Yeah yeah I know we’re in 2015 but I feel like posting my top four games of 2014…and they may surprise you. Let’s go!

Number 4: Destiny I haven’t touched this game in a couple of months. I played the alpha and beta and wasn’t impressed at all by the alpha but saw the potential in the beta. In fact I sank roughly 40 hours in the beta alone which only lasted for about a week. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t wait for the game to release and then it did and I played the shit out of it. Boy did I play. My buddies and I tore through the Strikes and Crucible qand seemingly couldn’t get enough. And then I just stopped. After hitting the soft cap of level 20 it just wasn’t fun anymore. I’m not into the systems for legendary and exotic armor and I don’t care for the Light system. Maybe I played too much too fast. But there’s no denying there simply wasn’t enough to do other than replay Strikes and Raids in order to get the good stuff. Such a grind. Regardless of its shortcomings and lack of content, Destiny had a way of making me itch to play just one more round. Maybe I’ll jump back in one day.

Number 3: Shante And a Pirate’s Curse (review here) This game has it all. Clever writing, great soundtrack, humerous dialogue, excellent gameplay. I love everything about it and the folks at WayForward are a talented bunch who have many other fantastic games under their belt. I simply can’t recommend this game enough. I wanted to give them my money so I bought it on Wii U and it looks beautiful in high definition! My only gripe is Nintendo’s lack of cross-save support like PlayStation has. The artwork is colorful and pops both in HD on Wii U and on the 3D screen of the 3DS. Each world is vastly different from the last and there a puzzles, unlockables, and upgraded moves and skills abound. The pacing is spot on and the difficulty ramps up just enough to keep you engaged. This really is a labor of love and it shines through in every pixel. The Shantae series is without a doubt WayForward’s pride and joy and I can’t wait for the sequel! (please bring the titles to PlayStation for cross-save support!)

Number 2: Fantasy Life (review here) This game. Ohhhh this game with all its cuteness and charm, it’s classes and abilities, and it’s damn Life system. I loved jumping from Life to Life in a quest to obtain new skills, master those skills, and carry them over in a new Life. I started out as a cook but needed better fish to prepare higher level meals to level up, so I switched to an angler so that I could catch bigger fish to cook higher skilled dishes. Fantasy Life had me engrossed and I couldn’t put this it down. There are so many skills from each Life to master and they all intertwine to help you become a badass. I was crafting my own armor and weapons from minterals I mined and lumber I cut. I was also making my own potions and food to recover HP. Oh and I also bought a house and furnished it. The story and characters were as fun and charming as the artwork that advertises it. I remember feverishly trying to return a chain of bounties to cash in after beating minibosses on more than one occasion. All this and I still did not get to try adventuring with a friend online…….one day Ryan! But that’s why I had pets to assist me! I haven’t beaten the game by a long shot as I’m not close to level 50 but even then there is substantial DLC to play through and new pets to train. This is a game I’ll definitely go back to.

Number 1: Shovel Knight (review here) It was tough for me to choose between Fantasy Life and Shovel Knight but in the end Yacht Club Games premiere title won my heart and is my top game of 2014. Shovel Knight brilliantly blended old school mechanics with more modern gameplay elements in a way that was both challenging and not punishingly difficult. They took the utterly random idea of a knight armed with a shovel and crafted a love letter to my childhood growing up in the NES era. Everything from the gorgeous pixelated art to the sound effects and chip tune soundtrack screamed retro. The levels and enemies were diverse and there were numerous upgrades to your shovel and armor. __Shovel Knight __was a game I couldn’t put down and couldn’t stop sharing with friends. I’m responsible for quite a few people at my job buying it. My only gripe was a lack of cross-save between 3DS and Wii U thanks to a lack of support from Nintendo. But that’s okay because this beauty is coming to the PlayStation platform with cross-buy and cross-save support! I’m definitely double dipping!

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