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The 37 best games of 2022

Eurogamer picks the must-play games of a wonderful year.

2022's had plenty of flak for its lack of major, triple-A tentpoles - and there really has been a lack of them, thanks surely to the (hopefully) final wave of covid-induced delays. But in the void left by the blockbusters, some truly sensational alternatives have appeared. For all the talk of a fallow year or a struggling industry, to our minds in 2022 games have never felt more diverse, more strange, more and challenging and accomplished. 2022 was, against the odds, a banger of a year for video games.

This time, we decided our best games through a mix of voting - across our full-time staff and our regular contributors to Eurogamer's news, guides, features and reviews - and some, ahem, lively debate as we sorted through the results. There will inevitably be a game you loved that's missing or featured far too low, and a game you loathed sitting far too high. In those cases we can only apologise for our terrible taste. But still: these are the 37 best games of 2022. Why 37? Good question! We don't really know - it's just how many we loved.

37. Drainus

PC, Nintendo Switch

Excuse the ludicrous name (a mash-up of Darius and Gradius that went a bit too far and ends up sounding like a form of colonic irrigation), because Team Ladybug's STG is one of 2022's stars, and a standout in what's been a stunning year for the genre. Evoking the genre in its late 90s/early 00s pomp, Drainus evokes the likes of Gradius 5 in its detail and design, matching it with exquisite artwork and feel for a game that stands proudly alongside the genre's very best. It's hitting Switch in 2023, but don't let that stop you from picking it up on PC (or playing it on Steamdeck where it performs admirably). Read our Drainus review

Martin Robinson

2022 best games Drainus - a giant grey boss ship on the right fires a purple-blue beam towards your ship against a crimson background and hail of projectiles
Drainus.

36. Immortality

PC, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, Mac

Sam Barlow turns his usual tools inwards in this game of introspection, reflecting on auteurs, muses, and exploitation in art. There's a frightfully clever - and frightful - twist to be found here, but while much of the focus has been placed on that, the real magic is all in the craft. This game must have been extraordinarily difficult to put together, a process of weaving multiple, layered live action films across one another and hyperlinking between them at specific moments. Production design, reaching across at least three eras, is a treat, and there are filmmaking references aplenty. All together it's overwhelming, even if it's a familiar format now for this team. Read our Immortality review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Immortality - a central image of Marissa Marcel and a Hitchcock-like director, infront of a montage of film stills
Immortality.

35. Vampire Survivors

PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, Mac

A good game or a very potent one? It's a testament to the joy that Vampire Survivors creates that this question doesn't really matter. This one's all about the Katamari power curve as you go from a lone hero with a feeble whip attack to becoming a wandering stack of fireworks, sparks flying in all directions. Don't stop to think, just chug through the popcorn crush of enemies. So what if there's little to aim for except for the next unlock? Some games are like this: ingeniously mindless. And very hard to put down. Read our Vampire Survivors review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Vampire Survivors - you launch a wave of blue fire against pixellated enemies from the centre of a green-coloured screen
Vampire Survivors.

34. Hyper Demon

PC

What a gloriously horrid place Hyper Demon takes you to - a Rodeo Drive boutique decked out in crystal, hot pink, and those strobing waves that tell you a migraine is brewing. Stay alive, take out enemies, don't fall off the map: you know the drill. Except you don't, because this isn't about simply shooting so much as it's about air dashes, dodges, rebounding shots off the floor in order to lock on. The whole thing is brisk and lingering, like a summer nightmare. And as with Devil Daggers, the game that provided the template for this fresh horror, it feels like something deeply primal is being mined. Read our Hyper Demon review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Hyper Demon - an iridescent monster curves out of the darkness
Hyper Demon.

33. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Demonhunters

PC

This was always going to work - Space Marines from the Warhammer universe tricked out with the weighty turn-based battles of XCOM. It didn't have to work this well, though. What an awful treat it is to take your stompy Grey Knights across the galaxy, stomping on everything that displeases them. Read our Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Demonhunters review

Egon Superb

2022 best games 40K Chaos Gate Demonhunters - one of your grey knights in the character building screen where you pick out weapons and gear
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Demonhunters.

32. Victoria 3

PC, Linux, Mac

Victoria 3 is grand strategy of the very grandest kind. An overwhelmingly rich nation-building game, Paradox's latest gives players control of the politics and economics of granularly modelled states battling to maintain stability through a time of great change. Like a lot of Paradox stuff, it can be a little rough in places, but its sheer ambition is a thing of wonder. Read our Victoria 3 review

Egon Superb

2022 best games Victoria 3 - screenshot of North Africa, with a large menu on the left detailing your Diplomatic options in the Balkans
Victoria 3. | Image credit: Paradox Interactive

31. Metal: Hellsinger

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

You'll struggle to find a game with more authenticity than Metal: Hellsinger. Things get called "love letters" rather often in video games, but there really is no better way to describe this game, an ode and homage to a misunderstood genre that seems to be channelled out of pure, direct experience. You have to be a little bit of a nerd to like metal, really - a little overenthusiastic and over sincere, ready to don a pair of impossibly loose (or tight) jeans and bang your head in public, without shame. It's Metal: Hellsinger's ability to understand this so well - with its Skeletor album cover artwork and cheesy voiceovers and relentlessly committed soundtrack of real artists - that makes it feel so true, and so personal a thing to play. Read our Metal: Hellsinger review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Metal: Hellsinger - shooting at a fiery boss of skulls and fireballs
Metal: Hellsinger.

