2022 has been an… interesting year for video games. Several highly anticipated titles dropped throughout Q1, but remasters and re-releases have largely dominated Q2 and Q3. Many triple-A titles like God of War Ragnarok and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will drop near the end of the year — when the odds of breaking sales records and snagging awards are at their best.
In the meantime, gamers are largely left with two options; play through Elden Ring for the zillionth time or scour the internet for something new to play. If you fall into the latter category, you’ve come to the right place. Plenty of fantastic titles are available on home consoles, PC, and even mobile devices. You just have to know where to look. These are the best video games of 2022 (so far).
Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course
Cuphead originally debuted in September 2017, and the gaming industry hasn’t been the same ever since. This loving homage to old-school shoot ’em up games and vintage 1930s cartoons charmed (and stressed out) millions of players across the globe. The Delicious Last Course DLC, which dropped on June 30, 2022, is the encore to this one-of-a-kind title.
Players will find more of everything that they loved about the base game; more challenging bosses, more enthralling hand-drawn animation, and even more immaculately composed music. At $7.99 USD, this expansion is easily worth your hard-earned coins.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Alright, here’s the scenario; it’s the late-1990s/early-2000s, and you’re heading to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate someone’s birthday. You’ve got $10, maybe $12’s worth of tokens jangling in your pocket. What’s the first/possibly only game you play? Why the frustrating yet incredibly additive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game of course!
Shredder’s Revenge is a send-up to the brutal, yet thrilling titles that Konami developed back in the day. Up to six players can raise shell together via offline or online co-op. This title also boasts a soundtrack composed by Tee Lopes, Johnny Atma, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon (The Chef), and Mega Ran!
Stray generated tons of buzz at Sony’s Future of Gaming showcase back in June 2020 — and how could it not? This game lets you explore an abandoned futuristic city as a cat. I spent my first 30 minutes with this title napping, scratching trees and rugs, nuzzling other cats, and solving puzzles… and I deeply enjoyed every last second.
BlueTwelve Studio has delivered one of the most mesmerizing experiences that the PS5 has to offer. Stray’s setting is moody and dirty, yet enticing all the same. The game also frequently uses non-verbal storytelling to build its compelling narrative.
Horizon Forbidden West
2017 was an extremely stacked year for games; titles like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Cuphead, Super Mario Odyssey, and many more all made headlines throughout the year. Nevertheless, Guerilla Games stood out from the crowd with Horizon Zero Dawn — aka the game where you hunt mechanical dinosaurs.
Horizon Forbidden West builds upon everything that its predecessor established. Alloy’s story continues to unfold in dramatic fashion and there are more robotic dinosaurs to hunt. The market is virtually flooded with open world titles (case in point, this list), but many struggle to stand out. Horizon Forbidden West does not have that problem.
Never judge a book by its cover — or a game by its art style. Tunic might look like a cuddly children’s game on the surface, but this Zelda-inspired action adventure game from Andrew Shouldice and Finji is easily one of this year’s most hardcore offerings.
There’s no hand-holding here; no giant blinking arrows to tell you where to go, and all of the NPCs speak in a cryptic, unknown language. Certain players might find this title outright inaccessible, while others will adore the challenge.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
I’m pretty sure it’s mathematically impossible to make a bad Kirby game. Kirby’s Dream Land topped several sales charts upon release, and several spin-off games such as Kirby Air Ride attained cult classic status over time.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the latest and greatest in this long-running franchise. Up to two players can explore sprawling open worlds as Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee (esquire). Forgotten Land is a family-friendly title through and through, though there’s also plenty of challenging content for older/more experienced players.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon took the world by storm in the 1990s and has never really let up ever since. Games, movies, TV shows, trading cards — the Pokémon franchise has basically done it all over the last 26 years. Yet Game Freak, the Japanese game developers behind Pokémon, somehow find new ways to surprise long-time fans.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus dares players to “catch ‘em all” in a pre-historic land with five distinct biomes. A poignant storyline might not be one of this title’s selling points, but it wins big in terms of immersion. Arceus really captures the scale of the 242 Pokémon that currently comprise its roster. The vast amount of content on offer makes this title one of the best video games of 2022.
Martial arts films have been a major part of my life since I was in diapers. Have Sword, Will Travel (1969), Fist of Fury (1972), and Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) are some of the first movies that I ever saw. Playing through Sloclap’s latest title Sifu makes you feel like you’re playing through a classic kung-fu film.
This game’s all about combat; swarms of enemies will bear down on you all at once, so it’s KO (via the array of intricate techniques at your disposal), or be KO’d. And should you fall, your character will advance in age — prompting you to finish your campaign before you’re too old to fight. Sifu isn’t only one of the best games of 2022, it’s also one of the most unique.
Gran Turismo 7
Authenticity has always been one of the hallmarks of the Gran Turismo series. The first game in the franchise wowed players and critics alike despite the comparatively limited capabilities of Sony’s first Playstation system. Gran Turismo 7 continues to set the standard for high-quality racing sims, even if its monetization scheme isn’t ideal.
GT7 is jam-packed with content; Career Mode will keep you engaged as you slowly but surely rise through the ranks, while Legendary Circuits will push your driving skills to the limit. A modern-day GT title wouldn’t be complete without a Car Collection mode — of which, there are over 420 cars to collect and purchase in-game.
Rogue Legacy 2
Failure isn’t an option in roguelike games — it’s practically guaranteed. Players will only progress so far in a dungeon before they perish and start another adventure. Cellar Door Games’ 2013 title Rogue Legacy played into this concept; each time players failed, they’d start a new journey as an heir of their previous character.
