For #5 this year, we have the game that made me laugh the most while playing it.
West of Loathing came out of nowhere for someone like me who played the hit Kingdom of Loathing back in the day. Nevertheless, we got an impressive take on RPG design combined with the dry humor that made Loathing famous.
Moving from fantasy to western, West of Loathing told a story of demonic cows, ghost bureaucracy, bean slinging, and many, many, spittoons to stick your hand in. The game’s combat system was simple, but there were subtleties to figuring out the best way to combine your skills with the gear. And despite the basic gameplay, the story and varying strategies and quest were enough to get me to play through the game three times.
We also need to talk about the game’s aesthetic. West of Loathing probably won’t be beating games like Persona 5 in the graphics department, but this is a perfect example of how a strong style does so much to elevate a game. There were many times that I was impressed by the background and character art in the game.
West of Loathing is probably the simplest in terms of design to be featured on my top 10 list this year, but the complete package was definitely greater than the sum of its parts. And one last point: Stupid Walking.Will.Never. Get. Old.
Number four this year came down to two very different games from Japan, but which one will take it?