I feel it’d be ignorant to preface a game of the year list without talking about the year some of these games came out in. I prefer to list the games I actually played this year rather than keep it solely to ones that came out this year, whilst most of the games that will appear on this list did come out this year I don’t want to ignore some for silly reasons such as years. Getting back to the topic of this year, it has been terrible for many reasons for many people around the world. Many people have lost their jobs, family members, friends and their place of living. Due to broken systems that refuse to help them and an economy so awful it can’t handle people not working for four (4) months.
It’s not been a good year for many reasons, for many people. Money is stretched for many and commodities such as games have become all the harder for many to enjoy. New consoles have released and games have become even more expensive, especially in the UK where Demon’s Souls will cost you £70, compared to £45-£50 you’d have to spend on The Last of Us Part II depending where you bought it. It’s no illusion the games industry doesn’t respect the people who actually create those games and those who buy them, especially in a year like this.
I’m sure many people see game of the year lists as recommendations more than anything, if you care what someone thinks, you’d care what their favourite game they played is too. It’s how I’ve found games that I’ve grown to love. The games I’m going to list here are obviously ones I recommend and taking into account financial situations, most of them will be relatively cheap, only two (2) of the games listed here will be above £30 at the time of writing this, as it’s the holidays now as well those games should be cheaper.
Here is my list of my favourite games I played this year and I can promise it won’t be some shit like The Game Awards.
They finally made an RPG about sharks.
I never knew what to expect from Maneater, I was always worried before buying that I wouldn’t enjoy it and just bounce off it. But from the fact it’s on this list that clearly didn’t happen. Maneater is such an incredibly well constructed and tight game that it’s so easy to pick up and play. My time with it was always full of me enjoying that irreverent tone of the game’s gameplay whilst also being interested in its environmental storytelling of environmentalism. Even its main story which delves somewhat into toxic masculinity and the cycle of revenge.
It would be ignorant to belittle the game as just “fun” as it’s too much of a broad term to mean really anything and it’d ignore how smart and well made it is. Maneater is very much well crafted, it is engaging for all the right reasons, it isn’t bloated, it is concise. It’s written is humorous and even insightful into shark life, it’s presentation, whilst can be irreverent is also very critical of how people view sharks and the ocean world. It’d be easy to view a game that marketed itself as an SRPG (Shark Role Playing Game) and think it is just mindless and the game can be that sometimes. I completed everything that the game had to offer and every hour I spent in Maneater I enjoyed.
It is an amazing game and undoubtedly one of the best I’ve played this year. You can add specific pieces of gear to your shark to make her perform differently and whilst the RPG parts of the game may not be as deep as something like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it is able to be worthwhile and make you want to experiment. The way upgrading gear changes the appearance of your shark as well is such an incredible touch and makes that journey all the more appealing for me. The combat may become tedious for you, but jumping onto a beach and chomping on someone was an experience that never became repetitive.
16. Wilmot’s Warehouse
Wilmot’s Warehouse is a pretty damn stressful game that I love playing. It reminds me a lot about my time at retail in some ways. A lot of those memories aren’t good, the minimal rewards for succeeding at the job, whilst that job was gruelling. Wilmot’s Warehouse reminds me of that side a lot and just how you will rarely be recognised in any substantial way for the work you do. If you do really well you might have a poster that will serve no real purpose other than its there.
Whilst it reminds me of that side, it does feel like such a more freeing experience of what that work was like for me. The side of work that I did enjoy was cleaning and tidying shelves as I could actually take control for once at work. Wilmot’s Warehouse is more a puzzle game than anything where you’ll organise squares and stack them how you please. You will start off with a good amount of space that will allow you to experiment and place those boxes wherever you want. If you’re neat, this game will allow you to be neat. However, if you always want to be neat this game won’t always allow that to happen. Each day you will be given items in the delivery and some of those items can be ones you’ve never seen before. You will have to be quick to decide what section they’d fit in best, but as with my time playing, items would end up all over the place. The time you’re given can put a lot of pressure on you and at first was a turn off for me; however, at the end of each quarter you will be given as much time as you please to organise everything. There is also currency which are the stars and can unlock abilities that’d make continuing easier for you and also unlock more space to place items.
