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Chris Button’s Top 10 Games of 2022

Chris Button’s Top 10 Games of 2022

Over the past few years, I’ve physically fallen back on the suggestion that it’s been “a quiet year” in games. Despite the current state of the world, there have been so many games launching that I haven’t had time to play them all. Even now, I struggled to fit some of my favorites into a top 10 games from 2022 list.

Since joining GadgetGuy as an editor a couple of months back, and living a life now focused more on consumer technology, I’ve been dedicating more time to playing games for fun rather than trying to keep up with everything. Let me tell you, folks: it rules. That’s not to say I didn’t play a lot of games – far from it – but it’s nice to play games at a leisurely pace for a change.

Similar to most Kotaku Australiahis other Top 10 lists, this one is not ordered in any way. My ADHD filled brain won’t allow it. People who confidently claim the order as their favorite anything comes in and scares me—look at you, Fergus. By the time you read this, it’s likely that my mind will have changed again, so let’s move on.

Honorable mentions go to Fire Emblem Three Hopes, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Fortnite Zero Buildand Poinpy. If you want to see more detailed explanations for my choices, the director’s cut is over at GadgetGuy.

Rogue Legacy 2

Rogue Legacy is one of my favorite games of all time. Aside from being a brilliant roguelike Metroidvania in its own right, it helped me through a tough time. As it turns out, the sequel is even better than the original.

Rogue Legacy 2 gives so much variety to gameplay through concretely different classes to play as, and quality of life upgrades across the board. I also love the silly sense of humor. Playing as a character with IBS whose jumps are punctuated by farts is always fun.

No, you are immature.

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Vampire Survivor

What genre do you actually call it Vampire Survivor? The twin-stick shooter doesn’t quite work because of the whole auto-attack thing. The swarm of enemies that couldn’t slow down? No, it isn’t either.

Apart from reductive genre conventions, Vampire Survivor is good. Very good. I love how easy it is to go into a flow state while playing this. Although the game looks extremely basic from a visual perspective, it feels so good for weaving between hordes of enemies as you mow them down with increasingly powerful weapons.

Vampire Survivor gives my brain the good tingles and that’s all I could ever ask for from a video game.

Cult of the Lamb

Seeing Australian games succeed on the international stage is good. Cult of the Lamb absolutely nails the cross-pollination of its unique genre hybrid combination. The colony management gameplay is satisfying without being impenetrably deep, while the hack-and-slash dungeon crawler elements are significantly weighty.

It’s also a lot of fun being a messy bitch to misbehaving cultists.

Wild flowers

Originally out on Apple Arcade in early 2022, Wild flowers quickly flew into my GOTY considerations. I love playing RPGs Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon (the good ones), and The history of the seasons – especially the cows of the series. What I don’t like is how overwhelming these games can be for newcomers. Wild flowers undercuts my frustration with the genre by emphasizing narrative so you can take your time getting to know the residents. The characters are beautifully written and wonderfully voiced, giving the game a life that few farming games can match.

Wild flowers recently won Apple Arcade Game of the Year, and I’m delighted for the Australian-based Studio Drydock team. Having spoken with studio co-founder Amanda Schofield on several occasions since launch, it’s clear that there is so much love behind the game. I can’t wait to see what happens next for the team.

Immortality

Wow, what a game. Immortality is probably something else. I’m aware of director Sam Barlow’s stellar reputation, but this was my first time playing one of his games. It’s one of those games that’s better the less you know, so I’ll keep my mouth shut about what to expect. What I will say, however, is that rolling footage back and forth during sex scenes for important plot reasons while my partner awkwardly watched made for my unintentionally funniest gaming moment of 2022.

Also, a very important addition: Manon Gage could punch me in the face, and I want to thank her for that.

Penitentiary

Time for another anecdote involving my partner. Every time a big plot happened Penitentiary – usually with very emotional moments – she plaintively cried “Josh Sawyer!” on TV, recalling the many heartbreaking moments she endured while playing Fallout New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity series. Turns out the guy has a penchant for writing devastatingly morally gray stories where you never know if you chose Right choice.

His penitence approach to historical authenticity is also extremely cool. Growing up, I went to a Lutheran school, and have been where Martin Luther delivered the 95 Theses in Wittenberg, Germany. To see how the characters come in Penitentiary talking about Luther, who never appears in the game, added an extra layer of realism to the game’s events that I really enjoyed. History rules.

Stray

I love cats. They are such intelligent but scary animals, something Stray lovingly portrays. Aside from the most realistic cat animation of any game I’ve seen, Stray is a great pleasure to play, even if the opening was an emotional gut punch. The brevity was a highlight, removing the bloat many games suffer from, making every moment count.

Like many other pets, my cat Billie took an interest in the game’s ginger star, and even looked behind the TV to try to find her new friend. I want to ask Billie for a review, but she’s too busy trying to eat something she’s not supposed to.

Chris Button's Top 10 Games of 2022
Bille shares a moment with the star of Stray. Photo: Chris Button

Marvel Snap

Another game that understands less is more, Marvel Snap is a card game for people who hate card games. As much as I’d love to get into Magic or the Pokémon TCG, I can’t be bothered to construct decks from such a large pool of cards. Marvel Snapon the other hand, only need 12 cards for a deck and it’s game over before Ant-Man can even crawl up Thanos’ butt.

It’s a game that requires you to be reactive as well as proactive thanks to clever card abilities and the placement system. Slowly revealing game-changing locations each turn is a masterstroke, forcing you to adapt on the fly.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

I’m always looking for a Mario adventure. Stop Bowser from taking over the Mushroom Kingdom time and time again? Clearly. Find Mario after he disappears, in an edutainment blockbuster starring Luigi? Sure, get off the king. Do you hang out with weird rabbit creatures that apparently have a permanent five o’clock shadow? Let’s go, bitch.

Sparks of Hope cleverly iterates on the original’s tactical mashup by transforming grid-based battles into free-roaming encounters. It adds a level of kinetic energy and fluidity to combat, building on the brilliance of the previous game Donkey Kong Adventure expansion.

I’m still confused as to why they added voice lines to the Rabbids. I think they were more influential in channeling the silent film era level of slapstick in their earlier performances.

God of War Ragnarok

While I don’t think so God of War Ragnarok innovates as much as its 2018 predecessor did, it’s still a great game. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it set the standard for future father-son simulators to follow.

The story gripped me from start to finish, and the constant beautiful views made me lament the lack of photo mode at launch. I will also take a moment to acknowledge that Ruby is extremely correct in calling out Heimdall and his weird head.


Chris Button is the editor of GadgetGuy and a freelance games journalist. He recently took out Highly Commended in the Best Games Journalist category at the Australian IT Journalism Awards 2022.

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