Game of the Year 2016: Thumper

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It was a diverse year for games, from strong narrative experiences, to colourful and inventive shooters that breathed new life into a tired genre and every popcorn action game and tranquil exploratory title in between. There was nothing in 2016, though, like Thumper.

On the surface a simple but addictive rhythm based game, this was no bright toe tapper. Instead Thumper extolled ‘rhythm violence’ with dischordant music that felt deeply uncomfortable and relentlessly aggressive. The idea of navigating a silver scarab along a roller coaster track seems safe enough, yet the audio and visual components of the game created an oppressive atmosphere that almost puts Thumper in the horror genre.

While it had some minor issues with pacing, a wonderfully crafted atmosphere, and the constant evolution and growth of new mechanics throughout made Thumper undeniably memorable and undeniably great.

Runner-Up 1: Titanfall 2

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It seems between this, Doom 2016 and Overwatch, first person shooters suddenly became fun again this year. For me personally though, Titanfall 2 appealed to me the most. A fantastic campaign that was short, punchy and ceaselessly inventive, and a multiplayer mode that was actually fun for everyone to play meant that Respawn had the complete package. From the big mech stomping explosive set pieces to the small joys of sliding on your knees and punching people in the face, TF2 brought the fun on every level and every scale.

Runner-Up 2: Trackmania Turbo

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Usually I mainline a lot of games, finishing or getting as far as I can before something else comes along and then forgettting about it. Trackmania Turbo is the only game that has stayed toward the front of my PS4 queue for months in a row.

Its campaign is a wonderful collection of bite sized racing insanity. It’s easy to gorge upon it, but with an instantly welcoming drift happy arcade style handling model, just as easy to snack upon here and there. Its multiplayer comfortably accommodates both online and local, its hotseat co-op which jumps control of one car between two players especially inventive. Then its track creation is bags of fun, offering as it does different levels of customisation from an intimidatingly detailed system to one a three year old can use (mine can, anyway). No wonder this long overdue console conversion for Trackmania had such long legs this year.

About The Author

Gamer, Educator, Writer of Stuff, wrestler of professionals (sometimes)