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Memorable Games of 2022

With a lot of games out there in the wild, I often don't get the chance to play these games until years after the release.

Games listed here aren't limited to games that came out this year, but essentially games that I have played this year, that has made an impression on me to mention, let it be good or bad.

List items

  • Great game start, however loses steam towards second half and especially in the last stretch followed by a strong ending - making the game rather un-even.

    Personal ranking in series - 2 > 1 > 3 > Torna > Future Connected yet to play X

  • *Complete playthrough for the first time*

    + Mood, setting and overall story is memorable from start to finish(s)

    + Music amplifies the world of mystic, serene yet sadness of how the world is it is

    + Varied gameplay mechanic between playable characters keep things fresh

    + Optional side quest, while quite simple fetch quests, adds in narrative additions that gives depth to the whole "why" proposition

    - The way they have depicted the game could've been set differently to make sure more players play through all "playthroughs" (which works more like chapters in an end to end story)

    Wow... what an experience... Few years back I did finish the first playthrough of the game (2B story), but at the time with so many other games to play, and the story seemingly finishing with satisfying end to the threads, I was ok to let it go back on the shelf.

    After all these years though, having forgotten majority of "talks" about the games structure and story, I decided to do a full playthroughs and boy was it worth it. The depth to the characters, story it builds, universe it expands and grander theme to the story makes the first playthrough just a tip of the ice burg.

    I'm glad to have played it "properly" this time and for this game to make this much impression on me after all these years, is the testament to quality of the game direction and how it was all pulled together with the development house.

  • + Visual design

    + Level design

    + Great flow

    + Intriguing setting that hooks you to explore to learn more not because you have to, but you want to

    if I played this game last year, it would've easily been in my top 10 games of the year. Even after hearing a lot of good things about it, from the moment I decided to play, it got me progressively hooked and finish the game in relatively length binge sessions.

    What would I do different?

    - like feedback on Eastward, while not for all dialogue, I think the game would've benefited for having few key scenes with voice acting to define more setting and character

  • + Cute and charming characters and premise

    + Fun gameplay with enough challenge for those who wants to dig deeper

    + Perfect game for younger audiences to play with an adult

    + Overall presentation is a definite step up from previous Kirby games

    - Majority of the "main" game portion's lack of challenge may turn people off who are after more progressive challenge

    - Sound effects feel rather empty (especially in cinematics)

    Kirby had quite a variety of outings outside of its main 2D-centric design. While not many have stood out, this one definitely will for presenting accessible gameplay, breezy but engaging and fun design and just cute charming visuals.

    This game stands tall to become the third pillar of Nintendo platform / adventure games on the Nintendo switch that's good for the whole family - Mario Odyssey, Luigi's Mansion 3 and this.

  • + Design that encourages exploration that gives nice balance of risk & reward

    + Wealth of items and unlockables you discover gives ongoing sense of joy

    + Story and characters are charming and fascinating that also helps boost your quest for glory

    - On switch, despite what looks to be a simplistic design presentation wise, still has performance issues, which is jarring

    - Considering all the different unlockables available, I find it puzzling the map system doesn't give you more to notate or mark some meaningful notes

    It's a game that I knew nothing about, gave it a whirl, and had pretty much non-stop play for 20 odd hours to 100% map & item on the first playthrough.

    Would love to see what this developer tackles as their next game.

  • + Visual design

    + Tight but explorable world design that encourages exploration

    + World of secrets that gets you investigating

    - Combat

  • + Game is technically beautiful even in 2022... but

    - Main game's (not the Frozen Wilds expansion as that has much better production on animation in general) stilted conversation character animation takes you right out of the experience

    + Overall story I found intriguing and had me wanting to see it play out

    - Quest loop structure is overly repetitive and old.. just adding to the busy work

    - Dated movement / traversal mechanics stick out from its peers (e.g. Assassin's Creeds, Shadow of Mordor, Breath of the wild)

    - Despite it being a big world.. which it is... the way how the landscape is designed and laid out make it feel very small....

    Played it for the first time now that 2 was out. Main game while disappointing in number of parts had enough story hooks to get me through. I wasn't so interested in playing the DLC, but I've read comments that it improves on the main game quite a bit - almost making it feel like Horizon 1.5 - and they were right. DLC, while not carrying as much weight to the story, gave me much more anticipation to play the sequel as the presentation package were much better fleshed between the looks and animations.

  • + Great story and cast of characters after all this time

    + Believe it or not, the extra QoL functions such as 3X speed and invincibility makes the game much more tolerable to enjoy the story

    - Game certainly hasn't aged well considering it was one of the earliest PS games moving from 2D to 3D

    Played it when it first came out in the 90s to then never touch it until having finished VII Remake. Perhaps it was a mistake to do so as the technical differences are so apparent even more so... however after couple of hours of playing this... you get adjusted to this style to then find charm in what made this game classic to begin with.

