4 Good Game Design INNOVATIONS of 2017

Can we just talk about how great of a year
2017 has been for gaming? From sequels to new IP’s, platformers to
open world adventures, it seems like the hits just keep on coming. But what continues to stick out to me most
is the amount of innovation I’ve seen. And yes I know we’re only halfway through
the year, but that’s why I’m so impressed! Don’t ever let me tell you that we’ve
seen it all when it comes to games, because there’s always something new that can catch me by surprise. So today on Good Game Design, let’s talk
about some of those innovations. I wanted to start with Hollow Knight because
I’ve gotten a lot of comments asking my thoughts on this game. If you’re unaware, Hollow Knight is a combat
focused metroidvania with a unique, spooky art style and a pretty challenging difficulty. It does a good job of combining satisfying
battles and exploration with brutal platforming sections almost reminiscent of Super Meat
Boy. I really enjoyed this game, and the Nightmare
Before Christmas-like aesthetic helped cement a lasting impression on my mind. But its most memorable aspect was how it incorporated
a map and health system. At the beginning of the game, you have no
idea how to check where you are in relation to your surroundings, but eventually you come across a mapmaker who can sell you a sketch of the nearby area. However, this only shows the outline of the
various rooms, not your location within them, or any notable landmarks. Instead, you have to buy these upgrades from
the village above ground, so until then, you have to think pretty critically about where
to go and remember where you are. It not only tests your resolve and willpower
to become a better explorer, but also helps you become more familiar with the layout of
this massive world. The health system was also pretty neat. You can normally take 5 hits before dying,
but you can gather…juice? I guess…from your enemies as you kill them
to restore some of your hit points that have been lost. This encourages you to be aggressive and face
your opposition head on to stock up on health juice, but it isn’t a get out of jail free
card either. You have to stand still as your health refills,
so you still need to learn the patterns of boss fights, otherwise you’ll just be a sitting duck. It’s a perfect balance of challenge and
forgiveness in both combat as well as platforming. If you die you go back to the previous save
bench so there’s certainly punishment for death, but there’s a lot of tools at your
disposal to survive as well as long as you’re resilient. If you haven’t had a chance to try out Hollow
Knight yet, it’s a must play. Next up let’s take a look at TumbleSeed. We’ve seen several creative roguelikes so
far this year, like Flinthook’s pirate ship slingfest or Dead Cell’s fast paced action,
but TumbleSeed doesn’t look like any other roguelikes I’ve played. Its minimalist art design drew me in, but
don’t be fooled, it is extremely difficult. Your simple goal as the chosen seed is to
get to the top of the mountain, but the basic gameplay is super unique. You control your seed by tilting the ground
left or right and rolling your way up the level, almost like those old Labryinth games. Pitfalls and enemies are scattered all throughout,
and it definitely takes some getting used to. You can switch between different seeds that
have special attributes, like the basic seed that plants checkpoints, one that grows spears
to protect you from attacks, or one that can restore your health, but all of these cost
crystals, the main currency of the game. You can even collect more crystals by switching
a seed as well, and this swap mentality of figuring out which seed to use based on my
next goal was probably the most satisfying part of the game. Balancing crystals, protection, and health
all the while making sure I have checkpoints so I don’t lose a ton of progress was equally
distressing and exciting. You even gain random powerups along the way,
like a seed that drops mines behind you or one that shoots out at enemies around you. Also, when you fall down a pit, it fills in
and becomes a new patch of soil, so that you don’t make the same mistake twice, which
is a nice touch. Learning the finesses of controlling the ground
might be the most difficult part, but it feels great when you squeeze through a really tight
section and narrowly avoid defeat – whew! Some of my favorite games are roguelite platformers,
but it was really nice to see TumbleSeed try something totally new for the genre and present
