You may as well just start buying Christmas presents right now, because from here it''s a slippery slope to Winter. But before that happens, let''s celebrate the six-month mark of 2022 with our games of the year so far, or GOTYSF!
This year, the list of Pokemons and Ninja Turtles and Kirbies has been stacked, so we had a little discussion between the NL team and their nominees for GOTYSF, but if you want to skip straight to the poll to have your opinion (how might you) then it''s right at the bottom. However, the words are excellent. There''s plenty of room to do.
Let''s get GOTYSFing without any additional 2022 ado!
KATE GRAY, STAFF WRITER: This is my first selection of Card Shark, which I discovered quite often, and now I see that I was correct. It''s bloody hard, though. While many things are related to how to recognize your suit and rank a card, it''s not great for my brain. It''s a very personal, engaging, innovative, and unique approach to games. It''s like nothing I''ve ever seen before.
GAVIN LANE, EDITOR: Card Shark is on my list of Games I Have To Get Around To At Some Point Before We Get To GOTY Proper, but it does look like a winner.
ALANA HAGUES, STAFF WRITER: I think card games and deckbuilders need something really useful to get their hooks in me, and the minute I saw Card Shark (that art style!) and it in motion I was intrigued. It''s only interesting to see what''s on the to play list, so it''s also on the back burner.
OLLIE REYNOLDS, STAFF WRITER: This game im afraid, and its name just makes me think of GTA, so sorry bout that, ha!
I haven''t finished the game yet.
KATE: It''s really not a card game, but it''s basically nothing to do with card playing itself, which is really interesting! It''s more about memory, finesse, and repeating instructions, which sounds awfully dull, but isn''t. There''s also a story about French elitism, putting it on the aristocracy, and all that, but I was also stuck on one particularly difficult puzzley bit and haven''t completed the game yet!
ALANA: Ah, take care of it as a lesson for me.
GAVIN: Mitch covered WarioWare-style elements in his essay, which made me 20% more anxious to try it out. On the backlog it continues!
KATE: WarioWare is a pretty good comparison, because it has some rhythm-ish features. Obviously, youre cheating at cards, so you need to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself, which means that youre usually juggling the trick itself, the timing, and the distractions, like pouring wine or leaving the table. It''s all about pressure!
GAVIN: I''m at ease with seeing the list of 2022 releases as I''ve not played too many of them. At the moment, my instant go-to is the Portal: Companion Collection, but that doesn''t really count, either?
ALANA: They have never used Nintendo consoles before, right? And they''re still fantastic! At least the Companion Collection deserves a mention.
GAVIN: From what I have seen, they''re exactly what you want a Switch port of this pair to be. Anyway, after mentioning them, my favorite genre this year (bearing in mind theres a ton of stuff from the first six months I havent touched yet) may have to be Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Mainly because I had to get around on it extremely slowly following my initial reaction. At the start it seemed like a very pleasant, very well-rounded 3D platformer
OLLIE: Whoa, bold words there!
KATE: Is it thouing to have a daughter with you to show you the childlike joy of Kirby, like you never experienced it since you were a kid?
GAVIN: Ha, perhaps! It might be that the game opens a little after the first area, too. I''m not the greatest Kirby fan (except for Epic Yarn, which is appropriately epic), but Forgotten Land has really transformed things around and won me over. So, see how it ranks come the end of the year, but I''ve been very impressed.
OLLIE: That''s fantastic to hear! I must admit, Kirby has never been my thing, and it''s unlikely this one will convince me to dive into that particular world, but im happy Kirby and the Forgotten Land have resonated with so many people!
ALANA: Yeah, im also not the greatest Kirby fan, and there are so many little magical moments in Forgotten Land that exude pure joy. However, I kind of went the opposite direction to you, Gavin. I really liked the first few worlds, and by the end, I was ready for it to happen. Which, if anyone has beaten the game, is true.
GAVIN: Oof. This is GOTYSF, so maybe Ill have 180-ed again in December. I hope not but I''ll see it again!
ALANA: I hope so! I still liked it, but Kirby is kind of like comfort food that, once I feel full, I should be able to put down. Im okay, I should be more of a contrarian and talk about something I loved in the Citizen Sleeper. This is an RPG in the really traditional sense dialogue trees, dice rolls, conversations, etc. all set beautifully in a cerebral, calm space setting, where people learn about each other, and discuss the ins and outs of a colon
I haven''t had the time to play it myself.
KATE: I''m so pleased you picked Citizen Sleeper, because I haven''t had the time to play it myself, and I know that I''ll continue to love it. It''ll make it on to a slew of end-of-year GOTY lists.
ALANA: Despite all the politics it ends up discussing, everyone feels like a real human being. Its like a slightly lighter, gentler Disco Elysium. There are ways to get better dice, and there are additional skills you can learn later this year.
