From phenomenal indie releases to the grandest AAA titles, 2015 was undoubtedly a huge year for games. Many titles saw their long-awaited release from Early Access, joining the tide of amazing games appearing on Steam. Here are five of the best.
Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program is one of the biggest games to be released in 2015 in terms of scale, giving you a solar system to play around in and explore. After its twenty-five months in Early Access, it finally released in its 1.0 state, though the constant updates that Kerbal Space Program enjoyed in its time in Early Access show no sign of stopping now it’s out.
Whether through its constant updates, the driven modding scene or the sheer amount of content, Squad has made a game which is a joy to play. Whatever you do in Kerbal Space Program is a blast, sending the valiant Kerbals into space (or into the ground at high speed). The ship creation is a marvel to behold – There seems to be no end to what you can do, with the full-scale solar system to explore in elegantly designed ships and space stations. Even on Kerbin there are secrets landscapes to be explored.
It’s not really possible to have a list on the biggest indie titles of 2015 without talking about Undertale. If you have not played it already, stop reading this review, do it and come back. We’ll wait. Undertale is simply incredible, every element creating a game which is more than worth the praise it has enjoyed (winning our own Limit Break Award for Making Us Think). Undertale is a beautifully powerful game, not only with its ability to make you think through its mechanics and stories, but also its power to make you cry and to make you laugh. It’s not just the story that makes Undertale excel though – the music is perfectly suited to each area and works seamlessly with the retro pixel design, creating a seamless world for you to get invested in.
Psyonix has brought us Rocket League, the successor to perhaps the best named game of all time, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars (Editor’s Note: It has competition from Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation). Rocket League found the perfect combination of cars and football as it rocketed its way into the top sellers list on Steam, having sold over 2.2 million copies to date and spawning its own competitive eSports league within ESL. Rocket League is pure, mad fun.There are still tens of thousands of concurrent players speeding around the maps each day and the devoted community does not show signs of stopping as players flip and boost through each of its beautifully designed stadiums, trying to hit the ball in the quest to score a goal. Anyone can pick up and play a game of Rocket League but mastering the angles, physics and aerial shots takes time and skill. It’s the best kind of multiplayer, requiring the player to finesse a simple set of controls and near perfect physics which allow for phenomenal aerial displays around the stadium.
Cities: Skylines puts other city builders to shame. Colossal Order gave us bigger and better, not only with the size of the maps stretching out onto the horizon but also in the detail of the world, with lives for each of the citizens that inhabit your city. Not only this, but it also launched with Steam Workshop support, allowing masses of user-created content to populate the worlds with new buildings and roads. Every element from the roads and traffic flow to the unique building management was crafted to create an addicting and enjoyable game, not only to build cities with high rises piercing the clouds, but to manage the citizens that give Cities: Skylines its personality. This colossal amount of content was only extended with the release of the After Dark expansion, which not only gave the game a huge update to its day/night cycle but new unique buildings, districts and tourist attractions to enrich your city’s new nightlife.
Prison Architect is a game so rich with amazing content it would be a crime not to include it in this list. Another great construction simulator released in 2015, it’s a joy to play, not only to build the perfectly designed prison, but also in the management of each of the inmates and their needs, each with their own name and backstory that helps the world feel alive. Not only this but with the advent of the 1.1 patch, you can escape from your own prison, outwitting your own guards as you work your way out of the very thing you designed to be inescapable. Whether you play it for the construction, the management of prisoners or to escape from the highest security prisons, Prison Architect is full of things to do and never gets dull.
Can you think of any games we missed, or played any of these for the first time? Let us know what you think in the comments below!