And the winner is......
We’re getting close to Christmas and thus close to the end of the calendar year. It’s also that time of the year where practically everyone comes out with their choices for the years best like the best video game of the year. However, the biggest award show of the year is the GamerHub Awards and you will not want to miss them. 2017 was an amazing year for games so an “awards” show is the perfect way to give accolades to these companies/developers. We have a full slate of awards to get to tonight and to honor the Game Awards that were held recently, all of our awards will be given out in the pre-show. All kidding aside, the Game Awards is something that the industry needs to have happen but now it’s time for the GamerHub Awards!
Company of the Year/Game of the Year
Winner-Nintendo and Super Mario Odyssey
Runner Up:LOZ:Breath of the Wild
Company of the year feels like a slam-dunk for Nintendo this year. The year started out by proving every non-Nintendo fan wrong with the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Breath of the Wild needed to start the Switch era off in the right direction and it did just that. People, like myself who were able to play the game at E3, were given a small taste of what the game was all about and you could tell it was going to be something special. The open-world environment was different for the series and allowed players to play the game their way. The Switch has done a great job being part handheld, part home console with the likes of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Arms. Fast-forward to E3 2017 where players were given one of their first looks at my game of the year, Super Mario Odyssey. The game has everything a Mario fan would want in a Mario game. It has great musical scores like “Jump Up, Super Star” and the Wooded Kingdom for example. Mario has the ability to change outfits and most of them pay homage to the classic Mario days like the Nintendo 64 Mario suit! The game also takes parts from Breath of the Wild in the “open-world” aspect and what I mean by that is players can collect the moons they want to for progression in the game and they don’t have to find all of them. However, You have the option to collect everything if you see fit so if you want to find all the purple coins, you have that choice. Super Mario Odyssey at times took the franchise down a darker path than in previous installments, like the Ruined Kingdom, in the series but all in all it’s the perfect intro on the Switch for our favorite plumber from Brooklyn. Did I mention the SNES Classic Edition as well as another reason why it’s Nintendo’s year?
Indie Game of the Year
Runner Up: Rocket League
Cuphead, for those who don’t know, is a Microsoft exclusive that looks and plays like a classic cartoon. Long story short, Cuphead and his pal, Mugman, make a deal with the Devil and lose. The penalty is to become the Devil’s lackey and do his dirty work and collecting souls is one of those devilish duties Cuphead and Mugman have to do. One of the knocks on Cuphead is that it is one of the hardest games around and is based around memorization/pattern learning. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does make the game so much more challenging because the boss fights are not forgiving and if you make one mistake, it’s all she wrote and you’ll have to start over from the start. That won’t be an issue early on in the game but when the boss fights get really long and tedious, having to start over after a stupid mistake could be the reason why there’s a new hole in your wall. However, the graphics in the game look amazing because the frames are hand-drawn and that really is the only way to replicate the look of the classic golden era of cartoons. Just like in the old days of animation, everything has a face and thus everything has personality such as the lobsters looking like salty sea captains or the flowers having creepy faces. Everything has that extra effort put into the game and that’s one of the reasons why it took a few years to release but by the looks of it, it was totally worth it.
Mobile Game/Board Game of the Year
Winner-Animal Crossing:Pocket Camp
Runner Up: Power Rangers:Legacy Wars
Fans of the Animal Crossing universe have been asking for two things for quite some time now. They have been asking for a Nintendo Switch game and the mobile game they have been promised for quite some time. Well, nothing has been mentioned about the Switch game but the mobile game finally released this year. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has players play the role of a campgrounds owner and in typical Animal Crossing fashion, trying to get your woodland friends to stay at your campsite. The only way to do that is to go fishing and gather things for them, otherwise known as do things for them and they will reward you. At the start of your campsite adventure the rewards might seem like nothing but as time goes by and more animal friends you can perform favors for, the better they become. You will need to collect supplies to get furniture built for you to get these animals to want to visit/stay at your camp and you will need to level yourself up to do different tasks around the camp. The more you level up, the more leaf tickets you can get and thus the more furniture you can build without having to wait a certain amount of time. Sometimes the wait could be a few minutes and other times, it could be a few hours so make sure you always have leaf tickets on hand. Pocket Camp is following in the footsteps of other mobile games in the “updates to coincide with the seasons” update such as the Christmas season. You’ll be able to trade candy canes that you’ll get for favors for Christmas themed items/furniture so stock up on those candy canes to ring in that holiday season!
Multiplayer Game of the Year
Runner Up: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The first time I played Brawlhalla was at Pax East up in Boston, which was also the first time I traveled to Pax East. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Super Smash Brothers looking fighter but it has an interesting charm to it. Fast-forward to October when the game released on the PlayStation 4 and the game felt like it was made for the system. The menu system might have been just a PC re-hashing but other than that, Brawlhalla was a perfect fit for the PlayStation 4. Like most four player fighting games, you had the basic modes like stock mode or most kills, things like that. Then there were modes that allowed the game to differentiate Brawlhalla from other fighters. There was the experimental mode that was similar to market research for the developers and see if the mode was a good fit. One of my favorites was Brawlball, which felt like a cross between capture the flag and Football, which I won at Pax East, not trying to brag or anything. There are so many “Legends” or fighters in the game and each Legend has a few variations to unlock/purchase. The controls are simplistic and unlike Super Smash Brothers, you have the ability to wall climb up the side of the cliffs so you’ll be able to save yourself when you think you’re dying. I compare Brawlhalla to Smash Brothers quite a bit because I feel that Brawlhalla used Smash a launch point in getting their game to do and feel like they wanted it to. Combine the simple controls with easy to find online matches and you’ll have the perfect multiplayer game!
Best Puzzle/Strat Game of the Year
Winner: The Sexy Brutale Full House Edition
Runner Up: Mario+ Rabbids Kingdom Battle
The Sexy Brutale started as a digital only download but then the Full House Edition released. The Full House Edition was a physical version of the game as well as a soundtrack of the game and minor art book. If you know anything about me, you know that I really like video game music and any game that allows me to have the music gets high marks in my book. It doesn’t hurt when the music is really good and the Sexy Brutale has some great music, both in melody and song. If you’ve seen the movie “Groundhog Day” then you get the special premise of The Sexy Brutale. You head to the Sexy Brutale, an interesting casino, where you need to keep certain guests from dying/being murdered at certain times. The actions occur at the same time during each play cycle so you will need to find clues and solve riddles to keep certain things from happening to the guest-at-large. Keep the guest alive and you’ll progress to the next episode and collect more power-ups. Each character wears a mask and each mask has special powers that will help you progress in solving the mystery of the Sexy Brutale. What makes the game even more challenging is that you can’t have interaction with the figure you’re trying to save in the episode because if you do, their mask will go crazy and attempt to kill you and that partly has to do with the mask you’re wearing. You’ll be able to collect all kinds of things in the casino like information about the building as well as the guests you’re trying to save. I know I already mentioned the music but it’s that good. When you enter the casino it actually sounds like you’ve entered the floor of an actual casino and when the lounge singer starts singing, she actually sings words. My favorite theme is the main theme for the game because it parlays a feeling of eeriness as well as old-school retro-casino sounding funk!
I would like to congratulate all the nominees and all the winners for the 2017 GamerHub Awards. All of them have great games and should be proud of the product they produced for everyone to enjoy! Until next year!