I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to recall what all I’ve played each year. It’s not that good games don’t leave an impression, rather it’s more that I play so many different ones (and talk about so many more) that it’s easy to lose track of them. Not to worry though, I’ve checked my records and figured out which games had the biggest and best impact on 2021 for me. Oddly enough, they’re mostly Nintendo games!
#5 – Resident Evil Village
In 2020, I played Resident Evil VII for the first time. I’d been super reluctant to play any Resident Evil game up until that point (I don’t know why), but after years of recommendations from friends and a massive sale on PlayStation, I finally picked it up. And… I loved it! I loved the controlled exploration, the tense combat and of course the horror of it all, and Resident Evil Village delivered more of all of that! It was a bit less scary after leaving Castle Dimetrescu, but I can’t deny just how much fun the whole experience was! I’ve only played through once, but I’m looking forward to doing it again!
#4 – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I’ve been an Animal Crossing fan since the Gamecube days, so it was such a treat to finally get another console-based entry in the series after so many years. I really don’t have any complaints about this one. The crafting works well. I love being able to shape and decorate my island to my liking, and all the characters are still plenty of fun to interact with. Beyond that, it was just really fun to hang out online with my friends and see all of their creations.
I haven’t spent much time on it since about June though. See… I love the game, but I’m really not sure what to do now that I’ve got my island just right. Also, I’m a little scared to go back. My villager has been missing for several months now. Who knows how many weeds are going to need pulling once I log back in?
#3 – Psychonauts 2
There was a time when I thought this game was never going to happen. Tim Schafer and DoubleFine had seemingly moved on and so many years had passed by that it seemed like Psychonauts was doomed to remain a cult classic with no follow-up. Then the Psychonauts 2 crowd-funding campaign started. I was ecstatic and backed it immediately…only to have to wait for a little over 5 years for the game to be delivered. And you know what? The wait was totally worth it!
Psychonauts 2 isn’t everything I was hoping it would be, but it’s still the sequel that the original deserves! All of the humor is here, as are the wacky character designs, trippy mental worlds and cool psychic powers for us to play around with. The story is decent too! After this though, I think I’m fine if there aren’t anymore games. This one ended on a satisfying note.
#2 – Mario Party Superstars
I love Mario Party, the N64 games in particular! Maybe it’s nostalgia, but I’ve just never been able to get into a Mario Party game in the same way as I did those. Well, until now that is (kind of). Mario Party Superstars is the modern update to the old classics that I never knew I wanted! All the boards play the same or better, the greater variety of minigames and bonus stars keeps things feeling fresh, and I just love being able to play online or with whomever! I’m not a fan of the overabundance of coins and the overall lack of item variety, but it’s still a great reimagining of the originals! Play it if you can!
#1 – Metroid Dread
You know what, it’s kind of hard being a Metroid fan. For whatever reason, Nintendo just has a really hard time getting new games in this series out. Even when they do they’re either awful (Metroid: Other M), remakes (Metroid: Samus Returns) or not even Metroid games (Metroid Prime: Federation Force). Heck we haven’t even seen a Switch port of the Metroid Prime games yet, even though basically everything else has by this point. Even Metroid Prime 4 is still MIA after four years! So…it was really, really awesome to not only get a new 2D Metroid game, but one that my very well be the very best in the series!
Metroid Dread is basically the epitome of what a Metroid game should be these days. It has all of the isolation one expects. It gives players plenty to explore and plenty of truly challenging enemies to face. It makes Samus look even like the bada** bounty hunter we’ve always known her to be too! I mean, the detail in her animations alone is enough to tell you all you need to know! This Samus is experienced, powerful, confident, and she knows it! Beyond that the game gives you so much freedom! You can sequence-break to your heart’s content and even absolutely destroy the bosses with Shinespark if you’re skilled enough. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I hope all future Metroid games follow this example. If you like Metroid at all, then you’ve gotta try this one!
What were your top games for 2021? What was your Game of the Year? Let us know below!
image captured from Metroid Dread trailer 2