Invalid characterset or character set not supported Games I Played This Year That Kicked Ass 2022

Games I Played This Year That Kicked Ass 2022
December 30, 2022

It's that time again: The Year in Review! I played a lot of great stuff this year, with the occasional spots of meh-ness. Honestly, it felt like a long year. I'm looking back on this list and thinking, "Man, that was this year?" Honestly, Gato Roboto and Football Game feel like two years ago at least.


Gorogoa (PC)
A mixture of hidden picture and puzzle-adventure, this one features a surreal world where you must put right a dangerous wrong the protagonist committed. You do this by interacting with each picture and frame, manipulating whatever you can through trial and error until you solve the puzzle. It's intriguing and unique, and not entirely in that artsy-fartsy sort of way.


3000th Duel (Switch)
A mesh of Metroid and Dark Souls that's delightful and a tad tough, albeit mostly forgettable. It's still worth checking out if you want to scratch both a grimdark and a pathfinder itch simultaneously.

Aggelos (Switch)
Apparently I just can't get enough Metroidvanias. I was in the mood for them big time this year, so it's no surprise that I ended up checking out (and totally digging) this one. No, it doesn't accomplish any new or major feat. It just does what it should, and sometimes that's enough...

Bayonetta 2 (Switch)
I honestly didn't expect this game to outdo its predecessor, but what do I know? All this one did was copy the original's formula and make everything more batshit than before. Really, that's all it had to do...

Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom (Switch)
A pleasant surprise from a Kemco-published RPG, this one utilizes simple shop sim mechanics in addition to dungeon crawling and character creation. The game gleefully sacrificed depth in exchange for brisk pacing, and the gambit paid off.

Cardpocalypse (Switch)
Though it sports a rough presentation, the game offers enough humor and great deckbuilding mechanics to stand as an easy-to-pick-up and addictive PVE card game. It's also a good history lesson for those of us who didn't collect Pokemon cards way back (or ever).

Chasm (Switch)
A 'Metroidvania' title that randomizes its dungeon layout when you start a new game, allowing you to experience it in a new light each time you play. Thankfully, it's good enough that I can see myself picking it back up down the line and checking out a few other schematics.

Cuphead (PC)
Perhaps my crowning achievement this year was finally finishing Cuphead, a masochistic run 'n gun throwback to cartoons of the 1930s. I dug it, though I felt some of the bosses dragged on.

Downfall (PC)
It speaks volumes of how good a narrative-focused adventure game is when you can ignore the wooden voice acting after a while. The game takes you through a surreal hotel on a mission to find your missing wife and hopefully patch up your decaying marriage. All you have to do is murder some monstrous girls...

Elden Ring (PlayStation 5)
You've probably already heard about "Soulsrim" a million times. I love it, but I didn't finish it. Mainly, I want to wait until I can devote all of my attention to it, which will be one of my goals next year.

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC)
I've played three of the six PR titles for Final Fantasy, and this one is my favorite so far. Square Enix actually improved upon the game in just the right way, creating my new preferred version of FFIV. It almost convinced me to replay The After Years. Almost... (No amount of updated visuals and dialed-back grinding will ever get me to replay that trainwreck.)

Florence (Switch)
A brief, bittersweet narrative experience that's very much outside my comfort zone. I don't usually do romance and break-up fiction, but this one caught my attention and kept me interested.

Football Game (Switch)
This psychological horror affair doesn't hit you with a bevy of jump scares or scenes where you run away from monsters. Instead, it slowly builds to a nasty revelation, one that you fear might be true. It's a slow-burn piece, but one that effectively pays off its slowness.

Gato Roboto (PC)
Yet another Metroid-style job that hits all the right notes and finishes up in tidy order. Little of its content stands out, but it's offers a nice, breezy experience for pathfinder diehards.

Half-Life 2 (PC)
I finally tackled this game, which has sat on my backlog since I lived with my parents. I enjoyed it, but some part of me digs the original more. Is that weird? I feel like that's weird...

Hyper Light Drifter (PlayStation 4)
Man, what a game... There's a lot of beauty that shows through its bleakness, and a lot of heart that goes into a title that barely uses any actual dialogue. It definitely tells a story, but it does so by playing to the strengths of the medium rather than trying to be a half-baked movie.

