Games You Should Have Played in 2012, But Probably Didn’t
Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone is not the most incredible platformer I’ve ever played, but it is an extremely inventive way to tell a very fun story. Throughout each level, your goal is basically to jump from one end to the other, but as time goes on, you have more and more “characters” with which to work. However, these characters are just various brands of rectangles, each with a different ability.
Where the game excels is in its narrative. First, it’s all told by a single voice-over narrator that lends a whimsical, humorous tone to the proceedings. Second, it manages to infuse a game about jumping rectangles with a serious degree of heart; I found myself more interested in, and caring about more, the characters of Thomas Was Alone than many games I played this year. Their story is a touching one, even if the game’s visuals are relatively simple — and that’s pretty impressive.
Thomas’ humor is great, its gameplay is fun, and its generally a joy to play. It makes you feel good. There aren’t many games I can say that about just in general, so when one comes around, it’s worth taking note. Find it on Steam.
Read our Thomas Was Alone review.
We live in a time where the gaming landscape is dominated by the first-person shooter. Sometimes it seems like there’s a new one out every month, coaxing money out of your wallet with the promise of a quality single- and/or multi-player experience. Many of these shooters are fantastic, but many still fail to differentiate from the pack.
Tribes: Ascend demands your attention, if it doesn’t already have it, because it offers one of the more challenging and unique shooter experiences currently available. The learning curve is steeper than your run-of-the-mill Call of Duty or Halo, thanks to its incredible speed and sometimes daunting movement mechanics. This is the franchise that made “skiing” a common verb amongst the last generation of PC gamers; ascending mountains as if they were covered in ice, approaching speeds unseen in even the most twitchy of competitors. Fancy a game of Capture the Flag? Well I hope your defense compares to the 1985 Chicago Bears, because anything less results in a Pathfinder halfway back to his base with your flag in the blink of an eye.
Tribes: Ascend manages to offer one of the most unique shooter experiences of 2012, all while being free-to-play. It’s worth a download and a few hours of your time, so long as you’re willing to put forth some effort into learning the nuances of “Ludicrous Speed” combat.
Read our Tribes: Ascend review.