Like at work; I was always having to stay on my feet and organise quickly from time to time. Although that time wasn’t four (4) minutes. Wilmot’s Warehouse makes me wish what work could have been. However, with how work always is, it’s never really about being happy or free to partake in the way that feels most comfortable for you.
15. Katamari Damacy
I’m ashamed that it’s taken me this long to finally play Katamari Damacy and experience the pure joy it is.
I always feel odd if I don’t write like 500 words about a single game and I just have to keep writing and writing for what I do to be worth it. So whilst I may not write a lot here compared to FF7R it does not mean Katamari Damacy isn’t an incredibly special game. For a game that came out in 2004 it has aged incredibly well and is still able to stand against the games that even came out this year.
I feel like I’m missing something if I just talk about how simple and wholesome this game is, but I don’t mean in any way that this game isn’t meaningful . It is a beautiful piece of art, it is happy and so straightforward it’s incredibly easy to pick up and enjoy. The colourful art style, the outstanding soundtrack, simple controls and increasing bombastic levels all come together as one of the absolute best games I’ve played this year and just in general. Holy shit, this game is perfect in just about every way.
14. Tonight We Riot
The themes of Tonight We Riot beat you over the head just as hard as you can throw bricks at cops in the game. It is not shy in any sense to let you know what it is about and it’s all the stronger and more cathartic for it.
Especially this year there has never been a better time to play a game about rolling up with a group of people to brick cops and destroy capitalism one factory at a time. Tonight We Riot is based on playing like a 2D brawler but instead of playing as a set of heroes who are designed to take on the world, you play as a movement of people. Where you go, they go with you, you are not stronger when you work alone. It does not feed into the selfish idea that so many other games do where you win as one (1) person, change does not come from a single person, but from a whole set of people working to change things for the better. Tonight We Riot knows this and relies on it, you are stronger the more people you have and the more people you keep alive until the end nets you the bigger rewards. It does not matter if you only come out of it alive, if you can’t keep everyone else alive you’ll never truly progress.
Tonight We Riot is a pretty empowering game of the working class fighting back against the rot of capitalist greed and all the broken systems that it has created to then create a world that is better for the people. It doesn’t pull any punches with what it earnestly aims to tell you, it’s an amazing game to play this year and just about any year.
13. Spelunky 2
I never really played Spelunky HD all that much, maybe I was never in the right mindset for it or that it just wasn’t something I liked all that much. When I bought Spelunky 2 part of me was worried I would fall into that pit again and drop the game instantly, at first I did. If you’ve heard of Spelunky you know how unforgivable it can be and whilst I can’t compare the two (2), Spelunky 2 is very much an unforgiving game.
It takes time to learn and a very focused mind, you have to be aware of everything you can see on the screen all the time and it’s a hard mindset to get into. At first even getting to the second area will be a challenge, let alone getting to 1–3. You will have to learn enemy movements, how they might react to you and that can be very challenging when the rest of the space you’re in wants you dead. It made me want to drop the game again because of that and I even did for a week. But coming back to it after that week it felt like something finally clicked. I wasn’t all that much better, I’d still die regularly before getting to the second area, but I was finding myself beginning to learn how the game works. Through that I would find myself getting to that second area, learning that in the first area you can use enemies to either kill each other or get themselves killed by setting off traps.
