It’s been a weird year for gaming if you’re exclusive to the Xbox Platform – very few first party releases (the noise of which became a bit loud as we got to the end of the year, despite the warmly received Pentiment from Obsidian) so I think it’s fairer to say, it’s been light on “AAA” releases specifically from Xbox instead.
However, despite what for me, has been an absolutely crazy year in which I didn’t get to do anywhere near as much gaming as I would have liked, I have found plenty of smaller games and experiences that I’ve absolutely loved. It’s also worth saying that XboxEra too, has had an incredible year overall, so a big thanks to everyone that forms our ever expanding community, and to the team that produces so much incredible content for you to enjoy.
Here are some of my favourites from 2022.
10 | “The Honourable mention” | Halo Infinite Forge
It’s no secret, I’m an addict.
Does Forge, which isn’t even really a game, count in a game of the year list? I don’t care, it’s my list, and I have sunk countless hours into it, making incredible playspaces for Halo fans across the world. I’ve created Cyberpunk cities and watched fans react when 343 used it to show off Forge officially for the first time. I’ve jumped onto Twitch with Formal and created crazy detailed Temples, overgrown with the passage of time. I’ve dedicated my time to working with an incredible level designer to make Halo maps for Halo fans with the latest release, Perilous. I’ve watched the community create insane, brilliant, jaw-dropping stuff, I love it.
9 | You Suck At Parking
A wonderful, evil, brilliant game, and if you missed it on the first go round, you should go back and check Harm0nica’s review. The premise is simple – just park the nimble little car in the only available parking spot! Turns out it’s not so easy, with the various puzzles and play spaces getting more and more complex. I’ve never sworn so much while playing.
8 | Prodeus
An absolutely slick old-school run and gun shooter with gorgeous retro graphics, full to the brim with guns, gore and a sweet co-op mode for shooting shit up old school style with pals. What’s not to love?
7 | Lego Brick Tales
I got to review this one, and it’s certainly a more cerebral take on Lego in videogame form. Part building, part metroidvania, it’s a chilled experience for kids and grown ups to enjoy. In my review, I said this: “So LEGO: Brick Tales then – a bright, colourful and certainly more creative take on LEGO in its digital form. While there’s some fiddly controls at times, it’s all quite charming and relaxing – and as the rest of the package is so wonderfully put together, it’s hard to gripe too much about a fussy control scheme.”
6 | Blade Runner Enhanced Edition
The review that never happened (life is a busy old thing), but still an absolutely brilliant game from back in the day. Dripping with atmosphere, with a randomised plot every time you play (just who is the replicant?) this is one game both Bladerunner and old-school point-and-click adventure fans do not want to miss. Brilliant stuff.
5 | Escape Academy
I loaded this up on release and wrote it off, performance was a bit janky and it wasn’t the prettiest game out there. One patch later, and a bored night online with a friend saw us pick up and playthrough an absolutely brilliant co-op experience. Genuinely, super smart design, challenging puzzles, and a great time was had throughout. Can’t wait for the DLC. If you missed this one, and want a good few nights of brain teasing challenges, give it a download!
4 | Immortality
Jesse reviewed this one, and after reading through his thoughts, I knew I had to play it too. As a lover of cinema, this is a unique and incredible experience that peels apart like an onion – its not strictly a game, but it is something you should go into completely unspoiled. Enjoy that feeling as the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
3 | High On Life
I’m not exactly surprised it was as divisive with critics as it ended up being, but I was surprised to see such low scores from some outlets. Even if the comedy isn’t your thing, there is a bright, bold and well made FPS game under the hood, with a well told and amusing story to boot. One of the highlights of the year, and a bright spot in an otherwise saturated genre of game. In my joint review with Jesse, I said this: “What you have under an incredibly imaginative and well-made FPS, is a lot of heart, great humor, and a surprisingly engaging story. I haven’t laughed or chuckled as much as this since Portal 2. You should absolutely play this – it’s a great end to the year for Xbox users.”
2 | Vampire Survivors
I have another addiction to nurse alongside my Forge one- and it’s Vampire Survivors. It might not look like much at first glance, but under the hood is an absolute masterclass in game design. It was very close between this and my number one, and both are exceptionally well designed games. Vampire Survivors has so much depth to it, and so many secrets that I just can’t help but be thoroughly impressed. Be the bullet!
1 | Tunic
Ah, Tunic. My goodness, what a game. One that absolutely captured my attention, despite the “souls-esque” combat. Thankfully, the combat, arguably the one thing that may make most folks bounce off the game entirely, can be made a non-event via a God mode. And brilliantly, that still doesn’t get in the way of what makes Tunic so good – the world building. As you play, you’ll find secrets within secrets, pages of an old school manual, chock full of clues to more secrets and it just expands and expands. It was glorious, and a true labour of love from the developer. Rarely does a game so capture my imagination in touching on the very thing I often love about games – the way we play, their history, and the worlds they can create. An absolutely stunning achievement, and my personal game of the year for 2022.