It is safe to say that 2014 has been a good year for games. It’s not just that we’ve seen spectacular blockbusters released almost from the start of the year, across all game consoles; 2014 has been a spectacular year for game creativity as we’ve seen indies and arthouse titles find real success courtesy of download platforms.
Our awards this year have been the most popular that we’ve ever seen on the site, with well over 1,000 people voting for their favourite games across 16 categories. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be listing the two highly commendeds (second and third place) and winner of each category, one per day.
First up is the Aussie Game of the Year.
It’s no surprise that it would be an Australian developer to tackle the difficult and complex sport of cricket and turn it into the most playable take on the game we’ve seen in many years. Though Don Bradman Cricket 14 clearly doesn’t have the budget of a FIFA title, it nails the mechanics of the sport and gives fans something they’ve been waiting for for years in a very playable and very enjoyable cricket game. Bring on a PlayStation 4/ Xbox One Cricket 15, we say.
This tiny indie project is proof that the local multiplayer experience is not dead. Do you have fond memories of playing Goldeneye 007 on your Nintendo 64 in split-screen multiplayer and “cheating” by looking at your opponent’s corner of the screen to figure out where they were when you went out hunting? Imagine turning that into an entire game by forcing you to look at your opponent’s screen. That’s Screen Cheat, and it’s one of the best multiplayer games you’ll play all year.
For proof that indies can be validating in releasing games on an underperforming console like the Nintendo Wii U, look no further than Cubemen 2. Built by a time Aussie team, the game has so much content that it’s difficult to put down – cross play compatibility with PC and iOS versions of the game, a comprehensive level editor mode, and robust multiplayer options. It’s not the most glamourous game on the market, but it’s a charming little tower defence game that just happens to be insanely addictive – especially if you can get a multiplayer group together.
– Matt S.
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