And with this list, 2022 has come to a close. I just covered the top 10 WORST games of the year earlier this week and now it is time to do the reverse and give you all my top 10 BEST games of the year. I played just over 200 games this year, so I had a lot to choose from, but managed to bring it down to just these 10 plus some honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention 1: DRAINUS
Team Ladybug, the studio behind fan favorites Touhou Luna Nights and Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, decided to drop their usual metroidvania style and instead tackle the shoot ‘em up genre and wow did they do a great job with that change. DRAINUS is fast, flashy, has a ton of customization options to choose from, and sets itself apart from others in the genre through its unique bullet absorbing feature. Phasing through enemy attacks and managing your guard meter is part of the experience and it’s such a breath of fresh air in this genre that I just had to include it in my list.
Honorable Mention 2: Lunistice
Reminiscent of the 32 and 64 bit platformers of old, Lunistice was hands down one of the best platformers I played all year. It oozes that nostalgic charm of games from that era, including everything from the level design, to the blocky, yet cute aesthetic, the charming music, the variety of areas offered – it made me feel like a kid discovering gaming for the first time again. It’s only about two hours long, but those were some incredibly fun two hours and I would highly recommend this game to any platformer fan.
Honorable Mention 3: Monster Hunter Rise
Finally now on PC, Monster Hunter Rise is an all-around fun action RPG with a very defined game loop and a literal mountain of stuff to customize. The combat is heavy and satisfying and although the learning curve is a bit steep, it’s fun to power through with some friends and the addition of new features like the wirebug offer up some nice quality of life changes to the traditional formula too. That and Capcom actually did a really solid job with the PC port, the game runs buttery smooth and looks far better than what we got on the Switch.
10. Metal: Hellsinger
I’m really liking this trend of rhythm-based first-person shooters and Metal: Hellsinger is the best example of that combo yet. You shoot, reload, and move to the music – which given the Hell setting, is metal of course and the gameplay is fast, fun, and incredibly satisfying once you get into the rhythm. The enemy designs are varied, the studio did a great job with the hellish aesthetic, and even as someone that generally doesn’t listen to metal all that much, I kinda liked the music here. It’s just an incredible passion project all the way through and I struggled to really find anything to complain about.
9. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
So this one was a bit of a surprise drop on PC, but I can’t say that I’m complaining. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax takes what makes Persona great and somehow turns that into one of the best fighting games I’ve played all year. The gameplay is solid, there are a ton of cool characters to choose from, the mechanics are all incredibly polished – it’s just another fun Arc Systems Work release all around and although the story may have been lost on me given I have yet to play Persona 4, this is definitely a fighting game I will be returning to from time to time.
8. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+
The mega popular Project DIVA series finally made its debut on PC this year and it was definitely a pleasant surprise. I am big into rhythm games and Mega Mix+ offered all of that and more: polished and fun gameplay, a literal mountain of customization options, top-tier vocaloid music spread across a variety of different genres, and there’s even an active modding scene. It’s easily the best rhythm game to come out all year and is one that has become a regular play on my Steam Deck.
7. Hard West 2
Hard West 2 really surprised me. It was a sequel to a game I never played, had very little marketing, and was released to mixed reception – at least, at the time. With that in mind, I went in with tempered expectations, and was pleasantly surprised to find a fairly fleshed out turn-based tactics game complete with a full cast of characters with their own unique abilities, a large game world to explore with a variety of fun levels, and some really fun mechanics that I wish other tactics games would steal – such as the chain kill combo system. That and the weird west setting is always interesting – it’s an easy recommendation for tactics fans.
6. Nobody Saves the World
The studio that brought us Guacamelee! popped out of nowhere earlier this year to give us one of the best co-op experiences of 2022. Nobody Saves the World is basically what you would get if you took something like Shantae and turned it into a top-down hack and slash adventure. The combat is fun and has plenty of depth, quests actually do something unique and don’t just have you running to and from, the music is solid, and the art is colorful and has plenty of detail. It’s just a well-crafted overall experience, one that kept my friend and I entertained for many hours.
5. We Were Here Forever
We go from one co-op game to another, but this time a full-blown first-person puzzle adventure. The fourth in the series, We Were Here Forever continues to up the bar for the genre, including far more creative and complex puzzles and a massive map to explore. It’s nearly double the length of its predecessor and manages to maintain that same level of quality throughout, being difficult, but not outright unfair. It was just a lot of fun seeing what unique puzzles the game would come up with next and playing through it with a friend was easily one of the best gaming memories I’ve had all year.
4. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream
I have played far too many of these games for my own good and recently this series has been kinda on the decline. So imagine my surprise when Sophie 2 comes out and not only salvages the series, but breathes new life into it and cements itself as the best in the series thus far. The game combines the elements that make the older Atelier games fun with the recent advancements made in Ryza, staying true to the classic turn-based combat system, but with that insanely in-depth crafting system and a story that is actually not terrible for once. This game is just so light and fluffy I love it.
Tinykin is easily the best platformer to come out all year. With its Pikmin-style gameplay, large and diverse environments, and charming aesthetic to wrap it all together, I went in with pretty much no expectations and somehow powered through it in just one sitting – it was that good. The game does a great job building on its mechanics with the new Tinykin types, unlocking new areas for you to explore in both new levels and allowing you to reach previously unattainable areas in previous ones. There is a literal mountain of collectibles to find in each level and it was honestly kinda nostalgic for me, reminiscent of all the 3D platformers I would play nearly two decades ago.
2. Overwatch 2
So yeah, this might be a bit of a controversial one. On one hand, the game’s monetization system is actually garbage and Blizzard deserves all the hate for that, but on the other – as someone that literally doesn’t care about cosmetics and just straight-up ignores the battle pass and the XP missions and all that – Overwatch 2 has been a lot of fun. Although a bit of a glorified update to the first Overwatch, the changes they made really reignited my love for this game. The 5v5 matches, most of the heroes playing completely different than how they used to, all the new maps and other additions – it’s been incredibly addicting as of late and hopping into competitive with my friends and spending literal hours ranking up has been one of my gaming highlights of the year.
1. Elden Ring
So yeah, a bit of a mainstream pick this year, but I gotta say, as someone that hasn’t really played the Souls series outside of the very first game, I had a tremendous amount of fun playing through Elden Ring. Something about the large, open world with all of its little secrets, the combat with so, so many customization options that you can play through the game a dozen times and still have a new style to check out, and the sheer variety of enemies, bosses, and environments on offer here. It is an absolutely massive game and if not for Overwatch 2, probably would have been my most played this year simply because there was so much to do. That rush you get when you finally take down the boss, that sense of wonder when you step into a new area of the map, or that literal fear when you walk through a door and run into some massive new enemy – it’s one of the best games I have played in years and easily my personal game of the year.
That pretty much wraps up 2022! I may not have played quite as much as last year, but we had some absolutely solid picks to choose from this year, including everything from these little indie platformers to the full-blown AAA open-world experience that is Elden Ring. Anyways, thanks for reading. I’ll be working on my Elden Ring review and am aiming to get that out in the near future, so do be on the lookout for that.