Top Games of 2022

Our second full year into a new generation of consoles and I look back at how much or how little that shaped what I’ve been playing. Probably the biggest change was reviving my Steam Deck which opened up a world of PC games, demos and great deals on discounted games. With that in mind here are my 10 personal favourite games released in 2022, with honourable mentions (in a rough reverse chronological order):

  • Buttefly Soup 2
  • Sonic Frontiers
  • Rogue Legacy 2
  • The Quarry
  • Stray
  • Echoic Memory
  • Elden Ring
  • White Water Whipeout
  • Tunic
  • Far: Changing Tides

Note: I’ll be back to fill in some details about each game soon.

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Now for my 10 favourite games that I played in 2022, released in any year (except 2022, as with last year I will leave out games last year to avoid crossover with my previous list). Once again this was a very difficult list to compile thanks to all the great games I played this year. As usual, this is also in rough reverse chronological order.

  • Solar Ash
  • Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
  • Hollow Knight
  • Dorfromantik
  • Sonic Mania
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  • Inscryption
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Life is Strange True Colors
  • Returnal

Honourable mentions:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Welcome to Elk
  • Forza Horizon 5

Here’s my Top 10 games i played this year. Not in any order and proper write up for them later. Actually pleased with myself thatvsome were actually released in 2022!

Civ 6
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Kirby and the forgotten Kingdom
Sonic Frontiers
Pokemon Legends Arceus
Ghosts of Tsushima
Sonic Triple Trouble 16bit
Fell Seal Arbiters Mark
No more Heroes III
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond


My Top 10 Released in 2022

  1. Sonic Frontiers
    The Sonic Adventure successor I’ve been waiting decades to play!
  2. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
    Possibly the biggest leap forward in quality for the pink puffball since Kirby’s Adventure!
  3. Tinykin
    Start with Pikmin, take away everything boring or stressful, add in some collectathon platforming, and you’ve got a recipe for a game I’ll gladly 100%!
  4. Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series
    A far more approachable version of an important but consistently underrated franchise.
  5. Lil Gator Game
    Nothing but joyful exploration and chill vibes from start to finish.
  6. E Y E L A N D
    A simple and straightforward but consistently well executed little adventure, my personal favorite experience on the Playdate.
  7. Sonic and the Fallen Star
    A beautiful fan project that far exceeds most official attempts at recapturing Sonic’s 2-D glory.
  8. Cult of the Lamb
    I tolerated roguelike dungeons because the gameplay loop and presentation were just that good!
  9. Lunistice
    A throwback 32-bit-esque platformer that punches far above its weight when it comes to its controls.
  10. Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County
    The thrilling conclusion to one of my favorite feel-good indie game series.

Honorable Mentions: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-Bit, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Say No! More

My Top 10 Played in 2022 (Released Earlier)

  1. Sable (2021)
    A thoroughly addictive adventure that’s a sensory treat from start to finish.
  2. The Pathless (2020)
    The plateaus of this game were truly a delight to traverse and explore.
  3. Mass Effect Legendary Edition (2021)
    An unrivaled achievement in continuous video game storytelling I’m thankful to have finally experienced.
  4. Mutazione (2019)
    Some of the best writing in games I’ve ever personally experienced: I miss these characters already!
  5. Lost in Random (2021)
    Wonderful 3-D realization of Klaus Lyngeled’s art direction, with a unique combat mechanic that really grew on me.
  6. Rayman Redemption (2020)
    A fan project that makes up for Ubisoft’s apparent disinterest in their own legacy, and does so with style and gusto.
  7. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (2021)
    This Zelda-like was never afraid to be silly, which kept me fully on board from start to finish.
  8. Grandia II (2000)
    Possibly my favorite JRPG combat of all time, and a wonderful excuse to play an epic game on my Dreamcast.
  9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
    Probably my favorite Star Wars game, a wonderful precursor to Mass Effect that earns its reputation.
  10. Metroid Dread (2021)
    It’s wonderful to get a new 2-D Metroid adventure this thoughtful and polished. Its conclusion will stick with me for a long time.

