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The 22 Best Video Games of 2022 (Part 1)

Goomba Stomp’s staff picks for the best games of the year!



The Best Video Games of 2022

Some years, as we reflect on the games that released over the past 365 days, a clear winner stands out–a game that towered above the rest and defined the year all on its own. 2022 was not one of those years. With the lingering impacts of COVID, tumultuous development cycles, and more delays and surprise announcements than you can shake a Joy-Con at, this year was far from predictable–and perhaps because of that turbulence, it was also one of the most exciting years in gaming in recent memory.

This was the year we saw beloved franchises embark in bold new directions, modern classics receive ambitious sequels, classic IP return in surprising remakes, and indie developers push boundaries with genre-bending creativity. With so many standout titles, it’s near impossible to pick one that comes out on top–but keeping with Goomba Stomp’s yearly tradition, we’ve attempted to do just that.

Every year, our staff votes on the best games of the year, and the voting was as stiff as it’s ever been this year. While the ultimate winner might not surprise many, the top 10 titles alone demonstrate how this year was absolutely bursting with variety. Without further ado, these are Goomba Stomp’s 22 best games of 2022!

22. Live a Live

Image: Square Enix

Gaming saw its fair share of surprises in 2022, but perhaps none greater than the release of the HD-2D remake of Live a Live. For decades, Live a Live has languished in Western obscurity—lauded in Japan as one of the greatest classics of the JRPG Golden Age of the 90s, while relegated to obscurity in the rest of the world due to a lack of any official localization from Square. Now, this remake gives Live a Live the global audience it always deserved.

Originally released in 1994, Live a Live boasts an extraordinarily inventive structure: instead of one overarching fantasy campaign, the game features seven standalone stories spanning settings like the Wild West, the Distant Future, and the prehistoric world of cavemen. Not only is each story unique, but the game’s distinctive isometric turn-based combat system adds strategic gameplay aspects to every combat encounter. That’s not to mention that the game’s stunning visuals perfect the HD-2D style introduced in 2018’s Octopath Traveler, making this one of the Switch’s greatest graphical showcases. JRPG fanatics owe it to themselves to experience this piece of genre history. (Campbell Gill).

21. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Image: Ubisoft

Back in 2017, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle surprised Nintendo and turn-based tactics fans with a ludicrous and charming concept. The world-famous plumber teaming up with Ubisoft’s gang of goofballs, while wielding blaster cannons and bazookas? Both Mario and the Rabbids had already ventured into many different genres, but Kingdom Battle had a distinct identity; it was seemingly as crazy as the two could get. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope successfully ups that ante as the sequel surpasses the original game’s gameplay formula by introducing a whole galaxy of new possibilities. As the title implies, Sparks of Hope is the original Mario + Rabbids on a cosmic scale. (Marc Kaliroff)

20. Pentiment

Image: Obsidian Entertainment

Pentiment is the much-anticipated early Renaissance murder mystery by Obsidian Entertainment, of Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity fame. But while calling Pentiment a murder mystery might be factually true, it doesn’t paint a very accurate picture of the game itself. In many ways, Pentiment is a contradictory game: it is a timepiece about why we look back at our history; an adventure game about the limits of definite knowledge driven by a would-be investigator; a combat‑less RPG where death takes almost half of the characters that appear on-screen.

Pentiment shines for its writing and its characters as it does for its symbols, all entrenched in a time-appropriate art style. The visuals look straight out of a book from the late Middle Ages, complete with skewed perspectives and different fonts for characters of various classes. The story aims for an unusual historical reconstruction that doesn’t forget to leave something for the modern player. The biggest decision in this game of impossible choices deals with how future generations will remember those events. (Diana Croce)

19. Cult of the Lamb

Image: Devolver Digital

There’s just something so delightfully madcap about a game like Cult of the Lamb. For all intents and purposes, cults shouldn’t be cute or funny. However, that’s exactly what makes this game such a total joy to experience. Everything can be adorable when framed through the lens of cuddly forest animals, and the juxtaposition in this particular situation is just all the more amusing. Of course, that wouldn’t be worth a damn if Cult of the Lamb wasn’t also a really fun rogue-lite dungeon crawler and farming/town sim. Couple the addictive gameplay loop that this indie gem sets you on with all of its lovable charm and wit, and you’ve got yourself an absolute winner in just about every category and one of the best games of the year as a result. (Mike Worby)

18. Vampire Survivors

Image: Poncle Games

There is no game that has had the same kind of momentum that Vampire Survivors has enjoyed over the course of 2022. After a lengthy early access period, Vampire Survivors recently had its 1.0 debut to record-smashing success. A survival-focused auto-battler that throws literal thousands of enemies at the player as they attempt to defeat as many denizens of the night as possible before eventually becoming overwhelmed, Vampire Survivors is one of this year’s most unique indies.

The art style is simple, but evocative, a fun twist on character designs from Castlevania and Ghosts ‘N Goblins. A steady stream of free updates and a seemingly never-ending menu of unlockable items and player characters provide Vampire Survivors with a ton of longevity. It is a timesuck, but proudly so; if it ever comes to the Nintendo Switch, say goodbye to your free time. (Cameron Daxon)

17. OlliOlli World

Image: Private Division

Don’t let the charming cartoon aesthetic and lo-fi soundtrack of OlliOlli World fool you—this is a deviously difficult skateboarding game. Many of the later levels require extreme precision from your jumps and grinds, and optional challenges often necessitate mastery of the game’s trick system. But try not to let that scare you off—OlliOlli World does an exceptional job at slowly introducing its myriad mechanics to the player, to the point where optional challenges never ask you to perform techniques that the game did not explicitly teach up to that point.

