Snackbar’s 2014 Staff Picks: Eric Albuen

December 26, 2014


Honorable mention: Tomodachi Life

This game definitely tapped into the child within me that liked taking care of Tamagotchi. Being able to see what kind of crazy antics Miis get into when you decide to put them all in a room together was interesting. This was a game I was able to play alongside other games without much interruption, something I can’t really say about many other games on this list. It was definitely a nice change of pace to play something not incredibly serious alongside something I wanted to dedicate a lot of time into. I just wish I had more than two married couples… I have no idea how my friends managed to have over ten.

10. BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma

After years of adding DLC characters slowly to the series, it was nice for Arc System Works to release a fresh entry in the series that advanced the plot further and touched up a couple of in-game mechanics, even adding a few more characters to the mix. This was also the first entry in the series that streamlined the story by chapters and events, rather than individually by character. Considering how long and convoluted this game’s story is, it definitely helped.

9. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Considering the first entry made my Top 10 back in 2012, this was an obvious shoo-in for this year’s list. This entry still delivers an immense amount of content, but having an online and wireless Battle Mode makes this one worth playing on its own. It’s something the first game lacked, and being able to compete against my friends in Battle Music Sequences definitely leaves for a lot more hype moments. Oh, and I can’t wait for the Bravely Default music to drop as DLC.


8. Bravely Default

Speaking of Bravely Default, this was definitely an interesting game in Square Enix’s RPG library this year. While the story had a couple of bumps in its latter half, the battle system and sharing features were definitely worth noting. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gotten angry texts and tweets from friends saying I killed them after using a certain special attack as my StreetPass move.

7. Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight pays homage to many platformers before it, and provides tight controls, great retro visuals and an amazing soundtrack to boot. It touches on what we loved about retro games and implements it in a smooth way that it fits into modern players’ minds, all without shoving nostalgia down their throats.

6. Fantasy Life

I don’t quite know what it is about about fetch quests and being able partake in different jobs provided by an RPG, but there’s an addictive quality to it, and Fantasy Life manages to tap into all that and make it look cute too. While the fetch quests in this game are fairly typical, it’s the job system that really shines here. Each job class plays off each other really well, and it almost never feels tedious.

5. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

On the surface, it’s the Final Fantasy X and X-2 we got almost a decade ago. Going in deeper, it contains the International version we didn’t originally get on the PS2. Today, this game looks as good and still plays as well as it does on both PS3 and Vita, and Square Enix, once and for all, has delivered a definitive package for this game, even including the Eternal Calm video and a bonus audio episode closing out the series. For someone who’s been waiting to play this series in its entirety, this collection definitely made it accessible to do so.


4. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

There’s just something about visual novels that have always interested me. Maybe I’m a sucker for a good story, or maybe it’s the eclectic cast of characters these games always seem to provide. Whatever it is, Danganronpa 2 hit all the marks. From an amazing story to fourth-wall-breaking tropes, and from interesting characters to the fast-paced action of the Class Trials, this game was the entire package.

3. Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire

Generation III of Pokémon holds a special place in my heart. Since then, the amount of content in a Pokémon game has been unmatched. While the Battle Frontier is only mentioned in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, Contests and Secret Bases make an even stronger return. The inclusion of wireless and online features from the previous games make it even easier to take a break from battling to do Contests and even set-up your own little Pokémon Gym in your Secret Base. I honestly couldn’t be happier.

2. Mario Kart 8

Much like the platforming games of the Mario series, there’s only so much you can do to keep the formula fresh after each iteration. While a different company would fall by the wayside trying to thinks of things to innovate a game after seven entries, Nintendo isn’t like most companies. With the addition of anti-gravity segments, new courses were able to shine, and classic courses were reimagined to implement the new mechanics introduced since their respective releases.


1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

It’s been a long wait for this game, but it’s been completely worth it. While I did play a lot of the 3DS version, I couldn’t justify putting both on the list since this is the obviously superior version. The Wii U edition did everything right, bringing back the fast-paced nature of Melee but keeping the gameplay mechanics of Brawl and still allowing it to be simple enough for beginners to understand. This game stands as the pinnacle of why the Wii U has exactly what it takes to keep up with the PS4 and Xbox One. You don’t need an exceptionally powerful system; you just have to know the limits of your system and be able to bring out the best in can offer.