Finding Teddy 2

A game by Storybird Games for PC and Mac, originally released in 2015.
Finding Teddy 2 is an action-adventure title, whereas the original Finding Teddy was a point and click adventure. In the original game, a little girl has her favorite teddy bear stolen by a giant spider while she sleeps, and the hapless plushie is whisked away to another dimension. The girl springs into action and gives chase, passing through her wardrobe to find herself in a (non-Narnian) land of magic and strange creatures. She must speak to NPC’s, remember their words encoded as musical notes, and help them with quests in order to eventually retrieve her furry companion. Along the way, she befriends a black cat that looks very much like a traditional black kit-cat clock, as well as a fly wearing a top hat.


Finding Teddy 2 starts out similarly to the first game, with a little girl watching television in the safety of her home, although her teddy is tucked away safely in the basement… except that when she gets close to him, he floats out of an open door and is once again taken away to another world. This time, however, the girl quests along with her teddy in the new world as he floats along in the air behind her, at least until he is stolen once more. While the new game eschews the point-and-click interface in favor of direct character control, many of its former point-and-click encumbrances remain, leading to a slow and meandering adventure where the player is regularly lost.

Keebles

A game by Burnt Fuse for PC and Mac, originally released in 2015.
Keebles mixes physics-based vehicle construction with reflex-based action and puzzle solving. Games like Fantastic Contraption task the player with building different sorts of vehicles that are capable of making it through an obstacle-laden environment. There, the player spends the bulk of his time working in the construction tool, and then watches the physics-based events play out onscreen. If the design fails, it’s back to the drawing board to make some changes, or to wipe the slate and start over.


Keebles, on the other hand, has special items that are triggered by the player, and its challenges alternate between passive viewing, occasional input, and direct control over a moving vehicle. Furthermore, levels have layered challenges, so the player must do more than simply make it to the end of the level; he must do so as quickly as possible, and rescue as many Keebles as he can along the way.

Ori and the Blind Forest

A game by Moon Studios for PC and Xbox One, originally released in 2015.
Ori and the Blind Forest is the tale of Ori, an orphaned forest spirit who lives with his adopted mother, Naru. A great deal of care is taken in introducing Ori and Naru in the game’s opening, which mixes cutscenes with short player-controlled sequences. While there is some narration throughout the experience, the two characters do not communicate to one another verbally; rather their relationship and motivations are conveyed through their actions.


The game features lush 2D artwork integrated seamlessly with 3D character models, allowing the developers to create some very expressive character animations, such as Naru scooping Ori up and tossing him lovingly into the air.

Finger Derpy

A game by Mommy's Best Games for Android and iOS, originally released in 2015.
We don't normally cover games that are exclusive to mobile or tablet devices, but we are this time. Why? Well it's all part of our terrible hidden agenda. Otherwise, we're just normal blokes here to tell you about 2D video games...

If you're fan of Mommy's Best Games' many shooters, then you might not have guessed that their next release would focus on horse racing... much less that the game would feature mentally deranged horses with fingers for legs, but such is life when game developers are given license to render their lunatic imaginings for everyone to experience.


You might also find yourself wondering what sort of equine escapades can be expected from this sort of game. Well, basically, you're controlling a horse, but rather than controlling the majestic beast with a controller or button presses, you are instead tapping your fingers rapidly on the screen. Alternating back and forth like you remember from your old Track & Field days will cause the horse to run in a straight line... but you can't just go straight; you need to navigate properly in order to complete a number of objectives.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

A game by Dennaton Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Vita, originally released in 2015.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the follow-up and narrative conclusion to the original Hotline Miami. While the sequel offers much of the same minute-to-minute gameplay as its predecessor, it is bigger in almost all respects, with more enemy-packed areas, more complex level layouts, more enemy variety, and a range of playable characters with different weapons and abilities. The more challenging gameplay and layered time-hopping narrative assume that you have already murdered your way through the original game.


The original Hotline Miami featured a masked protagonist taking down Russian mobsters in a dingy version of 1980’s Miami. The game challenged the player’s perception of events as its unreliable narrator seemed to be suffering from some sort of mental breakdown. The world seemed unreal, with haunting messages from masked men and strange phone calls that directed you to your next kill… and even the “real” world had an air of surrealism with the same clerk appearing in every store and always giving you merchandise for free.

Aaru's Awakening

A game by Lumenox Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, and PS4, originally released in 2015.
In Aaru’s Awakening, you take on the role of the eponymous Aaru, the champion of Dawn, as he sets out to traverse Lumenox, a world governed equally between four brothers: Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night. However, it appears that Night has grown ambitious and looks to destroy the others, so Dawn sends Aaru toward Night’s domain in order to bring peace back to the land… but Aaru soon learns that his master’s intentions may not be so noble.


The quality of Aaru’s Awakening that stands out immediately is its beautiful hand-drawn artwork and animations. The world of Lumenox is filled with sharp rocks, twisting branches, glowing pools of slime, and an array of strange creatures. Each of the four areas has a different atmosphere, with new enemies and hazards in each. The detailed visuals do occasionally cause some environmental navigation issues, however, as there is not much to differentiate foreground and background layers.

Oblitus

A game by Connor Ullmann for PC, originally released in 2015.
In Oblitus, you play the role of a diminutive warrior named Parvus (which is Latin for “small”), who has no memory of his past, and no notion of what he is meant to do… except for a voice that he hears in his head, compelling him to seek out a certain area. And so, with his spear and shield in hand, Parvus ventures forth into a dangerous landscape filled with powerful and terrible creatures.


