I love video games. They have taken the edge off of living through a pandemic. The last two years have changed what makes a game of the year, truly a game of the year. My criteria for this list is this: I chose it because it made me or my family happy. No need to break things down on a technical level because I am all about the feel of things.
It Takes two
This game made me feel so many emotions. The quick summary of the story is that a young girl figures out her parents are going to get a divorce. She gets a book at school to help them repair their relationship. The parents who are too caught up in self-pity and anger ignore her, causing her to wish they could learn to be friends again as her tears fall on the dolls she had made of them. After that the parents are now the dolls and one of my favorite experiences begins. The game can be played split screen or online. It’s a combination of platforming, puzzle solving and battling all while subtly having you improve your teamwork skills. The story is something that is perfectly paced. (Possible spoilers ahead) The first area has you fight a shop vacuum. Cody (dad) had used it incorrectly and broke it, lying to May (mom) who promised to fixed it but instead hid it in the shed. This is just an amazing little insight into why their relationship is broken. Its subtle while also not painting one person as the villain. The levels and stories for each section are bonkers but yet somehow grounded in a way that you understand the growth between Cody and May. Super intelligent squirrels vs anger bees, play the game just for that.
This game kicked me in my metaphorical sack but in a way that was eye opening (spoilers ahead). I was a child that grew up in a home with parents who did not like each other. Just like the girl in the story I just wanted them to be friends again because I wanted a family. I was constantly blaming myself and feeling guilt for their failing marriage. As an adult I have been in relationships that have been damaged because of my selfishness and inability to see things from the others perspective. This piece of art helped me grow as a person as well as deal with past traumas. My favorite part is that it doesn’t give a “Hollywood” happy ending but instead gives a healthy depiction of how real people can work to grow and love again.
I love this game and it’s a must play especially considering its free on game pass!
Indies games to check out
I am Fish
A wonderfully silly game where you play as for different fish who are trying to get back to the ocean. It’s a puzzle/platformer type can where you will do things like get swallowed by a man and control him only to be pooped out. You can travel by bowl or by flooding rooms. It’s definitely worth a playthrough. (Game Pass)
The Gardens Between
I don’t know how to describe this game but know it’s beautiful and emotional. You play as two young kids, solving puzzles while manipulating time. It’s a great experience that won’t eat up weeks of your time. (Game Pass)
Holy cow! This game was created by one person and almost overnight blew up and has continued to grow. In this game you play as paranormal investigators who are tasked with figuring out what ghost is haunting the place. The locations are as small as a house or as big as a prison. You do not fight or even run which makes the game filled with tension. The ghost can go on a “hunt” and kill your character so find a closet to hide in! The best part is you can play with up to three friends.
I have been playing with the Spooky Boyz (damageboostpodcast on twitch) and with all the work being out into the game by its developer, it stays very fresh. With updates and adjustments that are clear indications that the developer listens to the players.
Luigi’s Manson 3
This game is such a fun experience. It’s my game of the year every year. Just go by it and play it!
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
HOLY CRAP! This game was overlooked on the Wii U, but I am so glad it was remastered for the Switch along with Bowser’s Fury. It is an absolute blast to play with my kids, and one of my them has been motivated enough to 100% it! Challenging yet approachable with levels that never overstay their welcome.
Bower’s Fury looks to be a beta test for what a future Mario game might be like and I for one cannot wait. This feels like a true open world Mario game with all the power ups and level design for games past. It too is challenging yet approachable and everything’s cats!!!!
I was late to the party, but after a failed relationship with Warzone and Rainbow Six Siege I was in desperate need for an online shooter. It is a game that is set in the Titanfall universe which takes a unique approach to the battle royale format. You are set in teams of three and all legends have unique powers both ultimate and passive. Ultimate meaning your big deal move such as Lifeline can call on a supply drop and a passive being Watson’s putting down a small fence to slow enemies. The game is full of pretty interesting lore which I think adds to the intrigue. Watson, who is a playable legend, is the one who created the ring that closes and shrinks the maps. Pair that all with solid game play. Weapons are available for all skill sets but nothing feels overpowering or too weak. You have to balance carrying ammo, health, shields and grenades I believe helps keep the matches balanced. Its free to play with a cheap battle pass. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys fps games.
STREAMERS OF THE YEAR
I wanted to end of this video game love by highlighting a few small streamers who I truly believe are big time talent.
Ghostwizards does a lot of XCOM mods with lots of unique games mixed in. If you follow or sub changes are you will get a character in XCOM here is a picture of my character with the Pepsi Football helmet
Ghostwizards is a streamer that is so entertaining it doesn’t matter he’s playing you’re going to be entertained and as a bonus he has such a welcoming community that will make you feel right at home. https://www.twitch.tv/ghostwizards
You want to hear a voice that makes you want to sit on your speakers? Then come check out my friend timmyjenks! He is one of the most talent people i have ever met and you can catch him playing Sea of Thieves. On Tuesday he plays Phasmophobia with the Spooky Boyz. https://www.twitch.tv/timmyjenks
My hope for you all in the coming year.
This past year has been just as challenging as the year before it and it seems that this coming year may just be as difficult. When you decide to pick up one of these games maybe invite someone to play too or set up a stream. Video games are a wonderful way to connect and bond especially when something like covid is keeping us all apart. Remember that you are loved and you are worthy.