OLLIE: Nice, Id heard a Disco Elysium variant, so that''s really good to hear, and I''ll give it a try at certain points.
GAVIN: Yep, it looks great. Along with Gotta Protectors, Infernax, Neon White, and OlliOlli World, this list is on my list.
OLLIE: Ha, my list is too long. Anyway, my first choice has to be the fantastic Adventure Ti - er, sorry, OlliOlli World. It''s just fantastic. It takes the amazing gameplay of the first two OlliOlli games, but it expands it in so many ways. The graphics are rudimentary, but it works perfectly within that world, and the customization options are just off the charts. Definitely one to go for if you want skill-based gameplay
KATE: Is there a need to be in skateboarding? Ive only ever played one Tony Hawk game, and it was mostly for the music.
OLLIE: Nah, I wouldnt say so. It lists all the wacky tricks as you pull them off, but you dont need to know them as such. The true pleasure of the game is simply putting together a couple of tricks and being more or less completely linked to the analogue sticks!
GAVIN: They have released some additional gameplay for it recently, right? I like the style it has. I always thought the previous games were more functional in the visuals department, but this one has the ability to support the sweet gameplay.
In the near future, its definitely on my to-do list.
OLLIE: Yes, I''ve not tried the new DLC yet, but it''s definitely on my to-do list in the near future. It certainly feels like this was the game they always intended to do, and it''s great to see it finally developed.
ALANA: Yeah, this is another one on my long list to play. I love how vibrant and creative it looks, and constant Ollies praise for OlliOlli World hasn''t helped!
KATE: Wait. Ollie. OlliOlli World. I believe I am aware of the connection.
OLLIE: Ollie Ollie World is required to be done.
KATE: What do we do for GOTYSF?
KATE: I''ll go first then! It''s a bit confusing to pick, since most games I''ve ever played this year have either ports or old games. So, your second choice, if youll let me have it, is a game I haven''t actually played yet. But I know, I''m really going to love the Zero Escape games, and I''m kicking myself through the first AI game and loving it. I wish there were more story games about murders and weird timey-w
ALANA: Even if I prefer the first game personally, what AI does so well is the characters. God, the actors, and the voice performances are so good that youre is willing to believe anything. And im really pleased to see the nirvanA initiative review so well, even though it is still powerful, well written, thoughtfully plotted, and still hilarious.
KATE: In the first game, there were a lot of odd pervy stuff, ha but I realized I didn''t really mind it too much? Perhaps this is because after playing 999 and Danganronpa, which have a lot of different kinds of, and I guess I don''t know how to explain it in a family-friendly manner.
ALANA: I know what you mean, but I can''t find the correct words either! AI2 (Im not doing the case/letter thing every time) is probably worse, but it''s kinda not derogatory in the same way as other games can be? At least the different protagonists help balance it a bit more.
I haven''t played either of these games yet.
OLLIE: I''ve never played either of these games, so I really cant offer up anything of value here! Hmm, I suppose you may choose a game you haven''t played yet. I prefer Bayonetta 3! Ha, yeah.
KATE: New rule: The game must at least have a release date. Also preferably out.
So, Banjo, GAVIN
ALANA: I mean, it''s unlikely to be fair to everything else!
GAVIN: Youe not wrong. I mean, how can anything compare to a so impressively fine piece of interactive entertainment, now available on Nintendo Switch as part of the Nintendo Switch Online expansion pack?
KATE: Instead of talking about Banjo once more, pick your actual game.
GAVIN: Can you tell Im stalling because I am having trouble picking something? Ive dabbled with Grapple Dog and enjoyed it, but having it as a GOTYSF would be generous. And Ive only dipped my toe into some others on the list, it''s difficult to know!
KATE: Remember, you have been permitted to select games that you haven''t played!
OLLIE: Tell us what Gav, Ill choose for you. In fact, I think I can speak for all gamers when I say Ahem Drum roll.. TMNT: Shredders Revenge!
ALANA: Beautiful. Yes. Im very pleased you brought it up. TMNT is unbelievable arcade joy. I feel like im a kid all over again playing this.
GAVIN: Oh, I support that! Ive only played the first level, but it felt like a perfect combination of nostalgia and mod-cons. Dotemu seems to have coined the market in that.
OLLIE: Yeah, it''s quite impressive. Coming from someone who has little to no desire for TMNT, I do nevertheless enjoy games like Streets of Rage 4 and Scott Pilgrim. Shredders Revenge somehow feels better than both, and I cant quite imagine how slick the combat gameplay feels.
KATE: I saw a turtle at the aquarium last weekend. It was a pleasure to watch.
GAVIN: So youd rate it higher than SOR4, Ollie, and you''re all there is to it! I really need to dive back in!
