At long last, it’s time to talk about my #1 game of 2015. This is the sophomore attempt from this studio and is a huge jump both in quality and creativeness from them.
Renowned Explorers by Abbey Games was all around my favorite game of 2015; combining great design with a stylized aesthetic. Taking cues from both SRPGs and rogue-likes, Renowned Explorers may have the DNA of other titles, but it’s presented in a way that is entirely unique.
The visual design is a great example of providing clean, yet distinctive character designs and rivals Invisible Inc for strongest visual aesthetics of 2015. Like any good rogue-like, you need both luck and skill in order to get through a game successfully, and Renowned Explorers is no slouch in the difficulty department.
Arguably, you could say that the game straddles the line between challenging and cheap, because of the difficulty curve increase into the latter half of the game, but there are multiple difficulty levels for people to enjoy. Each play of the game can turn out completely different: From the macro layer of selecting your crew members, all the way down to the individual battles and events on the map.
An underrated element of great design is creating not just a good video game, but a platform for further development and growth, and Renowned Explorers is one of the best of 2015 in this regard. The world and characters Abbey Games created is the perfect stage for new content and stories; again, this is helped by the aesthetics.
Speaking of growth, Abbey Games has been improving and fundamentally changing Renowned Explorers since the latter half of 2015; balancing characters, adding in a new quest and even going as far as redoing the entire research meta-game system. Recently, they’ve announced an expansion in the works and I am definitely excited to see what else they have planned for the game.
Abbey Game’s previous title Reus was a great, but stilted experience, due to them just not having the funding to make the game as amazing as it could be. With the buzz from Renowned Explorers, I don’t think they’re going to have that problem again.
And that does it for 2015; next week, we’re back to regular posting.