Some people don’t like surprises. I guess that’s because they can be good or bad. I tend to think of the word “Surprise” as having a positive connotation to it, though. So, when I’m surprised by something, it’s usually a pleasant experience.

The world of gaming is always full of surprises. I love it when something exceeds expectations or just comes out of nowhere and blows my mindhole. Every year, plenty of things do just that and 2012 was no exception.

Why don’t we take a journey (“Journey” was fantastic but that wasn’t surprising) and take a look at the five most notable things that hooked me and put an unexpected smile on my face.

1. Super Hexagon

It wasn’t that long ago that I reviewed “Super Hexagon”; you can find it here. Also, it just came out on Android and I bought it again.

The surprise of this game came from the fact that it is absolutely one of the most immersive and consuming gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. This is the kind of game you’d see made up in a bad 80’s movie. It would be some generic and fake looking virtual reality game but the sinister motive behind its birth would be that it eats the souls of the people who play it.

It doesn’t matter though; my soul was already sold for half a chicken tender over a decade ago, so I can play this game guilt free. If you still have a soul, then it’s worth losing yours to play it. You won’t miss it, I promise.

2. Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3

The first two Penny Arcade games came and went and didn’t leave much of an impact on the gaming community. They were decent, I enjoyed them, but they weren’t great. After Hothead Games decided not to do a third game, I figured the series was pretty much dead in the water.

What is this... I don't even...

What is this… I don’t even…

However, not only was a third game made but it was made by Zeboyd Games, the retro maniacs behind “Breath of Death VII” and “Cthulhu Saves the World”. Mmm, now things just got interesting.

The game has an amazing 16-bit look, extremely reminiscent of “Final Fantasy VI” and it also retains the fantastically humorous writing that was the highlight of the first two games. The combat system works in a similar manner to “Grandia”, where you actively see exactly how far everyone is from getting a turn and can attempt to manipulate things, if you choose. You can also choose from a wide array of ridiculous classes to affix to your characters.

The classes are what makes this game so entertaining, and they offer a lot of customization and strategic options in battle. These classes include Dinosorcerers, who can turn into various prehistoric beasts and wreak havoc, Hobos, which turn the enemies into other hobos who can then have more damage inflicted upon them, and Apocalypt, who can queue up various prophecies and unleash them all at once. The classes are made better by the ability to combine three of them on each character. This allows for some fantastic combinations and makes this game feel hugely unique and fun.

Even better, is that this game was released at $5 and all of the DLC has been free. Yes, free, and it’s good DLC too: two meaty end-game campaigns that will provide a substantial challenge.

If you’re a fan of 16-bit RPGs and you don’t own this, then get on it. You can get it on your mobile device, Steam, or Xbox Live. No excuses!

3. Street Fighter x Mega Man

This one barely made the list but that’s only because it just barely made 2012. Once again, another game already reviewed on the site, which you should check out for the full scoop.

This had that “What the Fuck?!” factor going on but in the best way possible. How could ANY of us predict that we would get an official release of a “Mega Man” game where you fought “Street Fighter” characters and that it would be free? There is no way, it was impossible. Nostradamus tried to predict it but his head exploded.

Even though my review pointed out some pretty glaring flaws with the game, it was still a great ride. Ver. 2 is out now, which fixes a lot of issues the game had that I didn’t touch upon in the review (which was prior to its release). Anyways, the game now has a password feature, additional joypad options, and it doesn’t immediately close out the program if you accidently press the “Esc” key anymore. It also has a screenshot feature, which would’ve been useful for my review…

On top of that, M.Bison has also been buffed up, because he was a wuss, and there is a new secret boss to fight! Psst…it’s Sagat. That makes me happy too because his exclusion was bananas.

All this means that a good game just got better.