Hey guys! For my personal list of 2017, I decided to mention some awesome games I played this year with other people. Whether they were specifically party games, or just cooperative games I played with my family, all of these are games that left a lasting impact on me in the past year. Before I get started, just know that this list is in no specific order. Also, not all of these games are from 2017, but they all impacted me at some point in 2017; either I discovered them then, or I was…addicted to them then. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Released in January of 2016, Amplitude was a remake of the original Harmonix hit, Kickstarted by the very same studio. While its single player mode was entertaining and chock full of techno tunes, its multiplayer brought a whole new level of depth to the game. I remember first seeing Amplitude at PAX East 2015, and watching countless rounds of four players sitting on a couch together, gliding down tracks and shooting to the beat as one. Finally in 2016, the world got a chance to experience this fun, and fortunately it was exactly as I had remembered it. There’s no feeling like cruising down a rhythmic track at high speeds while booming electronic music swirls around you, and adding more players to the mix just makes things so much more enjoyable.
While Clustertruck in itself doesn’t have its own multiplayer mode, it is quite obviously a game designed for playing with friends. In fact, I played the entirety of Clustertruck alongside my friend DJ in about five hours, and it was one of the most memorable moments of 2017 for me. Jumping from truck to truck, dodging obstacles along a high-speed route to nowhere made for a thrilling gaming experience. Meanwhile, passing the controller off to a buddy every time you’re knocked off a speeding vehicle makes for a great party atmosphere. Even though we beat the game, I know I’ll bust out the old Clustertruck any time a social gathering could use some chaotic first-person platforming.
I play a lot of games with my younger sister, Sutton. She’s nearly 13, and while gaming isn’t her passion like it is mine, she has grown into quite a skilled player over the years. However, it’s hard to find two-player cooperative games we can play together. Fortunately, this year we came across Never Alone. Although a game from 2014, Never Alone was downloaded by us on a whim in 2017, and while we made fun of it in the beginning, we quickly discovered the sheer fun and excitement found within its puzzles. I took the reins of Nuna, while Sutton controlled the fox (who we spontaneously dubbed “Austin”), and we traveled across the Alaskan tundra together, dodging evil baddies and saving our village. We even enjoyed the main game so much that we immediately played the DLC story after we’d finished it. Never Alone is a captivating journey for gamers of all ages, and I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t yet.
Back at PAX East in 2016, my friend Jonathan and I discovered a hidden gem called Blade Ballet. This party game allows for four-player split screen battling, involving robots with unique abilities in various dangerous arenas. We were lucky enough to play alongside the developers, and learn some secrets about the game, which made me super excited for its full release. Thankfully, Blade Ballet was released that August, and it has become a mainstay in my house when it comes to having friends over, or even just picking up a controller with my little sister for some dumb fun. Don’t be alarmed by that “little sister” comment, though. This game calls for a surprising level of skill if you want to come out on top every time, and it makes for a pretty addicting party game that’s totally worth the $15 price tag.
Call of Duty: WWII
Although not a real “party” game, I wanted to include my favorite online shooter of 2017 on this list, as it makes for an awesome cooperative experience with some online friends. Call of Duty: WWII is one of the best Call of Duty multiplayer displays I’ve ever played, blending a variety of new guns and maps with a variety of fun modes. New modes like War provide massive full-scale assaults, pitting two teams against each other in grand, multi-objective battles. On top of the fluid and fun multiplayer mode, WWII also includes a revamped zombies mode, that is as deep as it is terrifying. I haven’t really described a Call of Duty experience as “fun” in a while, but WWII certainly delivers as an awesome game, whether you’re playing alone, or with buddies.