Lisa: The Painful (PC)
I really wish I would've spent more time playing this post-apocalyptic, quasi-Suikoden adventure. It's so out there, but it unfortunately remained inaccessible to me through most of the year. I'll most likely pick it up again and actually finish the damn thing. I loved what little I played, at least...

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Like Lisa, I wasn't able to finish this one in a timely manner. I got distracted by other stuff, sadly. Still, I absolutely loved this take on the Metroid concept, though it left me pretty heavyhearted early on...

Out There Somewhere (PC)
Here's an addictive puzzle-platformer that may have helped me get over my burnout in regards to that genre. This one's main hook is a teleportation gun that allows you to cross wide chasms early on. Of course, you gather other gizmos later on, but that's the one that stands out the most...

Quiet Thoughts (PC)
I haven't played many freeware platformers I've truly enjoyed. For me, Quiet Thoughts is a diamond in the rough, sporting a decent balance of narrative and mechanics, with the latter quality hitting you with some truly challenging situations.

Rise of the Third Power (PC)
I honestly didn't expect this game to kick as much ass as it did. Not that I doubted its greatness, what with it coming from the same devs who brought us the fantastic Ara Fell... This one smacks a bit of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, but doesn't go out of its way to borrow from those titles. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'd like another Third Power game, a whole new RPG from Stegosoft, or a chance to see what other genre they could tackle this effectively.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (PC)
A complete edition of Shovel Knight that I still haven't fully completed. I got through the main campaign and loved it. Last time, I started working on the Plague of Shadows campaign and got a decent ways into it. I'm not sure I enjoy controlling the Plague Knight much, but I'm going to give it my all.

Shovel Knight Dig (PC)
Yes, I still plan to review this game. I dig enjoy it and its procedurally generated, downward progression that's totally not a (still good) knockoff of Downwell.

Sparklite (Switch)
Imagine if the whole point of The Legend of Zelda was just roaming around the overworld and preparing for boss encounters. That pretty much sums up Sparklite. To its credit, it remains pretty solid despite its rather predictable rigmarole that's built around constantly prepping.

Theatre of Sorrows (Switch)
A graphic adventure game that's a bit like a tabletop title and a Twist-A-Plot had a deranged child that somehow has a lot to say about being a unwilling participant in a cruel system.

Undead Horde (PlayStation 5)
Part hack 'n slash RPG, part RTS. Yeah, it's quite repetitive, but somehow satisfying and capable of scratching a weird itch or two.

You Have to Win the Game (PC)
Yet another freeware Steam platformer that proves sometimes $0 is all you need to have a good/aggravating time.

Ys I & II Chronicles+ (PC)
I guess it was time for me to play another version of the original Ys titles. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the Turbografx version, but at least it had an absolutely killer soundtrack. Holy shit...

Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (PC)
I love the Ys games, but I can still admit that this one felt like your average action-RPG. However, it was "your average action-RPG" in the nearly the best way possible. Yeah, there's a lot of familiar Ys tropes throughout it, like Adol apparently falling for girls and Dogi appearing when you least expect him.

ZuPaPa! (NeoGeo)
Bubble Bobble this ain't, but it might as well be--for the better, of course. This is a breezy arcade game that's a bit cheap so it can munch your quarters, but still charming and delightful enough to sate your appetite for whimsical, retro slaughter.


See you in 2023!

Most recent blog posts from Joseph Shaffer...

honestgamer honestgamer - December 30, 2022 (12:01 PM)
You always manage to play a lot of interesting stuff! And, like me, you played a lot of Elden Ring this year and loved the experience but didn't hit the closing credits. That's one of those games that (in my estimation) does everything it needs to do without requiring that a person beat it... though I may go back to it myself if time permits and I haven't completely forgotten how to survive in that brutal world.
overdrive overdrive - January 03, 2023 (10:34 AM)
I beat Elden Ring! I will say that if you're playing a BIG MELEE POWER build like I always seem to do because creature of habit and all that, those final bosses are just evil. Was starting to get worried I'd run out of those items that allow you to use a Great Rune to boost stats. Like, the final stage of the final boss was basically luck-based for my build, with the key being if it was at least reasonably stationary or if it took glee in moving around the arena to blast me with magic from a distance. And my build wasn't exactly helpful in trying to beat Malenia. Turns out that being all melee power against a foe that can regen health by damaging you is a bit counter-productive. Who'd have thunk it?!?

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