Rogue Legacy 2 follows in its predecessor’s footsteps while also bringing plenty of new features to the fore. The heir system makes a return, albeit with interesting twists and turns. New classes, environments, and 2.5D mechanics sweeten the deal and cement Rogue Legacy 2 as one of the best games of 2022.
I’ve never seen anything quite like Neon White, and I’ve been gaming since 1997. Over the years, I’ve played utterly mind-boggling titles like Killer 7, Godhand, SMT: Nocturne, Bloodborne and most of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Yet somehow, Neon White manages to be a refreshingly unique experience with its own vibe and gameplay.
I’d describe this title as an FPS/Platforming hybrid, but even that fails to fully encapsulate everything Neon White has to offer. Players must race through a variety of surreal levels while using guns as both weapons and puzzle-solving tools. This is easily one of the most challenging, stylish, abstract, and freaky games of the year — and possibly the 2020s.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Once upon a time (i.e. the 1990s/200s), Japanese Role-Playing Games (i.e. JRPGs), dominated the gaming industry. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes me back to that time in a way, embodying many of the best — and not-so-best — qualities of JRPGs.
Players can explore over 150 hours worth of content and immerse themselves in the incredibly eccentric world of Aionios. The story doesn’t always make sense and the characters that comprise your party can feel very archetypal, but XC3 has charm and heart in spades.
NORCO is a much-needed reminder that high-end graphics and massive budgets alone don’t make a great game, let alone a good one. This pixel art point-and-click adventure game garnered tons of praise when it was released in March. Months later, pundits still hail NORCO as a potential Game of The Year nominee.
Players will help Kay traverse a heavily cyberized version of Norco, Louisiana as she searches for her missing brother. Along the way, they’ll encounter awe-inspiring religious imagery, hostile human and non-human threats, and a narrative that critiques the oil industry’s impact on New Orleans.
Skateboarding games were all the rage throughout the 2000s; new Tony Hawk titles were released each and every year from 1999 to 2010. A house party wasn’t a party unless someone had Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on deck. Roll7’s OlliOlli franchise hearkens back to those halcyon days, and OlliOlli World is their latest release.
Like its predecessors, OlliOlli World blends 2D platforming with frenetic, hyper-stylized skateboarding. Combos are the name of the game; the more tricks you can string together, the higher your score will skyrocket. This visually charming title is easy to learn, but very hard (yet oh so satisfying) to master.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
Monster Hunter Rise enthralled players with its deep customization and gripping (pun intended) Wirebug mechanic. Sunbreak amps up everything that you loved about the base game, fixes several long-standing issues and adds even more customization into the fray.
The expansion kicks off when invasive monster species show up in Kamura. Players are invited to the Medieval-themed Elgado Outpost, where they’ll discover new friends and foes in spades. Sunbreak feels like a true expansion by adding more of what players loved about MH Rise and then some.
Who’d win in a fight, Shaggy and Velma or Batman and Superman? MultiVersus lets players discover the answer for themselves by pitting various Warnes Bros. characters against each other. This platform fighter was released with 19 playable characters right off the bat and plans to add many more through subsequent seasons.
Now, a good chunk of you might be interested in this title for its sheer spectacle. Others might be tempted to write it off as another “Smash Bros. Clone” that won’t stand the test of time. Either way, consider this; MultiVersus is free to play and the devs seem genuinely passionate in the multiple vlogs/blogs they’ve uploaded.
And c’mon, you know you wanna see LeBron James and The Iron Giant go at it.
2.5D fighting games are truly a spectacle to behold; they often combine cell-shaded graphics with slick animation to create a radically unique experience. Several of the most popular 2.5D titles in the world, such as Guilty Gear Xrd and DragonBall Fighter Z, are compliments of Arc System Works. DNF Duel, a spin-off of Neople’s MORG Dungeon Fighter Online, is Arc’s latest and greatest.
Fundamentally, DNF Duel checks all the right boxes; gorgeous graphics, complex mechanics, and stylish characters are all here in the spades. However, puddle-deep storylines and noticeable balancing issues hold this title back. Here’s hoping Arc will update DNF Duel ASAP to cement its place as one of the best games of the year.
Simplicty has a quality all its own. Freshly Frosted is an accessible pick-up and play puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch. Its narrative is extremely straightforward; a woman lies down in a grass field and imagines a donut factory in the sky.
From there, players will create all sorts of pastries purely for the sake of helping the woman relax. There are 144 puzzles available from the get-go that all vary in complexity and difficulty. If you get stuck, you can ask for a hint or even skip a particularly challenging puzzle. Freshly Frosted feels like a complete package upon release, though more donut-themed DLC would certainly be welcomed.
Supermassive Games has been in business since 2008, but the company really made a name for itself with Until Dawn in 2015. This title is an interactive horror film in essence, which means it emphasizes story and characters over gameplay. That description also fits Supermassive’s latest offering, The Quarry.
The fate of nine distinct and well-acted characters ultimately lies in your hands. The Quarry takes major cues from slasher films like Halloween and Friday the 13th. It’s much more over-the-top than Until Dawn, but player choice and a gripping narrative are just as pivotal as ever. The Quarry is a non-gamer’s game, and I mean that in the best of ways.
Was there ever any doubt that Elden Ring would grace this list? I wasn’t kidding about that “zillionth playthrough” bit in the intro. After sinking 300+ hours into this title and nabbing the Platinum trophy, I’ve (nearly) seen everything Elden Ring has to offer — and I’m still absolutely in love with it.
For many players, Elden Ring is their first FromSoftware game. It’s their first time getting crushed by a ridiculously challenging boss — and coming right back for more. It’s their first time getting invaded by some psychopath who practically lives for PvP. It’s their first time losing hundreds of times, yet earning the win despite it all.
Elden Ring is one of the best video games of 2022 and has already cemented itself as the Game of The Year in many players’ eyes.