Nobody's Top 100 Games of All Time: 80-71
In which all 10 games are pretty different from each other.
80: Pokemon Black and White 2 (Game Freak/Nintendo, DS, 2012)
This is the only Pokemon game on my list, and it's not because BW2 is all that different from the other entries in the series. There are some elements like the story or the lack of Zubat that really do stand out from other games, but for the most part it's just the best execution of a solid formula. It even has a way to fight every past gym leader in the series in matches that can get quite intense.
79: Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (Grace Bruxner/SUPERHOT Presents, PC, 2019)
Okay, this is pretty much just Frog Detective again with a new story and even more stupid humor. Everything I said about the first one is still true here, but now it's a little bit better. It won't convince anyone who didn't already like the series, but that's okay because it isn't actually possible to not like this series. That's science.
78: Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Wii, 2007)
And right on the heels of the best Pokemon game, it's the best mainline Mario game! I would not begrudge anyone for putting other entries ahead of this, but for me the abstract world design really focuses everything on the tight and creative platforming that's always made Mario special. You really never know what's around the corner with SMG, but you can count on it looking as pretty as anything can on the Wii and having some great accompanying music. I hear that SMG2 is even better, but GameStop sold me a broken disc, so I have yet to play it.
77: Cave Story (Studio Pixel, PC, 2004)
Cave Story was one of the first indie games I ever played, which makes it indirectly responsible for a lot of the games to come. But it's also an extremely impressive game in its own right. Despite being a solo project in its initial version, Cave Story lands just about every trick it attempts, from great music like "On to Grasstown", strong characters, great boss fights, and even some surprisingly beautiful pixel art.
76: The Away Team (Underflow/Crackshell, PC, 2016)
The Away Team is not for everyone. You play as a sentient spaceship trying to deliver its small crew to humanity's new home on a distant planet. You need to manage your food and fuel supplies, and making bad choices can kill crewmembers, but at the end of the day this is more experimental fiction than a traditional game. The consequences of your choices aren't always especially fair and you'll spend about 10 times longer reading text than you will doing anything remotely resembling gameplay. Still, I'm okay with that because this sci-fi universe is fascinating. It's best appreciated as a text-based exploration game, and in that sense it's quite an accomplishment.
75: Prodigal (Colorgrave, 2020, PC)
If Link's Awakening and Harvest Moon were fused together like The Fly, this is probably pretty close to what would stumble out of the teleporter. Half of the game is about helping out townspeople and, of course, possibly marrying one of them. You're exploring dungeons using a set of three highly versatile items in the other half, and sometimes the two parts of the game even blur together and you start exploring a dungeon in order to help townspeople. Imagine if the Rune Factory team got really addicted to Oracle of Seasons and you'll have a good idea of what's in store here.
74: Horizon: Zero Dawn (Guerilla Games/Sony, PS4, 2017)
Horizon has some of the best combat that's ever been in an action game, a good story, and loads of impressive vistas of the western US in the robo-pocalypse. Unfortunately, it also has sidequests mostly terminally boring and a crafting system that's more tedious than anything else. It would be much, much higher on the list if that contrast was less stark (and thankfully there's a DLC to show exactly how much higher), but even with those flaws it's still a remarkable game.
73: Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik/Akupara, PC, 2019)
It calls itself a "mutant soap opera." I don't have a better term for it. You play as Kai, a teenager who travels to an island where everyone was turned into a monster by a magic meteorite in order to spend time with her grandfather before he dies. Despite that seemingly time-sensitive premise, what follows is mostly a very relaxed exploration of the relationships and motivations of all the island's residents. Night in the Woods is probably the only game that's anything like it, but this is even more relaxed than that. If hanging out around a fire or swimming in a secret pond while learning about life on a dead-end island sounds appealing, this is the game for you.
72: Overcooked 2 (Ghost Town Games/Team 17, PC, 2018)
Overcooked was already one of the best couch co-op games around, and the sequel improved on everything about it. You're still on a tight clock to cook all sorts of recipes, and careful planning and coordination is still the only way to get your tasks done in time, but now there's just more of everything. And if the base game somehow isn't enough, it has a handful of great expansions that add new mechanics and even crazier levels.
71: Pummel Party (Rebuilt Games, PC, 2018)
Pummel Party is responsible for the total lack of Mario Party games on this list, because it's everything I ever wanted out of that series. The minigames are a mix of great new ideas and some of the best MP classics, but none of them are just luck. The boards are all unique and have global effects like a big bad monster that stalks nearby players or a switch that floods the lower levels. Best of all, there are about a dozen items you can use to get an advantage or, if you play like we do, beat the everloving snot out of the AI players with shotguns and laser cannons. And then because that's still not enough, it gets updated with new maps and minigames every few months, and mod support is coming. I don't need any other Party style games. This is the one.