Another year has passed already? Unbelievable! But then, here we are, ready to wrap up the old 2022 to welcome the new 2023 and all the new video game delights that were promised to us. But, before the decade turns one year older, let us have a look at all the games that made an impression on me during the current year.
December usually is the first of my months in these retrospect essays, so this one won’t be any different.
Mario Golf: Super Rush was the first game to make a dent in my play-time. It has an interesting solo campaign that I didn’t finish for a very obvious reason: The multiplayer part was so much fun to play with my daughters that I never returned to single player games.
Wytchwood was the second game of this month to impress me. As I mentioned in the review, it is an awesome crafting adventure full of fairy tale influences and a lovely artstyle, sound effects and music.
Ever thought of playing a pixelated Dark Souls game? Actually that was what sold Morbid-The Seven Acolytes to me. But then, right after playing an hour or so, I remembered all the things I didn’t enjoy about Dark Souls itself and left the game behind, not being sure whether I would ever return to it. [Voice from behind: He didn’t return this year.]
Instead, I returned to Monster Hunter Rise which, even before the Sunrise-update, compelled me to hunt some more. It was fun to play online, even failing some of the quest because of randoms. Happens, eh?
With Christmas, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond showed up under our tree. So the whole household (ok, the ones interested in videogames) started playing the remake of the DS classics. Diamond was for me while Santa got Pearl for our daughters. The chibi art style was off-putting at first, but the gameplay itself was fine. Strangely, wondertrade was missing from the game at that time.
January saw me making the first purchase on Nintendo’s eshop: The Last Campfire, a puzzle adventure had to be mine. I only played it a bit, but it was quite puzzling.
Then my attention turned to one of the heavy hitters, Pokemon for adults, or Shin Megami Tensei V. I’ve been a fan of the series since part IV and wasn’t disappointed. Cool art, cool story and – for those that want to play on it – a “casual” difficulty setting available right from the start.
As my kids also got Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Christmas, they bugged me to open my island to their constant exploration, harvesting, and plundering? I was happy to oblige and a lot of my crops ended up being transported to new islands. At least we had a nice coffee at the museum, albeit I was the one who had to pay for it.
February was completely spent in between monsters. In the bloody corner, with small updates in preparation for Sunbreak: Monster Hunter Rise.
In the cute corner, being the first Pokémon game totally diverting from the core formula of Pokémon games: Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That game was a lovely collect-a-thon, completely shaking up things, but in a good way! Read our review if you’d like.
When it comes to lighthearted crafting RPGs, you can’t go wrong with Atelier Sophie 2. The story was nice as were the characters. I enjoyed my time with it immensely.
I spent so much time crafting that I mostly missed out on the strategy game with the silly name: Triangle Strategy. Lots of text with tiny fonts didn’t help there either. In fact, if I wasn’t going through my notes to write this article right now, I might have forgotten that I actually started playing this game.
There was one more game I enjoyed this month: Gal*Gun Double Peace. It’s an over-the-top crazy railgun-shooter which I’ve reviewed right here! Fair dues warning: Lewdness all around!
April saw the return of the cutest video game character ever: Kirby. My last Kirby game had been on the 3DS, Planet Robobot, I think. So, I absolutely jumped at Kirby and the Forgotten Land! It is Kirby’s first 3D adventure and has lovely gameplay in a rather dark-the world after humanity’s downfall-setting. The story itself is both wonderful and engaging. The post game story was nice, too.
I dig short wholesome games, so I fell in love with Haven Park when it came out. This month finally brought us a small update in which you could enter and explore the mines for an additional story. This game was and is simply wonderful.
Enter the dungeon crawler: Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl Gold. We liked the game when we reviewed it and I have to admit that it is funny, especially because it is breaking the 4th wall all the time. Sadly, the online part was already dead when I started playing, so I quickly lost interest.
Back when I grew up I was raised on a diet of Maniac Mansion, Zak McCracken and other LucasArts games. Getting Thimbleweed Park then was a no brainer. In fact, I even got the limited edition cartridge, but never played it. It took me double dipping into the digital version (That’s totally ok, right? Right?) to admire both pixel artstyle and the humour of years back. Simply wonderful! This game does not break the 4th wall, it completely tears it down!
The rest of this month was spent shooting and looting in the wonderful Switch ports of Borderlands and Borderlands 2. I have to admit here that I very much preferred the sequel to the original. Oh, and I managed to track down the printed guides for each game, too. Didn’t even have to sell a kidney to get them.
After so many games last month, it was diet time for my in May. Only Seven Pirates H was played. It was delightful, but couldn’t live up to its predecessors.