its goals in a straightforward, yet unconventional way. I talked briefly about Snake Pass in my Yooka-Laylee
video but it’s certainly worth diving a little deeper into. This game was nowhere on my radar upon release,
but it looked so cute, bright and vivid that I had to give it a whirl. I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game
that controls quite like Snake Pass. To move faster you have to slither left and
right like a real snake, and move up your head to reach ledges above you, but it gets complicated
pretty quickly as you start winding around bamboo chutes and climbing up lofty towers. To ensure you don’t fall off you have to
continuously wrap around objects, and you can tighten your grip by holding the left
trigger to keep your position as you think about your next move. It’s best to take your time and plan out
your actions carefully because it’s really easy to forget which button to press next
and fall down if you move too quickly. But I think where Snake Pass excels is in
its familiarity with collectathons. While it is more of a puzzler, I can’t help
but feel like it draws from the charm and cartoony detail of 3D platformers of years
past. You do collect bubbles, coins and gemstones,
but check it out, he makes faces at you when you press the d-pad buttons. It’s so cute! Not to mention David Wise composed the soundtrack
to really give it that nostalgic feel, almost like it’s directly out of Donkey Kong Country or something. In fact, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed
Snake Pass nearly as much if it wasn’t for these groovin’ tracks behind the gameplay. Finally, let’s talk about NieR: Automata. I’m not familiar with the series, but it
didn’t stop me from getting sucked in and having a blast destroying robots and uncovering
the mystery of YoRHa. The game is beautiful both visually and musically,
but what stood out to me most was its ability to never break immersion for the player. Everything you do in NieR has an in-game explanation
for that action, like saving your game is just your character connecting to the network
to upload their data. Your mission markers, map and other HUD items
are exactly that to 2B and 9S – what you see is what they see, and what you want to
accomplish is what they want to accomplish. In your 2nd playthrough, it retells the same
story but from the perspective of another character with a change of focus from hacking
and slashing to…well, just hacking. These sections are great variety and again
make perfect sense within the game world. But what I loved most about NieR: Automata
was how it incorporated leveling up and equipping abilities. Your character has a certain number of chip
slots that you can attach to various augmentations, like health or damage ups, but the elements
of your HUD are also chips that can be removed to free up more space for upgrades. So you can remove your map, health or any
information on screen if you want and instead pile up on skills and benefits to stand more
of a chance. You can even remove your OS chip, but it just
causes an automatic game over for obvious reasons. But I don’t know if I’ve seen another
game tackle upgrades in such a cool way – giving you the freedom to balance the game however
you’d like while also fitting directly into the story without breaking immersion. NieR is a blast to play and one of the most
unique gaming experiences I’ve ever had. I think it’s important to acknowledge games
that truly innovate because it’s easy to get bogged down by the same repetitive installments
over and over. These games and many others this year have
reminded me that there’s so much more that developers have yet to experiment with and
try out, and just when I think there’s nothing new under the sun, the truth is that the sky’s
the limit and we’ll continue to see impressive feats for years to come. Tell me your favorite video game innovation
so far of 2017, and let’s talk about why games are so cool in the comments below. Thanks for watching another episode of Good
Game Design, I’ll see you guys next time. Stay frosty my friends. Hey there! If you enjoy the Good Game Design series a
great to help out is to share this video with a friend. A genuine endorsement goes a long way and
I can’t thank you enough. If you feel like supporting the show, Patreon
is an excellent way to do so, and the best way to stay updated on all things snomaN Gaming
is on Twitter so be sure to follow me on there as well. Alright, I’m outta here, see ya!


