2015 was an excellent year for family gaming. There was no shortage of games for our kids to play at any point in the year, but five games really stood out as the very best that 2015 had to offer.
The Engaged Family Gaming Game of the Year for 2015
I have to admit that I didn’t think much of Splatoon when it was announced. I had serious doubts that Nintendo would be able to deliver on a purely multiplayer shooter. I remember telling my wife that I was going to play the test fire so I could write about it, and an hour later I was sold. The controls were intuitive, the art style was adorable, and I could not wait to jump into the game and mess around.
Several hundred hours later our family has spent many evenings passing the controller back between the all-together-too-short and yet not-long-enough three minute matches. We found ourselves scheduling family game time during the regular Splatfests. I can’t remember another game convincing anyone in our family gaming on a schedule besides WoW (and that isn’t looked on fondly by my wife).
At the end of it all Splatoon was the clear winner. We are sad to hear that Nintendo is no longer going to support it with DLC or new maps, but we are looking forward to the potential for paid DLC and the inevitable sequel. I mean… Spla2n is just too obvious.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is both hauntingly beautiful and maddeningly frustrating. The story and the challenging platforming can BOTH make you shed tears, but the ultimate payoff as you progress and learn to navigate the gorgeous world is worth every second.
This is not a game for the youngest among us, but if you have an older child who has mastered other platformers and is looking for a challenge, then this is an awesome (and inexpensive) option!
Super Mario Maker
A lot of the reason I share video games with my children is that I want them to experience some of the same joys that I did when I was a kid. The Super Mario Bros. series is such a huge part of that nostalgia factor that Super Mario Maker was almost guaranteed to find its way onto my Games of the Year list. The fact that it executes on the promise of delivering a near infinite number of Mario levels to play sealed the deal.
If I’m being honest, the only thing that kept Super Mario Maker out of the top spot is that it is still far too difficult to discover new and interesting levels that aren’t punishingly hard.
Star Wars Battlefront
2015 was the year Star Wars came back (for many of the people who thought it was gone in the first place). Episode VII is breaking records left and right and Star Wars Battlefront is happily riding that wave of excitement and nostalgia all the way to the bank (12 million copies have been sold so far!)
The good news is that it isn’t all about sales numbers and nostalgia. Star Wars Battlefront is a perfectly accessible shooter that gives fans of the series a chance to inhabit a rebel or storm trooper in several famous Star Wars locales and battles
This one caught us off guard as well, but we loves every second we spent playing it and can’t wait to see what else EA and DICE have in store.
Yo Kai Watch
Anyone who calls Yo Kai Watch the “Pokemon Killer” doesn’t really understand the lasting power of the Pokemon brand, but that doesn’t mean that Yo Kai Watch is a bad game; far from it.
The main complaint against Yo Kai Watch is the combat system where your critters attack on their own. This leaves you to manage them in different ways by activating super moves and healing them with items. I felt like the battle system was similar to the one employed in Final Fantasy XIII. I was given a break from micromanaging my party and left to control the ebb and flow of the battle. This is a VERY different experience that some people simply do not like, but it is a novel approach to a role playing game that is not utilized often. The bottom line? This is a great game that should not be overlooked.