Xbox Tavern’s Games of the Year 2022

There’s has been a solid line-up of games released this year, with some unexpected greats and unfortunate duds. Below, you’ll find some of the team’s picks for the fabled Game of the Year nomination. Let us know in the comments what your picks would be.

Our podcast crew delivered a long form verdict on GOTY, running down each of our top five titles this year

Have a great Holiday period, and we’ll see you all again in the New Year.

Jamie

It’s always nice when a game comes out of nowhere to surprise me, and even better when it ends up becoming my Game of the Year – following on from the excellent Lake in 2021, this year’s surprise indie hit is Tinykin.

Regular readers or podcast listeners will know my affinity for Pikmin so Tinkykin really should have been on my radar. For whatever reason it wasn’t though, and so once I got the chance to review it I was hooked from start to finish.

As I noted in my review, it lacks true challenge – the rooms we find ourselves in are huge puzzles to solve, but all follow a fairly logical progression – but Tinykin isn’t any worse for it. If anything, the breezy nature of the puzzling means we get to soak in the charm and joy of the adventure even more. From the wonderfully unique 2D/3D art to the witty, funny writing, I don’t think there was a moment of time that I didn’t have a smile on my face while playing. Impossibly large rooms give way to sneaky shortcuts and alternate routes to make them feel more manageable, while every corner that we think may be empty is inevitably packed with easter eggs, pop culture nods, or just simply more Tinykin to use on our adventure.

It’s not the highest score I gave this year – both As Dusk Falls and The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe scored 0.2 higher – but for the sheer joy and wonder it offered, I have to give my vote to Tinykin.

Bubba

Bubba’s GOTY isn’t an Xbox title?!?!? Hear me out on this one. It’s been a while since I had a Nintendo game that kept my attention long enough to the point where I don’t bring out my Switch only at parties. Splatoon 3 was that game for me. Taking a break from Call of Duty this year, Splatoon 3 was the perfect substitute I needed. It didn’t stress me out whether I was winning or losing. It’s all just good inking fun. What I loved the most about it was having a variety of inking weapons and tools in my arsenal while also looking as fresh as possible on the battlefield. The fanbase itself is wholesome and a blast to be a part of, and this is coming from somebody who isn’t a big fan of fandoms. Big things are coming to Splatoon 3 so if you haven’t already picked it up, you should give it a whirl.

James

2013 was nine long years ago, back then there was the delightful indie curio squatting exclusively on the PC and I wanted it bad. I didn’t have a gaming PC, so I had to make do with watching reviews, whilst patiently waiting for a hypothetical console release to come around-which unfortunately never came. This game was called The Stanley Parable.

Fast forward 9 years and hey presto! We have The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe on console, and the wait was so scrumptiously worth it. The level of wit and satire in The Stanley Parable can level the entirety of New York City in its thick and gooey self-referential charm. The stellar commentary from Kevan Brighting brings playfulness and a bamboozling array of remarks in response to Stanley’s actions.

The reason why The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is essential and my 2022 GOTY pick, is because it’s unlike any game you’ve ever played before. It’s a game that finds guffaws in making you do the mundane, it examines the meaning or lack thereof regarding choices when playing videogames, and it presents players with a deftly constructed maze of meaningful malarkey-in that it cerebrally aims to baffle you whilst manipulating you down its unpredictable rabbit hole. 

Daniel

I’ve picked out my top 3 games from 2022 below. Usually I’d have finished each one fully before considering it, though there is one entry I wanted to include this year despite me not *quite* having rolled credits. They are as follows:

3rd: As Dusk Falls

When I first started As Dusk Falls I found the art style a little off putting. But as I played more and the story unfolded, I found myself less worried about the art style and totally immersed in the wonderful story. I really like the fact that each choice actually makes a difference and can turn the story. By the time you finish a chapter, you can see how many story threads there are. I will play As Dusk Falls again and make different choices. 

2nd: The Callisto Protocol

The only game in my picks I haven’t completed, though I believe I’m about 2 hours away from the finale at time of writing. Dead Space was a wonder game back on the Xbox 360 and I really enjoyed my time with it. The Callisto Protocol has that same eerie feel, with all sorts of monsters jumping out giving that all important jump scare. Movement and combat can be a little sluggish but for me the story makes up for any issues in that department. I feel the price tag is a little much for a game that only lasts you ten to twelve hours though, so pick it up in a sale and enjoy the survival horror.

1st: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles: Shredder’s Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge isn’t a Triple A masterpiece, but the enjoyment factor is through the roof. Playing TMNT brought me back to playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game in the arcade when I was a child. I played this with my son and we had a great time defeating the Footclan. If you need a co-op game this Christmas, remember up to 4 player local and 6 players online. Best of all if you have Xbox Game Pass you get to play Turtles for “Free”.

Pete

So, it’s that time year where we joyfully look back at our year of gaming and try to decide which game we enjoyed the most and crown our own personal Game of the Year. Personally it was a hard choice, so I’ll quickly rattle off a few honourable mentions that didn’t make my number one spot but are certainly worth playing if you haven’t already:

F1 Manager 2022 – A fantastic first entry and a must play for any F1 or management sim fans out there; The Quarry – A separate entry away from the Dark Pictures series was another great game this year, the only things against it was it took a couple of chapters to get going and a single player playthrough could take 10+ hours (which sounds odd to be a negative point); South of The Circle – a great game I very much enjoyed playing, despite being different it certainly brought back happy memories of playing Firewatch the previous year; As Dusk Falls – Another Narrative story-based game makes the honourable mention list, a game with so many possible outcomes, the art style took a bit of getting used to but it’s well worth a play; The Devil in Me – Yup, a second Supermassive game makes the honourable mentions list! A superb entry capping off Season One for The Dark Pictures franchise, online multiplayer was a tad glitchy which was a shame as it ruined the immersion but playing single player was a great experience.

I guess it’s time to reveal which game took the coveted Number 1 spot for my Game of the Year. A game I reviewed back in April where I said I’d be surprised it any game manages to beat it to my number 1. F1 Manager came very close (and even scored higher in my review), but ultimately, I couldn’t look past Rise of the Third Power. A game I hadn’t even heard of until I saw it on the ‘to be reviewed’ list. And thank goodness I did! I love a good RPG; Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy are all beloved franchises of mine. Rise of the Third Power can now join in the conversation of great RPG’s. The soundtrack, characters, combat animations, the ‘Story mode button’ were all fantastic. At the time of writing it “only” costs £16.74, It’s well worth your time and money if you like RPGs.

Graham

For my pick it would have to be Marvel’s Midnight Suns. This game really surprised me as the graphics didn’t look top notch but still decent enough. But the interesting story, The XCOM tactical battling with cards worked well and the fact the characters were more like their comic book personalities made me happy.

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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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