Honorable Mentions: The Munchables (2009), Kirby’s Return to Dreamland (2011), Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019), Carto (2020)


Ok, so here’s my actual write-up. It’s trash and rushed because life doesn’t let me sit down and just concentrate on one thing for very long. Anyway, here ya go. I’ve actually gone for a Top 9, as my number 10 game wasn’t actually any good! Again, life not letting me play enough, but it is what it is. My gaming related new year’s resolution is to play shorter games so I don’t end up bogged down in a big epic like Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for months (as great as that game was).

My Top 9 games played this year are;

#9: No More Heroes 3
Travis is back again and all the over-the-top nonsense that I loved is here too. It’s bold and garish and has attitude. And it’s a bit fiendish too, with a tough difficulty level. Easy mode could have done with not just making you practically invincible do you can just enjoy the story too. It needed something in between. Anyway, great to see a game just let loose and not take itself too seriously.

#8: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit
I did not get on with the original on GameGear, but this remake in the 16-bit classic engine is very solid. It’s amazing what a change of physics engine can do for a game. A heck of a lot of work clearly went into this. You would expect more rough edges for a fan remake, but everything learned from Mania has clearly upped the community’s game! I’ve got Sonic and the Fallen Star ready to play next year.

#7: Fell Seal: Arbiters Mark
I’ve been playing Fell Seal on and off since the first COVID lockdown. I was looking for something to fill the Fire Emblem hole in my life. It doesn’t look the best but the gameplay is solid and has more depth than initially obvious. It got a bit grindy towards the end, but the level of customisation keeps things fresh and the cast and story isn’t unlikeable.

#6: Ghost of Tsushima
I very stylish game with cool combat and a well told story. I’ve been pondering the comparisons to the open world Assassin’s Creed games and while it has some of the things that make those kinds of games a bit tedious, like long bouts of trekking around, the environment is what makes it worth the trip and Ghost of Tsushima is a great world to be immersed in.

#5: Pokemon Legends
Another far from perfectly executed game, but there are a number of positive changes here and it’s great to see Game Freak free to experiment a bit. The updates to catching and exploring as well as battling made this feel like a refreshed Pokemon outing. I really hope they incorporate more of what they did here in future mainline games. Games that hopefully have more time then was given to Violet and Scarlet (although I haven’t played those enough to put those on any list yet. It’ll be my Jan 23 game!).

#4: Sonic Frontiers
It’s got its issues, but they finally fixed some of the biggest problems with 3D Sonic and my goodness I hope they stick with this formula and perfect it, preferably in Sonic’s actual world. And it really wasn’t so hard in the end was it? Give Sonic a big area to explore, remove bottomless pits, slow Sonic down just enough so there’s some actual control and a chance of seeing danger before you run face first into it! But maintain a boost button that allows you to confidently cruise along and feel the rush, without making it so necessary that you have to use it when you don’t want to. There is jank, but Frontiers is so much better than Forces in every way.

#3: Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby was just a delight to be in. Everything is so upbeat. And what a great debut in 3D! I like the fact there’s some challenge vs some of the previous 2D games. But the best part was playing in co-op with the Mrs. Her ladyship took charge of Kirby throughout and I was actually a little bit proud when she beat that final boss sequence!

#2: Xenoblade Chronicles 3
An epic adventure of gargantuan proportions from a developer at the peak of their powers. I enjoyed the story and the characters had more charm than XC2. Do I like this more than the original game? Debatable, as that was something special too, but the technical execution, and scope and vision, the roaring soundtrack. I found this hard to fault.

#1: Civ VI
What a wonderful surprise. I bought this on a whim at the start of the year in a Switch sale. I didn’t think it would be my kind of game but boy was a wrong. Civ consumed me. It’s got so much depth. Carefully planning each step, watching the fallout and repeating, hour after hour. I found myself planning in bed, before I sleep. I watched videos on YouTube. Man, do I wish I had more hours in the day. Discovering a whole new series or genre you didn’t know you’d love is such a rarity.


