Most years here at Reticule Towers we do some sort of review of the last year in games, or celebrate the games of the The Reticule years. While we took a break last year, this year we’re back with a mixture of Our Year in Games where we review our gaming stories of the last year, and we’ll also take a look at what we consider to be our Games of the Year. Here we have Nick talk about how his 2020 in games has shaped up.
I’ve played quite a lot this year. One of these days I’ll actually think to make a note of everything I play so I don’t reach the end of the year and immediately forget the majority of interesting games I’ve tried. Nevertheless, here’s a few stand-out games that I’ve managed to retain memory of for nearly a whole year.
It’s European Truck Simulator meets Dark Souls in an intense driving experience where success can be measured in meters. A game where an intense boss battle can come at any moment in the form of an inconvenient rock situated on a sloped incline and where a delivery ‘just down the road’ can mean a perilous journey over a mountain, through forests, rivers and snow. Death Stranding might have the on-foot delivery genre well and truly sewn up, but when it comes to driving heavy objects from one place to another I’ve never played anything like it.
Many puzzle games involve locked doors, but few puzzle games allow you to bypass the lock entirely by driving a bulldozer through the side of the building. Teardown was a game that I expected to be little more than a glorified tech demo, with little to show beyond its much advertised voxel destruction. I’d expected to have a quick dabble with before getting bored, but instead I found myself religiously playing my way through from start to finish, through varied challenges that demand significant thought in addition to hitting things with large hammers.
Lair of the Clockwork God
A spectacular continuation of Size Five Games’ Ben & Dan series, Lair of the Clockwork God was a day one purchase for me. Continuing their fine tradition of laugh out loud humour and tricky puzzle-solving, LOTCG managed to take the genres of platforming and point and click adventures and smashed them together in a ridiculous tale of the end of the world that would prove remarkably prescient for how garbage the rest of 2020 turned out to be.
This year, driven perhaps by the fact that I’ve been basically trapped in a single room since March, I thought I’d finally take the time to sit down with Unity and try to produce something playable.
Starting out, sensibly enough, I decided to make an open-world survival game based on the 1953 adaptation of The War of the Worlds, because nothing says first-time Unity project like ‘open-world survival game’. Surprising absolutely no-one, it’s not finished yet, but I’ve learned a great deal about coding and development that I’m excited to put into practice in the future. Whether I finish the project or do the sensible thing and take it out behind the shed and shoot it is not yet certain, but I still feel it was time well spent.
A shout-out is definitely due here to Tom Francis, developer of Heat Signature and Gunpoint, for his excellent Unity tutorial series on Youtube. It’s clear, methodical and Tom does a fantastic job of actually explaining the code he writes, encouraging you to experiment and tweak instead of just mindlessly reproducing his code.