Gamer Escape’s Top 5 Reviewed Games of 2016


Well, folks, the year of 2016 is finally drawing to an end! It was a year filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and Sony proving at E3 that you can indeed build a wall with donuts. What that has to do with gaming, I have no idea…but it happened.

Over here in my little corner of the Gamer Escape empire, we have exploded in ways I never could’ve imagined at the start of the year. In 2015, between two writers (myself and Fusionx), we managed to review 23 games. This year, we added a new assistant reviewer (ECShadow), and had the opportunity to review 44 titles.

As I said last year, for three writers doing this in their free time, especially with one hard at work on the rest of the site – including helping get our Final Fantasy XV Wiki up and running – I’d say that’s a pretty good number.

As it is New Year’s Eve, I’d like to take a look back at what we have selected as our top five games that we reviewed here in 2016. We did not give out any perfect scores this year, but we did have a few 9/10s. We went through those and selected the five we feel were the best we played, so without any further ado (and in no particular order) may we present…

Gamer Escape’s Top 5 of 2016!


~ Dragon Quest Builders ~
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Systems: PS4, Vita
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

Never before has my opinion on a game taken such a hard turn as it did with Dragon Quest Builders. When I initially demoed the game this year at PAX West, I walked out decidedly unimpressed. When I sat down with the full version for a review, I didn’t expect to end up enjoying it as much as I did…and I certainly never expected it to be a Top 5 title.

What initially felt like Square Enix jumping on the Minecraft hype train a few years too late turned out to actually be a game that improved upon the crafting genre in many ways. Specifically, the addition of actual structure and a story that slowly reveals itself through NPC interaction.

While the battle systems in the game left something to be desired, Dragon Quest Builders was an incredibly strong spin-off of the main series, and is really the only crafting game I have yet to grow bored with.


~ Rabi-Ribi ~
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: January 28th, 2016
Systems: PC
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

Rabi-Ribi is certainly an interesting title. It has a saccharine-sweet graphical style, featuring cute anime girls that are obsessed with rabbits, trying to hunt down an anthropomorphized rabbit wearing a one-piece swimsuit. Beneath all that, though, lies a very solid fusion of Metroidvania and Bullet Hell gameplay styles.

A bright and colorful world, along with a strong focus on boss battles, made this a title that never got dull throughout my playthrough. The difficulty bar is also set rather high, demanding a mastery of the game’s systems, but it always feels more rewarding than insurmountable.

The game has continued to be supported with occasional free DLC throughout the year, so if you’re looking for a Metroidvania with a decent challenge, Rabi-Ribi is definitely one that should be on your list.


~ World of Final Fantasy ~
Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
Systems: PS4, Vita
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

When it comes to Final Fantasy, Square Enix loves to exploit series nostalgia. Sometimes they miss the mark, but in the case of World of Final Fantasy, they managed to craft a game that revels in the past but doesn’t rely on just that to create something great.

While a bit lighter than a traditional series entry in both gameplay and story, this title creates a great entry point to the series for newcomers, while still offering a vastly entertaining experience for veterans. Also, the writing and dialog here is absolutely fantastic.

Whether as an intro to the series or a trip down memory lane, World of Final Fantasy is a magnificent love-letter to a classic JRPG franchise.


~ Lucid9 – Inciting Incident ~
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: April 14th, 2016
Systems: PC
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

We had the opportunity to look at several visual novels this year. In the midst of all the big, bombastic titles from well-known names in the fandom, though, a little indie release stood out. Not only that, but it was a free-to-play fan-developed indie title, made in the west by and for native English speakers.

Lucid9 – Inciting Incident was a huge surprise for me, as it managed to usurp the “Western Visual Novel stigma” that many fan-developed titles in the genre are subject to. Despite a cliche setting, this title presents an intriguing and well-written mystery, gripping plot moments, and surprisingly strong character development.

The opening hours are somewhat rough, showing the team kind of learned what they were doing as they went along, but by the end of the story, I could say that Lucid9 had become one of my favorite visual novels.


~ Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse ~
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Systems: 3DS
Reviewed Version: 3DS
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

The original Shin Megami Tensei IV was a pretty good game, but with enough nagging issues that I just never got around to finishing it. Its sequel/side-story/spinoff/what-have-you, Apocalypse, removed those frustrations, crafting a title I looked forward to playing after work each evening.

With a better-told story, streamlined navigation, and options to make the game more forgiving for casual players, this title is the rare sequel that I feel really manages to surpass its originator. I have seen some harsh debate on that point, though.

Despite having some issues with camera control, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is an excellent and standout JRPG for the 3DS, and has much to offer for both series veterans and newbies.

We’ve had the opportunity to accomplish a lot in our reviews department this past year, and we have even greater plans for 2017! Look forward to more titles across a greater variety of consoles and genres as we aim to make Gamer Escape one of your go-to sources for game reviews!

Until then, Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2017!