End of Year 2018: Favorite Game Feel


I started a replay of God of War and kind of want to go and see if the Blades of Chaos are as fucking cool as I remember. My memory is that they were dope as hell, and I’d never played the old GoW games. Like yeah the axe feels better than the blades because of the absolutely perfect recall, but those blades in my memory swing around so well and did some really cool shit.


I had a really good time with the Blades as well; their general wildness felt really cathartic after the precision of the axe attacks (at least early in the game, when I hadn’t yet unlocked most of the advanced attacks). Part of that may have also been how simple and well-conceptualized the first fight with them is, when the game serves up a load of annoying ice enemies that until then had been such a pain but are suddenly toast. That bit made me feel incredibly powerful, but in line with the narrative the game was going for, also made me question whether that was necessarily a good thing.

Man that game had problems but I’m slowly remembering how much I enjoyed parts of it.


Oh I never really got the hang of Dead Cells and only occasionally managed to get into that flow state. But, how good is rolling through a door?


Celeste has already been well spoken for, so I’ll make the case for another game I’ve nominated that might be a little more unusual for this category.

Consider the game feel of Octopath Traveler:

I don’t usually think of turn-based RPGs when I think about game feel, but I believe it’s a big part of what makes Octopath’s battles so enjoyable. There is a very satisfying combination of sound design, special effects, animation, and camera work that makes each attack feel crunchy and physical to me.

The pinnacle of this is when you “break” an enemy’s defenses by hitting their weaknesses a certain number of times. When this happens the camera goes into slow motion, and there is a glass shattering animation and sound effect that plays over each enemy. If you haven’t played the game you can see it in this video:

The cumulative effect is that “breaking” an enemy is not only a useful tactic, but a satisfying game feel moment. It’s so much fun to do I’ve found myself going out of my way to break enemies defenses even when the tactics of it aren’t important for a particular battle, which reminds me of what folks above have been saying about Spider-man.


Since all my faves are covered (Spider-man, GoW, Dead Cells, Forza 4), and in the awards’ spirit of positivity, I’ll just say that the fact that we’re up to 25 posts and nobody has mentioned Red Dead gives me some small hope for our future. (But seriously, it’s Spidey.)


People have already mentioned Hitman 2 and Forza Horizon 4, and those games deserve that praise, but I would like to talk about a game that many fewer people played.

Super Mega Baseball 2 makes baseball feel just fantastic. Yes, the graphics are cartoonish, and yes it lacks any sort of official licensing, but it offers a really good baseball simulation (and easily the best one on Xbox One). Everything feels right, and hitting a home run in that game is absolutely satisfying in the way hitting a home run should feel.


It’s bugging me that nobody’s brought up Hollow Knight! Some might say that game doesn’t fly in 2018, but this was the year it crawled its way to consoles. …I can’t come up with any more insect wordplay. The game handles exceptionally, though!


It just came out, but Insurgency: Sandstorm has some fantastic first person control around it. While games like Arma 3 and Squad feel obfuscated around menus, different character placement, and other weird stuff, Insurgency just feels smooth. I LOVE how this game handles magazine management. For one, you have a set of 4 magazines if you’re a regular rifleman. When you reload, you put magazines with extra ammo in them back in your pouch, unless you double tap R to quick reload. Checking ammo is as simple as holding down R to see what you have. There’s never a ‘count’ or a number. It’s visualized by a half cup/half full kind of representation.

It has all the other trappings, like sprinting, sliding, crouching, etc. It just feels solid to me. Too bad I’m not good at it, heh.


Florence best exemplified the feeling of a game’s mechanics and controls with the feeling of it’s…well… feelings. The physical motions you went through reflected the events and emotions of the game. The controls involved in meeting a new person and having your conversations with them get easier and easier (and then harder) felt so accurate.


Attack on Titan 2
Soaring through the air on wires, surrounded by gigantic naked homunculi, circling a target, finding an exposed nape on a giants neck and with an anime flourish of blood and numbers another one dies.

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate
Nostalgia is everywhere, sweet and poisonous; Kirby floats through the air then turns into a stone and everything underneath him is a blur of smoke and bright diagonal lines while the controllers shake like they are alive.


Wizard Of Legend is a game who’s name is so generic I forget it as I type it and is on the whole a tad basic but wow you get a good combo in and it feels so good


Of games not already mentioned, the one that really stands out to me is Astro Bot Rescue Mission on PSVR. With some minor quibbles, and somewhat unintuitively, controlling a 3D platformer in VR feels completely natural. Combine that with a vibrant, inviting world and spot-on platforming mechanics and it is a pleasure to play.

