Best of 2018 – Day Six: Handheld, Developer, Most Disappointing, Worst Game

Over the next eight days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2018 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best Handheld Game, Best Developer, Most Disappointing Game and Worst Game.

WarioWare Gold

While many handheld platforms besides the Switch might be slowing down, the 3DS still managed to hit it out of the park with a handful of great new titles. WarioWare Gold managed to stand out as one of the most creative by far, taking full advantage of what the 3DS had to offer. It’s full of character, tons of charm and of course all the microgames anyone could ever need. WarioWare Gold offered the largest, most ridiculous campaign ever seen in the series with tons of side games to keep players going for a long time. The microgames constantly keep things moving, and players have to speed it up in order to stay in and be on their toes in order to stay in the competition and make it as the best gamer Wario has ever seen. There’s nothing quite like WarioWare Gold and it stands out easily as one of the most creative uses of the handheld platform in the last few years.

Runner-Ups
Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers Florence Detective Pikachu Donut County

Matt Makes Games

Coming up with a sophomore effort that’s just as acclaimed, if not moreso, than your breakout hit can be a daunting task. And while TowerFall may not have been Matt Thorson’s first game, it ended up being his first major title that wound up putting him on the map. His follow-up would start out as a game made in just four days during a game jam, a retro PICO-8 title. Just looking it at during its earlier stages of development, you wouldn’t be able to see how it could top TowerFall. And now here’s the final product, Celeste, which ended up being one of the year’s best game and a triumph that more than does its predecessor proud. To say that Matt Makes Games pulled out all of the stops for Celeste would likely be an understatement. From its superb level design to its mesmerizing story and Lena Raine’s superb synth soundtrack, it becomes ever so clearer over the progress of the game that Celeste was a labor of love. Matt and company took Celeste from humble beginning to what may be the pinnacle of their career and they should be proud of the masterpiece that they’ve created.

Runner-Ups
Santa Monica Studio Insomniac Games Sabotage Motion Twin

Fallout 76

Remember when everyone said it would be great if Fallout went in a more survival/MMO direction? Neither do we. Instead of announcing Fallout 5 Bethesda gave us Fallout 76, taking Fallout into the realm of social gaming. Given the high quality of their Fallout games and that they did a good job with The Elder Scrolls Online, there was reason to be cautiously optimistic about this title. Early impressions of Fallout 76 showed potential but these hopes were crushed almost immediately after the game’s release. A world free of NPCs sounded like it could work in theory as that would simulate life after a nuclear war, but accurately depicting a wasteland with no survivors does not equate to making an enjoyable game. Many of the elements that gave the Fallout games their charm are absent and the gameplay isn’t interesting enough to make up for it. Fallout 76 was most successful in creating an open-world game that is as enjoyable as living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Runner-Ups
State of Decay 2 Sea of Thieves We Happy Few Just Cause 4

The Quiet Man

Say what you will of some of the downright worst releases of 2018, even its staunchest critics could offer some leeway in the fact these games did at least go in with a degree of focus, of being adamant in the direction they wanted to approach and subsequently take. Of the notion that a game, more importantly, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. To say The Quiet Man is insultingly bad in this regard — in all these regards in fact — is one heck of an understatement. A gimmick that elicited nothing but a feeling of deliberately being left out of the picture; a gameplay loop so poorly tested and implemented in a way that made little contextual sense; technical mishaps cropping up in nearly every frame of its brief run-time. And a story so horribly told and acted out, whether that was in-engine or via FMV-styled cutscenes, it was just about impossible to feel anything but disdain and growing impatience for what was offered. Worst of all, the smug assuredness of itself and of the gritty, noir presentation it was so desperately trying to imitate, further cemented The Quiet Man as not just the absolute worst game of 2018, but one of the most [fittingly] tone-deaf pretentious attempts to appear so much more than this two-to-three hour, B-movie knock-off really let off. For Square Enix to attach their name to this “creation” as well: what on Earth were they thinking?

Runner-Ups
Agony Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Super Seducer Past Cure

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