I’m replaying Ghost of Tsushima now, so good!

I will definitely be playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3 at some point.


Without a huge “personal discovery” like PLATO last year, this year was mostly characterized with a growing appreciation for arcade games; the reaffirmation that I will always prefer platformers and action-adventures; and the discovery of a surprising aversion to early CRPGs after the 70s ones I played last year (namely the mainframe computer ones). I think I will start to re-love RPGs as I enter the JRPG era. I am so excited for 2023 backlog though: I am finally at the NES and MSX era that I know I love (from the start of this project when I thought NES was start of post-Atari console gaming ha smh). Much of 2022’s backlog felt trudging, 1982-4 felt like they’d never end, especially since the initial excitement of 70s text adventures from last year lost its allure. But there were some definite highlights along the way.

Since I played, uh, no games released in 2022, this is indeed a list of games I played in 2022, regardless of release year. Mine is in order of most important/favorite though of course that’s dubious to an extent. In many ways the top ones are ones that I consider the best and ones I can actually readily just play (e.g., without abusing savestates or using cheats or getting overly frustrated, because I’m not a particularly good gamer). But also the top ones are ones that are most important, most harkening to my upcoming favorite era of NES-through-the-PS2, most underrated despite the obvious ties to great respected series like Zelda, and the most changing for me with getting me to fully engage in new genres like arcade action, shoot em ups, and text adventures.

The links for each title leads to my specific review of them for more in-depth info on my playthroughs and screenshots.

  1. Moon Patrol (MAME & Arcade, 1982) - This one took a bit. I knew I loved it, but saw it as a 4 star great arcade game. Even my review reflects this–I kept adding more and more. I thought I couldn’t get to the end without abusing savestates. But this has a Continue function (so amazing for its era), and it had an allure that kept bringing me back. So, it kept climbing in my love. Then I found out my stepdad loved the game too and bought an arcade machine that includes it. Then, to top it off, I found out my local video arcade had the original machine too! I played through it in all 3 formats, tho I can’t claim to have gotten through the Challenge versions–but that only adds to my love and the Feel of this game. The Continue function, the Look, the addicting Play–all bring me back over and over. It’s a new forever, that I know I will play with my nephew, with my stepdad, by myself at the arcade, and eventually do a true 100% Completion (even Challenge versions) using MAME and savestates most likely ha. Simple, but excellent game, largely thanks to its Continue function, ABCD checkpoint concept, and the mechanics of the Score-with-Continue-ability (your score resets when you use Continue, so you could go for highest Score, getting furthest, etc.–it’s up to you what goal to reach for).

  2. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1, 1998) - This one seems a bit redundant to put on the list, especially so high-up, since it’s already been established as an Ultimate Favorite for most of my life. However, I did replay it this year (all on stream, the first time playing through a game on stream) and it only reaffirmed my love of it. I found myself even playing it in between streams, just to test out upcoming levels and not save, because I truly enjoy it so much. Even the levels I still dislike to this day–namely the flying levels, the swimming levels, and the racing levels–garnered new appreciation from me, mostly because (probly thanks to playing through old retro and arcade games improving my gaming skills) I actually did pretty well at them this time! Some of the flying levels I’d avoid like the plague as a kid, I got the Gold Relic within first couple tries! The YouTube playlist of my full 105% playthrough is here. Everything from the music to the look to the collectibles characterize this as a top game to me. What a classic “forever” game for me, and it characterized 2022 and my upcoming years of gaming by reaffirming my love for platformers, my love for the NES-through-PS2 era, my new hobby of streaming, and my love of 100% tracking in games (just seeing the percentage motivates me, even with the early text adventures I played in 2021 and continued this year). For a few years before I got a Grouvee, when I would try to return to games I know I love, I wouldn’t fully engage or complete them, it felt like “why am I playing a game”? Grouvee reinvigorated my love of gaming and cataloging, both Grouvee and streaming adds excitement and camaraderie to replaying my old favorites (and games new to me), and I finally feel like I could truly replay the Rugrats games I always put down for replays, the Humongous Entertainment games, the FF games namely FF9 that I hadn’t finished for years, etc. So, Crash 3 deserved a high position in this list since, even tho I already knew I loved it, it characterizes the upcoming years of replaying classics on stream and getting closer to my beloved PS1 era on the backlog!

