Welcome to the DDNet Awards, our annual celebration of the best and brightest games that we’ve been playing throughout the year.
It has been a really good year for games in 2016, with great examples of every genre popping up through the year. Across 15 categories over the next three weeks, we look at the winner, runner up and three bronze medalists for each category.
In order to qualify for selection, a game needed to have been released for the first time on a new platform, between the first of December 2015 and the end of November 2016.
Let us know what you think of the award winners in the comments!
We all know that the Sony PlayStation Vita hasn’t had the greatest history over the years in terms of sales, but the quality of the games that continue to come to the console tells a very different story; the PlayStation Vita remains one of our favourite consoles, and the list of award winners are all games that we spent a lot of time playing.
Dragon Quest Builders could have been a tragedy; Square Enix saw the success of Minecraft, and then decided to capitalise on that success by bringing its well loved Dragon Quest franchise to that formula. If the two franchises didn’t mix so well, Dragon Quest Builders would have hurt Square Enix’s IP. Thankfully, that didn’t happen at all, and Dragon Quest Builders has turned out to be something truly incredible. It feels every bit a classic take on Dragon Quest, and yet perfectly weaves in the creativity and freedom of Minecraft.
We do like a classic dungeon crawler at DDNet, and Stranger of Sword City is destined to be a classic. Coming to us from the team behind the brilliant Demon Gaze, Stranger of Sword City mixes a grim European aesthetic with the very Japanese approach to dungeon crawlers, and it makes for a tantalising mix of intense level design, dark themes, and hauntingly beautiful art. You’re going to get a nice challenge from this one too.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X continues the brilliant series of rhythm games in brilliant fashion, offering players a whole set of new music, including some absolutely brilliant medleys of classic Hatsune Miku tracks. Throw in some new costumes and a better organisation to the way they’re unlocked, and there’s many, many hours of fun in here. The PlayStation Vita version might lack the VR update that has made the PlayStation 4 version so utterly essential, but we couldn’t think of any scenario where we’d be out an about and not glad to have this on our Vitas for short play sessions.
For many years now Shiren the Wanderer has been an iconic example of the roguelike genre, offering players a quality take on the endless replayability of the randomised dungeons, crossed with the classic sense of Japanese aesthetics, humour, and thin, but enjoyable plots. The franchise’s outing on the PlayStation Vita is pitch perfect, with delectable, colourful sprite work, challenging, strategic combat, and humour and personality in spades. This game is an utter delight, and it’s the kind of experience that really does belong on handheld.
The PlayStation Vita has done a couple of genres particularly well; it has some brilliant JRPGs, and it has one of the best catalogues of visual novels available on any platform. Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is a truly incredible example of one. It’s easy to dismiss it as being a simple licensed title, but that’s not doing it justice at all. An intense and deep story that plays on a dark and powerful anime and manga franchise, Mandatory Happiness is, to excuse the pun, mandatory for anyone who has even a passing interest in the depth for which anime storytelling can go.