With the year over and every game released, it’s time to cover our best games of 2022.
The past year saw a lot of games released. The PlayStation 5 continues to see highly acclaimed titles. Nintendo continues to deliver game after game for the Nintendo Switch. While the Xbox Series X|S is lacking, plenty of great titles are still hitting up GamePass. So what have been our favorites from the past year? Read on and find out!
Ooblets – Keeping My Attention Since 2020
Photo Credit: GlumberlandBy Emma Oakman
I have been playing Ooblets since it was released by the small dev team Glumberland in early access back in 2020. “2020?!” I hear you cry. “How can it be one of your games of the year when it is now 2022?” Well, it had its official full release in September of this year, so I’m taking it. In Ooblets, you wander around the world of Oob trying to make friends, grow weird crops, and help Mayor Tinstle with what is absolutely her job and not yours. This Stardew Valley-style premise isn’t all there is to Ooblets, there are also strange creatures to encounter, battle, and…grow.
Unlike Pokemon, the creatures of Oob aren’t battled with super effective moves and are caught in tiny balls. Instead, players must have the correct crop/food in their inventory to offer a roaming Ooblet before engaging in an epic dance battle for the right to have your opponent lay a seed of itself that can be planted to grow that particular species of Ooblet. Each species of Ooblet comes in Common, Unusual, and Gleamy versions to collect, and different regions of the world have their own unique Ooblets. With a charming art style, a great soundtrack, and phenomenally strange creatures and townsfolk, Ooblets is a wonderful game to play for 20 hours without realizing it.
Immortality – A Tale as Old as Time
Photo Credit: Half MermaidBy Joe Moore
Immortality is the third game from creative director Sam Barlow since he left major publishers to dive into the indie scene. Like his previous two games, Immortality is a collection of FMV clips discovered out of order. You are given raw film and behind-the-scenes footage from three un-released films starring Marissa Marcel. Marissa is a beautiful young actress whose three movies never saw a proper release. Discovering the mystery of why these films were never released is only the first question raised by Immortality. Once you delve deeper into the footage, you soon find something much more sinister behind the making of these films. And like Rivers Cuomo’s sweater, the more threads you pull, the more undone the game becomes.
The scope, writing, and acting are some of the best seen in a video game. The joy we got from uncovering every secret is what lands Immortality a spot on our GOTY list. Immortality is a game about life, art, death, and passion. All the trappings of life are wasted on the mortal. The fact that 12 hours of FMV clips discovered out-of-order works and kept us engaged the entire time is a testament to the team at Half-Mermaid Studios. And we can’t imagine what they’ll do next.
Vampire Survivors – Thank God This Game Doesn’t Require Quarters
Photo Credit: poncleBy Jake Valentine
Every time I boot up Vampire Survivors, the hours seem to disappear. Whether it’s trying to finish everything the game has to offer or showing someone what the concept is, play sessions tend to never end. That’s because I never want them to. Whenever I’m not playing Vampire Survivors, I’m thinking about Vampire Survivors.
The little indie game that could has dominated the 2022 gaming landscape. Its simple pickup and play help make this one of the most accessible games available. That price point helps, too; it’s the perfect type of impulse buy. You’ve heard everyone talk about it; now it’s time to see things for yourself. Before you know it, you’ve spent dozens of hours unlocking everything the game offers.
You’re addicted, and there’s no turning back. Vampire Survivors brings the best from retro arcade styles where you must pump quarters into the machine mercilessly. Only there are no quarters to spend here. Instead, when you hit the game over screen, you get to start it again without spending your laundromat money.
The Quarry – Narrative Horror Perfection
Photo Credit: 2K GamesBy Emma Oakman
The Quarry is billed as a spiritual successor to developer Supermassive Games 2015 phenomenon Until Dawn. Players take control of different characters at different points in the narrative to make decisions that will affect the game’s outcome. Supermassive Games also has the Dark Pictures Anthology games currently in motion, including an entry released this year called The Devil in Me.
In The Quarry, a group of summer camp counselors gets stranded after the camp closes for the year. Unfortunately for them, there are werewolves, hillbilly hunters, and hormones to contend with, and not all of the counselors will survive the night. Or they will; it’s up to the player and the decisions they make who will meet what fate. As usual, an all-star cast of Hollywood actors is assembled to give an even more cinematic experience, including horror legends Lin Shaye, Lance Henrikson, and Ted Raimi. Yes, all Supermassive games are lighter on player interaction than many like. Still, it’s a perfect slice of escapism silliness for someone who loves horror movies and having power over life and death.