  3. Below the Root (Apple II, 1984) - This was the first game to truly bring me the feeling of Zelda, adventuring secrets power-ups etc. And it rightfully is seen as a predecessor to the Metroidvania genre, namely the Tomba types that I love. Some clunky navigation mechanics, but with a very clever death mechanic (time-based rather than damage-based), I was motivated to just keep trying and trying. I think that was a huge part of my love for it–the ability for me to keep trying and trying till I got it right. Plus, I have always loved playing games with guides, like Legend of Dragoon and FF10–I absolutely loved playing through those specifically by following a guide. Flipping through the official walkthrough, or organizing a spreadsheet based on a GameFAQs upload, etc.–for action-adventures and RPGs, it was something I always loved. This game truly brought back that feeling. As odd as it sounds, this map and this guide were a huge part of why I loved the game so much. The way the map and guide interacted with the game, without cheesing it but still helping make it manageable, it’s a feeling for the PS1 era I just hadn’t gotten yet with other retro games. (Definitely at least check out the map, because it’s simply beautiful to look at.) To top it off, I still can replay it some day as other characters, which changes the route and gameplay mechanics. What an incredible game!

  4. Demon’s Forge (Apple II, 1981) - The Look, the solvable and RE+FF-esque puzzles, the fantasy Feel–this proved to be my new all-time-favorite text adventure. Overall, I wasn’t feeling 80s text adventures as much as the 70s ones I played last year. This one had everything I look for, the roots of Zelda and Resident Evil style puzzles, and an incredibly satisfying adventure Feel to it.

  5. Atic Atac (ZX Spectrum, 1983) - Like Below the Root after it, this was one of the first games to truly give me that Zelda feel and to fully re-engage with follow-a-guide gameplay that I personally love (tho I know it’s divisive in the gaming community). I had the map printed lol, I love printed/paper walkthroughs. The boomerang weapon is a trope I so love and as far as I know, this is the first instance of it. Exploring room after room–only having a guide to help navigate it not to tell me how to beat each room–spamming the boomerang–the captivating constant Speccy sound effects–the comforting Speccy colors and Look–what a great game! A cute imaginative concept a la Swagman, addicting gameplay a la Zelda, and replayability with different classes and routes and secrets.

  6. Space Zap (MAME, 1980) - Simple, fast-paced, and addictive. What made this attach to me is that I reached a goal (100k points) that I thought I couldn’t, and truly had fun doing it. You can just jump right in and enjoy playing! It was the right lineage from when I finally began to enjoy arcade games more in December 2021 with Head On and Space Invaders, and now look at this–so many arcade games in my top 10 of the year!

  7. Flicky (MAME, 1984) - Like Robby Roto below, I loved the collect-then-dash-to-the-start gameplay a la the later Abe’s Odyssey I so loved in childhood. I like that you could play this in different ways–try to save them all the fastest, try to play it safe and steady, try to get the most points, etc. And I love that I can actually enjoy the game–play it as intended–without having to abuse savestates. I get that early gamers took pride in gatekeeping the culture, with most microcomputer games being insanely difficult (tho largely due to clunky controls imo), but there’s something to be said about a game with a healthy progression of difficulty that allows for repeated trial and error for people like me to gradually engage more and more with the game. I was able to play this on stream, and after playing Pine Applin (which I considered a favorite at first, because when I played it the first time I didn’t have to abuse savestates… I must’ve been in a heightened mindset, because sheesh the replay was brutal), this was a nice breath of fresh air–difficult, required some savestates, but without feeling like I was just cheating the game. Cute, fun, addicting, and a type of difficulty I know I can return to.