This combined with the campaign’s carefully designed difficulty curve ensures that players never feel underequipped to tackle any given level or objective. And players will definitely want to complete them, as the quality on display in OlliOlli World’s levels is staggering. Grind rails, walls, and other stage elements are deliberately placed to allow for that perfect flow state, which always feels great to achieve partially due to the game’s exaggerated sense of momentum. And because the trick system is so deep, even seemingly flawless runs will always have room for improvement, which is perfect for a game that places so much emphasis on player expression.

It certainly helps that the campaign has so much meat to it, as it sports a surprising number of stages that often contain multiple pathways to explore. And that’s not even counting the procedurally generated level feature and the recently released DLC expansion. Content-rich, mechanically complex games like OlliOlli World do not come around often, and that makes it feel all the more special. (Daniel Pinheiro)


Image: rose-engine

An absolutely incredible survival horror experience reinvigorating the genre, Signalis crafts an emotional cosmic journey through a future where humanity seems to have uncovered something great, dark, and terrible. You take control of a technician android known as a ‘Replika’ named Elster, waking up on your ship and attempting to piece together exactly what has happened. There are swarms of terrifying creatures finding unique ground somewhere between Lovecraft and Masahiro Ito, along with a host of friendly characters you briefly run into, but this feeling of loneliness and dread hangs over every interaction.

Signalis utilizes real numbers stations alongside mind-bending cryptic imagery, the experience itself feels so full and exciting whilst keeping up this heavy atmosphere all the way through. Coupled with clever classic survival horror gameplay and a collection of fresh and varied puzzles, Signalis is a joy to play. When the perspective shifts, and we get segments in a 3D first-person environment, the spooks get taken up another notch. Elster’s journey, searching for her lost partner through her ship, a government facility, and the grotesque depths of the underground, got its hooks into me instantly and never let up until the last minute. Signalis is truly a special game, reinvigorating the genre and putting together this addictive mystery that the player unravels with the character. (Shane Dover)

15. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
Image: Tribute Games

For decades, the beat ‘em up was, at best, a relic of a bygone era of gaming: a stalwart of coin-hungry arcade galleries, the simple high-score-driven gameplay loop of the beat ‘em up genre was left by the wayside as home console gaming became more ambitious and more prominent. Yet over the past few years, the genre has enjoyed a veritable renaissance, with titles like River City Girls, Young Souls, and Streets of Rage IV bringing it back to the forefront. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, DotEmu and Tribute Games have delivered what might be the genre’s best showing this generation.

Shredder’s Revenge carries on the TMNT franchise’s legacy of excellent action games with an old-school-style adventure. Whether you’re playing solo or with a group of up to four players in local or online co-op, Shredder’s Revenge recaptures the addictive magic that made the series’ entries back on the Super Nintendo so compelling. It’s unabashedly simple—each level boils down to “walk to the right, punch anything that moves”—but it’s the moment-to-moment gameplay, the satisfying mechanics, the expressive character animations, and boisterous personality that make the game so hard to put down. With a varied roster of playable characters and fearsome foes drawn from the series’ golden era in the 80s and 90s, Shredder’s Revenge is like a playable episode of the cartoon in all the best ways. Whether you grew up with the classics or hopped onboard with the series’ latest iterations, there’s plenty to love about Shredder’s Revenge. (Campbell Gill)

14. Sifu

Sifu Combat kung fu
Image: Sloclap

Sifu is the ultimate tribute to the kung-fu films and games of yesteryear. A tale of revenge with all the stylings, yet it carries an undercurrent of heart rarely pulled off in the genre by focusing on martial morality and Confucian values. Sifu manages the difficult task of being unbelievably cinematic while still having an intricate combat system, giving it the best of both worlds. It’s backed by arcade sensibilities that elevate its martial arts basis of repetition equals mastery. Excellence is pure habit and Sifu demands it making every encounter down to nameless goons a formidable opponent.

The five masters on the protagonist’s hit list are deadly, fascinating, and varied, as are their hideouts, each reminiscent of a sub-genre of kung-fu fiction with incredible art design and exquisite attention to detail. It’s a visceral and rewarding journey of mastery that can only be pulled off in this medium. This perfect merging of gameplay and story makes Sifu a martial arts masterpiece that should not be missed. (Geordi Ferguson)

13. Weird West

Image: Devolver Digital

Raphaël Colantonio, founder of Arkane Studios (Arx Fatalis, Dishonored, and Prey) started Wolf Eye Studios along with Executive Producer, Julien Roby. Their first outing is a trip to the old west, steeped in fantasy and the occult, where gunslingers cross paths with old magic and ghoulish, stygian nightmares. All in an immersive-sim package. Weird West’s story follows five unique characters in a world that reacts and adapts to every choice. The difficult task of writing a satisfying narrative that adjusts to a player’s every whim is handled with deft expertise and written in a tongue that is familiar yet weird.

Fans of the genre will revel in the freedom of this macabre, sandbox wasteland. Banks and shops can be scouted and lifted of keys in the day to be robbed at night, while a more noble drifter can take bounties dead or alive. Settlements can be massacred and turned to ghost towns. Enemy hideouts can be stealthily infiltrated, slinging ropes down chimneys and abusing flaws in security perimeters, or assaulted head-on with hired help, taking shots from moving minecarts. Trifling with gangs will lead to vendettas and ambushes while journeying across the land. This is all backed by a haunting and visceral score that sounds like music birthed from the land itself. It’s a rare title with love infused into every corner and should not be missed. If this is just the start of this team’s efforts then the future of Wolf Eye Studios looks like a bright one that won’t just set in the west. (Geordi Ferguson)