Just like last year, I want to take a look at the games that have impressed me in the last twelve months. Some I’ve reviewed, some have been reviewed by others for this site. Because I only want to share short personal comments, I’ll include links to our reviews in case one of the games catches your attention and you seek deeper insight on it. So, without further ado, here are the categories:
Ever wanted to play a mix’n’match action-adventure? Well, Skellboy is the mix’n’match you need in your library. All the parts of your character’s body can be exchanged with parts of your slain enemies: head, arms, torso, feet, giving you new abilities and sometimes a rather strange looking combination. The story as quirky and fun as well, so I enjoyed the game immensely.
There’s a lot of discussion why this is not a great Wolfenstein title. Frankly, I don’t care. I liked the concept of doing the missions in co-op, even if the AI was sometimes acting rather strange. I got a lot of bang for the buck (Sorry, but this pun was a must!) and finished the game after giving it a pass for some months. The locations were a bit repetitive, but finishing off Nazis made them bearable.
A funny, mutant slaying, action RPG platformer about a girl wanting to go to school. It’s a ridiculous and brutal journey that I was able both to enjoy and review this year. Feel free to read the review!
I was ready for a new Monster Hunter on Switch (Spoiler: 2021!), so I thought God Eater 3 would scratch that itch. Finish off Aragami (AKA huge monsters) by using an array of weapons. I enjoyed the hours I invested, but my biggest gripe was the fact that I couldn’t set up the controls exactly like Monster Hunter. My muscle memory tended to work against me while playing the game.
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate
I freely admit that I tried Super Smash Brothers once on the 3DS and found it lacking. For my eyes the action was too fast (or the screen simply too small). But I really wanted to try it, so I was exited for the ultimate Switch version and played enough to unlock all fighers. Oh, and one of my Joy-Con ended up with drift because of it. Well, thanks for contact cleaner!
The Touryst is a wonderful puzzle platformer full of side-jokes about European tourist destinations and tourist behaviour. It’s short and sweet and can be completed in a few hours. Some platforming is tricky, but it is never unfair. I really hope there will be some kind of sequel.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
Shantae games are always great and the Pirate’s Curse is no difference. I had played it on the 3DS not long ago and when it was on sale for the Switch, I simply had to replay it. The visuals are fine, the music is catchy, the writing is funny. What else do you need?
Wow! That’s ****ing beautiful! Playing this game is like watching a rainbow dance in front of your eyes. What’s more: the controls are fabulous and the puzzles and boss-fights are both interesting and rewarding. I need to find time to play the sequels next year!
As Relaxing As A Hot Bath
The game that everyone played this year. Rightfully so, because it is a good game! I lost interest, however, after I had seen the credit roll, simply because degrading and breaking tools are a game-mechanic I abhor.
Perhaps I’ll return to it around Christmas!
If memory serves this was a shadow drop during one of the directs. I was reluctant at first, because I already had played a relaxing game (see above for Animal Crossing), but I’m so happy that I gave A Short Hike a try! The story is so charming and the whole game feels like a big, warm hug.
Ascendant Hearts is a nice visual novel making fun of nearly all RPG/adventure tropes while offering a bit of fanservice. With different routes to pursue it was a nice distraction and lighthearted enough to play in short bursts. Not the most engaging visual novel, but not bad either.
This is one weird visual novel. Coming from me, that means a lot! The story about a boy who stumbles upon two luck-bringing goddesses with cat-ears is full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes. The typesetting and punctuation is atrocious. I still had to finish it, simply because of the ridiculous story.
If you like your visual novels intertwined with a match-three puzzle game mechanic, Kotodama is for you. It’s quite nice and creepy, but the story was very linear. Still an interesting one, even if it can’t decide between creepiness and fanservice.
This is a wonderful coming-of-age visual novel. I’ve reviewed it for our lovely website and you can read more about it if you follow the link above..
Let’s Play A Different Role!
Pokémon Shield, together with all the DLC, was a simply beautiful release. It also felt a bit back to the roots with no mega evolutions or Z-moves. Instead we got dynamax and a number of quality-of-life enhancements. Together with the wonderful region of Galar which is more or less based on Great Britain, it is my new favourite Pokémon game.
A crossover between Japanese idol artists and Fire Emblem characters? How is that even possible? Well, I remember being underwhelmed by the concept when I first saw it in a direct for the WiiU, because I hoped it would come to the 3DS. Fast forward some time and we have the Encore edition on Switch. I don’t know why, but the game gives off Shin Megami Tensei vibes, perhaps because the battle system is similar. The music and artstyle are great as well and I had a blast playing it.
Yo-Kai Watch 4 / Yo-Kai Watch 1
Warning: This game has not yet been localised for the west. And when we think of what happened to the US Level-5 office, it likely never will. Which is really sad, considering that the Yo-Kai Watch series was both a charming offer and the latest sequel completely changed the game’s fighting mechanics. If you are curious, you can import the game from Japan. It’s playable without much hassle even if you don’t know Japanese. I’ve written more about it here.
The same is true, by the way, for Yo-Kai Watch 1, which was directly ported to the Switch. I say directly ported, because the battle system (using two screens on the 3DS) was just minimaly adjusted to be usable on the Switch. It’s a bit complicated, but still very doable!
This was the only game I ever bought that was specifically made for the New Nintendo 3DS. I couldn’t come to terms with it thought and was happy to notice that it got some quality of life updates on the Switch. I spent considerable time on just running around and experience the wonderful landscapes!
Oh, Fairy Tail! An over-the-top game based on an over-the-top manga. I’ve enjoyed this one immensely as you can see when you read the review. Playing this actually felt relaxing.
This year had no shortage of monster collecting games and Nexomon: Extinction was one of the better ones. Story and artstyle kept me interested, some gameplay mechanics made it very challenging. Still enjoyed it a lot.
Well. Uhm. Let it be said that it is a good game. I, uhm, played it to my heart’s content. I was brave enough to write about the experience, too. You should perhaps read on there, or pass on to the next category.
Stop Puzzling Me!
Ok, Overcooked 2 is not really a puzzle game. It’s more like a scream-at-your-fellow-players game, which can also be quite puzzling. Playing this together with my children was hilarious, even when we did not get too far. Someone, no names will be offered here, always managed to burn the food.
The Gardens Between
I had tried out this game at Gamescom a few years back. I remember taking turns with my eldest to solve all the riddles of this rather unconventional puzzle game. 2020 was the year when I finally managed to finish it. It was a very enjoyable experience. The Gardens Between is a great game about friendship, loss and memories.
Die And Die Again!
Collapsed can be proud of itself, because it was the first rogue-lite that I enjoyed. The 2D action game made me change my opinion on the whole genre. Thanks for that!
Another one of the games that seemingly everyone played. Fascinating concept and perfect execution. A rogue-lite with a developing narrative! Love, hate, betrayal-everything that makes the Greek pantheon interesting is there. A game totally worth immersing yourself in and a good way to end this article.