Don’t you just love the feeling of having your expectations blown out of the water? When you experience something that completely blindsides you, and surprises you with how enjoyable it is? It makes something that’s just “good” feel so much better, and that essentially increases the entertainment value of the product. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor surprised me with how fun it was, and I know I wasn’t the only one – this game was certainly what I’d call a “sleeper hit”.
Sidescrollers and 2D platformers are a genre I feel I know rather well, and I might even say it’s one of my favorite game types out there – particularly if you exclude the countless subpar shoestring-budget games that tried to capitalize on the genre’s nostalgic surge of popularity. I’m usually pretty good at determining very quickly whether or not a sidescroller is going to be good, based on its platforming mechanics, its visual design, and the level layout. Sometimes, however, I run into a curveball that isn’t quite so simple to judge.