Horizon: Forbidden West – Everything a Sequel Should Be
Photo Credit: Guerrilla GamesBy Gabe Papadakis-Hewitt
Horizon: Forbidden West improved on nearly every aspect of its predecessor. Combat was expanded, visuals were more polished, side quests felt more meaningful, the narrative was taken to a new level that mirrored cinematic epics, and it had some of the best motion captures we’ve seen in a video game.
It features compelling performances from the likes of Ashly Burch, Lance Reddick, and Carrie-Anne Moss that further prove that the medium can stand on its own with film. It’s very easy to get lost in the robot animal world of Forbidden West. It could be because there are countless collectibles and side quests or that the map is almost entirely accessible from the start of the game.
Forbidden West may have suffered from being released around the same time as other sandbox-style games. However, it still deserves a Game of the Year nod because it captured the same magic of Zero Dawn while propelling the series forward visually and in its gameplay.
Cult of the Lamb – Drink the Punch
Photo Credit: Devolver DigitalBy Dayna Eileen
In a year that is sure to be swimming in Game of the Year nominations for AAA games like Santa Monica Studio’s God of War Ragnarök and FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, I’m coming at the prestigious award from a different perspective. Cult of the Lamb was a game that flew under the radar until, well, it didn’t, and that is only a tiny part of why it is my choice for GOTY 2022.
If you’ve been living under a rock, here is Cult of the Lamb’s synopsis, “Cult of the Lamb casts players in the role of a possessed lamb saved from destruction by an ominous stranger and must repay their debt by building a loyal following in his name. Start your own cult in a land of false prophets, venturing out into diverse and mysterious regions to build a loyal community of woodland worshippers and spread your Word to become the one true cult.”
I was sold the second I learned about the adorable lamb creating a cult in a SIM game. However, I didn’t immediately buy the game. Instead, I slept on it for a while, and it completely blew up on Twitter. Since June, it has gained 192 thousand followers, and I’d say that is pretty amazing for an indie game in six months.
Of course, any game can gain popularity, but what really makes Cult of the Lamb my pick for Game of the Year 2022 is the experience I had playing it (and continuing to play it). It’s a single-player game, but a friend and I sat down with the Xbox Series X and shared the experience. Working together, we sliced and diced our way through enemies, took turns progressing the storyline, and designed our camp together. Of course, any good simulation game worth its weight will let you customize your space, but we were also in charge of delegating to our subjects, collecting wood, stone, and other building materials, housing, farming, and of course, worshiping.
Perhaps what sold me the most was individually texting the CGMagazine staff with random choices like “pink or blue” and designing each member of my cult based on people we knew. This was fun to begin with, especially with no context, but it only got funnier as you could marry them, sacrifice them, anger them, or watch time die from old age. Unfortunately, between reviewing games and being a mom, I rarely have the time or energy to keep coming back to the same title, but six months later, I’m still talking about it and still playing.
Cult of the Lamb was released on June 10, 2022, and is playable across Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|A, PC, and Mac OS. The game was published by Devolver Digital, the people behind games like Inscryption, Death’s Door, and Return to Monkey Island. Developers Massive Monster only has three other titles under their belts: Never Give Up, Adventure Pals, and Unicycle Giraffe.
Having never heard of any of their previous titles, I’m impressed with how much Cult of the Lamb blew up across its platforms and social media. Their excellent marketing strategy, the community on Twitter and even Discord, and an incredibly entertaining game that keeps me coming back for more are why my choice for Game of the Year 2022 is Cult of the Lamb.
Trombone Champ – Come On, We Couldn’t Leave This One Out
Photo Credit: Holy WowBy Emma Oakman
Have you ever wanted to participate in an epic quest to unite the realms while also tooting on a trombone to a baffling selection of songs? No? You’re mistaken.
Trombone Champ is the brainchild of Holy Wow studios, a team driven by madness to bring this game to the world at large. As the player, you must conquer a variety of tunes to unlock different trombones, collect toots and defeat the evil of Trazom. Not to mention the baboons.
As well as furiously trying to toot along with insane songs, including Trombone in The Sky and Baboons which I also nominate for songs of the year, players have to collect trading cards. These cards are filled with useful facts about legendary composers, often revolving around hot dogs. The game is consistently being added to, with further tracks and improvements being added frequently as well as plans in motion for additional story content in the future.