30. Nintendo Switch Sports

Nintendo Switch

The sports are great, aren't they? Nintendo knows tennis and Badminton, and the addition of Golf was a lovely autumn treat. Meanwhile sword fighting and volleyball are there to bring a bit of bloody-mindedness to proceedings. But where Nintendo Switch Sports really works is the unexpected touch of worldbuilding that knits everything together. Play Badminton surrounded by shipping crate cafes. Play tennis - or is it volleyball? - under the looming glass of a bookstore/coffee shop. Nobody but Nintendo would think to add this stuff. What a treat. Read our Nintendo Switch Sports review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Nintendo Switch Sports - an avatar lines up a shot from the tee
Nintendo Switch Sports.

29. Total War: Warhammer 3

PC, Linux, Mac

Unquestionably the biggest Total War game ever, Warhammer 3 is a raucous crescendo for the fantasy trilogy. The standard campaign alone is vast and chaotic, with squawking, brightly-coloured agents of capital-C Chaos flying at you from every angle and relentless spectacle and scale to its battles. Beyond that, though, the arrival of the long-awaited Immortal Empires mode, which mashes together all three maps of the series into one gigantic map, is the type of big "what if?" mega mode that young strategy nerds dream of. It's a proper technical achievement and a genuinely spectacular sendoff for the Total Warhammer series - one that was already blessed with strategic depth. For the Dark Gods! Read our Total War: Warhammer 3 review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Total War Warhammer 3 - a blue-purple landscape with jagged rocks in front of a great light blue column of magic and a bright pink sky
Total War: Warhammer 3.

28. Patrick's Parabox

PC, Nintendo Switch, Linux, Mac

From Edward's review: "If you're in the mood for an imaginative little puzzler, this is the one. It's the best I've played in ages. It has all the inventive spark I'd expect of Nintendo EAD. Tripley impressive from a young, independent, two-person development collaboration. Stick to the main path and it's a playful, accessible palette-cleanser; a toybox of delightful ideas that never outstay their welcome. Head off the beaten track, though, and it has boxes within boxes within boxes and depths within depths within depths." Read our Patrick's Parabox review

Edward Hawkes

2022 best games Patrick's Parabox - a blue square puzzle with four small cubes inside, one blue, one an outline, one red and one green
Patrick's Parabox.

27. Live A Live

Nintendo Switch

I'm not sure if anyone's noticed - and I'm not even sure they're aware themselves, given how muted the rollouts of some of its titles - but Square Enix is going through something of a purple patch. Last year gave us the understated yet electrifying return of Hiroyuki Ito in Dungeon Encounters, next year promises the best Final Fantasy in a generation and in-between there are so many gems. Like Live A Live, an unlikely but welcome revival of a cult favourite that never saw a western release. It's a JRPG unlike any other, an anthology that mashes together different eras and styles with ideas way ahead of their time. Now, how about a Racing Lagoon revival next pretty please? Read our Live A Live review

Martin Robinson

2022 best games Live A Live - the four party characters look out at a classic Western Duel in a typical Western town
Live A Live.

26. God of War Ragnarök

PS4, PS5

Pelted with budget, pitched at the end-of-world climax, and packed with an exponentially growning cast of superheroes (or slightly petulant Norse Gods), Ragnarök is surely The Avengers: Endgame of video games. A series with this silly a history and this tight a focus on broad-appeal fun might always fall short of profundity, but it's still pure box office. Ragnarök is a galaxy scale, ensemble cast epic, built on the simple pleasures of whacking stuff in a bellowing, but tightly choreographed kind of combat and smashing about some simple brain-teasers in a big, beautiful world. A few quibbles with over-chatty hint-givers and a soggy middle are overcome by all the sheer grandeur and spectacle - and more than that, a poetic end to a story about learning self-love. Like its characters, Ragnarök's at its best when it gets over the naval-gazing of the last entry and learns to make peace with its true nature: namely, its tendency to be so gloriously over-the-top. Read our God of War Ragnarök review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games God of War Ragarok - Kratos and Atreus look at Brok
God of War Ragnarök

25. Neon White

PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch

I love how unashamed and proud Neon White is about being a speedrunning game. It's the primary thing the game is about, not an accidental thing caused by the way a mechanic works in the game - like Quake's jump, for instance. There's no pretence at being a shooter, really. From the moment you begin, you know exactly what the game is about: speed and routes and acrobatics, and repetition. And I love that. But it's not only that. The confidence I talked about: it extends to the game's personality. There's nothing apologetic or timid about Neon White; it's every bit as dizzying and energetic as the way it plays. It's a bombastic package. Read our Neon White review

Bertie Purchase

2022 best games Neon White - a level with water at the bottom and white columned podiums in front of a blue sky
Neon White.

