It’s that time of year again, where we look back at the year that was, and pick our top three games across a host of categories! As with years past we’ll reveal one award winner per day, and this year we’ve got a massive 17 different awards to share out. It was a difficult process to choose the winners this year! While 2019 might not have had quite as many spectacularly big blockbuster releases as years past, the quality of games that were released with far less fanfare than they deserves is truly incredible.
As is traditional for us, the first award recognises some of the amazing work that the Aussies and Kiwis have done in game development this year. We do this because DDNet is an Australian site, and we can’t help but be both impressed and delighted to see the quality of what the local industry produces, year after year.
Many years after being released, Mini Metro has remained a favourite casual/mobile pastime among the DDNet team. So much so that we honestly wondered how the developer, New Zealand’s Dinosaur Polo Club, could possibly come up with a successor. In a rare example of lighting striking exactly the same spot twice, Mini Motorways manages to be both the exact same minimalist, arcade-light “simulator”, while also being just different enough to have us hooked all over again. Here, instead of managing train lines for commuters, you’re trying to give the poor drivers on the road an easy commute to and from work. Traffic conditions that lead to road rage have never been so elegant and entertaining.
It’s not often that you get to play a fanservicey anime-style visual novel that’s filled with Australian political humour, sausage sangas (a sausage on a single piece of bread, for anyone who is not Australian), and that namedrops Aussieisms at every opportunity. For those times where you’re in the mood for that very specific blend however, there is Alluna and Brie. What a fun little game this is, with its gorgeous art, amusing characters, and fun turn-based combat system. It’s like Persona by way of Crocodile Dundee, and if you’re not laughing your head off playing this one, then you just don’t get us, maaaan.
It couldn’t really be anything else this year. Untitled Goose Game has proven to be a global phenomenon, and deservedly so, because it highlights a side of video games that we’d like to see a lot more of. Goose Game doesn’t stress players out other objectives or “challenge”, nor does it rely on any kind of superficiality to catch eyes. In Goose Game you play as a very mean goose who is determined to ruin everyone’s day in the most adorable way possible. Whether it’s stealing some kid’s glasses, or tossing a farmer’s lunch in a lake, the playful mischief of Goose Game gets right up against the line to being mean spirited, while never quite stepping over it, and with that very specific sense of humour it is a deeply Australian game. Thankfully, it resonated with players everywhere, and is perhaps the greatest proof that our local industry, though small, is supremely talented and creative.
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