  • Alen Starkly

    Cuphead! <3

  • Bartosz Skorupa

    Not surprised by lack of triple A games… not even surprised

  • Jakob Lenz

    tumbleseed is shit

  • Magikarpoon

    The health system reminds me of the Kali cup from Spelunky.

  • Altair Newgate

    Fight menu system in persona 5 just makes every fight smooth and enjoyable

  • Caleb Michael

    Night In The Woods

  • Sir Sic

    OK… maybe this isn't fair, but what is that you are wearing? I feel like I walked in on you just as you got out of bed…

  • Ninjacostar

    If anyone has time to check out how my game is coming along, here's the link. https://youtu.be/gNlcscdRz8g

  • Muhd Baihaki

    good tank top design sir

  • Enkeria

    I liked Dead Cells. Its Early Access, so dunno if I can call it 2017? But it was a good blend between a few genres. Being a Castlevania Symphony of the Night player, I enjoyed those nods in the game. Dead Cells and a few others will be played until Bloodstained Ritual of the Night is released.

    Some also liked an iOS and Android game called Million Onion Hotel.

  • 辻丸GT

    This is funny↓

  • Ruby Owo

    That's what happens in Hollow Knight

  • James Spencer

    I didn't really enjoy Nier Automota,but I may be a bit biased because my ex left me during the time I found out about the game and she told me it was great and shit and blah blah blah. Anyway I was expecting a hat in time to be on the list and stuff

  • Hatt Hanz

    dont make a video in a tank top ever again please. For your sake.

  • visioNz MKD

    you have no idea how much i wanna punch the guy from the udemy ad

  • Kaeporo

    Rain World's procedural animation and AI systems have incredible potential.

  • Cultural Politics 101

    For Hollow Knight, what innovation is he attributing to it? Castlevania Order of Ecclesia (2008) had a similar map system to Hollow Knight. Maybe he's referring to regenerating health? It seems he's looking at the total package. In truth, Hollow Knight is way overrated. This is a very vague list of innovations. Can someone name these 4 innovations?

  • NIIK

    Does a tank top need a breast pocket?

  • VivaValdez

    I don't think Mark Brown would ever wear a tank top… and not only because he comes from a rainy country 😉

  • arenkai

    NieR:Automata is a whirlwind of unhinged genius.
    The upgrade system is just the tip of the ice caps.

  • Jintaro Kensei

    None of these are innovations.

  • kiwichy !

    I have a game idea with the use of lightning and electricity where your character can change into a spark of lightning and can only turn into that if there's any metal (or other) objects nearby. I've created different character where you use their power differently (like sonic games I guess) and it would be cool if you could use every character at the final boss battle. I don't know how to make a game tho and I'm not old enough to be a game designer. But I enjoy this idea and already making a story based off of it 🙂

  • ‡ Gothic Croc ‡


  • Pascal Christ

    thx for the nier automata spoiler. rly? i m currently playing the game an you kinda ruined i nowt… at least give us a warning.

  • Prússico RKR

    Sonic mania
    I rest my case!

  • Samu Ramírez Lara


  • Daniil Pautkin


  • brego elly

    most favorite was hollow knight for sure, i rly dont know how it diddnt won from destiny……… stupid judges and their smeared money sold outs….. hollow knight was a game highly wanted for years as there was no follow up to super meat boy. nor a platformer with lore as its base design. hollow knight had it all, the deep lore, the stunning graphics, the amazing music, and the good old nostalgic difficulty

  • RAGman

    Hollow Knight is the very first metroidvania I've played since Super Metroid that doesn't cheapen it's exploration value with a GPS system. Even the legendary Metroid Prime series falls there, although the transition to 3d may warrant such a change given the complexity that third dimentsion can add to navigation. It's contemporary Metroid Fusion, however, as good and gorgeous as it is always felt so inferior compared to Super Metroid for me. I always hated the direction these games took when they decided to point out the general direction in which you have to go next. In both HN and SM It just felt so intuitive to simply carry on, opening exploration opportunities with legitimate Ah Ha! moments you discover yourself, rather than having a ping on your map insisting you just had to get to it.

    This also represents a challenge in terms of map design. Games like SM or HN feel far less linear as a consequence of not having to design around those checkpoints. It must be tricky to design a map that lets the persistent player to break through in an unconventional manner, while retaining an overall structure that doesn't allow him to just cheese through things. In SM I remember quite vividly a run I did, where I deliberately skipped key items like Space Jump. It made certain sections incredibly hard to go through, but I was stubborn enough to carry on and find my way by mastering techniques like bomb jumping. It's the sort of thing I rarely see in many games nowadays. Even HN hasn't managed to match that, yet it gets pretty damn close and remains my favorite release of 2017 for many other reasons.

  • austinbeige

    Hollow Knight is fucking brilliant.

  • le monke

    Its called 'soul' not juice

  • Colin Floss

    I hated hollow knights jump mechanic it felt unintuitive. It's hard to judge how long to hold jump for the platforming segments, which came off as less skill based and just straight up punishing and frustrating.

  • Steven Paul Doyle

    Breath of the Wild by far brought the best innovation to the table this year (or even these last few years), in my opinion.

