Still, if my only real complaint is that I wanted more, that shows just how much I enjoyed Lil Gator Game. Its unique approach to platforming and exploration, combined with its gorgeous visuals, heartfelt story, and charming characters make it one of my favourite gaming experiences of 2022.
Technical issues aside, Wavetale is a charming, chill time with beautiful visuals that’s perfect for winding down. It’s a little too simple and chill for its own good, but I still loved gliding along the sea and taking in what Strandville had to offer. If you're looking for something a little more relaxing than saving Ragnarok this Christmas, Wavetale might be the one for you.
When Kukoos gives you a good gimmick to focus your platforming skill on or puts them on the back burner entirely for its main mechanics, it’s a good, gorgeous time. Unfortunately, glitches, strange difficulty spikes, and an over-focus on these pets end up holding it back from being more than a pretty face.
Beyond its unique art style, Need for Speed Unbound doesn’t do anything to reinvent the steering wheel, but it doesn’t need to. This is Need for Speed, so you know what you’re here for - fast races, cop chases, and more cars than you know what to do with. Unbound is all of that packaged in the series’ most stylish entry to date.
I can’t be too upset, though, as Finding the Flowzone is OlliOlli World at its absolute peak, something I thought it had already hit way back in March. If this is the end of OlliOlli World, at least it went out like it lived - radically.
Although Nostalgaia does have some shortcomings that put it below the games it’s trying to ape, the fact that it manages to get even a little bit close is a feat of its own. Whether you’re an IP freak like me who's happy seeing a ton of love for gaming, someone looking to get into the Soulsborne genre, or a FromSoft veteran that’s looking for something new, there’s something in Nostalgaia for everyone.
Although its stealth systems can feel a little too forgiving and easy to work around, Serial Cleaners’ grungey story is still one well-worth going through thanks to its likeable cast, sense of style, varied levels, and satisfying core mechanics that manage to stay fresh throughout the adventure.
Whether you’re a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or not, the Cowabunga Collection is without a doubt the most impressive gaming compilation there’s ever been. Collecting 13 hard-to-find games with every possible bit of extra content is an incredible effort, and the fact that most of them are still a blast today is just the icing on the cake. The Cowabunga Collection is truly a shellebration of everything TMNT.
Pac-Man World may not be Pac-Man World 2 like I’d hoped, but it’s still a solid classic platformer with enough unique elements to help it stand out. Those who have played the original will no doubt appreciate the nostalgia, but those like me who missed it originally will still have a good time.
Even with the balancing issues and a clear rough start to its first season, MultiVersus’ incredibly solid and unique core mechanics, along with its clear love and respect for every character and series that it represents, let it stand close to the top of the genre. It still needs some fine-tuning, but I’m confident that in a year’s time, MultiVersus will be standing strong next to Smash.
I’m not quite sure when it was decided that 2022 was the year of rollerskating, but it’s clear that it already has a champion in Rollerdrome. Although it may be short, its masterful movement and shooting are a shotgun blast to the face - and I mean that in the best way possible.
Whether you’re a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or just someone who appreciates incredible music and satisfying side-scrolling gameplay, Shredder’s Revenge has something for pretty much everyone. The Turtles may have taken a bit of a break from gaming, but this is one shell of a comeback.
Kao the Kangaroo’s core mechanics are solid and some of the things it adds to the series, like the elemental gloves, help keep things interesting, but it’s nothing that the genre hasn’t seen before, and some of those changes end up actively taking away from the experience. There’s good to be found here, but it’s weighed down by so much jank and a lack of innovation that it doesn’t feel like the welcome back that Kao deserves.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt manages the impossible and makes the battle royale genre feel fresh again, with smart changes to the formula and movement that completely change the game. Its fast-paced action isn’t for the faint of heart and Prague might get a bit old after hours of playing, but it’s well worth sinking your teeth into just to see what the heck a vampire battle royale even looks like.
Beyond the heavy grind, which is certainly purposeful, some gameplay features which feel a bit light, and a story that might as well not be there, Rogue Legacy 2 will quickly see itself enter the roguelite hall of fame as a shining example of why the genre works so well, and fittingly for a game about lineage, as a show of how far a sequel can improve upon its predecessor.
I ended up feeling the same way about Shredders in comparison to SSX as I do with Tony Hawk and Skate. I prefer the fast-paced arcade action of the former, but the latter is a great time as well. I’d love to see the core gameplay and vibe of Shredders with a little more budget put into it, as there’s something special hidden underneath all the snow.
Unless you’re aiming to find every Waddle Dee and complete every secret objective, Kirby and the Forgotten Land won’t challenge you, but it sure as hell will keep you smiling. Most of all, it proves that Kirby works remarkably well in 3D and cements itself as the next big thing for the pink puffball. I don’t want to see him limited to just moving left and right ever again.
I’m sure I won’t be thinking about Shadow Warrior 3 in five minutes’ time, but I’m okay with that. It doesn’t do anything to reinvent the wheel or the first-person shooter, but it moves away from the co-op looter-shooter nonsense the second game tried to pull and delivers a short, satisfying campaign that’s fast-paced and close enough to Doom to be considered good. It’s just a shame there’s no “shut the fuck up” filter.