A.K.A. The Pretendies
It’s February so you know what time it is. That’s right, it’s tax filing time! Oh wait, that’s April. It’s actually time for the 4th annual (I skipped 2021 for reasons of state) Games I’ve Played this Year of the Year Awards! 2022 edition!
I have picked six games to talk about here today with one game receiving the much sought after Game of the Year Award from yours truly. Two of the games on this list will be ones that I haven’t mentioned before here on the blog while the other four received a review sometime last year. Which ones made it and which ones didn’t? You’ll have to read on to find out!
Also, there will be two honorable mentions because I couldn’t help it. Anyways, enjoy!
On a whim, I decided to check out Tinykin through Game Pass with the intention of only putting a little time into it to see if it was any good. I then proceeded to beat the game in just one weekend. Needless to say, I had a blast playing it.
I’m told the game is like Pikmin but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never played any of the games in that series. What you need to know is that you use the Tinykin to interact with the world. There’s also platforming, collecting collectibles (as would be expected), and completing side quests. Combine all this with fluid movement mechanics and you’ve got yourself a good game right there.
Oh, the soundtrack is also really good and the game is chockfull of references ranging from Titanic to SpongeBob SquarePants. If that doesn’t sound like a good time then I don’t know what does.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty awesome and this is coming from someone who knows next to nothing about the Guardians of the Galaxy. The game in question won me over with its colorful and hilarious cast of characters. Both the main party characters and the characters you meet out on your adventures are great.
The main cast never shuts up and, you know what, that’s ok because they were so damn funny. I literally laughed out loud more times than I can count while playing this game. It got to the point where I didn’t want to respond to anything in a conversation because I didn’t want to interrupt the other characters because they were so funny.
It also helps that the combat was fun as well. Oh, and speaking of the combat, the soundtrack was great. It is full of classic songs from the 80s which never got old. It was really something killing bad guys while listening to “We Built This City” or even “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It never failed to pump me up and put a smile on my face.
Games of the Year
I have a confession to make. I never got the true ending for Tunic. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person. It’s not because it’s a bad game but more so because I wanted to step away from the game for a while.
Tunic is a game about exploration and figuring things out for yourself. The game doesn’t tell you much outright about its gameplay but it reveals its mechanics through game manual pages scattered throughout its world. These pages aren’t in English (or any other real language for that matter) so even if those pages reveal some things for the player they don’t always tell the full story either.
There were several times I had to stop and simply marvel at the ingenuity of Tunic. I would figure something out from one of the pages of the manual and I would be in awe. This is because most of the mechanics are hidden in plain sight the entire time. Once you discover a new aspect of the game it forces you to mentally retrace your steps and see if you can use this newfound knowledge to open up new paths.
Precious few games have a game design like this which makes Tunic all the more special. I had to step away from the game because it’s a lot to take in after a while. I played Tunic through Game Pass but I plan on buying it just so I can finish it up and get the true ending. That’s a testament to how much I loved Tunic.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake deserves a place on this list for three reasons. Those three things are its soundtrack, its battle system, and the nostalgia I have for its cast of characters.
Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtrack for the original Final Fantasy VII is legendary and the expanded and fully orchestrated tracks from Remake not only do it justice but also prove that those originals stand the test of time. And that is not debatable. Even if you don’t care about Final Fantasy and will never play this game, do yourself a favor and look up this game’s soundtrack. It is nothing short of fantastic.
Final Fantasy VII Remake has a great combat system and I don’t care who knows it. The fluidity with which you can switch characters mid-battle, the variety of attacks, and the strategy a few of the battles entail make this system one worth remembering in my book. It is awesome and I never got tired of it. And remember, that means a lot coming from someone who doesn’t hold combat up as the be all and end all for what a video game should be.
I talked about it before but I never finished the OG Final Fantasy VII. In fact, I never even played it at all until years after it had come out. I’m telling you this because it’s weird that I felt tinges of nostalgia while playing Remake. I loved seeing all of these classic characters brought to life in full 3D. This just proves to me that all of these characters are truly iconic because someone like me has nostalgia for them even though I never finished the original game. That is the true power of Final Fantasy VII Remake, folks.