  • Quintin Castro

    Hahahaha yah but is it a Minecraft shooting game

  • Sir Kibble

    4:01 look at all the times he died in just that screen

  • Cuda FX

    best mobile game in 2017: data wing. it's hard to overstate my satisfaction!
    it's free, so concider some kind words and a tip

  • Ramón Elbal Ruiz

    One game i really loved because of his design is none other than Fire Emblem Heroes.
    When it comes to bad design, most gachas are being pointed out as the elephants in the room, because of how many focal points they have in one screen as if you were walking through a mall and every single employee with fliers in the area tried to catch your attention at the same time. However, aside from being really forgiving in terms of freebies (you get freebies for almost everything) and rates, its design is what catched my eye because, for once, the buttons are easily recognizable and fit with the game's logo, the menus are really easy to navigate around and, most importantly, its way of displaying information is beautiful.

    In order to see your units' stats, you have two ways to do so: Either watch everything you need to know (except unit supports) about the unit in a compact way that looks like a ticket, (Like this old thing i had to dig out: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/328277632028508172/423760774301745183/Screenshot_20180315-093336.png ), which doesn't distract if you want to do other stuff like organising your barracks, inheriting skills, merging units (like the image shows) as it occupies a little space in the borders, and it's easy to look at since the icons are so recognisable you don't even need to see the name to know which skills they have. On the other hand, you can look at the character's full-screen profile, which is really clean and charming to look at (Like this more recent thing: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/336234027252187137/439714604998983690/Screenshot_20180428-110800.png ).

  • Decrosion

    Great video good selection

  • Liam Laurie Roswell

    NieR never breaks immersion? Clearly you didn't spend 15 hours revisiting the same five-ish areas for sidequests

  • Yonk

    E3 2018 brings Hollow Knight to the Switch. I'm here to feel 0% guilty for spending $20 of my trip savings on it :3

  • Jeff d

    Did he just say snake pass was good game design?…credibility lost.

  • Random Pigeon Boi

    "Pretty challenging difficulty" Team Cherry:"hold our beer" *releases path of pain and NKG*

  • J Rizz

    its not even 2017 idiot

  • Happi Axxident

    Im kinda forgetful. I mean, i forget stuff. Would be great if you listed the titles of these games in the description and/or put the name in a corner of a video. Thanks!

  • Moonsick

    2:04 S H A P E O F U N N

  • WigglyGull


  • ShaneJoshua1980

    Dude you look like Scotty from Boogie Nights.

  • Obama Pranks

    2018 we got crap

  • thecatinshoes

    I hate how hollow knight is underrated

  • Mike B

    Health juice lol … "soul"


    How does Hollow Knight not get its own video. It is probably the single greatest Metroidvania ever.

  • Gregorio Lobato

    I cant take this video serious whit that guy on a tank top.

  • Anonymous71475

    And then the save game sacrifice…

  • The Great Q Tip

    Another way Hollow Knight encourages aggressive play is the way boss staggers work. If you hit a boss a certain amount of times within a certain time limit, the boss will stagger, allowing you to heal or unleash a stronger attack when they’re vulnerable

  • AzureRathalos 97

    "And not a ubisoft game was ever seen"

  • Queen Yukari

    You know, the hilarity of calling it "Health Juice" is so funny I'm not even mad that you didnt know it was called "Soul" even tho it tells you that like 4 minutes into the game.

  • Jabba Blade

    Rain World!! (my favorite :D)

  • yeet yeet

    Game is easy 🅱🅰n 🅰 🅱ut🅾n

  • qinn1996

    Did you even play Hollow Knight for more than an hour? It's explained very early what that "juice" is. It's called SOUL. Actually that game needs the players to figure out story details by themselves and requires many hours to fully understand it and be able to recognize and appreciate its brilliance. Would be neat if you invested more time in the game, it's really, really good.

  • Zein Delic

    did you even play hollow knight it's not called health juice it's called SOUL it's all over the game how did you miss that

  • Haidernoioioid

    More hollow knight

  • lalalandd123

    "juice" headass

  • abhishek verma

    Hi ,This is a Learning Game that Im currently developing for Kids


    Please comment and validate.

  • Nate Hundred

    Mfw a YouTubers videos are so good I forget to subscribe

  • multi

    Multiplates is the best

  • Coca Surfboards


  • Coca Surfboards

    Thanks for the content!

