New Retro Games’ Christmas Awards! (Pt. 1)

We played a lot of games this year. Some of them we even wrote about! We generally shy away from too many “best of” listicle style articles, but figured this holiday day is a good time to sit back with a hot cup of mulled beer or flask of vodka and reflect on what a year of games it has been.


New Retro Games’


This isn’t a objective list, just our favourite picks from each category of game we’ve covered. As a basic ground rule, we are favouring fully playable, complete and more recently covered games. Unfinished games (beta, demos, etc) remakes, enhanced editions and the like won’t count unless unless they offered a new and complete playing experience on their own terms.

Without further ado…

Platformer: Curse of Issyos

With 66 games, platformers take the lion’s share of genres covered on New Retro Games. It’s a tough choice to narrow down all that to a single pick, but in the end it had to go to enduring legend Locomalito’s Curse of Issyos. A greco-style take on the original Castlevania formula, Issyos is a highly polished effort as is typical of a Locomalito release.


It’s an entirely free, fully playable free game with a length comparable to arcade classics of yore. While perhaps not as charming or as punishing as Maldita Castilla (his arguably most known game which also received a commercial “EX” remake this year), Curse of Issyos is a worthy entry in any classic action-platformer collection.

Honourable mentions: Dark Flame, Aggelos. Two largely excellent side-scrolling action RPGs that were only pushed down due to their WIP status.

RPGs: Void Pyramid

Void Pyramid is, in a word, weird. But the good kind of weird. Set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi egyptian society, Void Pyramid shifts JRPG style turn-based battles to the side (though they are still frequent), focusing on that annoyingly addictive force/stealth/hack puzzle style collect-a-thon gameplay. If that wasn’t enough, the developer released a huge content update just a few months ago. And it’s all entirely free.


Honourable mention: ADOM. Aka “Ancient Domains of Mystery”; a grand daddy of the roguelike genre revised with sparkling new (optional) tile art, polish, bug fixes, tweaks, expanded content and in both freeware and commercial varieties? It’s hard to say no to that.

Adventure: Heroine’s Quest

ice, ice, baby

ice, ice, baby

With a massive game world to explore, dozens of colourful characters to meet, multiple paths to victory and a fleshed out RPG-style character development system, Heroine’s Quest is one of the best adventure games I’ve played in a long time. Despite some notable attempts, it still stands as a pretty much untouchable take on the Quest for Glory format that no other adventure game has come close to.

Honourable mentions: This is a tough one, a lot of adventure games we covered were older retrospectives as part of our “New Retro Vault” (I Have 1 Day) or largely built around a joke (Stair Quest), or are fangames (Maniac on the Mississippi), or remakes (Day of the Tentacle) or have adventure elements but aren’t really classic point ‘n’ click adventures (Lakeview Cabin). So as far as an “official” honourable mention goes, I’m — look behind you, a three-headed monkey!!!

Arcade: Streets of Rogue

Our “Arcade” category is a bit of a nebulous genre choice, deigned to cover anything encompassing the spirit of old school arcade games. This usually involves a focus on scoring, shorter play sessions, frenetic pace, and lots of action. Technically speaking though, depending on the game, this could overlap with most if not all other genres including platforming, shooters, beat em ups and more. It’s only fitting, then, that the world’s first arcade-roguelike-beatemup-sim-RPG-action game be featured as our “arcade” pic.


Streets of Rogue is an open world experience, though with an easily graspable set of inhabitants and in-universe rules. This means like arcade games, it’s incredibly easy to pick up and play.

You won’t be distracted for 100 hours collecting rare drops for crafting an epic sunflower of the bumblebee vest, instead you’ll be releasing crazed gorillas within minutes, and then growing giant while on speed and destroying bars to steal a baseball. All this is in the game. If that doesn’t sell it, I don’t know what will.

Honourable mentions: Thy Sword – still a WIP progress, but this Hyborean themed slash em up proved to be quite fun, especially the two player mode.

Beat Em Up: Final Fantasy VII: Reimagined

We haven’t really dug into a whole lot of beat em up games since this blog started, though not for a lack of want. With only 11 to our name, we’re not sure if there just isn’t so much out there or we just haven’t found it. Nonetheless, there was one standout, Final Fantasy VII: Reimagined.


Re-imagining, as its title implies, Final Fantasy VII into a classic beat em up, FFVII:Reimagined works surprisingly well. Cloud and Tifa take part, complete with materia-infused moves, while Barret takes a back seat to provide cover fire from a distance. It’s a shame that it’s basically only a tech-demo, but given the lack of competition in our vaults, it was an easy choice.

Honourable Mentions: Science Kombat. The peer review process is pretty tedious, trust me. Or don’t, until I’ve accrued at least 20 citations. So pitting famous scientific figures against each other in a bloody (and super move filled) brawl to the death is certainly faster, if not also more entertaining for all.

That’s a large enough article for now and thus we reach the end of part 1! Tune in tomorrow when we’ll finish off the list with our favourite first person shooter, puzzle, racing, shoot em up, simulation and strategy games covered in this blog.



About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started and contribute to I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on December 24, 2016, in Adventure, Arcade, Beat 'Em Up, Platformer, RPG, [News] and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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