Indie Game of the Year
Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter caught us all off guard. After a few disappointing indie releases in 2016 (here’s looking at you, No Man’s Sky and Mighty No. 9), Hyper Light Drifter came to our rescue. With its brilliant and unique use of pixel art, strange and quiet world, and completely engrossing gameplay, it’s hard to deny this one of a Golden Buddha. In a time where technology continues to promote realistic visuals over a stylistic artistic approach, I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated an indie title more. Kudos to indie developer Heart Machine for sweeping us all off our feet.
Read our review here.
Underrated Game of the Year
Salt and Sanctuary
We wanted to make sure you’re aware of Salt and Sanctuary. Bigger blockbusters and more popular indie titles took a lot of attention away from this game, but no one can possibly play everything. While Salt and Sanctuary was left in the wake of more marketed releases in 2016, we highly recommend you make the time to check this one out. It was a close call for this award, but we felt that this one deserves more praise than it’s getting. The art style is the only two dimensional aspect of the game–it’s a refreshingly fleshed out RPG experience that needs as many eyes on it as possible.
Check out Salt and Sanctuary‘s Steam page here, just make sure you’re prepared to be enamored.
Mobile Game of the Year
For reasons unknown, Pokemon GO turned into a life-changing phenomena for what felt like a lifetime. This mobile game changed society for a period of time. Parks, bars, shops, landmarks–everywhere in real life was suddenly populated with herds of people staring into their phones as they battled it out for control over gyms in every public area imaginable. Trainers exercised their adventuring legs in the wee hours of the morning trying to capture rare pokemon, founded various communities governed by the automatic establishment of the three teams, and continued to obsess over their collection without regard for the game’s glitches (no matter how often they cursed the servers).
Now? Well, it feels like it never even came out. So…that’s sad. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game release turn out quite like this one. Society was changed, however ephemerally, because of this game alone. It’s hard not to give a Golden Buddha to that.
Game of the Mother Fuckin’ Year
Overwatch has won over everyone. Period. No one hates this game. In reality, there’s plenty to dislike, but Blizzard continues to make it incredibly difficult to do so. With one of the most lovable rosters of recent history, Overwatch offers players a wide range of characters with whom to fall in love. Game director Jeff Kaplan keeps us all posted on what’s coming to Overwatch with video developer updates, offering a level of transparency between developer and player that continues to generate interest for the newly introduced IP. It’s become my go-to game to replace my boredom with fun, and no matter how many times I throw the controller down from dealing with an idiotic teammate, I always pick it back up. Every time.
We just can’t get rid of the itch for more. The fact that Overwatch has entranced us this long is an unexpected reality in itself, but the fact that we can’t wait to see what the game has in store for 2017? Damn, Blizzard. Well done. Here’s your fucking Golden Buddha, now give me more Overwatch. Please?
Read our review here.
So there it is! The EB staff has spoken. A lot of these categories were incredibly close calls, but I’ve personally never been a fan of participation trophies. Do you agree with any of our picks? What do you think we missed out on in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”