In response to video game culture becoming more prominent to a variety of age groups, several highly-rated video games were released over the last year. Here are my top few favorite videos games that came out during 2017 and 2018.
1. “Doki Doki Literature Club” was one of the top releases of 2017, even though it was released in September.
The game starts out as a stereotypical anime dating simulator. The characters are seemingly cute and harmless girls that the player can choose to date.
Although the game appears to be adorable and “doki doki” (the Japanese word for heartbeat), the game starts out with a warning that reads, “Individuals suffering from anxiety or depression may not have a safe experience playing this game,” which contradicts its pastel theme and uplifting background music.
For the first hour-and-a-half, everything is normal; the main character decides to join the Literature Club, a club that his neighbor, Sayori, is part of. There, he meets quiet and shy Yuri, the optimistic and energetic president Monika, and cute-but-fierce Natsuki.
Although it looks like a harmless visual novel, it is also classified as a psychological horror and demonstrates major fourth-wall breaks.
“Doki Doki Literature Club” is not for the faint of heart. Usually, when watching other people play it on YouTube, it is not as bad because you have someone to filter the scary parts. The jump-scares leave the player wondering whether or not being alone while playing is a good idea.
The game has a brilliant concept: one of the characters becomes self-aware and understands that she is in a video game. She starts to glitch out the game, creating an unsettling atmosphere while still using bright and pastel colors.
2. With a 10/10 on the digital distribution platform Steam, “One Shot” claimed the second spot.
This game is one of the most visually appealing video games out there. Each screen of this puzzle/adventure game is illuminated and colored brilliantly.
The story follows Niko, a small child who is called the “messiah” in a mysterious world, on a mission to restore its long-dead sun; the player is also a large part of the game. The player interacts directly with the main character and is described as a god to other characters via Niko.
“One Shot” makes the player think about how to solve certain puzzles and creates a certain emotional attachment to the main character. In the end, one must make a choice that determines the life of everyone versus the life of Niko; the thing is: you only have one shot.
Once the game has been finished, the player cannot access it ever again. The player really only has one shot, leaving the screen of the game with the same looping image after it is finished.
3. Another game with prominent jump-scares is “Simulacra.” The word “simulacra” is an “unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.” It is a game that is playable on a computer or a phone, but using a phone makes it more frightening.
The story follows a girl named Anna whose phone winds up at your doorstep. When the player decides to open the phone and restore it, they see all the texts between her ex-boyfriend, Greg, and others on a dating app. Greg has been frantically calling and texting the phone, asking where Anna is.
Using the phone, the player must figure out how and why Anna went missing. The game is immersive, especially because it is formatted to fit a real phone, making it look as though one is using their own phone. The player must decide who to trust and, in the end, who lives.
Freshman Anamika Rao says, “I have played another game by the same developer and their style is amazing. It really makes one think about all the possible endings and how the story would have changed if I had chosen something else.”
The best thing about this game is its multi-dimensional approach. The simulacra could be anyone in the game, as it stresses the idea that everyone you meet, you meet digitally. It could also be the player, as they have to pretend to be Anna to her friends and coworkers in order to find Anna.
With strong dialogue options and horrifying jump scares, “Simulacra” made me not want to touch my phone ever again.
4. Lastly is “Night in the Woods.” This game follows a recent college-dropout named Mae as she goes back to her hometown and reconnects with her friends. Whilst there, they witness a murder and try to solve the mystery of how some citizens go missing.
This is one of the most well-written games on this list. The dialogue is hilarious and keeps the player on their toes with different options. The art style is fantastic and the characters are lovable and goofy.
Even though is came out in 2015, I have to honorably mention “Undertale,” the best game I have ever played and by far my favorite.
In a world after a war between monsters and humans, humans used magic to trap the monsters underground. The main character, Frisk, falls into the realm of monsters.
The player can choose to either run through the game as a pacifist or go the genocide route. It all depends on how the player handles random encounters, either talking through or fighting back.
Freshman Mehek Ashar said, “I was never into video games, but the concept behind ‘Undertale’ made it really intriguing. Its puns are so funny, and the game is so entertaining.”
The pacifist and genocide runs both have crazily different endings, creating the most genius game ever. All of the music is originally composed by the creator of the game, Toby Fox. Fox’s genius mindset creates a variety of sporadic events that changes every time one plays it with a deep message about morals all throughout the game.
“Undertale,” along with “Night in the Woods,” “Simulacra,” “Doki Doki Literature Club,” and “One Shot” can be found on Steam. “Simulacra” can also be found in the App Store for most mobile devices.
Which of these games would interest you the most?