GOTY 2017: Joypad Jess Edition

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

While the Mario series has always been one that I’ve enjoyed, through both the highs and lows, Odyssey is the first game I’ve been excited about in a while. The game feels like a self-referential love letter to both the franchise’s history and its fans (I’m looking at you, New Donk City!), taking aspects of past greats like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, both Super Mario Galaxy titles, and Super Mario 3D World, peppering in a new open-world ideology, and overall delivering a real treat to enjoy.

I can’t wait to see what they add to the adventure later and where Nintendo will take this franchise in the future!

Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch/Wii U)

Not only is Nintendo’s latest Zelda game a massive leap in a new direction with a breathtakingly huge, vibrant open world to explore, but it’s also an amazingly rich physics sandbox. The game is set so far into the future that it seemingly draws all the different timelines together, creating a new narrative with lots of characters to get invested in. Yet, the real treat for me is that this game brings back the same feeling of mystery and exploration found in the original game back in 1986, bringing new meaning to the concept of the experience being more about the journey than the destination.

With two DLC expansions released so far (no word on if future ones are planned), there’s plenty to enjoy after you finally defeat Ganon.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)

While technically an updated port of the original Wii U title, MK8D feels perfectly tuned for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a beautiful, fun, fast-paced experience both on your TV and on the go, and like past entries in the franchise, it offers some frantic fun with friends (or online) and some heavy challenges for those chasing the cups at 150cc or higher.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch)

This game feels like what Mighty No. 9 should have been all along. It takes the classic Mega Man formula and mixes it with an innovative upgrade system and very unique stages to give an overall extremely satisfying platform experience. Add to that the fact that there are plenty of extra characters to play as (some requiring a small DLC purchase), and the replay value is fairly high on this one.

A Room Beyond (PC)

Released chapter-by-chapter and completed in July 2017, A Room Beyond is a pixelated 3D Lovecraftian point-and-click adventure that pays homage to games like Alone in the Dark. The story plays out with a large air of mystery, but everything comes together in a surprising, meaningful way.

XING: The Land Beyond (PC)

A thought-provoking, beautiful adventure game set in a world somewhere between life and death, XING is a game heavy on exploration and puzzles that takes you to many strange and exotic locations. Puzzles require mastering lots of different abilities, such as shifting between day and night, making it rain or freeze, and altering the direction of the wind, but never does the game feel unfair in what it asks of you.

Quern: Undying Thoughts (PC)

An adventure game that’s effectively a love letter to the Myst series, Quern is also a game that stands up well in its own right. Its puzzles are deviously clever yet fair, its story is compelling, and the locales you get to explore are breathtaking. It also has an outstanding soundtrack.

If you’re a fan of adventure games, whether or not you’ve spent time with Myst, you should really give Quern a detailed look!

For all of Nerdy but Flirty’s best of 2017 coverage, head here.

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