Neon White has some truly awful dialogue and characters. There, I said it. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the gameplay!
Neon White is a first-person, card utilizing, speed run-focused game. That probably doesn’t make any sense so I suggest those of you who are reading this go look up videos of the game in action and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m not usually one who cares about speed running a game but Neon White sure made me care. The game is broken down into levels where getting the best time is the goal. Moving around is my favorite part of the game which is weird to say but its true. No other game has ever given me an adrenaline rush quite like Neon White has. Jumping, shooting, and gliding through the levels while discovering new ways to shave precious seconds off the clock is truly gratifying. Doing all this while listening to a rockin’ soundtrack is just icing on the cake.
I really don’t know how to describe Neon White other than by saying what I have said thus far. It’s probably not the best way to do it but it’ll have to do. Like I said, if you’re even remotely interested in the game, I suggest you look up videos about it. You’ll know if it’s for you almost immediately.
I’d also like to give a shoutout to all of you who made it to Idiot Island. You know who you are.
The highest compliment I can give Mass Effect is that I have played through the game nearly three times since the Legendary Edition of the game came out. I never, ever play through games to the end more than once so that should tell you all you need to know about how I feel about Mass Effect. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I absolutely adore this game.
The characters, the story, and the worldbuilding are all topnotch especially considering the fact that BioWare created this entire universe from scratch. Not only that but the game’s unique soundtrack helps create an atmosphere that I have never found in any other game. It’s truly a one of a kind experience and I’m glad I finally played through game (multiple times too, remember?).
I really have nothing more to say about the game and I don’t think I really need to since the game’s reputation really speaks for itself. Go out there and play Mass Effect is all you really need to know and do. So, go on. What are you waiting for? I SAID GO PLAY MASS EFFECT, DAMN IT!
I really should have stuck to my guns and make Franken my Game of the Year. I really, really should have. You know what? F*@k it! Franken is now my co-Game of the Year.
Many of you are probably surprised by this pronouncement since most of you undoubtedly haven’t even heard of the game until now. Well, allow me to introduce you. Franken is a free game (that’s right, I said free) available on itch.io and it takes inspiration from JRPGs from the 8 and 16-bit area of video games.
What’s great about Franken is that it is an old-school RPG but on an accelerated timeline. The game is only an hour long which is why I’ve beaten it twice already in one year. Don’t let that hour playtime fool you. Franken may be short but it feels like you went on a fifty-hour long quest like you would find in those RPGs of old. And that’s why I like it so much. It has all the fun and epic moments of one of those RPGs without all the fluff.
In essence, Franken is both an homage and a satire of those old-school RPGs. It truly has everything: turn based combat (although it’s so simple it’ll make you laugh), NPCs with banal shit to say, truly ludicrous story beats, and you end up fighting a god in the end. What’s not to like? Oh, and it’s filled with some pretty funny dialogue and bits along the way.
Also, one last thing, the soundtrack is pretty good too even though it’s filled with a bunch of music from other media.
Game of the Year
The moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The Pretend Gamer’s Game of the Year for 2022 is….Persona 5 Royal for the second year in a row! Congratulations!
Alright, alright, I’m just joking. Although Persona 5 Royal is still a great game, the real Game of the Year is God of War!
God of War
God of War is my Game of the Year (well, co-Game of the Year now I guess) for 2022. And the reason for that is quite simple: I enjoyed the heck out of it.
I couldn’t put the game down in the week it took me to finish it. I just kept playing and playing it. I would even think about it when I wasn’t playing it. The characters, the graphics, the exploration, the puzzle-solving, and especially the combat kept me coming back for more.
Not only did it hold my attention throughout its entire story arc but the optional stuff kept me engaged as well. There’s seriously a whole lot of stuff to do in God of War. I’m still trying to 100% it but I’ll get there eventually. I have to do it because the side content is just so good!
I could go on and on about God of War but I don’t think I will. If my enthusiasm for this game hasn’t won you over yet then nothing will. It’s a good game and that’s all you need to know about it.
Thanks for reading and congratulations to all the winners! What were some of your favorite games from last year? Both old and new? Let me know down below!