And for good measure, it is easily the best use of motion controls since Wii Sports - it combines the gyroscope and the DS4 light bar to create a virtual mouse/pointer that is instantly graspable and always does exactly what you think it’s going to.


Wildcard suggestion: Starlink. I got problems with this game, even beyond the monetisation, but the ships feel GREAT.


SMB2 absolutely has the best “bean the pitcher and worry about his or her family” feel.


How has no one in this thread mentioned the incredible feeling of swinging a hammer, or sword, or massive gunblade in Monster Hunter: World?

Few games this year drew me back in time and time again just to jump around and swing my switch axe around. Every weapon is a different, equally satisfying, experience with a huge amount of depth to its movesets and with their own strategic application.

There are a few issues with World as a narrative and a moral disconnect, but to me it just feels incredible to play.


Hey so let’s talk about Holedown. Holedown the latest game from Grapefrukt, developers of previous Good Game Feel Games Rymdkapsel and Twofold Inc - Twofold Inc’s ambient soundtrack and the sharp little plinking noises when you match a set of squares is probably the best game feel I’ve experienced in a puzzle game. Holedown is a Breakout game, it’s my second favourite game of the year, I’ve played definitely over 50 hours of this phone game, let me tell you why it rules. First, though, let Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance tell you because he’s basically done all of the work for me in this piece called Black Hole Heart:

Holedown has been doing well not just because of some ace mechanics. Jonasson is an expert at game feel. If you don’t believe me, check out the talk he did with Petri Purho on making games feel juicy in which they edit the look and feel of a Breakout clone live on stage. The very fabric of Holedown shudders with delicious, vital feedback: the blocks wobble and flash with every impact; the screen distorts when the core breaks; the balls accelerate after multiple bounces; crystal “treasure” is counted with obligatory boop noises. It showers players with audio-visual gifts.

I want to get a little more specific. The blocks flicker like an old nickolodeon after about five-ten hits, meaning that when you have 99 balls going at once the screen looks stunning, like a series of apartments at night flashing morse code with their lounge lights. (This should come with a requisite seizure warning for anyone susceptible to flashing lights.) The aiming line pops into existence when you touch the screen and clicks with a low tone as you move it, like it’s running over a tiny rubber cog. The balls leave little splash animations as they hit the blocks, which flinch like sentient rubber when hit. The balls make small noises - again, little pings and bounces, that are extremely adorable.

Goodwin’s down on the game in ways that I’m not. When he says that “Holedown does not have anything new to reveal as the player progresses. It has clever ideas but they’re all there from the start,” he’s negative about it, but I love that it’s all upfront, that it’s this one simple clean thing. Playing through the Black Hole level (essentially the game’s Endless mode), trying to find new techniques to get the apex of Holedown’s gamefeel - the moment when your balls get caught behind the blocks and create this ten-twenty second butterfly-loud cacophony of rubber bouncing on rubber, pocks and plinks and bongs - that’s the shit I live for.

Holedown rules. I played Celeste, I played Spider-Man, I played Hitman 2 and Hollow Knight and, I don’t know, Piffle, but nothing feels quite as good as Holedown. Please consider Holedown.


Best feel: Dead Cells
Most feel: Tetris Effect


100% agreed on Super Mega Baseball 2. It just feels so good.

Also Dead Cells for sure, as lots have mentioned.

For my third, this one is a bit of an odd duck for this category, but I’m going with Slay the Spire. There have been other card games before it, but there hasn’t been one yet that feels this slick and easy to slip into.


Spider-Man is my obvious answer here. Insomniac has nailed the web-swinging mechanics and it feels great. Saying that, other folks in the thread have already made a good case for it so instead I will shout-out Beat Saber. Despite being bummed about only having access to the PSVR version (and therefor no custom music) I can’t deny that Beat Saber is maybe the most I’ve enjoyed a rhythm game since I first layed my hands on a plastic Guitar Hero controller.

Swinging around what are basically lightsabers in beat with the music is a great deal of the fun, and all the work that’s went into the sound/visual design of the way you slice through the notes coming at your face means successfully hitting those notes feels so good. Some rhythm games create an experience where it feels like you are playing the music yourself but with Beat Saber I think it’s more akin to dancing in time with the rhythm. Even if that dancing looks a little odd


Hey folks!

With the deadline for phase 1 fast approaching we wanted to remind everyone to get their nominations in if they haven’t already. The google forms will stop taking submissions by 10pm GMT (2pm PST / 5pm EST) on Saturday.

That said, these threads will remain open so that people can continue to share their thoughts on specific categories/games for the remainder of the event. We hope you’ve enjoyed the event thus far and we’re excited to unveil the the voting phase over the weekend!