Best of 2012 (Top 5):
The first commercial release from indie developer cactus and his partner Dennis Wedin is a brutal and bloody orchestra from violence. Messages left on your answering machine seem to drive you to acts of mass carnage and unspeakable violence, but what's the reason behind it all? Unlock new masks to hide your identity with special abilities, deal damage with tons of unlockable weapons, and master the game's reflex-driven combat to waltz your way through sprawling, challenging missions as you get closer to the truth.
This might come as a surprise, but there's a lot of discrimination in the ninja industry, or the "ninjustry" as those of us in the 'biz call it. If you're not a mutant turtle from New York chances are you're going to have a little trouble finding work. Sure, every so often you see a rising star from Beverly Hills or something like that, but for the most part in this job it's go sewer or go home. Thankfully for those of us who aren't reptiles, there's Mark of the Ninja, a stealth action game developed by Klei Entertainment that provides ninja excitement without the heavy shell or outdated surfer lingo. As an unnamed ninja, you'll use your weapons, skills and the powers of a mysterious tattoo to seek revenge for an attack on your clan.
Dustforce is a speed-centric acrobatic platform game from Hitbox Team. A demo first appeared back in 2010, showing off the concept and basic design. Since then, the game has undergone some silent but effective changes, improving upon the controls and adding loads of content to sweep through. It's a fast, combo-centric arcade experience that emphasizes speed and perfection, and thanks to the online highscore boards and per-level badges, you'll be strangely compelled to keep playing until everything is just right.
Arche is worried about fitting in. Her family has just moved to the little hamlet of Tonkiness to open an item shop, and it turns out her dreams of learning magic may be short lived once she discovers she needs an expensive elemental stone to even practice at her new school. But a simple rumour might lead her on to a much bigger adventure than she ever imagined in this beautiful but difficult action platforming RPG.
Troubleopolis! City of Action! And Adventure! And Driving! And Shooting! And, uh, Dating Sims! It's a real multi-genre kind of place in Retro City Rampage, a humorous open-world sandbox adventure game by VBlank Entertainment that sends up just about about every bit of 80s and 90s game culture you could hope to bring to your nostalgia-addled mind. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the early Grand Theft Auto releases (it actually began its decade of development under the name Grandtheftendo), but this wholly new and wholly comical experience stands on its own as a mad, mad parody with plenty of in-jokes to absorb!