The Iris’s Game of the Year Top 10: Honourable Mentions

2017 was such a fantastic year for games that we had to cut a great many titles we really loved from our final Top 10. There were a few titles, however, that we felt were well worth shouting out, titles that made an impression on us throughout the year. Ones we’re still thinking about now. It’s The Iris’ 2017 Game of the Year Honourable Mentions.

10. Paradigm (Windows PC, Mac OS)

In a year where AAA games developers shifted their focus from deep, engaging storytelling towards generic FPS and minimalism, Paradigm represented a bright spot of hope. The title, developed solely by Perth-based developer and mad genius, Jacob Janerka, has some of the most original and unique storytelling mechanics and characters of 2017. Not only that, but Paradigm is hands down one of the funniest, most brilliantly engaging games I’ve played. Ever. Taking inspiration from the classic point and click games of old, Paradigm revolutionises everything that you love about them, creating a charming, disgusting, and truly brilliant game. — Leah Williams

9. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (Nintendo 3DS)

 Nintendo are officially retiring Pokemon as a handheld franchise and prepping the enormously popular RPG series for a move to the Switch. That’s a big deal; a momentous one in fact, and for their swan song Game Freak have got everything right in Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon which pretty much does everything the title promises. It’s Pokemon Sun/Moon on steroids, beefing up the game in all the right areas and refining the story to add even more emotional depth. I guess the main issue is that the addition still aren’t substantial enough, which would be a shame otherwise this would rank much higher seeing as Sun/Moon was already one of the strongest entries the long-established franchise has ever seen. — Chris Singh


8. Stardew Valley (Nintendo Switch)

Stardew Valley was already a huge success but bringing out the Switch version at the reasonable price of $17 just made it easier to play. For me, Stardew Valley is a lie-down and play game instead of a sit and play. It just works so well on the Switch – I was not disappointed in buying it again for that console. — Angelina Pasusuwan


7. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux)

The greatest XCOM game ever made released a full year and change after the launch of XCOM 2. More than a mere expansion pack, War of the Chosen takes a game that was already stellar and goes hunting for ways to improve it. The result is a game that feels and plays completely differently from the launch version of XCOM 2 and is far better for it. Deep, meaty, heart-pounding strategy. For strategy fans of any stripe, this is not one to be missed. — David Smith

6. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (Nintendo 3DS)

 A remake done right! Nintendo are big fans of going back, re-releasing and generally playing the nostalgia game, and this is often to their detriment. However, what they did with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was substantial, representing a huge leap for the classic RPG game and also adding an addictive original strategy game which plays with much of the humour that makes Mario entries that much more charming. The redone art is spectacular, complementing the unquestionable gameplay to slot this in-line with all of Nintendo’s strongest releases this year. It wasn’t just about Odyssey! — Chris Singh

5. Sonic Mania (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC)

The game that gave me my childhood video game hero back. A collaboration between famed Australian Sonic modder Christian Whitehead, HeadCannon and PagodaWest Games, Sonic Mania did what no other sonic game in almost 25 years has been able to do — recapture the look and feel of Sonic the Hedgehog as it was in the Mega Drive era. Cleverly designed, beautifully presented and with a soundtrack by Tee Lopes that bangs out of fucking control, this is the new high water mark in video game nostalgia. That it set the world on fire at launch should tell Sega everything they need to know. It also features, in my opinion, one of the year’s best trailers and you can see it above. — David Smith

4. Overwatch … again (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC)

Last year, Overwatch took out our 2016 Game of the Year award but I wanted to take a second to shout it out in our 2017 GOTY Honourable Mentions because … well … I’m still playing it. Like, every day. Every afternoon about 6pm, it becomes Overwatch O’Clock. The game’s rolling schedule of events, character drops, new maps, free skins and its inclusion of loot boxes in a way players don’t actually seem to hate set Overwatch apart of every other multiplayer shooter of both 2016 and 2017. Expect to see it again on our Honourable Mentions next year if Blizzard keep this level of quality up. — David Smith

3. Night in the Woods (PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS)

Spectacular and moody, Night in the Woods came as a surprise for me, but from the opening moments, I knew it was something special. Following the journey of stubborn cat Mae back to the hometown of her childhood, the narrative of Night in the Woods is deep, relatable and affecting. The town of Possum Springs feels alive with beauty and character, support by stellar character and world building, all of which contribute to the moody, intense atmosphere. Night in the Woods is a game with something to say, and explores deep issues of mental health, nostalgia and change. There’s not been a game that I’ve related to so fiercely in a very long time. — Leah Williams

2. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PlayStation 4)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was everything you could ask an expansion to be. I know, I know, they say it was a standalone title, but it’s a damn expansion no matter how you market it and I loved it. Only downside, I really wanted to see Drake just one more time, just once! Or see if his daughter takes up the mantle as the previous Uncharted 4 set up so well? But Hey, there is always hope for the future going forward and this was a fantastic start to a series that had always focused on Drake. — David Hunter

1. Rumu (Windows PC)

This one squeaked in right at the end of the year. A meditative throwback to the point-and-click era from Sydney developer Robot House, Rumu is one of the most poignant and emotional gaming journeys we’ve taken all year and that it was made here at home makes that little victory all the sweeter. You owe it to yourself to play Rumu. It’s about three hours long and the perfect game to play during the holidays. — David Smith


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David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.