The Monthly Question: January 2016


Hello everyone, and welcome to The Monthly Question. Every month the PS Nation writers will answer a question giving you a chance to get to know them a bit better. More importantly, this is a great chance to discuss video games and other related topics, as well as to discover great new games. The majority of questions will be focused on PlayStation and video games but not all of them.

Voting on The Golden Minecart Awards had me thinking about all the great games I played last year and the countless hours of Rocket League I enjoyed. 

As I scrolled through my trophy list to recount the games from last year, I was saddened to think there were a few games that I really enjoyed that could largely go unnoticed by the majority of PS4 owners.

To shine a light on those great games, I asked the PS Nation writers:

What is your overlooked game/hidden gem of 2015?

Keith Dunn (PSN ID: son_of_ottie)
I really enjoyed Tennis In The Face. It’s basically a puzzle game where you aim and fire a kind of bouncing projectile in order to create havoc and destroy stuff. I like it because it allows me to get out daily frustrations in a fairly mindless way.

You hit tennis balls at various enemies to knock them out. There can be barriers you have to avoid making it necessary to bounce your shots off of walls and in some cases into other items to use as a proxy projectile.

It’s good, simple fun.

Check out the review of Tennis in the Face.


Chazz Harrington (PSN ID: ChazzH69)
As many people will already know, my answer is Mad Max. Many gamers ignored this unknown title as other popular and established IP’s came out around the same time, and to be honest it didn’t sound that good. How much fun could driving around a barren wasteland actually be? Very good as it turns out, I’ve been obsessively playing it, and most days, streaming it too.

There are one or two little bugs but nothing that ruins the addictive experience of tearing through the massive wastelands, searching for scrap, brawling with hordes of enemies, and fending off crazed raiders in stupidly intense car battles. Upgrading the car, Max and several Strongholds while attacking enemy camps and settlements is insanely addictive and never gets tiresome or any less fun.

I must also mention the outstanding Capture mode that other developers need to take note of and incorporate into their own games.

Check out the review of Mad Max.

Shawn Hiers (PSN ID: Smag99)
Mine is Organ Trail. With Apple ||e graphics, you take your station wagon to the West Coast avoiding Zombies. A nice new take on the classic Oregon Trail.

Check out the review of Organ Trail.

Organ Trail_20151021151147

Matt Engelbart (PSN ID: WithSwordAndGun)
Hand of Fate is an RPG, Rogue-like, deck building game that harnesses the feeling of a board game. The levels are face down cards that are either people, places, or events. As you progress through the randomly generated levels you unlock more cards.

The new cards can be new people, weapons, or armor but also more encounters and other ways to increase the difficulty. The combat is not fully fleshed out but the deck building is great. Overall, the game is really fun and unique.

Check out the review of Hand of Fate.

Rey Barrera (PSN ID: sindred)
Axiom Verge hands down. I rarely have time to complete games anymore. And those that I do are completed for two reasons, 1) I am reviewing them, or 2) they keep me so engrossed that I simply cannot stop playing them.

Axiom Verge is a Metroidvania game. The similarities are uncanny. But its use of “hacking” enemies and environments, along with its interesting little narrative make it my unsung 2015 game. It’s one of the few games that I “made” time to complete.

Check out the review of Axiom Verge.

Axiom Verge_20150311221927

Ben Palmer (PSN ID: CNPalmer)
Never Alone: Fox Tales. Although the original Never Alone was released in late 2014, the add-on had me revisit the game again so I could experience the storytelling all over. The game is very story driven with some action/platformer mechanics thrown in as you play through the levels.

Each is well designed and the characters are very relatable to the story. The behind-the-scenes stories and history/culture associated to the title really interested me. Definitely a hidden gem on the PS4.

Check out the review of Never Alone: Fox Tales.

Michael Cwick (PSN ID: The1stMJC)
2015 was an amazing year for gaming with big titles coming out like The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Fallout 4 occupying most of my free time. And because of that I did not play a lot of games outside of what I reviewed for PS Nation.

With that said, when I look back to all that I reviewed this year, two games pop out to me as games that I did not expect to get as much enjoyment out of as I did. Curses ‘N Chaos and Extreme Exorcism were the two that I got a lot of fun out of.

They were mostly played with friends on the couch which probably adds to my enjoyment of the games, but at their core they are just really well crafted video games with fun mechanics. At a time when I thought I was done with retro looking games, these two had me hooked and playing for hours on end.

Check out the review of Curses ‘N Chaos and the review of Extreme Exorcism.

Curses 'N Chaos_20150819025839

John Payant (PSN ID: johnnyp70)
Being a hockey fan, I understand that it is far from the most popular sport in the US, but NHL 16 should definitely have more eyes on it. With the franchise’s rocky start on the current gen platforms (no game in 2013, last year’s game shipping light on features) most likely leading to losses in sales, the NHL team dedicated themselves to improving the product with this iteration.

Gameplay mechanics are sound as ever to the point where it feels truly as close to the real game as it’s ever felt. Bringing back EASHL is probably the most important online element, and making it much more player skill oriented, rather than attribute based, put everyone on an even playing field.

The addition of the On Ice Trainer gives even the novice player a chance at greatness, while a seasoned player will also probably get a helping hand in some areas of the game. Overall, giving the PS4 player everything they want in the game, especially modes that were missing in NHL 15, makes this game a must play for sports gaming fans.

Check out the review of NHL 16.

NHL® 16_20150915013925

Albert Chen (PSN ID: trioptical)
Gonna go with Mega Coin Squad, a sort of old school platformer from Adult Swim Games. Essentially the player is tasked with collecting a certain number of coins every level, that consists of a single, extended screen, while dealing with enemies and contending with the ever shifting layout of walkable platforms.

The task is complete once the coins have been deposited in the centrally located piggy bank, otherwise, when you get hit and lose a life, you also lose a bunch of coins, Sonic the Hedgehog style.

The charm is in the presentation. Each of the selectable characters not only has different stats, but also a different origin story that plays out in a goofy cutscene at the start, like in fighting games. For example, the robot guy was badly injured when a Coin Squad arcade machine overheated and blew up while he was playing, causing him to fall deep into debt with the doctor who turned him into a robot, which led to him joining the Mega Coin Squad.

Your Turn
These are our overlooked games/hidden gems of 2015. Tell us what your overlooked game/hidden gem of 2015 is in the forums. Did you fall in love with a game one of the writers recommended? Give them a shout out in the forums. The only thing we love more than angry tweets is someone telling us they loved a game we recommended.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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