The GILM Awards 2017 Favorite Aesthetic


Steamworld Dig 2

The cartoony steampunk visuals are a big draw, but it combines with the Old West aesthetic really well. The music is satisfying, but what really weaves the aesthetic together for me is the sound design. When you run out of lamp oil the music cuts out and an ominous ambient sound takes over. The music and sound and distinct visual aesthetic of each area all weave together into a brilliant experience.


I am seconding Splatoon 2.


Echo everything said here about Mario Odyssey and will add the felt work on the Bonneton Tower is amazing.


Nomination: Observer

I’m officially nominating Observer and echoing both @youngliar and Danielle’s article. Observer echos numerous other cyberpunk and horror movies (it copies Blade Runner down to the birds), but still manages to find it’s own place in the sea of influences, creating a dream like, glitching, technical landscape, with the guts of machines draped on the bones of old architecture. I loved how this game looked start to finish and it is another on the long list of games this year whose themes are well supported by its visuals.


Metroid: Samus Returns

I’m largely copying what I already wrote in the Big Dev thread, but Samus Returns managed to create one of the most immersive and engaging game worlds I’ve experienced on my 3DS. Between its visuals, enemy design, and soundtrack, SR388’s environment felt truly alien and hostile. Both its vast scale and the constant little scenes happening in the background constructed this image of Samus as a tiny intruder, dwarfed by her surroundings, almost like a virus invading an organism. The combat and upgrade system added a great sense of buildup and flow as Samus both got more powerful and faced harder and harder enemies, and the simple, brief cutscenes characterized her more effectively than truckloads of facial animation and dialogue ever seem to do. (I’m particularly fond of the the one at the end of the Diggernaut battle, where Samus no-look blasts that robot in the eye after a really long and difficult fight. It’s tropey as hell but super cathartic.)


Nominating The Signal From Tölva here since folks have already mentioned the other things I might have picked.

I really like the look of this game, and it just has a great atmosphere to it, with sparse music and a wide array of excellent robot sounds. It also manages to create some very spooky atmospheric moments even with limited storytelling tools. As I said over in the small dev games thread, it’s my second favorite game about robots this year.


Gravity Rush 2 is up there for me, if only for doing UI so beautifully. The game itself looks nice and the design of the city is outstanding with each district feeling truly unique and lived in but the UI. Ooft. They out-Persona’d Persona 5.


Hey, Waypointeers! There’s only seven more days left on nominations! The mod team are gearing up for Phase 2 of The GILM Awards, so we can let y’all decide what the Waypoint Community felt were their favourite works of 2017. We know a few people are wrestling about their nominations, so this is just a reminder to get yours in before the deadline hits — we’re not taking late submissions!

On that note, there’s a few items that have only been nominated once so far. If you feel strongly about any of these making it to our final poll, they need a second nomination before Phase 1 closes.

  • Metroid: Samus Returns
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Haque
  • Blue Reflection
  • The Lion’s Song
  • The Signal From Tolva
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Far From Noise


Seconding Battle Chef Brigade. The watercolor backgrounds are beautiful, the character designs are great, and there’s just a great niceness to the overall tone. It’s a very charming and pleasing game to experience.


Seconding Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Amazing style despite its technical limitations.


This looks cool. Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely be checking it out.


The first episode is totally free too! It’s a real hidden gem this year for me, charming and thoughtful.


Not to be such a diehard advocate for these games (although I am), but I cannot in good faith allow Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony to be overlooked.

The game is the Ultimate expression of the series’ “psycho-pop” aesthetic — the design ethos that characterizes its visuals (bright yet grisly), music (sinister with much flair), dialogue (simultaneously lowbrow and thought-provoking), and plot (unpredictable). I’m glad because V3 has not only maintained the signature twisted, irreverent mood that I love so much but also perfected it.

EDIT: changed descriptor for plot


I’m going to second Destiny 2

Destiny 2 definitely has it’s annoyances and imperfections but the skybox’s are often jaw dropping.
I also love the design of pretty much every zone? (sorry Io)

The art direction was definitely one of the big reasons i finally jumped on with Destiny 2.


I’ll second Steamworld Dig 2. The game, along with several other smaller ones on this list, is a great reminder that aesthetic isn’t (and shouldn’t) just be pretty visuals. The steam-western aesthetic soaks into dialogue, narrative, music and movement as well. It coheres in a way that really allows the player to orient themselves in the game, and as a result the riffs on and divergences from the main aesthetic–from the fairy-like underground swamp to Vectron’s cold metal ruins–caused a genuine thrill to run down my spine.

It isn’t the prettiest of the games nominated, but I defy you to give an example whose aesthetic is more in service to the game’s unified whole.


I’ve seen it nominated a couple times but hands down it’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild for me. Every second of this game. Every piece of it can be felt deep down inside. From riding a horse through a field with a light breeze or the crickets chirping while you’re calmly looking up at the moon coming through the clouds. The bustle and music of a village you just stumbled upon for the first time. The little song Link sings while he’s cooking food. The secluded feeling of the shrines. The ominous Hyrule Castle just waiting for you for 50+ hours while you wonder what might be beyond there. The whirr and musical cue of a Guardian starting up when it spots you and the panic you feel. Stumbling upon a blacked out region of the map while you’re gliding down and being scared because you can’t see anything and you have no idea where you’re going. The seamless yet noticeable transition from region to region. I loved being in this world and the look, sounds, music, actions, and the overall feeling of this game are what did that for me.


Seconding What Remains of Edith Finch!

I do like Pyre, but it has plenty of noms, and this game was probably one of the best first-person adventure games that I got to play this whole year. Admittedly, I played it pretty late, but it was honestly an amazing experience, and the way it distills a person down to their aesthetics in each room is honestly Very Good.


I came in thinking I would nominate Pathologic: The Marble Nest, but I don’t think it’s available for download on Steam anymore (and technically it is only an alpha demo, really). Still, I just want to shout it out for being a fucking incredible experience in spite of its only being around three hours long and carrying some jank. Sure as shit got me excited as hell for Pathologic 2 sometime next year.

Anyway since I can’t rightfully nominate that, I’ll just add to the cacophony of voices saying Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because that game devoured me and never quite let go. It has continued to not let me go in spite of beating it, because I can still boot it up and within like five minutes be sunk deep in a world making discoveries of stuff that I haven’t seen before, or just taking in what is a downright gorgeous world (even though the framerate could be better in places).


I’d nominate The Evil Within 2.

The game’s mindscape setting frees them from having to worry about coherent or consistent spaces, and they play with that a lot. There are set pieces and environments that just don’t even bother to pretend to be real, cool transitions, things that shift as soon as they leave your view. Some of the monster designs are fun and cool too.

Pretty much it’s just having fun being a stylish action horror game.


I will second Absolver by merit of being a fine example of doing a lot with a little vis a vis budget on top of everything Jeff already said.