It’s a process you’ll have to repeat every area you begin in, it’s a long learning process and I wouldn’t blame you for being put off because of that. But I found myself not being able to put the game down for at least two (2) weeks once I began understanding it more and more. I’d find the intricacies of each area, the path I could take to get to a certain item that would be able to help me in the long run. How to unlock a certain character. After trying multiple times it finally began to set in to the point I could do it consistently. Spelunky 2’s world wants you dead and the game will always let you know that, it is dynamic, negative things can happen to you that are out of your control. It creates a sense of morality, a lot of games will make you feel unkillable after you start to get those items. You might feel the same in Spelunky 2 but that will only go against you, you are human, always here and that is what cements Spelunky 2 a lot to me. Being aware of that mortality makes you cautious of every step and also makes you want to take those risks when you can since you never know when it might end.
In my 68 hours with Spelunky 2 I have only ever seen the ending once and that’s what would be considered the easiest one to get to. A lot of my time was learning, finding a route that I’m comfortable with, and finding characters that I would rather see on screen. The most interesting runs for me were the ones that I realised how dynamic the game can be, I would be punished when an enemy could have caused a shrine to be destroyed and whilst that can be frustrating. It did make it a lot more rewarding and interesting when I succeeded compared to when everything would go right, both feel great.
12. Thousand Threads
As the title of the game suggests, this game has a lot of threads.
Thousand Threads is an incredibly tight and concise game about exploring a world and finding the ways you can interact with it and how those interactions will affect what happens in the future. The threads come within how you react to things, for example; I helped someone that was in a fight. I was rewarded for helping and went on with my business. Eventually I saw someone running in my direction, I assumed they were just running since a lot of the characters run away from bears and you’ll usually need to save them. But this person started to attack me and I realised it was the one I knocked out earlier, as I was out exploring they were chasing me down. It makes the world feel alive, whilst you are doing activities, the people around you are also doing theirs.
Things aren’t forgotten, but you might be able to rectify them. Heal those that might have a disdain for you and they will grow to like you. Flip the scenario, someone you might have attacked for a quest might come for you later; however, if you let them take the first hit everyone around you will assume they’re just attacking you and you’re free to attack back without judgment. People would say “I can’t believe they would attack you”. It feels that you can take control of a situation and use it to your advantage.
You can explore and scavenge for items to upgrade your items that will let you get to new biomes and explore further. You can deliver letters to people to earn money, take on quests for people for money and items in return. Whilst you have to play a certain way from time to time to progress to new places, you are generally allowed to interact with the world how you please. You could kill everyone if you wanted, but then you’d have no way to deliver letters or take on quests, you are not free from consequence. Thousand Threads will make you aware of that.
11. Paper Beast
Paper Beast is an entrancing piece of art, it pulls you into its sandy, bare, rocky and paper mache world without saying a word. It’s a puzzle game at its core, one (1) that relies mainly of physic puzzles. They’re smart and never tedious that you’ll be stuck somewhere for too long, they let you interact with the world to understand it better. You’ll come across, well, paper beasts, some might resemble creatures of the real world and some might not. As you progress you’ll get a small insight into the animal chain, to progress you will require you to pay attention to how they behave.
A long with the creatures, you’ll be curious and it’s a game that’ll keep you curious till the end credits. I’m still thinking about what it wanted to show me and that journey it took me on. It’s a game that doesn’t make sense for much of the time playing it, but it doesn’t require to be understand to be cared for, it pulls you in its beatiful world and origami beasts.
I love Tetris Effect so much, it is such a simple game with so much depth for more with an incredible soundtrack to boot. It is somehow so emotional and hard hitting, it is so incredibly well made. Any game that can create that sense again for me is a great one. Mixolumia is a great one.
The strengths of easy to play games is how easy it is to play them, haven’t played a game in months? You’d normally need to remember what button does what again and you might even forget what to do depending on the game and need to restart. A game like Mixolumia will always be easy to go back to, as Tetris will be. I will play the game for a couple games and might not play it for a couple days, but whenever I go back I will always know what to do and have a great time doing it.
