Despite being founded by some of the minds behind Metroid Prime, Armature Studios hasn't had the smoothest start. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate didn't fulfill its potential as a Metroidvania title, and the studio did port work afterwards. Thankfully, Armature was able to show that they still had the potential to make stellar original games when they released Dead Star earlier this year. It's a fantastic multiplayer shooter set in space that encourages teamwork. It's some of the best fun online that the PS4 has to offer, and its satisfying whether you're collecting resources or blowing up spaceships!
Enter the Gungeon had a lot of hype behind it, and it backed up all of it. Dodge Roll's twin stick shooter is a fantastic roguelike that is both punishing and fair to the player. It ends up being a satisfying challenge that most won't finish, but that's totally okay. Check it out, especially if you enjoyed Nuclear Throne.
Gone Home won the hearts of gamers on PC, and console owners finally got to see what was so special about the first-person adventure game this year. There's something special about coming home, and through examining the house players find out a lot about its inhabitants. It's a great game, with an awesome message.
Hitman GO impressed gamers on mobile in 2014 as Square Enix Montreal were able to successfully transfer the Hitman brand of stealth to a board game. That was an impressive feat all to itself, but they managed to one up that by releasing Hitman GO: Definitive Edition on consoles. Available on both PS4 and Vita, this genius virtual board game is challenging and rewarding. It's one of the best iOS ports in recent memory (alongside Pac-Man 256), and hopefully more will come!
While almost every 2D platformer has the player directly controlling the protagonist, very few actually address this. Klaus is the rare one that does, and it makes the player a key point of its intriguing narrative. It's not just a genius premise for a game, as it also affects the gameplay as the titular character tries to rebel against the player. It's an interesting platformer filled with charm, and it was one of the system's first great games this year.
Oxenfree deals with a lot of heavy topics, but does it all gracefully. This psychological thriller, which deals with a spooky island, is both thought provoking and enjoyable to play. It also has one of the best dialogue systems in all of gaming, and is a must play.
Those that enjoy Dark Souls have to play Salt and Sanctuary. Ska Studios' tribute to From Software's beloved series is a genius one, as it successfully brings that style of action gameplay to a 2D plane. It's highly difficult, features great boss fights, and is just as good as Dark Souls III.
While Choice Provisions might be known as the "Bit.Trip dev" by most, Tharsis proved that the studio can provide more than just rhythm goodness. In this case it was a demented version of Yahtzee in space that deconstructs into cannibalism if you don't roll your dice right. It's challenging, even to the point of being unfair at times, and just fun to play.
Jonathan Blow wowed the masses (even Soulja Boy!) in 2008 when he released Braid. The developer managed to do the exact same thing eight years later with The Witness. It's one of the best puzzle games ever made, and one that can make gamers feel like the smartest person in the world and then a dummy just a few seconds later.
This War of Mine wowed PC gamers and iOS owners last year with its gritty portrayal of the Siege of Sarajev. Console owners got to see the harsh realities of wars earlier this year when 11 bit studios released This War of Mine: The Little Ones on PS4. Not only did the studio manage to translate the core game to work with a controller (which was no small task), they also added a whole new section (the aforementioned The Little Ones) where players got to play as children in the war.