Action Game of the Year 2016: Crashlands28 Dec 2016 3
This is one of those rare instances when the Runner-Up has a better score than the Winner. Matt may not have scored Crashlands (4) as high as Tof scored Space Grunts (5), but a game’s worthiness goes beyond mere numbers. It’s also about votes, of course, and Crashlands got more. If it helps, we nearly accidentally reviewed this twice, and the other reviewer said they’d have given it 5-stars.
Crashlands charm comes from the fact that it’s not a pure-action game. Straight up Action isn’t something we see much of here anyway, but a game can have the right blend of genres to give a wonderfully unique experience. Crashlands manages to do just that, mixing survival, crafting and some good ol’ fashioned monster stomping.
It’s a wonderfully nonsensical game as well – the plot is bonkers, the action given few restraints… jokes, gags so much more and it’s the Quest system that really cemented the game as an experience.
Matt’s been writing words for other GOTY winners, so we invited Sean to speak on Crashlands’ victory, as he is also a fan of the game:
I don’t think it’s really much of a surprise that Crashlands bagged the top spot this year in action. Not only did it excellently blend together the genres of action, RPG and survival together in one brightly coloured bow, it did so with a sense of humour and polish that scarcely graces that mobile market. Crashlands strands you on a strange alien planet with the task of surviving through crafting and battering alien folk. Whilst the game has obvious similarities to Don’t Starve in the survival department it ditches worrisome things like hunger, thirst and permadeath. Instead freedom of both play and movement are highly encouraged. Crafting is surprisingly in depth whilst also being simple and combat is fun and responsive thanks to the intuitive controls. Oh did I also mention transferring saves to and from PC? Crashlands is available on both android and IOS and you can check out Matt’s review of it here.
Very well deserved, and we have high hopes for the studio and the genre in 2017.
Runner-Up: Space Grunts
Given that this was designed by Pascal Bestebroer- known for creating well-crafted action games that work pretty well on mobile devices – it’s no surprise that Space Grunts did well in the voting. Ironically, the games that Pascal’s studio OrangePixel typically makes aren’t really PT-fare, but then Space Grunt isn’t a game that they typically make.
As anyone who’s played it will know though, this is a rather excellent foray into the unknown, a turn based rogue-like that retains the dynamic shooter feel of past games.
Tof’s review of the game was extensive, having tried it out on no less than 3 different mobile devices, as well as PC & Mac. This paragraph I think sums xirs thoughts best:
Perhaps the highest praise I can heap on Space Grunts is that I expect it to be a permanent fixture on my low-spec Android phone. It’s quick-play friendly (Android autosave quibbles notwithstanding), remarkably deep in its tactics, and Bestebroer writes incredibly efficient code: the Android build is a vanishingly small 14mb and even the 31mb iOS version is going to be one of the smallest apps on your phone, and Space Grunts should be on your phone. It’s lean, tight, and focused in every way possible. Recommended for everybody but dimension-hopping monsters and highly-explosive barrels.
High praise indeed and a well-deserved Runner-Up winner.
Congratulations to Butterscotch Shenanigans and Pascal Bestebroer for their awards. Stay tuned for more GOTY coverage over the coming week.
To keep track of all the winners and runner-up’s during the 2016 Awards, please see the Awards Index Page.