A very merry day after Christmas to all of you out there. We hope that you had a wonderful time this holiday season! However, now that the holiday is officially over (unless you still have one more trip to see the in-laws still), we are officially out of the gift giving part of the end of the year and into the hot takes part of the year as everyone lines up what they think is the epitome of the best and worst of gaming for the year before we can turn our eyes towards next year’s digital delights. So, before we close out 2021 for good, let’s look at the best and worst that gaming had to offer this year!
Best: It Takes Two
In case you’re wondering or still just on the fence about this one, yes, it really is that worth it. It’s a little bit comedically dark at times, but it’s been a while since we had such an interesting two player experience that we’ve all been able to fall so deeply in love with. If you have the time and a relative or two still hanging around, this might be the one to share over those Christmas leftovers this year.
Because it really is that good.Liam
We all know that sometimes those games that have the silliest names or concepts can sometimes turn out to be some of the best that gaming has to offer, but sometimes they also turn out to be just plain bad. This was a big disappointment for those of us who wanted a silly skating game with birds. Luckily, if you’re a bad game connoisseur, this one is on Gamepass for your mocking enjoyment.
This waste of assets and money is only an abuse of your patience as game mechanics don’t work/weren’t tested, achievements are impossible to complete due to the wonky physics, and it’s not at all an interesting game. I think that’s the worst of this: it’s not interesting at all. It’s just annoying birds, on annoying skateboards, saying annoying things while the annoying physics engine knocks you off your board for no reason, or keeps you on your board when you should have fallen off. This game is awful, certainly one of the worst I’ve played.James
Best: B. Ark
This may be a little known game for many of you, but this Shmup game is not to be overlooked. One of our team has been having a very loud love affair with it since the E3 season, so we’d love to pass on the good word to you all over again so you can give this indie gem the love that it deserves if you have the time.
I really did enjoy B.Ark. It was just a cute Saturday Morning cartoon vibes co-op SHMUP that my friends and I have a blast with.Greg
Worst: Bravely Default 2
Generally, these sorts of lists tend to have a bias towards games that came out closer to the end of the year since those are the freshest in our minds, but that doesn’t mean that things from early on can’t sneak on! You may have forgotten that this game was from this year, but it was and we’re all sadder for that.
Bravely Default 2, because it got everything right but failed to touch me as well as the other games of the series. It simply didn’t live up to my hype. So, it’s probably my fault and not the games’ one.Joachim
Best: Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter is a monolith of gaming at this point. If you’re not into the series, you might not understand all the hype that there is around these games, but for those of you that are in the know, you’re really feasting this year. Rise was the shining jewel of the year for so many and we don’t doubt that you may have spent some of the time off you’ve had lately taking another dive in.
Because it’s Monster Hunter. It’s immensely popular! Three guidebooks have been published about it in Japan already, and it also got an artbook of its own this month! And believe me, that artbook is bloody awesome.Joachim
It somehow manages to improve on a perfect formula and looks amazing in the process.Richy
Worst: Werewolf Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest
This isn’t the Werewolf Apocalypse game that managed to make Metacritic’s top ten lowest rated games this year, but this sister game came fairly close and was the one to make our list. Sometimes some things are just better off forgotten and sometimes games and concepts just can’t transition over that barrier of medium.
It was a good concept on paper but felt it leaned too much on the visual novel side and neglected the tabletop RPG elements it claimed to incorporate. I wanted to feel more like I was playing D&D when instead it felt like a choose your own adventure book. Ok, but not what I signed up for.Gareth
Best: Kena: Bridge of Spirits
This was a little bit of a shorter treat this year and everyone might not agree with this choice, but we’re sliding it on the list anyway. For a more bite sized game with a few interesting concepts and a beautifully crafted world, you can’t do worse than this family friendly adventure title.
What’s the best about Kena is that it is a showcase of the potential that a new team has. While it’s obvious that this is the first game they’ve made, its such an earnest effort that I end up excited to see what they have in store for me next.Mel
Worst: Balan Wonderworld
This was a bit of a hopeful moment for a lot of us as the initial trailers had some promise and the team behind this one was one that we had faith we could trust. However esoteric choices and uninspiring gameplay led this to be one of the worse off experiences in 2021. It’s rare that a demo for a game can decimate the hype for a game so quickly.
This one perhaps takes the cake for the biggest conversation when it comes to if a game deserves the scores that it received from the gaming press as a whole. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, that’s really up to you to decide. However, one of our team was having such a starry eyed time with it, it made our list.
Yeah, fight me. Was this game perfect? No. There are problems if you want to talk about them. However, I fell in love with this one and loved every moment that I spent with it. I can see those problems, but they weren’t enough to bring me down.Mel
Worst: The March of Time Experience
This one might be a bit of cheating since it wasn’t so much a game as a gaming experience inside another game. Say what you will about Fortnite, we won’t get into that now, but this entire effort ended up being tone-deaf at best and horribly tacky and laughable at worst. If there were those who managed to get something genuine out of it, good for you, but we just couldn’t see past the poor handling of it all.
Best: Clone Drone in the Danger Zone
Another one that not a ton of our team played but one of us was so in love with that it could not be overlooked when it came to putting together this list. At time of writing, this one is even on sale on Steam if you’re looking to give something from our list a try.
Clone Drone is a game I’ve been waiting for and playing for 5 years. The story is well done and it has endless replayability with yourself, with your friends over local play and online play, and with strangers in twitch mode where they can summon robots to kill you.James
Worst: GTA Remaster Trilogy
For a lot of us this one still stings as it’s one of the more recent on this list, but what else can you do when something turns out this poorly. The attempts to bring these games into the modern age just ended up feeling cheap and dirty, done for little more than a quick buck. It’s going to take a lot of nostalgia blindness to make this one worth trying.
I played the GTA remasters for five minutes before I realised they were terrible. I have no nostalgia for them so not too broken hearted.Dan
Being able to mess up some 20 year old games is a real skill!Richy
Best: Metroid Dread
Who would have guessed this was going to be on this list this time last year? Nobody, that’s who! Nintendo managed to both tell us that this one exists and bring it into our hands all in one year, taking the gaming world by storm and breathing new life into this classic series.
A fantastic return to 2D Metroid and a great follow up from Mercury Steam. They really showed they understand Metroid games with great level design, challenging puzzles and heart wrenching… Well dread…. Combine all that with a nice conclusion to the current story it certainly set the hype up for prime 4.Gareth
Worst: Nickelodeon All Star Brawl
Hot take, we know. This is another one that managed to have a whole lot of attention on it, but it’s a reminder that the details and fine tuning can really make a difference. Say what you will about Smash bros, but those games haven’t managed to miss a trick and have pull this off so many times so effortlessly that we all thought it was easier than it really is.
While not a horrible game as of the time i am writing this comment. It was an absolute mess at launch. It needed a lot more polish before launch and far less bugs. It is not a game I will revisit often as there are just better party brawlers out there.Greg