  • Mr. Oddwell

    What's your thoughts on hohokum

  • Random Pigeon Boi

    Nier Automata never breaks immersion

    …until you fight the ceo's of sqare enix and platinum games.



  • starduck2


  • Im a bad

    I have hollow night
    not because of you but because it looked awesome

  • Fnargl

    i don't know if you know this but you are fat

  • eiennosenshi

    You have convinced me to give Snake Pass a try which I previously dismissed as uninteresting

  • Frank Smith

    Your disgusting body makes me want to stop playing video games forever.

  • Doom58

    When will you talk about arena fps?

  • That Kid Called AJ

    "Juice.. I guess?"
    They call it soul in game.
    Just lettin' yah know.

  • Random Pigeon Boi

    "Pretty challenging difficulty"

    Hello good sir, do you have a momen to talk about the path of pain?

  • Evan Willem

    It’s 2019


    If possible
    Could you try it

  • Charles Ex

    could you list the games you feature in the description? I didn't catch the name of the seed game

  • dash.red

    Next time, ask your wife what shirt to wear. 🤢

  • Misudenshi

    2019- SILKSONG

  • Elis Romin

    when someone says hollow knight is Pretty defficult i don't belive they played godmaster or the grimm troupe

  • Ayden McLane

    Horizon Zero Dawn is my fav.

  • EDJ Development or Game Masters

    have you played terraria

  • Haidernoioioid

    Cover hollow knight or hyper light drifter plzzzzzzzzzz

  • This name triggers you

    No offense, but please.. don't wear a tank top.

  • The Crimson Axe

    I played hollow knight on PC. I didn't like it, but I guess I should play it on console. I love 2D platformers, but hate feeling lost. I just can't enjoy it. Also, the controls are horrible on PC. Do not.

  • labrador7373

    Ugh, Do yourself a favor and dress differently

  • JeanPowerson

    Speaking about gaming innovation I recently created my own game where I tried to bend traditional rules which old school games used to have. If anyone wants 2 try it out and let me know what their experience was I would really appreciate it 🙂 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSchHLx4a6x4AU2YNeqbnHkfwOvRUJ1UoE4Tl8HE-bqV3gqFgg/viewform?fbclid=IwAR3quM66zKGr35_VsJ6fx5MS144r-sjeiU5TLjmI4kMt6aea3h1RQWjniK8

  • Hank McHjanklund

    did you forget the 2017 design innovation of sleeves?

  • Firebird Don

    Yesssss, you talked about Hollow Knight!

  • Adam Senzai

    Steel thy nail!

  • Trashy Polar Bear


  • Ben Mackinnon

    its rich you giving a critique of a game when you don't even know what the name of the second most basic ability. (its not "bug juice" its Soul and the game basically shouts it out at you during the tutorial)

  • Drogirani Oro

    _______. _______
    |. |. |. |
    |. |. |. |
    |_______|. |_______|
    |. |
    |. |
    _____ | ________|

  • Fynn Picco

    My favorite by now is the hollow Knight Map System

    I actually pushed myself away from using the map markers, a specially the one that marks your location because I'm having so much fun navigating the Map

    Hollow Knight is easily my favorite jump and run and my favorite game in general (overlooking Undertale which is just a whole Level above all other Games)

  • Manuel Dias

    Seriously, health juice?😒

  • Nelson Sham

    Nier Automata indeed is precious, and I think 2017 Indie games did done something the AAA companies was able to do in the past but now they are just greedy over enjoyment from videogames, and I discover Hollow Knight later in the beggining of 2019, god damn it I thought it was a 2018-2019 game but it isn't, another masterpiece of 2017, a hidden gem, sadly is not too popular when it comes out, their devs are magicians, they indeed know how a videogame works, and jesus, 15 bucks, a huge content base game plus 4 free DLC… that's a crime, feels like robbing them with that price… thought the game is hard cuz I never play any Metrovania games and my fingers are too dumb to play it smoothly, but damn everything ingame feels good, is that kind of game that you need to learn instead of brainless tanking, that's good… I can sum it up, is not just a game, but a piece of art, I can consider it my favoite game of all times lol


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