Choosing our favourite games of 2010 was no easy task, with arguments, witchcraft and mathematical equations all being used to take hundreds of games and whittle them down to just 10. Read on for our thoughts on why each game deserves its place and head to our Game of the Year 2010 hub for access to video features and loads of other content.
Tom Orry, Editor
This game made me feel like a genius. I know I'm not that clever really, but for the four or so hours it took me to work through the gorgeous adventure I felt smart. It's brilliant game design, with the puzzles seemingly being completely dastardly on first appearance, but with a bit of thought you get there and progress with a smile on your face. It's also the only game I've talked about in the office by drawing pictures on my notebook, with arrows indicating where certain objects were thrown so as not to spoil the puzzle for everyone else. Limbo is a beautiful game and I loved every minute.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer
Is Limbo actually clever or just pretending to be? I'm not smart enough to tell, but I certainly liked that bit at the beginning with the spider. And it also looks the part - no colours, no music, no cheesy dialog or vehicle level shoehorned in because a publisher's focus group said it's important to break up the action. Plus it's chuffing devious by design. My favourite puzzle is the one where you've got to tread on two pressure plates one after the other, with deadly results. Is there anybody who didn't fall for that - or Limbo itself, for that matter?
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor
Like our overall winner for 2010, Limbo has the power to ensnare non-gamers on the strength of its appearance alone. Everyone immediately understands the fear of a tiny, child-like figure, trapped in a sinister forest, and we all feel the horror that bubbles up when he's lanced by a spiny leg, crushed by a falling rock, or viciously severed by a tumbling bear trap. The image of Limbo's anonymous hero, bound in spider-silk and desperately hopping away from a stalking arachnid, must surely rank as one of grimmest gaming moments of the past 12 months - and as one of the best, too.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer
There was a very interesting thread on the forums a while back that asked whether downloadable, mobile or indie games could ever find themselves in the running for GOTY. With Limbo finding itself second on our very own best of 2010 list – the indication is yes, yes they can. It might not come in a box and it might be over in an hour or two, but Limbo offers an experience that is easily as memorable as anything else on our list. Simple, clever and hauntingly beautiful, Limbo is incredibly hard to fault.
Emily Gera - Staff Writer
An astonishing title considering it was developed by such a tiny Danish studio, this film noir-style 2D sidescroller is one of the few games that manages to be as eery as it is adorably indie. It's one of the most striking-looking titles that's come out in the last year - bringing you to a morbid black-and-white hellscape where giant spiders, brain worms and bear traps are littered through each zone. The minimalist puzzles will often simply involve pushing or pulling objects but that doesn't mean this game is a cakewalk. You will die constantly, and this is possibly the most striking element of the game, even moreso than its art style. Few games approach death as anything more than a failure on the player's part. Limbo, on the other hand, approaches it as a natural element of gameplay. Each death is accompanied by a hilariously gruesome animation, so funny and over-the-top that it feels like a reward. Death is made interesting and fun, and that's a refreshing change in video games.
For more end of year content, head over to our Game of the Year 2010 hub. Amongst other things you'll be able to watch videos in which we talk about each game in the Top 10.