Oblitus is a roguelike, and every death returns the player to the start of the game. (Actually, even success returns the player to the start of the game, although there are artifacts to be discovered that lead the player toward a true end.) Many modern day roguelikes slowly unlock new and more powerful abilities that make it easier for the player to eventually complete their quest, but that is not the case here. The only way to make further progress is to gain an understanding of your enemies and the environment, and develop the skills necessary to survive.

Camera Obscura

A game by Anteater Games for PC, originally released in 2015.
The camera obscura has made a number of appearances in pop culture film, music, and video games. Gamers most likely know its name due to the mysterious apparatus used in the Fatal Frame series to photograph – and attack – ghosts and capture their spirits. It may be unsurprising that this device has little in common with its real world counterpart, but its supernatural properties have grown into a part of our accepted fiction.


In the game Camera Obscura, the object of the same name is used to photograph the world around the player character, leaving behind a ghostly afterimage that may then be interacted with as if it were a part of the physical reality. You play the role of a young photographer attempting to reach the summit of a gigantic Babel-like tower that extends high into the sky, built by an ancient sun-worshiping people.

The Asskickers

A game by AGŌ Games for PC and Mac, originally released in 2011.
The Asskickers is a beat ‘em up starring three playable characters in a fight against corrupt politicians and white collar criminals. According to the difficult-to-comprehend introductory text scroll – containing more than a few parsing and grammatical issues – the world is now being run by the U.N.

The game's heroes run into trouble when they beat up an intolerable prick who is trying to make their lives difficult. But it turns out that said prick is no ordinary villain, but rather the son of the U.N. president, which lands the trio in jail where they must make their escape, clear their names, and take down a number of corrupt leaders through a generous application of asskicking.


The three playable characters come in the form of Alex, Diane, and Marcus, each of whom has different stats, per genre conventions. Alex is the best all-around character, with average speed, strength, and toughness. Diane can move and attack much more quickly, but she is weaker and can’t take as much damage. Marcus is the brute of the bunch, with a somewhat slower movement speed, but he can take more hits and causes more damage with each punch.

Starship Rubicon

A game by Wick Studios for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2014.
Starship Rubicon begins with the destruction of Earth by an alien race. An AI-driven ship manages to recover the cryopod of a fighter pilot and places her at the helm, tasking her with becoming humanity’s avenger. The AI is a bit… strange. It seems hellbent on destroying the alien civilization that turned Earth into a lifeless husk, while picking up any other human survivors along the way and eventually relocating the remnants of humanity to a new home.

In this roguelike actioner, the player may select from one of three ships. Each ship has a different speed, armor, primary weapon, and special abilities, allowing the player to start with something that best suits his play style.

A number of additional ships and modifications may be unlocked by gathering currency dropped by destroyed enemy craft during the campaign. Per roguelike conventions, currency and unlockables are all that carry over between gameplay sessions; otherwise, the player returns to the start of the game each time his ship is destroyed.

Apotheon

A game by AlienTrap Games for PC, Mac, Linux, and PS4, originally released in 2015.
In Apotheon, the Greek gods have forsaken the world of mortals, leaving them to die, sick and starving, as their prayers go unanswered and their lands bear no fruit. You play the role of Nikandreos, champion of humanity, who must depose these gods and steal their powers for the sake of mankind. Along the way, you meet many famous figures from Greek history and take on many of the gods, including Poseidon, Ares, Apollo, Hades, and even Zeus himself.


Immediately noticeable are the game’s visuals, inspired by Greek pottery art. The traditional black, red, and orange colors are used on Mount Olympus, but there are a number of other color themes as well, with green forests and a dark underworld. Still, these areas retain the same striking visual style.

The Best of 2014

END OF YEAR AWARDS
Hey, have you ever sat back and wondered... what were the best 2D video games that came out this year? Or last year? Well, wonder no more! We have a long and detailed video showing all of the best 2D video games from 2014.

Heck, you can even go back and find out what the best games were in 2013 and 2012.

This year, we're doing it again. A man and a horse talk 2D games, looking at the best retro throwback, the most innovative, the best of each genre, the most disappointing, the best game of the year, and a few oddball categories along the way. For instant gratification, the video is below. For those who would prefer to read a bunch of text (and make a little horse very sad), you can scroll down to see a list of all the winners.

The choice is yours!







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Best Updated Re-Release:
Winner: 1001 Spikes
Honorable Mention: Luftrausers

Most Innovative:
Winner: Super Time Force

Best Weirdest:
Winner: The Floor is Jelly
Honorable Mention: GAIA-ttack from Retro Game Crunch

Best Retro Throwback:
Winner: Shovel Knight
Honorable Mention: Super Cyborg
Honorable Mention: Super Win the Game

Best Fire:
Winner: Escape Goat 2
Honorable Mention: Gigantic Army

Most Ambitious:
Winner: Retro Game Crunch

Best Use of Brutal Difficulty:
Winner: 1001 Spikes
Honorable Mention: Super Cyborg

Best Game Starring an Animal:
Winner: Secrets of Rætikon

Best Puzzler or Puzzle Platformer:
Winner: Escape Goat 2
Honorable Mention: Wub-Wub Wescue from Retro Game Crunch

Best Platformer:
Winner: Shovel Knight
Honorable Mention: Freedom Planet
Honorable Mention: Tiny Barbarian DX: Episode 2

Best Action-Adventure or Action-RPG:
Winner: Transistor
Honorable Mention: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
Honorable Mention: Super Win the Game

Best Action Game:
Winner: Velocity 2X
Honorable Mention: Gunhound EX
Honorable Mention: Super Cyborg
Honorable Mention: Kero Blaster

Biggest Disappointment:
Loser: Super Comboman

Best 2D Game of 2014:
Winner: Transistor

Latest video feature: The Best 2D Video Games of 2014.





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