Mixolumia is a puzzler game with a clear focus on the music that accompanies it. You play diamond shaped blocks together, those blocks will have different colours that will cause them to explode when four (4) are touching. The presentation is outstanding and immediately pulls you in, everything after is an added bonus. Little music beats when you move a block and place it, the way colours explode on screen. The multiple colour schemes you can use ( my favourite is the non-binary one), all come together to create an incredibly simple but meaningful game. As with Tetris Effect, I find myself coming back to this game time and time again and that’s not something I can say for everything, even for the other games on this list. Don’t miss out on what a beautiful game Mixolumia is. With downloadable music, this game isn’t even done yet.
I wrote about Spiritfarer in late August after finishing the game. I talked about how it was a game I could never forget about since it was announced and that it was an incredibly special game when I finally got the chance to experience its world, story and characters.
The premise of a game focusing on death and the journey of life was one I was always partly scared to partake in since it’s such a topic that terrifies me. However, Spiritfarer allowed me to look at in ways that I couldn’t before, to understand how I can view it in a way that would allow me to move forward. Its world is cosy, so much of it gives a sense of warmth and healing. The point of the game is to give people their best days and take them on that journey before the end. To understand them better to help them better.
It’d feel cheap to repeat everything I said before, so if you’re interested to read more click here. But nevertheless, Spiritfarer is an amazing journey that I couldn’t put down until I completed it and an experience I haven’t forgotten since.
Just like the barista the game is set in, Necrobarista knows how to blend everyone just right to create an amazing experience.
Necrobarista is also about death. It’s about its characters and their journey together, the memories they make on that journey and the ability to move on. It’s heart-warming, charming, poignant, it is so much. It’s about dealing with grief and you will see many sides of that when playing. Some will choose to outrun that grief and keep it inside, some will ignore it, some won’t accept it when they have to. At so many points it is so endearing and funny and that makes all the serious moments all the more impactful. Necrobarista is able to go through so many emotions brilliantly.
The presentation and art style mix so well together. The camera panning, the angles of characters. The way the dialogue appears on screen. It feels like the world is moving all the time whilst being so still, the most hectic moments can feel so calm. To me that is a lot of what Necrobarista is about; seeing the calm in the chaos, being content with the unknown and having people there to help you with it. It’s not an easy subject to deal with, but Necrobarista managed to pull it off. It showed me about making the most of the time with the people around me and how important that journey is with them.
7. Rez Infinite
Having played Tetris Effect and now Rez Infinite it’s become clear that whatever Enhance touches becomes an incredible rhythmic journey. Whilst Rez Infinite came way before Tetris Effect and Lumines, it has aged perfectly in terms of its gameplay, art direction and soundtrack.
Rez Infinite is an action-shooter that blends that action with a soundtrack that teleports the player through its beautiful environments. The music guides you and makes every moment so much more engaging. Combined with those beautiful visuals, Rez Infinite becomes a timeless game and so it has. As with Tetris Effect, Rez Infinite is a game that I intend to come back to. It’s calming, exhilarating, charming, emotional and it’s all because of that music, gameplay and art direction. It’s beautifully put together from start to finish. The newly added Area X that’s completely built in Unreal Engine 4 shows a version of Rez that could maybe exist in the future, but all the same it is just as beautiful as the classic version and delivers that same incredible experience.
6. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the first mainline game to focus on a completely different character. One that isn’t connected to Kiryu Kazuma or someone from the previous entries. It is someone completely different and with that also comes a big change to the gameplay.
Whilst Yakuza games in the past have touched upon JRPG elements, such as putting points into certain trees, having items that can change your stats. It never fully dove in. Like a Dragon takes that dive and it does it to a surprisingly high standard. Yakuza has always been a series with a focus on family and the forms that family might come into. The way it appears in the Yakuza, the one you’re born with and the one you create and this new entry is no different in that regard.
