RPG of the Year 201411 Dec 2014 0
Owen has asked me to explain our pick for the best RPG of 2014 because he respects our exemplary audience enough not to want to inflict upon them his amateur poetry. I sympathize; many of the most impressive games of the year rely upon high-class presentation, while this particular game's presentation is about as classy as a nose-picking contest on America's Next Top Hobo. When I put that way, it doesn't sound likely to inspire verse, but at Pocket Tactics we are moved by a nontraditional muse.
Dream Quest might look like something a stray dog coughed up on your lawn this morning but it's hugely innovative and has the boldest combination of disparate gameplay elements of any game we saw this year. Sure, deck-building card games are pretty thick on the ground these days, but deck-builders which use their different paths to victory to reinforce the flavor of different RPG classes with mechanical distinctiveness aren't.
Embed that card-based combat in a roguelike RPG which delivers content that comes as thick and fast as Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann can deliver dirt, and you're looking at something unique. Trick out the huge array of enemies with abilities which imbue the various fights with a strong puzzle element which ties into the theme, throw in a progression system which makes every run at the dungeon matter without forcing you to chase that one crazy achievement, and it starts looking like creator Peter Whalen ought to apply for Game Design Overlord of the World.
He could share the post with Magic creator Richard Garfield, who is not only the patron saint of the tabletop, he's also been so interested by DQ that he offered Whalen some design input, so there's precedent for them working together on superior products. If nothing else, Dream Quest's detractors would appreciate moving him as far from the art department as possible.
Runner-up: Shadowrun Dragonfall
Honourable Mention: Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, Super Glyph Quest, Hoplite
To see all of the games recognised in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2014 Awards, visit the 2014 Awards Index page.