across the map, Mario stomps on other players’ heads, and a panic barrage of every arrow you’ve stored in your quiver are all ways you can kill each other. There are bomb arrows, vine arrows, drill arrows – if Hawkeye has it, so does Towerfall. I had a blast playing this multiple times with my friends and it’s high up there on my picks for must-have local multiplayer. Don’t expect a robust single-player though – stick to Celeste if you want that.
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, XBox One, Switch, PC, Mac
#73: Limbo (2010)
Much like Bastion, Limbo is an indie game that started the decade off strong for me. It’s a black-and-white, somber story that is told through trial-and-error puzzle platforming. You’ll die, quite a lot actually, to all sorts of weird things as you traverse this spooky game.
It’s another short affair that only takes a few hours to beat, but the minimalist, abstract story is well worth it. There’s never any dialogue (that I can remember at least, it’s been a long time since I played this through) but what happens is just so vivid in my memory. The puzzles themselves are tricky but not impossible, especially since you have very simple controls as well.
There’s not a lot more I can say about this game without going into synonyms for adjectives I’ve already used to describe it. It’s very atmospheric and very artistic. It’s a game that sets the mood almost immediately and sticks with it without depressing you too much or overstaying its welcome. Another indie game from the beginning of the decade well worth your time.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Switch, XBox 360, PC, Mac, Mobile
#72: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (2017)
Sometimes leaks are too good to be true. And sometimes they’re too weird NOT to be true. When it was leaked that there was a game on the horizon where the Rabbids were going to team up with Mario in an XCOM-like strategy game, everyone was immediately on board. Mostly because it was the absolute weirdest thing that could have been mashed together from existing properties, and yet somehow it works.
It’s not quite as tactical as XCOM and other games in its genre, but Mario + Rabbids is a solid entry with amazing production values on the Switch. The solo campaign is solid fun filled with the humor you expect from both Mario and the Rabbids. Gameplay-wise, the 8 different characters allow you to mix and match to your particular play-style. The co-op multiplayer is also quite fun as I got to play some of that with my XCOM-loving pal HarveyZ. I had a ball with this and I’m really glad Nintendo thought outside the box for this one, allowing for a crazy yet instantly memorable game involving Mario and company.
#71: Just Shapes & Beats (2018)
I remember seeing this on the floor at MAGFest and instantly falling in love with it. It didn’t release for another two years after the first time I saw it demo’d, but the fast-paced bullet hell game set to blistering techno was seared into my brain. I continued to see it at later conventions and every time I found myself standing there, staring at all the shapes flitting back and forth while dodging projectiles and particle effects.
And it’s just as much fun to play as it is to watch. The developers put together an amazing soundtrack – including a free update that included Shovel Knight remixes – that never gets old if you’re into electronic beats. The game’s visuals are A+ and the way everything happens in time with the music just warms my little music-loving heart. I found a lot of cool new artists because of this game – the music is definitely the heart and soul of Just Shapes & Beats. But even so, the little shapes you meet through the story campaign tug at your emotions as well – by the end of the campaign I was happy with all my little shape friends and glad I was able to set them free – jammin’ all the way.
Platforms: Switch, PS4, PC, Mac
There you have it! Another 10 down in my (long) countdown of the best games of the 2010s. This one was a little indie-game heavy, I’m gonna try and speed things up a bit so I get through all 100 before 2020 is over…see you soon for another round!