When you think about highly anticipated games, chances are your mind goes to big AAA’s like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Death Stranding. My mind, on the other hand, looks forward to silly little indies that I find on the outskirts of PAX East each year. One of my most anticipated games ever was Speedrunners from TinyBuild, which I have patiently waited for – on consoles – for years. Thankfully, Speedrunners finally came to consoles in 2017, and it is still the absolute blast that I fell in love with all those years ago. Fast-paced, frantic, sidescrolling, endless-running fun, Speedrunners is one of my favorite party games because it will truly turn your friends against you. It is quite possibly the most hardcore party game I have ever played, and that makes it one of the best.
PaRappa The Rapper Remastered
PaRappa the Rapper is one of those single-player games that draws in a crowd. It just has the power to attract an audience. Perhaps that’s due to its unique art style, or maybe it’s the eclectic soundtrack of unforgettable catchy raps. Whatever it is, PaRappa the Rapper Remastered brought that sense of flair and “what-the-hell-is-that?” entertainment into 2017. While the controls were just as wonky as the original – and for the person playing the game, it remains as hard as it was 20 years ago – PaRappa is still capable of satisfying onlookers of all ages by just filling the room with color and song. I’ll never forget sitting there mid-April and nearly throwing my controller at the television while my dad walked through the house singing about that stupid frog’s flea market. Moments like that embody what a “party game” is to me.
Quite possibly my favorite game on this list, Gang Beasts is a multiplayer brawler that has been in development for years. Though it is now essentially a PC classic, Gang Beasts was just released at the end of 2017 for PlayStation 4, and simply put, it’s a delight. My dad and I had experienced the game for ourselves back at PAX East in March and since then, we have been eagerly awaiting its full release, so we could once again flail wildly as colorful blobs, throwing each other off of ledges. Luckily on December 12, Gang Beasts finally came to PSN and I kid you not, there hasn’t been a single day since then that my sister and I haven’t played a round. It has taken my household by storm, becoming our new favorite game, and hopefully there will be new stages and skins released in the future, so the fun never has to end.
I’m fully prepared for whatever flak this pick will get, but damn it, I really enjoyed Knack. A frequent request of my sister, we finally decided to pick up Knack in 2017, and much to our surprise, we did not hate it. Like, at all. I must say, though, I can’t imagine what it must be like to play Knack alone. We discovered that you can basically break the game by having player two go ahead and fight, since enemies rarely notice another character coming to kill them. On top of this, Knack himself is a tremendously underpowered baby, who dies with about three hits. So our playthrough consisted of me mostly cowering behind walls while my sister ran ahead and beat the game for me. But hey, the scenery was beautiful, the story was pretty entertaining, and the combat – while I barely experienced it – was never too repetitive, and even got more complex as time went on. In closing, I will say that I do not hate Knack, nobody should hate Knack, and we received Knack II for Christmas. Here’s hoping it makes 2018’s party games list, and here’s hoping I’m not endlessly ridiculed until then because of this choice.
The Jackbox Party Pack(s)
While Jackbox Party Pack 4 was their big release of 2017, I would like to use this opportunity to call attention to the wide array of Party Pack‘s released by Jackbox in recent years. Starting with games like You Don’t Know Jack and Fibbage, these smartphone-controlled party games have quickly become modern classics in the gaming world. As the years have gone on, new games like Quiplash and Drawful have come into our lives, appearing on countless YouTube channels, and every year at gaming conventions like PAX East for people to just sit around and have fun as a community. For me personally, these Party Pack‘s have become mainstays at family timeshare vacations, with my grandparents actually requesting I bring the PlayStation every year because they enjoy the games so much. I just want to thank Jackbox for their crazy minds and humorous ideas that have brought joy to my family for years. They have earned a spot on this list, and every nonexistent list since the first Party Pack, for being one of the most creative teams in gaming today, and for truly reimagining what a party game is. Alas, if you have yet to try out one of their Party Pack‘s, then… “you don’t know Jack!”
Well that’s my list of some of my favorite party games. Thank you for reading! I strongly advise you check out these games, if you haven’t yet. If you have, let’s start a dialogue in the comments. What are your favorite party games? Let us know, and I’ll see you for next year’s awards!