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Hugh Likes Video Games: Top 5 of 2019

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Tetris 99
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Akira
Played on Nintendo Switch

If there’s one thing Nintendo is really good at, it’s teaching an old dog new tricks. This answer to Sony’s 2018 hit Tetris Effect takes the venerable puzzler into virgin territory: The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Fighting it out with 98 other online players is exhilarating. Starting with a free-to-play model that doesn’t gouge you at every turn and a bevy of paid and free DLC make it a game I enjoyed all year long.

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Dicey Dungeons
Developed and Published by Terry Cavanagh
Played on Mac via Steam

2019 was the year of the the indie deckbuilder, but this steam gem pulled ahead of the back for me with its charm and style. Playing as six walking dice trying to win their hearts desires, you hack your way through a variety of turn-based battles agains the cruel whims of Lady Luck herself in her ’70’s style game show. Dicey Dungeons wins by matching cute style with tough-as-nails gameplay that always offers something new.

Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Published by Annapurna Interactive
Developed by Simogo
Played on Nintendo Switch

Essentially a mashup of arcade racing and pop music video album, Queen Latifah guides The Fool through dream-life levels to mend her broken heart. Just simple enough to get you to keep trying for that Gold Rank, this game throws everything from mecha-wolf haunted forests to rain-soaked highways. This is less a game and more of an experience, but it is well worth your time.

Untitled Goose

Untitled Goose Game
Published by Panic
Developed by House House
Played on Nintendo Switch

Sometimes you just want to sow some chaos. Untitled Goose game started as a joke and became an indie darling. As the Untitular Goose, you honk your way through a reign of terror in a sleepy English village in a game that is a bit short, but gives you plenty mayhem to try and accomplish after you beat the main game in a couple hours.

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Pokemon Sword
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Game Freak
Played on Nintendo Switch

The first main entry for the series on Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Sword and Shield evoked controversy by not featuring the full eight-hundred plus roster of monsters. But the game still boasts a satisfyingly huge number of collectable monsters in full 3D, and the ability to camp and play with them as well as battle in a huge open world.

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Hugh Likes Video Games: Dicey Dungeons

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Dicey Dungeons
Designed and Published by Terry Cavanagh
Played on Steam

The Skinny: A fun little dungeon explorer that will keep you clicking through just one more run.

Dicey Dungeons is a small, super-indie rouge-like deck-building dungeon crawler. Which is a heck of a mouthful, but it’s a great little game. Trapped on the sadistic game show of Lady Luck herself, six adventurers must fight their way through six levels of random dungeons and turn-based battles in order to win their hearts’ desires, or be stuck as a hapless dice for all eternity.
Dicey Dungeons is a fun little dungeon crawler that really embraces the RNG. Each character, as portrayed by an adorable anthropomorphic die, has six slots worth of equipment and a special ability. These are all powered by random dice rolls. As players progress through the dungeons, they level up to gain HP and extra dice. It’s not too complex, but it feels quite well balanced. The goal is to stay ahead of your enemies, including Lady Luck herself, as the dice will eventually betray you.
And the game can be quite challenging, but music by Chipzel and art by Marlowe Dobbe are both engaging and charming enough that it never feels too frustrating. The show is structured as a set of Episodes of Lady Luck’s show, each running about half an hour long, so I never felt as though I lost too much progress, even if I was almost done when I came up against a fight I couldn’t win.
And it’s just dang fun to play. Every character has their own unique abilities and style. The Robot rolls in a press-your-luck style game, for example, while The Witch prepares her abilities from a spell book. Even the act of clicking and dragging a dice into a slot for an attack just feels fun. While there isn’t the sort of intensity or stakes as in other dungeon crawlers or deck builders like Slay the Spire, it kept me reaching for the mouse of just one more round.
Dicey Dungeons is available for Mac and PC through Steam and itch.io.