My favorite things of 2018 - Day #1

For the last few years I have had the tradition of running my own little advent calendar of stuff I liked in that year. No real ranking, no order, and jumping between mediums. So you'll hear me talk about games, comics, books, movies, or TV in whatever ratio the various things end up shaking out.

As always I don't include any games or other projects I actually worked on, or my company made, so while Blizzard games still dominate my playtime most months, this is a list of the other things I liked.

So this is kind of my personal 'best of' for 2018.

That said, for this first post, we're actually going to talk about the games I'm still playing in 2018 that actually launched in previous years. They might have even featured in previous versions of this list, but they are games that I have returned to again and again throughout this year.

These mostly fill a space where I can play for a short time, jump back in, and enjoy the game again regardless of any time away.

So here they are, in no particular order

Dead Cells - This one technically did launch this year depending on which platform you play on, as it arrived on the Switch. Likewise, as this was a game with a lengthy (and really well done) early access program, technically you could argue it appeared in 2018 for real.

The game is a challenging, Castlevania inspired, roguelike. 
That description alone should have turned me off. I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with roguelike games.They don't often capture my attention as I tend to dislike the loss of progress while replaying of the same content. Dead Cells manages to mitigate just about everything I dislike about indie roguelikes. It's slick, well paced, and balances it's challenge perfectly. 

Warframe - This game has been around for a very long time now. It has evolved into a wonderful game, even if it's hard to nail down exactly what that game is these days. In many ways it is a glorious mess of systems on top of a solid sci-fi shooter. That doesn't really do it justice however. 
It is perfect for bite sized gaming sessions while offering more progression systems than all but the most hardcore of fans could hope to wade through entirely. Some of the more recent warframes offer wonderfully distinctive gameplay options (My current favorite is the DJ and musical character Octavia), and the monetization isn't offensive.

Given Warframe is insanely popular now, many of you already know all this, but if you passed on it years ago when it was in a rustier shape, it is well worth checking out again.

Rimworld - Another game that did technically launch this year given its lengthy early access adventures. The final version is a great distillation of the sci-fi colony sim. Its procedural systems almost always create interesting stories for the player to invest in (In particular the various character traits). If you like survival style colony sims, this is a great one!
Heat Signature - This one defied easy description when it made my list last year, and it is still wonderful and I still go back and play missions every now and again to get my fix of space cowboy steal em up action.

No Man's Sky - Look, I loved this one when it first appeared, and I know that put me in a minority. So the fact that further patches and massive content updates have made the game better and better just reinforces my appreciation of the big, crazy, thing they tried to build.