95 hours. 95 hours in total to finish Borderlands 2 during this month. Oh, I enjoyed to finish off the villain and see the credits roll. Wonderful story and now the DLCs wait for me. There is still so much to do in this game.
What was left of the month was divided between Freshly Frosted, a devious puzzle game about creating tasty pastries (Recommended, but it will make you hungry.) and World End Syndrome. Here I managed to get the bad ending in my first playthrough and see the game open up. I need to get back and finish this.
This month started with a timesink: Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. I could go on about how great this DLC is, how addictive it continues to be, but you might just have a look at our review for that. Let it simply be known that I couldn’t put down this game.
And that’s all for this month: Only. Hunting. Monsters.
Even with Sunbreak going strong, I was pulled to another heavy-hitter this month: Xenoblade Chronicles 3. From one grindfest directly into the next one, you could say.
This RPG is a lot darker than its predecessor but still wonderfully written right up to the ending. Playing it was a beautiful experience for the two months it took me from start to finish. That reminds me, there’s DLC for the game that I haven’t touched yet!
Man can not live on JRPGs alone, some aquatic animals have to be included into the diet. That’s why I balanced exploring Aionios with exploring the tiny island in Time on Frog Island.
It is a cute and hearty adventure about life and loss. Definitely a game to play if you are in need of a little cuteness and would like to solve some puzzles.
I dedicated this month to Splatoon 3. That’s it, that’s the month!
Inking in turf wars or working shifts in Salmon Run was all I did in September. (Gameplay wise, of course. I’m still a working adult.)
Even the many connection and network issues, especially during the first Splatfest, couldn’t get me away from the game. And what’s best: no Morray Towers, hurray!
When the days are getting shorter, you have to adjust by playing even more video games. In October I dabbled a bit in Potion Permit which is a pixelated cross between Stardew Valley and a hospital simulation. Think getting to know and winning over folks in a new village by crafting potions kind of game.
Then Nier: Automata dropped onto my Switch and I was enthralled. The game runs so smoothly and is so accessible via its difficulty options that I had to get at least two endings before I could lay the game to rest. Also, the guides to this game, published by Dark Horse, are wonderful. The first one being more of an art book, featuring background information on the world of the game. The second one, then, is the real guide with maps et. al. and will help you on your quests.
Youropa also finally came out on the Switch. I originally played this 3D puzzle game during Gamescom in 2019 and pestered its developer on Twitter regularly for updates on a release date. October 2022 was that date and I’m still racking my brain on some of the puzzles.
With Bayonetta 3 in the pipeline, I wanted to experience the whole trilogy in sequence. That meant playing some stages of Bayonetta once more and fighting my way through Bayonetta 2 from beginning to end. That was a brutal, gory and sexy experience. Bayonetta’s story so far was good, but the action was even better!
With all the hubbub around Bayonetta 3‘s voice acting, I had mixed feelings starting this game. After a few minutes, though, I was absorbed in it just like in the games before. The action was great, the gore was still gory. Some of the demons were ridiculous (A demon inhabiting a train? Come on!), but overall the game was fun to play and well written. The ending on the other hand didn’t go down well with me. This iteration might as well be the one with the best gameplay, but definitely is the one with the worst ending.
After this despicable ending, I needed more gore in my gamer’s life. Up to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to deliver. The side-scrolling RPG featured cool graphics, puzzles and platforming. Interestingly the performance problems that other people mentioned on the Switch didn’t show up on my system. It might have been the case that I simply didn’t get far enough because I switched the grind of this RPG for another grindfest.
Persona 5 Royal made an appearance on a Nintendo system! It was my first Persona game and has a great artstyle and an interesting story full of well-rounded characters. Being a Shin Megami Tensei fan, I can freely admit that the characters here are definitely better thought out and written. (Compared to Shin Megami Tensei V, at least.) The mechanics are similar enough that I felt right at home in the game.
Remember the Pokémon game I had started in December 2021? Well I did and finally finished off both top four and champion in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. That’s the longest span of time between starting a Pokémon game and becoming champion ever, at least for me. Then I finished the Pokédex (thanks to my armada of ‘mons in Pokémon Home), caught some more legendaries, and was done with the game at last. In the end, the chibi characters don’t seem like a great idea. They were kind of off-putting to all Pokémon fans in this family.
Waiting to start No Man’s Sky in December was a bad idea as I missed out on the Switch exclusive multi-tool and starship. But still, the Elite-vibes from back in my Commodore C64 days are real. Exploring space, finding new creatures, conversing with aliens, and trying to make sense of it all is a tremendous experience. And, with all the previous updates included, there is so much to do that I’m pretty sure I can never completely finish the game. I’ll probably pick it up again and again, though.
So, that was my year. What about yours?