TheGamer Game Of The Year Editor’s Pick, 2022 – Amanda Hurych

I never know how to start an introduction without reusing the same phrases over and over again. I’m aware I do it; I’m completely cognizant of the fact that it’s a bad habit. But I can’t stop.

Anyways, to prevent that from happening here, I have a plan. Step one, mention how subpar I am at writing intros. Done. Step two, state in the blandest possible way what this list is about and who I am. My name is Amanda, and this is my games of the year list. Easy. Step three, casually segue into the list. Hey! Come check out the games I thought were the best releases of 2022! Smooth.

10/10 SpiderHeck

Have you ever wanted to play a game where you’re a little spider in an arena with other little spiders and you’re swinging around a laser sword? I didn’t know I wanted that until I played SpiderHeck. Its frenetic action is exactly the kind of fighting platformer game I’ve been waiting for. SpiderHeck embraces chaos with wholehearted abandon, leaning into my jumping-focused, weapon-swinging playstyle easily.

If you’ve ever felt that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was too slow for you, I urge you to give SpiderHeck a heckin’ try. And the fact that it comes with a cooperative PvE mode is not just icing on the cake. It’s like getting a whole new cake alongside the one we already got.

9/10 Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

I played Vermintide 2 knowing absolutely nothing about Warhammer Fantasy, and still had a great time. Between then and now, I’ve hung out with a friend who has slowly drip-fed me Warhammer 40k content. I’m no expert, but I can now laugh at puns about the Imperium, roughly recite the history of the Horus Heresy, and delve into fan theories about how Event Horizon is a Warhammer 40k prequel.

All that to say that I had a blast playing Darktide. I want to immerse myself in Warhammer more than a heretic wants to immerse themselves in Chaos-tainted cults. Darktide is currently one of the most enjoyable ways to do that aside from reading a Dan Abnett novel.

8/10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

I played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge on a lark. My partner and I were in between games, it had just come out on Xbox Game Pass, and it had such a negligible file size, we could install it within five minutes. Next thing you know, we’re sinking our entire evening into Shredder’s Revenge and having one hell of a good time doing it.

It brings back such fond memories of those arcade beat ‘em ups, and it does it with unabashed nostalgia. It’s the kind of game you finish quickly, but then pull out again and again on evenings when you want some cooperative good fun.

7/10 Goat Simulator 3

More goat is good. Goat Simulator 3 gives us more goat. Bottom line: If you liked the first game, you’re going to love this one.

6/10 Escape Academy

As you might have surmised from some of my other entries for this list, I’m a huge fan of co-op experiences. But none of the rest really come close to how rooted in cooperation Escape Academy is. Like with real escape rooms, you and your partner have to stay in communication with each other as you explore different areas and discover potentially helpful clues. I should warn you, the game is unbelievably corny. It throws puns at you like a pitching machine hurls baseballs. I’m a huge fan, so I found Escape Academy’s vibe delightful.

5/10 Scorn

You should know from the get-go that Scorn is a disgusting game. It just looks gross, it sounds gross, and it plays gross. The alien civilization featured in the story had a predilection for inserting fleshy things into other fleshy things as their modus operandi. It’s all very nauseating. But it’s fantastic in its execution. You know how sometimes you’re playing Mass Effect and the devices or systems in place all feel familiar?

It’s the exact opposite with Scorn. Its environment is the most alien I’ve ever encountered in a video game. The way mechanisms function here is so foreign, you can’t help but feel mesmerized by the whole thing. So while the puzzles were often obtuse and the combat was usually clunky, I kept coming back for more. The atmosphere of Scorn is that irresistible.

4/10 Pentiment

Spoiler alert, Pentiment isn’t the only Obsidian game I have on this list, which goes to show what a fine year the studio has had game release-wise. In case you haven’t heard, Pentiment is an utter delight. It’s mainly a point-and-click narrative adventure, but the storytelling is phenomenal and the humor is classic Obsidian. It’s uniquely set in a 16th-century Benedictine monastery, a time period and location I’m not overly familiar with. Not only is it entertaining as heck, it’s also highly informative!

3/10 Vampire Survivors

This game is incredibly straightforward. You just walk around and let your passive abilities destroy the enemies around you. You accrue more experience which gives you the chance to acquire new passives or enhance the ones you already have.

Enemies grow tougher and more numerous as you level up. Very, very straightforward. But damn, I have sunk hours into Vampire Survivors. I’ve played it with my partner, passing control back and forth. I’ve played it late into the night/early morning when I thought ‘Just one more run.’ I’ve played it with one hand while eating a quick dinner. I can’t stop playing. Send help.

2/10 Grounded

Survival games are a dime a dozen, so you would think that new ideas for them would have run dry by now. Grounded proves this notion completely wrong. Applying a Honey-I-Shrunk-The-Kids premise revitalizes the genre. Instead of trying to survive yet another zombie apocalypse, you’re contending with the spiders of your backyard, which personally I find even more terrifying.

Obsidian Entertainment’s experience and polish shine through every aspect of the game, so if you want to try your hand at a survival title and know for a fact that it’s a superlative example of the genre, you can’t go wrong with Grounded.

1/10 PowerWash Simulator

I don’t care what anyone says about me putting PowerWash Simulator as my GOTY. I would be lying if I said otherwise. It’s the game I’ve played the most this year, and it’s the one game that’s been the best at accomplishing what its premise promises.

I could spend this whole paragraph defending my choice, but I’ve done that a gazillion times in our work Slack channels. (And by defending, I have to admit, I’ve mostly just all-caps screamed at people “POWERWASH SIMULATOR” any time the subject of what game someone should play next pops up.) Instead, I’m just going to hope that the fact that I’ve made this my number-one pick for game of the year says something about how extraordinary PowerWash Simulator truly is.

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