The days of video games fitting squarely into a single genre are over. Many games in this generation are borrowing elements from different types of games, creating some unique experiences. Trials HD, Scribblenauts, and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure were just a few games that transcended simple genre definitions this year, with all of them fitting into both platforming and puzzler categories. They were also, of course, all fantastic games. Gyromancer was another simply fun, yet ridiculously addictive hit for PopCap. Though it seems at first like a Bejeweled Twist clone with RPG elements akin to Puzzle Quest… well, actually, that was pretty much all it was, but PopCap proved again that you don’t need much more to keep coming back. Still, none of these great games held a candle to the Best Ever Puzzle Game of 2009.
In 2008, North America finally got its first taste of the Japanese Professor Layton series, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. There was little not to love about the charming professor and his boy apprentice, Luke. The second game in the series, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, somehow managed to outdo the first with a surprising, well-written story, impressive production values, and dozens of brainteasers. There wasn’t a moment of Diabolical Box that wasn’t enjoyable, and it all led up to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. Layton himself is one of the most charming and lovable video game characters of this generation, and I’m ready to follow him wherever he goes.