  • + Deceptively simple but addictive

    + Great breakaway game if you are playing a lot of hardcore games

    + Online ghost matches, multiplayer and brain ranking and all gives that one more try feel to the game

    - Control scheme advantage (touch vs controller) can sometimes make it feel a bit unfair

  • + There were some great production values that legitimately made me go wow..

    + Themes it deals with is interesting and thoughtful

    - Gameplay of action platforming.. just didn't feel tight or interesting enough

    - 3D translation of what I thought was a great 2D art design... just didn't come through well enough

    - Perhaps due to the gameplay design... game pacing just dragged far too much

  • + Feels more faithful to the "catch'em all" mantra

    + Overall setting and progression feels more satisfying

    - Roughness in presentation is rather hard to overlook even by Switch standards

  • + Engaging story and memorable characters

    + Great presentation that adds to the overall experience

    - There are a lot of dialogue to go through, so if visual novel type of games are not your cup of tea, you'll get pretty quick

    - Gameplay while they have introduced some minor additions, by in large stays very similar to the previous games

  • + Online implementation

    + Quality boards - whether you've played it or not

    + Much tighter and speedier game pacing

    + Just a good fun with friends / family on couch or online...

    + ... or alone... since CPU speed have been sped up so much

    - Game could've used more boards and minigames... suspect these might end up being a DLC or expansion pass of some kind

    - Unlockable content such as character costumes or additional characters could've been pretty neat for completionists

  • + Pulls off the retro look and feel nicely with nicely set pacing with constant unlockables and upgrades that keeps the player going

    - Story... is somewhat... not that interesting

  • + Overall world felt more expansive, with more lore that could be explored

    + Bump in production value is a plus

    + Personally my favorite theme song

    - Some character designs just simply didn't work for me, making it almost too forced to create race variety

    - Character arc doesn't really come together (unlike FFVII where the individual character's backstory and own arc amplified the conviction for rest of the story)

    - Story doesn't really come together much for me, there are events that should hit harder, but lack of character chemistry and backstory makes it... cheap

    - Performance issue on switch port (where first battle load once you change scene being overly long) hinders overall pace and creates far more tedium

    - Battle system also feels a step back from VII and VIII

    Having played end-to-end for the first time (despite owning multiple copies from Playstation 1 era), I must say this game was a disappointment in multiple fronts - but still a good JRPG. Unlike FFVII where its dated graphics and mechanics created initial barrier to warm back into the game, FFIX was much easier to get in, however as I played more and more, what matters most - Story and Characters in particular - just simply didn't come together for me. Playing this game now made me understand why FFX happened the way it did, and some drastic changes that have come about.

    I'm glad to have finally played it. I feel there were a lot of missed opportunities which if it was to be remade, they should be able to make it much more impactful and engaging - let's hope the rumors have some merit to it to have some hope

  • + the setting, mood and presentation gets your intrigue going

    + golf game mechanic itself works just enough to carry the pace along, but not too involving to take your attention away from what the game is really about

    + the soundtrack and the audio station is a great standout

    - overall length of the game could be seen as a negative (although it was ok in my mind)

  • + Intriguing puzzle platformer that get's you thinking

    + Overall mood complements chill and "pedestrian" vibe

    - Narrative wrapping doesn't really do much for me

  • + Story is actually pretty engaging, while is a bit derivative

    - Gameplay is definitely from the era, but not as rightly as tuned

    It took lover 6 years to finally start and finish the game. While the game's now dated (even back then it wouldn't be regarded as stellar) presentation took a bit to get reaccustomed to, the story hook and enjoyable characters got me going to the end.

    While the game does end with enough set-up for what would be a sequel, we know already it never eventuated.... perhaps Capcom could reboot the series with something like what the have done with Resident Evil.

  • + Personally really enjoyed the chibi presentation of the characters and the world

    + Online GP structure was surprisingly addictive to see you compete in stages to get to final 8, almost invoking the addictive competitiveness you saw playing Tetris 99... this is something Mario Kart should adopt

    + Game posed some interesting difficulty challenges paired with unlock loop with challenges that kept me playing again and again

    + Gameplay and physics aren't as refined nor extensive as Mario Kart, however it... somehow works in Chocobo GP's content

    - Number of courses and variety of them is quite underwhelming, almost as if they have put the basic package with intent to bring more on via DLC or season passes

    - Level progression (for unlocking online rewards) are clearly skewed towards pay to unlock rather than giving enough rewards for time spent playing...

    From objective point of view, Chocobo GP us a fairly average game in a genre that already holds some of the high standard examples in real life (Mario Kart still stands by far the best with Crash Team Racing and Sonic Racing Transformed following), however on a personal level, something about this game have clicked with me so much that I was playing it daily Online GP to earn rewards and unlock levels for more characters.

    It'll be interesting to see how I go after the first month (which I have played quite extensively as a passive multitasking activity and/or in serious mode..) and I know this game from quality point of view should sit quite a few spots lower in this list.... but I just had so much entertainment playing this game this year. It was almost a comfort food of some kind... which is so ironic.. because I really have no affiliation to the first game, nor that much a follower of Final Fantasy as well....

