It is ridiculous how good 2012 has been for video games already. There has been a real variety of awesome AAA titles and indie games. One games that really sticks out is Dustforce.
Dustforce is a 2D platformer focused around sweeping up the leaves in a level in the shortest amount of time possible. It's very fast paced and looks gorgeous.
Made by Hitbox Team, the game has eye-popping visuals. I really love the style the developers went for in the game. I feel like it may have been a risk, but they definitely nailed it. The environments are varied in setting, so each new level is just as exciting as the last.
The player controls a janitor with a broom, able to sweep and launch attacks at leaf enemies. There is the option to choose from four different characters. There is also the option to play local co-op. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to play with anyone else so I can't elaborate on it any more than simply saying it is there. I do wish there was online co-op, but beggars can't be choosers.
There is definitely a learning curve when playing the game. The first level is a quick tutorial that explains all of the controls and the mechanics. The first true level is a downhill slalom and is relatively short. Every level from there on out is much longer and more difficult. Each level has it's own leaderboard, showing the top times from Steam users and friends. Completing levels grants the player a score based upon style, leaves cleaned, and time. This greatly adds to the replay value, increasing the incentive to replay levels. Speaking of replaying levels, there is also a really nifty replay viewer in the game. Being able to watch an S rank run is just awesome.
My favorite part of the game so far has been the music. It's just an amazing mix of ambient, electronic, and 8-bit music. The artist is Lifeformed, and you can find the whole soundtrack on Bandcamp for $3.99. It's 15 great tracks. I listen to it while driving, relaxing, and working. It's just great for so many different occasions.
My only knock on the game would be the controls. At times, I feel that I am fighting the game's controls. With some mechanics being more complicated than others, like running up walls and upside on ceilings, I feel the gameplay should be smooth and fluid. It takes some getting used to, but I definitely think the controls could be improved.
Overall, I really have been enjoying Dustforce. It's a fun game with impressive aesthetics and great music.