Editors Pick. The Top 10 of 2022.
*This article first appeared on Offshoregamecast.com as part of their 2022 goty collection*
There’s been a constant dreary mumble of complaints about 2022, saying it’s been a quiet one on the games front. While there has been a couple of notable delays (Starfield) which leaves the AAA field looking a little baron, to say it’s been a quiet year might say more about the gamer than the games. I’ve never felt shy a new game to play. My backlog is overloaded. So here is my top ten of 2022. It might surprise some to see, or not see, some of the AAA games we did get this year on this list. Some just aren’t for me, but hopefully, this might shine some light on the games released this year that weren’t held up as highly that deserve your attention.
10: Vampire Survivors
Ok, this one has taken Twitter by storm. To the point it seems like a meme. How can a game that looks like...that... really be worthy of a GOTY suggestion. Well, if you’re questioning this, I can only assume you haven’t played it.
When this dropped on Game Pass, I wrote it off as one of the many I just won’t have time to dive into. It looks like hot garbage in every screenshot on the store. But with the peer pressure of some reliable accounts on Twitter insisting it’s good, I fired it up on the cloud and by God what a gem it is.
Besides telling you it’s super fun, fairly addictive, and quite unique, there’s not a great deal I can say about it other than give it a go. The gameplay sells itself. Just play a couple of rounds and I’m sure you’ll be bloodthirsty for more.
9: TNMT Shredders Revenge
A fantastic old-school side-scrolling beat 'em up but with modern quality of life improvements. Shredder's Revenge can be smashed out in an afternoon, best played with a friend. There are times I found myself looking at the wrong turtle and yet through button bashing still seemed to do just fine. It’s a colourful fever dream of turtle power with one of the best soundtracks released this year. including a final boss fight scored by with members of Wu-Tang Clan in an exhilarating nostalgia trip that will have you reaching for the sunny delight and pogs.
Fox Zelda, or Tunic, appealed to me for its comforting art style and adorable protagonist. It did not appeal to me for its hard-as-nails combat. But alas I gave it a go anyway, thanks Game Pass. And despite getting my ass kicked repeatedly, I’m glad I persisted. Once you start to pick up upgrades it does become more forgiving, or at least for the mobs.
The thing that makes this most special is, strangely enough, the instruction manual. Written in pure gibberish it at first feels like it’s telling you nothing at all. But eventually, the madness starts to show method.
I’m yet to complete the game, though I’m proud of how far I got. These difficult games usually aren’t for me, I never even made it past the first boss in Elden Ring, I don’t enjoy the attempt-die-repeat style of video game. But Tunic almost breaks through this reluctance for me. Almost, in that, I’ve had my money's worth of Fox Souls, but I don’t imagine I’ll ever complete it. Still, fantastic game.
Speaking of games that usually don’t do it for me. Signalis is a
Speaking of games that usually don’t do it for me. Signalis makes my list despite being a survival horror. Truth be told it’s not particularly scary. And the combat is mostly avoidable. I did play it on story mode as that’s what piqued my interest in this, the story.
Or really, I should say world-building. There is a story you follow but it’s purposefully confusing. The world itself is told through documents you read and posters on the walls, and it’s fascinating. Or it is for a sci-fi nerd like me.
It’s a good mix of resident evil style puzzle locks and resource management which kept me challenged steadily the whole way down. I wrote a full review for this one here. Check it, and the game, out.
6: Ni No Kuni
This is a fresh port rather than a new game, but as it has never graced the Xbox system before, I’m counting it.
JRPGs often don’t appeal to me, the turn-based combat which many have, and the convoluted storylines turn me off. Ni No Kuni on the other hand feels more like living a child’s adventure with simple real-time fighting. The art provided by Studio Ghibli helps of course with this feeling and is a delight to be immersed in. Everything about this game is charming.
5: Two Point Campus
These games are perfect time sinks for me, dangerously so. I can plug away days into a tycoon game without remembering it’s time to eat. But recent games such as Zoo Tycoon seem to have simplified things to the point of boredom. Seeing premade enclosures up and... that’s it. Two-point campus gives me the freedom to set up rooms how I want them and allows me to make the students' life a living hell... if I so wish it.
As it goes, I actually ran a fantastic campus. A variety of interesting school types and interesting activities you can arrange for your students. It’s easy to lose track of life when trying to micromanage you worst students’ grades, so just remember to take breaks, for showers at the very least.
I’ve never played Pikmen. Though I’m told that’s what Tinykin is. If that’s the case Nintendo should be happy for the knock-off Pikmen clone that is Tinykin as it’s made me want to play Pikmen. A cute platformer played as a tiny lad collecting useful motes to help you solve puzzles. You’re in a normal-sized house, but you’re small even among the bugs who inhabit it.
The writing is enjoyable, with the bugs having developed strange religious beliefs based on artefacts left behind by the human who once occupied the house. A mystery of where their God has disappeared to, and where the song heard by only the shield bugs is coming from.
If you have a spare Sunday, I’d highly recommend smashing Tinykin out and I really hope we get a sequel.
3: Weird West
These next two games frankly are on par, so please consider this a joint 2. Weird West drops you in the shoes of a few different residents of cowboy times. Starting as an ex-bounty hunter who digs up her old guns after burying her child. On the path for revenge.
The combat is fun and full of dives. The story is mysterious and occult. And the world is ‘what if cowboys but monsters’. Plus, I get to play as a pigman, dream come true.
There’s been a lot of updates since I last dived in which I’m yet to check out, so this great game may have become even better since.
2: Sniper Elite 5
I do feel like I might be cheating out some more clever games by putting SE5 in such a high spot. But the heart wants what it wants. It’s a first-person shooter with a focus on stealthily setting up shots on your target. It does, however, beat many stealth-focused games for me by making the stealth optional.
So, I do try, I really do, I try to be the sneaky sniper I know it wants to be. But when shit hits the fan it’s good to know I can rely on going full Call of Duty on those Nazi bastards. A typical round for me starts off sneaking through a few sections, taking only the shots I need to. Then getting myself trapped in a situation where I need to clear the path with no restraint and ends with a map full of corpses and me hunting down every last Nazi I can.
The only critique I have, the story features a Nazi program called Kraken. For this not to turn out to be a giant octo-mech was bitterly disappointing. Next Sniper Elite game, please go balls to the walls.
My game of the year was released a couple of years ago, but only in pre-release. It still feels a little cheeky having it GOTY now. But then it wasn’t allowed when I first started playing it, and it truly deserves the recognition.
It’s another survival-building game, but this time you’re making forts out of grass stems and clover leaves. It’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids the game. Except with pant browningly terrifying co-residents of your garden.
I loved building forts as a kid, I think we all did. This gives me the perfect experience for doing so in a way that feels relatable. Sure, I’ve never been shrunk down to the size of an ant. But I have built myself bases in trees when I was the size of a hobbit.
There’s more to the game than just free construction. There’s now a plot line and lots of hidden areas that I’m still yet to uncover. It’s a great game to play with friends. Though my part in the team is the master builder. There’s plenty going on, but this next forward operating base on a lily pad isn’t going to build itself.