Starting off with the gameplay, Yakuza 7 (I’m just going to call it that from this point so I don’t have to say Like a Dragon all the time) is a turned based JRPG and as I mentioned, it’s a great one. Going in I was worried that I’d become bored of it; however, the game offers so much in terms of jobs, weapons, skills and summons that it never became tiring. The combat feels like a blend of their previous combat systems blended together into this one. You will have to press certain buttons on time or mash them to get a damage boost. The previous games have had this in the more cinematic moments, but it reminded me a lot of Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise with how involved it is. The jobs can be seen at the different styles Kiryu or Majima would have in previous entries, for example one job is the breaker which is obviously based on Majima’s style in Yakuza 0. The insane action and bombastic manner of Yakuza is also very much blended into the combat. At times you will have to fight an excavator, a massive Roomba, a bear, a tiger and a monkey controlling an excavator. It reminds me so much of what makes the Yakuza games so polarising, that it’s able to pull these off so well and wholeheartedly. It’s like when you have to fight the ghost train in Final Fantasy 6, it’s insanely goofy.
But those moments never take away from the story and how emotional it can be. Ichiban Kasuga (the new protagonist) is not Kiryu in the sense he can’t storm a building and fight one hundred (100) guys all by himself. He feels like a much more grounded character who cannot face everything alone, throughout the story you will meet new people who will then accompany you and can be a part of your party. Ichiban is all the more stronger when he is with his friends and that is who these people are. You will be unsure of them at first but it won’t take too long for them to grow on you. Also for a JRPG to have it’s story focus on mainly middle aged men is definitely something different. Yakuza 7 is very much still about how you can view family and that the most important ones can be the ones you stick with to help them. That’s how Ichi is like Kiryu, they will both risk their lives selflessly to help others.
Yakuza 7 is an incredible game and definitely one of the best the series has to offer now. It’s story can be so incredibly irreverent with how Ichi will continuously mention Dragon Quest and how he is the hero of the story, but it never detracts from the hard hitting moments. It is right up there with Yakuza 0 in terms of story and character.
5. Paradise Killer
Paradise has been killed, it’s up to you to find out who killed it. Paradise Killer feels so fresh for a detective game, it isn’t linear in the sense you’re watching the story unfold at the pace the game wants you to see it unfold. It’s an open world and all the pieces to the puzzle are within it. Ask the questions, connect the dots and imagine how the scenarios played out. It is freeing and encapsulating, its music brings the experience to another level, the art direction bold and unique.
Paradise Killer will let you use your imagination as much as you please, act upon your intuition, imagine how a scene would’ve played so you can guess where a piece of evidence could have been found. It knows when to hold your hand and when to let go, I never felt like I hit a bump that I couldn’t progress past since the game was able to push me into the right direction if I needed the help. That was so minimal however, as with how well designed it is.
The characters in the world are just as bright and flashy as their clothing is. People who might seem paper thin at first, will become an ocean as you learn more about them from either others or what clues you find. Everyone is a suspect. The way the game branches out from the main investigation will make you realise that. You cannot trust the snakes in the grass built upon suffering and lies. The world may seem like it’s basic and you may blame the game for that; however, it’s intentional. Paradise is a subjective idea and for this island it’s too devoid of emotion, it’s superficial and the creators’ criticism of capitalism. The beauty is as deep as you let it be.
Paradise Killer is without a doubt one of the best games this year had to offer, it is able to rise above the other detective games to become something truly unique. I also wrote about it in September if you wanted to read more of what I had to say on it.
4. Treachery in Beatdown City
You might assume Treachery in Beatdown City is one of the many games in recent years that aims to bank itself on being like the games you remember back in the day. The only relation TiBC has to then is the art style, it doesn’t play like those games, it doesn’t have the outdated concepts that those games used. It looks towards the past not as something to resemble, but as something to evolve.