  8. Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum, 1983) - This game defined what I looked for in platformers for the rest of the year. I found myself comparing all later microcomputer platformers to this game. It was so influential, and to think it was programmed by a 16 year old. The first Speccy game with in-game music, and the music was great! There was something about the Look and level designs, especially that last level; the concept; the difficult yet addicting gameplay… This deserves the legacy it has. I worry that, on replays, I might find it too difficult to fully re-engage. But the reality is, that first playthrough, I was able to fully engage with it and enjoy it. And it’s almost like the difficulty-yet-still-return-to-it was a big part of why I will always remember this game. It’s a memory, a legacy, and a reference point I will never lose!

  9. Zoo Keeper (MAME & Arcade, 1983) - Fast-paced and chaotic, with surprisingly well-done bonus screens in between. It’s a game, like Space Zap, you just pick up and play and scream and laugh and have fun. It wasn’t quite as fun on the proper arcade machine as emulated on MAME, but it still is a game I won’t forget; a game I will replay with family on the Arcade Legends machine (along with other greats like Moon Patrol, Food Fight, & Berzerk); and a simply fun game!

  10. Scramble (MAME & Arcade, 1981) - Shoot em ups have never been a favorite genre. I’ll play them and laugh for a bit, but like Maze games too (and most arcade games to me, before I started this project), I can easily just put it down and pass on it. But this game had a set ending–something that always drives me–and along with Moon Patrol, enlivened my new love for arcade games. I was driven to reach the end–and I did it! Without even abusing savestates! Like Moon Patrol, I soon discovered my local video arcade had an original machine–and I even managed to beat it there (tho uff that last bit is so darn brutal). Shoot em ups still aren’t a favorite genre–but this certainly is one of my favorite games! And it deserves a place on this list for getting me to fully complete a shoot em up (I did the same with 1942… with hours of gameplay ha), helping overcome my aversion to arcade games, and having a set ending for me to reach for in future replays.

Honorary Mentions (vaguely in order of ones closest to making the list):

Adventures of Robby Roto (MAME, 1981) - so early, and the true start of my love for arcade games. What great colors too! This really probly should’ve taken Scramble’s position but whatevs.

Red Sea Crossing (Atari 2600, 1983) - the penultimate ending of the Atari 2600 era for me. Why did I love this so much?

Marble Madness (MAME, 1984) - nice surprise, the last Favorite I played in 2022. I usually don’t like these type games, getting a marble to the hole, but this was so addicting and well-controlled and well-designed!

Blade of Blackpoole (Apple II, 1982) - in the 80s, I more and more lost my love of the text adventures I so enjoyed from the 70s. This one stood out alongside Demon’s Forge. This year, games like this and Below the Root and Atic Atac really signaled the roots of the Zelda-and-beyond era.

Bongo (MAME, 1983) - Simple, pretty platformer fun. The look, cutesiness, and humor in this really helped it to shine.

Mr. Do’s Wild Ride (MAME, 1984) - This one would have been near the top of my list after my first playthrough–it was around the time I also beat Pine Applin without abusing savestates–I must’ve been super healthy at that time or something because on replays, this was just too darn hard and frustrating! If it weren’t for that attempted replay on stream, this would have made the list for sure. Interesting how replays can affect things.

Facemaker (Apple II, 1982) - Games like this can never top a list to me, since there’s no true goal or adventure, but for early facemaking/animating games, this is the cream of the crop. Definitely check out the screenshots in my review and/or give it a playtest–surprisingly worth it.

Just like last year, I have to give an honorable mention to OldSchool RuneScape. I quit it completely for about 5 months there, returning to it in March. My rule was it had to be backseat/afk, while focusing on backlog. Only when I stream do I fully focus on the game. But I’m just too tied to the community there to fully leave it, plus… let’s be honest, my childhood dream of maxing those stats. I’m now at 2249/2277 total level , which is absolutely ridiculous ( 252 Days and 13 Hours of log time on this account…). To boot, the players voted to add a new skill :frowning: Will I ever achieve my dream of maxing my character?! They hadn’t added a new skill since this iteration was released, and now they gonna?! Argh!