OLLIE: Yes, I''m not one of those oh, pixels are better, bwaaah kinda people, but the visuals in TMNT really blew me away; the whole package feels a lot like it.
ALANA: It''s another example of a game being developed by fans who get it. There are countless references to real obscure pieces of TMNT media, and references to other combat games, both down to getting the voice actors back where they could. Plus it controls tightly, sounds perfect (Tee Lopes!!! ) and looks amazing.
KATE: Was Ollies picking him or was Ollie lending it to Gav?
GAVIN: I have spent the most of the last six months playing Mother 3, Hades, a Japanese-only N64 fishing game, and recently Cuphead. At this point, my list of 2022 is more of a vague concept than a solid thing. Ollie can have that one!
Oooh, we can count the new Cuphead DLC as a game!
ALANA: I have to continue to play Cuphead hard games, making me a little bit confused. So, my second choice for GOTYSF is something that has already been mentioned Neon White. Sure. Speedrunner/platformer/puzzler? Sure! It''s pretty, kind of dumb, annoying, and addictive. It really scratches a competitive itch in me. Also, do you think that you should, however, select your favorite game.
Ack, another game Ive yet to play! This one sounds absolutely fantastic, though, so I will be picking it up soon.
I''ve yet to play another game...
KATE: Same!!! I''m sure I''ll like it yet but I''m glad you chose it instead, Alana. It''s weird, Ive read so much about it, but everyone seems to say the same thing, but its fantastic. A deckbuilding dating sim speedrunning visual novel platformer??? Sounds amazing!
ALANA: Okay, just throw everything in! It''s over-the-top and never takes itself seriously, which I believe is quite comparable to the snappy gameplay. Also, gyro controls. I know a lot of people are interested in gyro, but I have heard very good things about them here. Apologies to Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which would have been my second choice if Angel Matrix had not made something this fun.
GAVIN: I was going to ask if anyone felt strongly enough to include Arceus on their GOTYSF list.
KATE: I was thinking about it, and I can''t tell if it was because it just didn''t set my heart on fire in January, but my motivation from PLA or PokeLegArc or whatever we want to call it for short was that it was a cool new direction, but rather an integral part of the game. Although it was quite a concept, it possessed a slew of great additions to the Pokemon oeuvre, like the fast catching and the open worldiness, but
OLLIE: I really wanted to, but no. Not for me.
GAVIN: It''s on my list, but seeing things like that along with my time constraints at the start of the year, I didn''t want to invest my time in something so big that I wasn''t 99% sure Id love it. Ditto Triangle Strategy, although im pretty sure Id adore it. Did that make anyones list? Im attempting to play it!
ALANA: I''m sad at this Arceus talk! It''s probably one of my favourite Pokemon games ever. With Sword & Shield, this felt really fresh, but I also get the whole proof of concept criticism. I think it will be on my GOTY list at the end of the year, really, because I love Final Fantasy Tactics and Octopath Traveler (and HD-2D), so I''ll have to buckle up and play it this summer.
KATE: Have we all chosen a first and second GOTYSF?
ALANA: I think so. The rest of the year is pretty exciting for me, and theres a few games from the last six months I want to catch up on, but this year is a rather busy year.
KATE: There were a ton of really good ports, too. Astroneer, Sorcery!, and 13 Sentinels I know they''re all quite old now, but I still wanted to give them a shout out! Excellent job, video games!
ALANA: Yeah, Ive played 13 Sentinels on PS4. That game is absolutely fantastic.
OLLIE: It''s possible to make our first and second picks, though! Unless Has Gav actually received one or not..?
GAVIN: Erm, well, you see the thing is *runs*
KATE: If you want to pick an old game, you can make sure that youre being done! I mean, my real GOTYSF is Hollow Knight!
ALANA: I can come down with this choice! Hey, maybe Silksong will be released this year and- is now closed*.
GAVIN: If I can pick an old game I have played this year that isnt Hades (NEWS FLASH! HADES IS GOOD GAME! ), Id say Blasphemous. Really cracking Metroidvania, that. So good and evergreen Im jamming it awkwardly in here!
OLLIE: If I were picking old games, then Resident Evil 4 is my GOTY every year!
KATE: Have you ever heard of this game called Breath of the Wild? It''s kind of excellent.
GAVIN: A new one is on me. Is it a roguelike?
OLLIE: It''s awful, and you''ll not be disappointed.
ALANA: No, it''s a Soulslike I suspect.
KATE: A bit of a Zelda-like real.
"We haven''t actually had time to keep up with all the releases," says a huge apologise for the topic of this GOTY list, "we haven''t had to be careful about everything," but, as you know, even when you play in games, you don''t get to play all the games!
And now... it''s your choice!
This list of GOTY games has almost all of our games this year, including a few stand-out 8/10s. If your game choice isn''t on here, please make sure you follow up.