Treachery in Beatdown City plays like a real-time turn-based game, that might sound like two (2) conflicting ways of to play, but it works perfectly. You and your enemies move freely, this can allow you to position yourself in the perfect position as some moves will miss completely if you’re out of range. You have your standard attack that will do minimal damage, but doing this will earn you FP which you’ll be able to use to do your special moves. Each of the three (3) characters will all have their own unique special moves, if you save up FP you will be able to chain together multiple moves to deal the biggest amount of damage and combos. Throughout the game I found myself continuously experimenting with moves and the game is so free with what it’ll allow you to do. It allows for all these matchups and as you unlock more moves it opens up the possibilities even more.
Before each fight you will enter a cutscene where you might be introduced to who you’re about to fight or when you keep running into them. These parts are able to show off the writing, Treachery in Beatdown City is loud and the people you face are even louder and all the more obnoxious. When starting off the game as Lisa, a Puerto Rican boxer, someone will assume you are a cleaner, they are rude when confronted on it and try to push away if they did anything wrong. In this way TiBC reflects the real world the most. From the dullards to abusive cops you face, the game becomes extremely cathartic. These people are repugnant and loud, so you can beat them up in loud ways to unleash your hatred for them. With the range of moves you can pull off, you’ll be finding multiple ways to do that.
Treachery in Beatdown City is a game all this year I haven’t stopped thinking about since finishing it. At the time of writing this, more of the story is in development and will be released in the future. What’s here right now is incredible, it’s fresh and unlike any other beat em ups, it evolves on the gameplay and doesn’t weigh itself down by using those games concepts. It’s one of the strongest games this year undoubtedly.
The most interesting thing about horror is how open it is and the multitude of things that can be claimed as horror. People find horror scary and that’s the driving force behind the genre as it can be so engaging through that fear and that fear is never a binary thing. Fear can be a dark hallway, monsters, bugs, it can be just about anything when you ask multiple people. Fear can be how mental health is viewed and the way it is treated, that horror that to some it is never taken seriously and something that is made fun of. Devotion focuses on that horror.
Devotion is a game I never thought I’d get the chance to play, as with the history surrounding it. It seems like a game that won’t be seeing the light of day again for some time, who knows for sure if it’ll ever be re-released. I was never really aware of what it was about since I never wanted to reveal the themes of it as I thought maybe one day I’d be able to play it and experience it firsthand. Luckily I never did that and was able to be surprised at every turn by how incredible it was. Having played Detention (from the same creators of Devotion, Red Candle Games) beforehand and being enamoured by it I was curious if Devotion would be able to create a similar experience. It does just that and some more.
The presentation is completely different this time around, where Detention is a 2D game Devotion is a first person game, where the creators had to re-learn everything about making games to be able to make this one (1) in 3D. The lengths the creators went through to create Devotion shows at every turn, the care for the subject and their work is incredible for what is an indie team. The form of story-telling Red Candle Games use in their work to date has blown past so many other horror games. I don’t want to reveal more than I need to about Devotion as I want others to have that experience I did. However, Devotion is to the quality you’d expect from the creators, it’s themes are poignant and like with any horror game, it isn’t a game that is uplifting and looks at subjects that other games fumble on so much.
The title “Devotion” will become clear in time if you ever do get the chance to play it. Devotion is the strongest horror game I’ve played in such a long time and in general no game has left this impression on me. I truly hope it gets the chance to be re-released as it deserves the attention and praise it got.
2. If Found
I can’t really recall the last time I played a game and felt like I could say “this is something that I can actually relate to”. I don’t know if I’ve ever said it for a game. If Found might be the first game I can ever say that for as it was one that hit close so many times throughout. Being born and raised for a short time in Ireland I obviously have a connection to the country, whilst it was short one and soon went to Scotland after it has been a place I’ve visited whilst on holidays in recent years. It’s allowed me to learn a lot about the country where I was born, its culture, its history. Having a family that is both Irish and Scottish has taught me a lot of the dialect and I’ve never really come across a game that represents somewhere I was born in any substantial way. Irish developer, DREAMFEEL has done that.
