Now that 2022 is behind us, it’s time to reflect on our favorite games that were released over the course of the year. While 2022 was, like its two preceding years, still marred by game delays and hardware shortages, we have a massive and diverse selection of games to celebrate from the last 12 months. Whether you’re talking indie darlings, triple-A blockbusters, or anything in between, 2022 delivered several remarkable new experiences, including some that will likely define their respective genres for years to come.
We’ve selected and ranked our picks for the 10 best releases of the year, detailing why these games are must-plays. Check out Game Informer‘s top 10 games of 2022 below, and be sure to scroll down to the comments section and let us know what your favorite games of the year were. You can also take part in our ongoing reader poll to help influence our reader results for our next issue!
While the cards adorned with popular Marvel characters might be what attracts players to Marvel Snap, the engaging fast-paced gameplay is what causes them to stick around. Matches are short and sweet, condensing all the fun and complexity of larger deck-builders into an efficient mobile package. And every game is different: The cards you draw, the locations you play them at, and the skills of your opponent make every moment unique. While Marvel Snap is a free game, beautiful card illustrations and animations ensure it never feels cheap. With monthly season passes and a steady rollout of new cards, Marvel Snap isn’t just one of the best games this year: It’s one people will be playing for a long time.
Looking at screenshots and even watching trailers for Tunic promises a Zelda-inspired adventure starring a cute animal. Frankly, a compelling pitch for any video game, but it’s when you dig a little deeper and make meaningful progress that you discover Tunic is far more than the story of an adorable bipedal fox. Tunic is about secrets and how to quietly and consistently reward players for unraveling them. Even something as simple as figuring out how to dodge enemies feels like a victory, thanks to the brilliant implementation of its instruction manual. Tunic looks and plays like games you may be familiar with, but it’s the secrets that make it special and earn it a place on our list.
This brilliant sci-fi role-playing game drops you in the decaying body of a fugitive robot possessing a human consciousness. You awaken on a space station with one goal: survive. Scraping by involves forming relationships with a memorable cast and making tough decisions about who to help, when to help them, and how. Doing so involves managing dice rolls where the odds of success are tied to your fluctuating physical state, creating a fun unpredictability that adds to this tension. Ticking mission clocks mean you can’t assist everyone, creating a thrilling sense of urgency that forces you to commit to decisions that leave may you feeling relieved or horrified. This template also succeeds in letting you craft a personalized journey. Citizen Sleeper’s powerful transhumanistic storytelling and weighty consequences kept us engaged until our chosen conclusions, and we’re still reflecting on our decisions months later.
Marvel's Midnight Suns
After years of delivering successful strategy games in the XCOM and Civilization franchises, Firaxis proves it has equal skill in offering superhero fare. The developer’s earlier tactical expertise is on display in the tightly balanced combat, but the battle system’s fast-moving action, deck-building mechanic, and bombastic feel of play are a welcome departure from form. In between missions, players get to meet and befriend a who’s who of Marvel’s big players, from Spider-Man and Wolverine to Captain America and Scarlet Witch, and explore the sprawling grounds surrounding the team’s HQ. This lengthy, engaging adventure offers thrilling battles and a rollicking character adventure that sits easily among the best games we’ve yet seen in the often hit-and-miss catalog of adaptations drawn from the long-lived Marvel universe.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
It’s hard to believe Kirby and the Forgotten Land is as great as it is for being the series’ first foray into full 3D gameplay. The titular Forgotten Land is full of distinct, post-apocalyptic environments. The overgrown landscape has reclaimed shopping malls, carnivals, construction zones, and ocean fronts alike, full of secrets to uncover despite their lonesome quality. Mouthful Mode – Kirby’s new ability to swallow massive items like boats and cars – is a joy to use, incentivizing players to solve environmental challenges in novel ways, as you never know which weird transformation awaits you next. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a delightful game, offering new experiences around every bend.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Immortality is a lot to see, play, and deal with. It’s throwing so many ideas, stories, and narrative threads your way – out of order, with no clues as to their sequence – and telling you to deal with them. And if you take the time to sort through its three movies’ worth of footage, all the while piecing together its overarching fourth narrative wrapping the entire thing up, you’ll find one of the smartest, most mature, and thoughtfully handled games ever made.
Above all else, Neon White wants you to feel cool. Everything – from the art, the music, and of course, the gameplay – is all in service to that one simple rule. While there is a learning curve for true mastery, Neon White is designed to make you feel like a pro from the jump, immediately flying through its more than 100 brief levels like you’re a speedrunner that has practiced for years. It’s easily one of the best-playing games of the year, and perhaps any other year before it, and for that reason alone, it’s claimed a spot high atop our best-of 2022 list.
Don’t let the retro-style graphics and uncomplicated control scheme fool you: This simple, single-stick bullet-hell concept perfects the formula used by countless other games to create one of the most impossible-to-put-down experiences of the year. Mowing down hordes of monsters en route to leveling your character is supremely satisfying, but the true excitement comes with smartly selecting your power-ups upon each gained level. Finding the right combination to turn your hero into an unstoppable killing machine never ceases to excite you, and the idea of “just one more match” is as omnipresent as any game we’ve played in recent memory. To play Vampire Survivors is to obsess over Vampire Survivors.
God of War Ragnarök
God of War Ragnarök had to live up to the 2018 soft reboot’s excellence, and it had to do so without the tonal shift and gameplay transformation its predecessor came out of the gates swinging with four years ago. Ragnarök did just that and then some. While the game’s pacing ebbs and flows between wide-linear exploration and cinematic set pieces that roar with excitement and revelations, it’s hard to find an unenjoyable moment. Whether it was clearing Draugr holes or uncovering the mystery around Ragnarök, it was tough tearing ourselves away from the controller.
Ragnarök’s combat is full of customization and new options to tear up an arena. New characters nestle in perfectly to this Norse epic, and returning favorites are given new life with important act-leading moments. In almost every way, Ragnarök succeeds as a sequel, both in how it addresses criticisms and storylines of its 2018 predecessor and how it sets up a mysterious future shrouded in Niflheim-like mist. We can’t wait to see what’s next, whatever “next” might be.
God of War Ragnarök
From the moment the underground elevator thrusts you into Elden Ring’s Lands Between, it is clear you have committed to a special kind of experience that does not come along often. We have explored plenty of open worlds on all manner of transportation with every weapon in video games, but Elden Ring’s is horrifying, mysterious, beautiful, and most importantly, inviting in a way few games – or even competing mediums of entertainment – are able to achieve.
The failures are punishing. The victories are exuberant. And through it all, an undeniable draw pulls you, demanding you explore every inch of the world. Elden Ring is challenging, but the euphoria of turning a corner to discover something incredible and terrifying and then defeating it is simply unmatched. It’s for all those reasons and more that Elden Ring is Game Informer‘s Game of the Year for 2022.
For more of the best games of the year, be sure to check out our top-scoring reviews of 2022 here. If you’d like to make your voice heard outside of the comments section of this article, you can take part in our ongoing reader poll, which will determine our readers’ top games of 2022 in an upcoming issue of Game Informer.
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