Janet Garcia is the lead of Pen to Pixels and is a regular contributor to both the MinnMax show and Kinda Funny. She can be found on twitter and you can support her work by contributing to her Patreon.
I beat 47 games this year, a feat I’m incredibly proud of. I rolled credits on everything from beefy AAA games like Far Cry 6 to short and sweet indies like Lieve Oma. While these weren’t all 2021 titles I spent the bulk of my year desperately trying to keep up with the latest thing and I did a pretty good job with that throughout the year. Still, I can’t help but think of all the ones that got away. The games that were the right ones at the wrong time (and in some cases, the wrong platform). I can’t wait to restart these 3 years from now because too much time has passed and I don’t remember what I was doing only to not finish them all over again.
Bravely Default 2
A wonderfully straightforward but pleasant JRPG packed with little conveniences, an engrossing battle system, and adorable art. It’s the only JRPG I’ve really fallen in love with and yet it’s still a JRPG, meaning it’s a big game that I can’t seem to make time for.
Rogue-like and deck builders are two genres that usually make me wince but all rules have exceptions and that exception is Inscryption. Eerie, easy to learn, and charmingly animated, you’ll come for the cards and stay for the mystery that unfolds. Unfortunately, I’m not very close to figuring out who is (or isn’t???) behind those floating eyes and what the hell I’m doing in this cabin. I hear this game really goes places but they’re places I likely will never see.
So I’m sensing a theme here, games I don’t normally play but loved but couldn’t commit to! Wildermyth is quite D&D in its construction but I love some basic tactics gameplay and any game that lets me put people I know in real life in my party is a win to me. The storybook style and unique tales that unfold are delightful (and, at times, dark) but I just really want this on an iPad instead.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
I put Hot Wheels Unleashed on my calendar as a bit of a hail mary. I loved Hot Wheels growing up and maybe there’d be a sufficient racing games here. What I found was far beyond that. Surprisingly challenging and creative in all the right ways, Hot Wheels Unleashed is everything I imagined back when I’d make our toy cars do laps on my comforter only to chuck them down the hallway for a photo finish. But I think this one would take a bit more time than I want to give.