    There's so much this game could do better - more track environments and/or variations (which I suspect will be part of DLC) - more customization options, better weight and physics (as the characters are far too light in my opinion) - but for some reason, I'm OK with what they have decided to release out of the gate without over-investing on scope / budget in what looks pretty obvious in my eyes to test the market (with microtransactions.. and potentially live service online component) game that may expand should there be adequate response from the players.

  • + Competent but formulaic design

    + Good presentation that stays pretty faithful to the source material it's based on

    - Despite the tight pacing taking you from one boss to the other, I can't shake the familiar feeling

  • + adorable presentation

    + great music

    + story... for those who invest and stick around....

    + mini-game RPG that tends to be better than the main game itself

    - overall game and story pacing too loose and slow demanding too much attention effort from players without enough hook to propel it

    - ... and simplistic game mechanic design makes the situation worse

    While I did come away liking the game, the game's pacing demands a lot from the player. Lack of good pacing creates lack of flow where you just can't help on portions of the game where your time is being wasted without tangible progression or development. Because of this, some of the "dramatic" events come off rather uneventful, where I could see this was what the developer was shooting for, but it wasn't hitting it.

    What would I do different?

    - make the pacing tighter, there are far too loose moments that ruin the momentum (felt overall the game would've been a much tighter and impactful 10 hour game than what often felt like a drag, playing for 20 hours)

    - I personally feel voice acting (at least in some key scenes) would've done wonders for emotional engagement

    - sway the core mechanic more towards puzzles rather than combat

  • + It's almost like a throwback to late 1990s, early 2000s shooter sensibilities.. and I actually didn't mind it

    + Single player campaign... knows what it's trying to be, and again.... I enjoyed it quite a bit almost giving me nostalgia for the old fashion FPS before the COD MW evolution

    - However it does feel "old" and that will deter people who are very accustomed to the modern sensibilities of FPS dismiss it pretty much straight away

    - For a game that's been out overseas for years... multiplayer lacks content (e.g. maps)

  • Perhaps the mechanics and overall aesthetics haven't aged well.

    While there were some good thought starters, overall execution felt a lot to be desired for.

    I didn't really vibe well with the simplistic monster designs which left a lot to be desired, let alone the evolutions. Grind is real in this game with not much memorable battle mechanics that tends to drag it down even further.

  • + Great music

    + Chaotic but fun co-op

    - Pacing and variety

    - Asks for a lot to "complete" collectables, where you have to play a rather lengthy levels from start to finish

  • + Simple yet fun arcade shooter that invokes the old times

    Cheap, simple, arcade shoot'em up that you would find in arcades of old. It's not doing anything remarkable or innovative, however at current day and age... this itself can be seen as something that's new!

  • + Simple but fun mix of activities that anyone can pick up and play

    + Maintaining various mode of play - i.e. motion, traditional - is a good decision

    - Presentation leaves a lot to be desired considering it's like a remaster of a Wii game

  • + Simple yet fun puzzle platformer

    - Lacks meaningful difficulty progression and variety

    - Content fills padded and bloated rather quantity that meets quality

  • + Leverages off the inspiration well

    + Tight controls required for tight platforming design

    - Art direction

    - Overall game lacks... character

  • + Tight controls

    - while seems deliberate, overly pixelated presentation actually harms immersion to what is otherwise an interesting narrative

  • + Competent design

    - .... that doesn't stand out in any way compared to others in the same genre

    - .... as well losing the charm from the games that made the series popular

  • + Relaxing setting with memorable characters that gets you right into the interactions like a good day time feel good drama

    + Subtle choices and interactions you choose to have (or not) does build up nicely to keep you engaged

    - Some holes (or lack of context) in the story makes the last arc rather feel abrupt... or at times feel completely disjointed from all the engagement you thought you were building up

  • DNF (about 2 hours of play)

    - Remake loses so much charm and character in the new 2.5D presentation

    - There was little to no attempt to modernize dated mechanics, which comes off even more jarring in the context of "remake"

    + Saving grace is that the game comes bundled with the original... which even with dated mechanics and presentation, holds its own much better where you as a player can accept what it is because that's how it came out back all those years back.

  • + updated presentation helps to maintain and amplify the original satire the game had going for

    + aged and simpler gameplay design... somehow works in 2022 where you just go blow and shoot things up

    - it will not hit for those who want more modern things

    - art direction lends more towards generic and stereotypical types - especially humans

  • Not much of a game to play and story is just.. not that good and characters are even... more unremarkable.

  • + Hip music

    - Gameplay

    - Game just lacks overall polish in everything outside of the music

    - For a game that emphasizes on great soundtrack, complementing sound effects are very underwhelming

  • - Far too janky for its own good

    - unless you are looking for the type of "fun" the game provides... it's not really for anyone