2022 is pretty much done and dusted, and in terms of video games, it was a good one. Sure, there weren’t too many great AAA blockbuster games, but if you look beyond that very narrow scope, there was plenty of great stuff to be found. By my count, I have played roughly 57 games released this year, not including the game I invented, which is called ‘Hey Lucas, don’t forget to update your spreadsheet before you forget what you have played’ (this is why I say roughly).
What I thought I’d do to end the year, instead of a personal GOTY list, is to give a quick rundown of 50 of the games that I played, because round numbers are always better. It is my hope that you might find something new to play early in 2023, before all the big releases that were supposed to come out this year arrive. It’s a mixed bag here, from tiny Itch games to the biggest games of the year, with a healthy dose of games I reviewed for SUPERJUMP. Happy New Year, readers.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration
Nominally a retro game collection, but better thought of as an excellently presented and thorough interactive documentary. A Gold standard for retro collections.
Baba Is You Xtreme
A free spin-off of the ingenious puzzle game Baba Is You. Think of it as an expansion pack of sorts.
Ah, Bayonetta, how I missed your completely bonkers brand of character action game. If only this game had more horsepower to work with.
An engrossing narrative-focused RPG that wears its tabletop roots on its sleeve. An open-ended exploration of capitalism and disability, set in an abandoned space station.
Cursed to Golf
A roguelike side-scrolling golf game that plays like a precision platformer - and it’s as tough and punishing as one, too.
As I’ve said previously, Dadish is an unspectacular but very solid series of platformers. Dadish 3 is harder and not as tight, but still decent.
El Paso, Nightmare
This is a short but satisfying horror FPS that also serves as a preview of the upcoming El Paso, Elsewhere.
Fromsoft nailed the open-world Souls game first go, and it’s (relatively) newcomer friendly, too. Will likely win most GOTY awards.
A short and sweet parody JRPG that successfully tows the fine line between poking fun at JRPG tropes and reverence for the genre.
Frog Detective 3
The comedy-adventure trilogy concludes with its biggest and best entry. A must for fans of comedy and/or short narrative games.
An action-heavy sci-fi Metroidvania that might temporarily satiate your craving for more Hollow Knight while you patiently wait for Silksong to release.
It’s really been a banner year for roguelike golf games. This one is 3D minigolf with a bit of deckbuilding thrown in.
A meaty roguelike deckbuilder that’s flexible enough to be great for newcomers and established fans of the genre who want a challenge.
Into the Breach: Advanced Edition
An expanded version of the brilliant chess-like turn-based strategy game. It’s great for strategy game novices and free for existing owners.
Kao the Kangaroo
Are you nostalgic for the time there were a million mascot 3D platformers? Let Kao scratch that itch with his boxing gloves.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby makes a hugely successful leap into 3D. A breezy and highly entertaining adventure where mouthful mode never stops being funny.
Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series
A remaster of a pair of PS1/early-PS2-era platformers. A combination of pretty 3D environments with unique side-scrolling platforming.
Live a Live
A unique JRPG that has finally (officially) made it to the West. This remake consists of a series of entertaining vignettes that span genres.
A very good entry in the spate of retro 3D platformers. This one takes cues from PS1/Sega Saturn games and has great, fluid movement.
Mario and Rabbits: Sparks of Hope
'The sequel to the turn-based strategy game where Mario and Rabbids have guns is predictably great’... which isn’t a sentence I thought I’d have to say.
The best card game to come out this year. Each game lasts only a few minutes and there's heaps of variety as well as tactical depth.
Ten years on, the slapstick comedy of McPixel is as daft and hilarious as ever. McPixel 3 is bigger and more varied than the original.
Fun and frantic first-person platformer that’s catnip for speedrunners and even friendly to those prone to motion sickness (i.e. me) in the first half.
A beefy roguelike boomer shooter with more mechanics, minigames and content than you can shake a (boom)stick at.
Nobody Saves the World
A grindy but great action RPG that sees your character transform into many fun and varied forms, as well as mix-and-match abilities.
A haunting, fantastically written point-and-click adventure set in a dilapidated sci-fi rendition of Louisiana. Another must for narrative-heavy game fans.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon finally reinvents the wheel with this excellent Monster Hunter-esque take on the franchise. A breath of fresh air for Pokémon fans.
Pokémon doesn’t reinvent the wheel, unless reinventing the wheel means having way more bugs than previous games. The game does feature excellent Pokémon designs this time around, though.
An outstanding entry in the boomer shooter oeuvre that mixes old-school styling with modern visual tech, leading to satisfying and gory results.
Return to Monkey Island
Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space (Remaster)
The Telltale Sam & Max games are still comedy game classics. Can someone please give Skunkape Games a big bag of money to make new ones?
Do you like Myst? How about HR Giger? If so, I have the game for you, provided you don’t mind a bit of dodgy shooting combat.
Scotty Goes To Centrelink
A short satire about outgoing Australian PM and all-around garbage human being Scott Morrison.
A winning combination of strong, beautifully presented narrative and 3D platforming. It tackles big topics such as COVID and climate change in interesting ways.
Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate
It’s chess but you only have a king, and he has a shotgun. A funny premise hides an engaging turn-based strategy game.
Shovel Knight Dig
Another successful roguelike spin-off of Shovel Knight, this time a Mr Driller-inspired puzzle-platformer. Plenty of solid game here to dig through.
Sniper Elite 5
The latest entry in the Nazi skull and scrotum exploding simulator. The huge, open maps suit the stealth sniper action very well.
A neat little block-pushing puzzle game with ancient Greece-inspired visuals.
Some of the best 3D Sonic gameplay in ages is mixed in with a muddled open-world structure and middling combat.
Spirit Hunters: Infinite Horde
One of the better games to pop up in Vampire Survival’s wake. Not quite on the same level but still easy to sink hours into.
A (mostly) chill cross between a deckbuilding roguelike and a city builder. There’s plenty of depth in this small package.
The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
A reimagining/sequel of The Stanley Parable that tackles the nature of remakes and the legacy of the original game.
An exploration-based 3D platformer with equal inspiration from Pikmin, Banjo-Kazooie, and Toy Story. It’s a real joy to traverse the world of Tinykin.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
An old-school beat ‘em up that aims to be like the classics of the genre and succeeds. Like most beat ‘em ups, better with friends.
Another 3D platformer (they’re having a renaissance), this one is more a twin-stick shooter than a platformer, but it’s a quality shooter.
A solid, precision-based 2D platformer with a cool gameplay gimmick (three variations on each level) but an ordinary narrative.
A Zelda-esque adventure that adds an intriguing extra layer by making the player piece together the game’s instruction manual as they play.
Reverse bullet hell, survival action roguelike - whatever you call it, it’s a game that launched a new genre. Believe the hype on this one.
An excellent narrative adventure set on an Australian airship converted into a hospital for the elderly. Warm and endearing story with memorable characters.
20 Minutes Till Dawn
Another Vampire Survivors-like, this one doesn’t have automatically firing weapons, so it’s more like a twin-stick shooter, which sets it apart.
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