Happy new year everyone! At last the holiday season is over and we can all get back to our normal lives with a little more pep in our step. It’s a new year filled with new possibilities, but I’ve still got one more list I’d like to share before getting back into the full swing of things. See, I tend to have a hard time remembering exactly what games I played and when, so when something really stands out to me, I can’t help but want to share it. So today I present for your consideration: the best games I played this year!
Hollow Knight is pushing four years old at the time of this posting, but it was still one of the freshest gaming experiences I had this year. It’s mix of Metroidvania platforming/exploration and Dark Souls-style boss fights had me hooked from the word “go.” Add to that a world dripping in atmosphere and some wonderfully poignant music, and you’ve got the makings of a classic that will continue to stand tall for many years to come!
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Speaking of classics, Nintendo really hit it out of the park with this remake! It’s exactly the game I remember playing as a kid (mostly) with a newly orchestrated soundtrack and some of the most adorable art direction I’ve ever seen. The island of Koholint looks like a diorama come to life, complete with fun little toy people and monsters! I absolutely loved it for the nostalgia factor, but it must be remembered that this still a solid game even 25 years later!
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
To me Fire Emblem: Three Houses is proof that the series really is back now. It already made something of a comeback on the 3DS, but success there and on a mainline console like the Switch are two different things. More than anything else though, it’s proof that has a strong enough base to keep trying new things. I loved the new battle mechanics, and I even enjoyed the whole school thing. It also helped that the game did a good job getting me invested in its characters and how the story’s events affected them. It runs a little long, but the time is worth it. Truly.
Untitled Goose Game
There isn’t much I can say about this one to be honest, except that I never knew how much I wanted a game like this before I played it. Waddling around as an innocent-looking (but secretly conniving) goose is more fun than it has any right to be, and I strongly encourage you to try it too. You really don’t know what you’re missing!
Luigi’s Mansion 3
I absolutely love the original Luigi’s Mansion for the Gamecube, so much so that I kind of lost count of how many times I beat it (though I do know that it was enough times to memorize where literally everything is so…). Even so, I just couldn’t get into the 3DS sequel and I found the eventual remake to be lacking. So yeah, I wasn’t expecting all that much from Luigi’s Mansion 3. Thankfully, Nintendo blew those expectations out of the water! The personality on display for Luigi and the haunted hotel is nothing short of incredible and I’m really loving the more puzzle-oriented exploration this game brings to the table. More enemy variety and something similar to the portrait ghosts would have been nice, but this is definitely a solid entry overall.
The word that comes to my mind when I think of Gris is: “impact.” Even though there are no dramatic story twists, terrible events, or even a single word of dialog throughout the entire game, Gris still managed to land a massive punch to my emotional gut. Even now, almost a year since I actually played it, just hearing the music is enough to make my chest tighten with feeling. There’s not a ton here in terms of actual gameplay, but the combination of its controls, visuals, music and sound design still creates an unforgettable experience. This one is special guys, really.
What were your favorite games last year? What are you most looking forward to this year?
Lede image is an official promotional screenshot