If Found is a game about identity, you play as Kasio who lives on an island on the coast of Ireland, Achill. She has come back home after time away at college. Without giving away too much about the story, you realise everything is not comfortable at home, Kasio has issues with her and more with her brother. She feels distant from them as they don’t make the steps to understand her and who she is, whilst she also struggles to come to terms with who she might be. She moves in with some friends in an old abandoned home, it reminds me so much of the ones I’d see down south in Ireland that I could immediately assume how it’d be structured. That feeling of familiarity made the experience so much more engaging. They use the dialect I know and the game will allow you to understand certains terms in Ireland. For example the word “eejit” being used, eejit is commonly used in Ireland the way you’d call someone an idiot elsewhere. It’s gratifying to be able to understand what is being said without having to read what a word might mean and shows the routes of the creators.
In other visual novels you’d press a button to progress, whilst in If Found you will have some instances of that, the majority of the game you will erase words and images to progress. Your cursor is a rubber that over time will start to get smaller, rubbing out less and leaving marks of it across the page as you’re going through Kasio’s diary for that majority. For such a simple mechanic it is so intimate and moving. You are erasing to move forward, to erase the memories that will still leave a mark as they do on the paper. To erase is to forget but not everything can be erased so easily as the game shows. You erase so much in the game you’re uncertain how much will be erased, the final moments of If Found are so overwhelming and moving that when you start to write instead of erase it just all hits at once. Seeing an icon of a pencil has never been so hard hitting.
Kasio struggles so much with knowing who she is that it affects so much of her life. She struggles with her family, her friends, that she feels so alone and lost is hard to witness. But If Found handles it perfectly, the ugly moments of the story make those sweet and uplifting moments all the more moving. If Found is an unforgettable game to me, I managed to relate to a lot of its themes and it being based in Ireland made it all the more relatable. When I struggled to figure out who I was, that unknowingness bled into other parts of my life. I couldn’t grasp what was me or what wasn’t and it made it so much harder to figure out what I wanted, who I liked or if who I was was actually who I wanted to be. I saw moments of myself in Kasio’s story and I’m sure a lot of other people did whilst playing and it makes it all the more reassuring when you see the end of that journey that she went through.
1. Umurangi Generation
Umurangi Generation. The red sky generation. The last generation. The generation that will have to sit by and watch the end of the world because the generations before them destroyed it.
The most important game of this year is undoubtedly Umurangi Generation, it is a game about only being able to watch the world burn and capture that burning through a lense. You are powerless to change the world at a certain point and Umurangi Generation makes you feel powerless as you can only take those pictures. There’s beauty in seeing it all, how people are reacting to the end, trying to change it but ultimately not being able to. You document those moments by taking those pictures, you do not learn about the world you’ve been placed into if you do not look and Umurangi Generation makes you look. The way this game tells its story is truly unlike any other, it pulls you in and makes you think differently as you take those pictures. The objectives make you look at the world and push you to be creative. You can take full control of the pictures you take and give them your own style. The game doesn’t allow you to change the world but it does allow you to control how it is viewed through that lense.
In a year where the sky in some parts of world very much turned red, it’s hard to not look at Umurangi Generation and think of how it compares to our world right now. Those similarities might be more similar than what’s comfortable, but Umurangi Generation isn’t a hopeless about how we are that last generation. It is a game that’s asking you to care, to make sure that we aren’t that red sky generation and that we can give hope to future generations to care all the more. Umurangi Generation has been mesmerizing and I think about it so much because it’s something that has been hard to leave my mind. The ost is superb and definitely one of the best soundtracks this year, the recently released Macro DLC adds more to the game in terms of items and locations and makes that experience all the stronger. It is the most important game this year.
As with many other people, I was able to find solace in games this year as generally with any year. Some of the games listed here I got to play through with friends as they watched me play and it made it a lot more bearable. I hope these games listed and what I had to write about them interest you, they’re the best of the best to me and luckily most of them are cheap. My desire to write recently hasn’t been all that strong so forgive me if my writing in this specific instance is subpar than the general average it normally is.