24. Kaiju Wars

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Tight tactics with possibly the most beautiful art style (or at least the most delightfully garish) of 2022, Kaiju Wars is a wonderful surprise of a game, merging a comedic flair with a rare understanding of monster movie tempo. As Edwin put it in our review: "Toss Into The Breach and Advance Wars into a nuclear reactor with the contents of an abandoned VHS store and you'll get Kaiju Wars - a brilliant turn-based strategy game about putting off the inevitable or preferably, taking it on an extended tour of the unpopulated warehouse district, well away from your town centre." Read our Kaiju Wars review

Chris Tapsell, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

Kaiju Wars review - a messy image of battle, some tiles red, some blue, the outer rim peachy orange, a fighter jet green, a kaiju and some tiles on fire, witha retro UI along the bottom.
Kaiju Wars.

23. Prodeus

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Mac

There have been retro FPS shooters before - Ion Fury, Dusk and hell I'd even argue that the Doom reboot and its sequel are revivals of a very 90s brand of action - but Prodeus still stands out. It's a full-blooded shooter with a healthy appetite for the red stuff, with gibbage delivered in gargantuan amounts and with guns that are just as over-the-top (the mini-gun is a masterpiece in overstated feedback, and getting your hands on it for the first time likely ranks as one of 2022's most satisfying moments). Read our Prodeus review

Martin Robinson

2022 best games Prodeus - an orange and red hued room, firing a mini gun and DOOM-like enemies
Prodeus. | Image credit: Bounding Box Software/Humble Games

22. Gran Turismo 7

PS4, PS5

Gran Turismo 7's been on quite the journey in 2022. On launch it felt like a return to fulsome form of the series in its pomp before the stripped back - and entirely necessary - reboot of Gran Turismo Sport, with a full campaign and a bulging garage of exquisitely rendered cars. Soon after, though, it was dogged by understandable disappointment at its ruthless economy that had no place in a full-priced game and that's been a blot on what should have been a banner year for the series. Still, small steps have been made and a triumphant showing at the World Series 2022 finals, which delivered some of the finest racing of the year virtual or otherwise, showed that Gran Turismo 7 looks to be back on-track. With the potential of PSVR2 support and cutting edge AI via the Sophy project on the horizon, Gran Turismo 7's best years could well be ahead of it. Read our Gran Turismo 7 review

Martin Robinson

2022 best games Gran Turismo 7 - a black Chevrolet and yellow Honda Civic line up at the starting grid at dusk
Gran Turismo 7.

21. Marvel's Midnight Suns

PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S (PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2023)

There's always been something of the doll's house to XCOM's base-building, and this new tactical game from Firaxis leans right in, to the point where it's almost a Marvel and Fire Emblem crossover. Take your famous superheroes out for intricate, thoughtful turn-based battling, but then lead them back to the abbey they all share together to join book clubs, forage for mushrooms, and watch terrible movies on the sofa. Bonds make the team more powerful, but there's also something hilarious about taking Iron Man fishing. Read our Marvel's Midnight Suns review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Marvel's Midnight Suns - Dr Strange and Captain Marvel read books and phones respectively on the sofa
Marvel's Midnight Suns.

20. Marvel Snap

PC, Switch and Xbox

This one crept up on us. Does anyone really need a new collectible card game in 2022? When it's this clever and compulsive, yes. Rather than damaging an enemy hero, you use cards to battle for ownership of three locations on the board, each of which have their own devious quirks and modifiers. The Marvel stuff is lovely, but what's really striking about this game is the freshness - a new card will change the game in implausible ways, and when matches last three minutes tops there's lots of room to experiment. Read our Marvel Snap discussion

Christian Donlan

The digital card game Marvel Snap. A Rocket Raccoon card dominates the screen here. It's bright and colourful.
Marvel Snap.

19. Swordship

PC

Swordship's an explosive action game in which you can't directly damage your enemies. Instead you have to indirectly damage them, by luring them into shooting each other, or blowing each other up. All of this against the backdrop of modern day piracy. Is there a single better feeling this year than perfectly grabbing a shipping container from the briney blue in Swordship? Probably not. Best fonts, too - and that's including Pentiment. Read our Swordship review

Christian Donlan

Swordship level 2 - a green background with bright yellow and orange explosions
Swordship.

18. Sniper Elite 5

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Pchaoooowwww! Can we leave it there? The Sniper Elite games have an enjoyably low-brow reputation - something along the lines of slow-mo Nazi nut-popping simulators with maybe a dash of casual stealth - but this fifth entry blasts up to higher ground thanks to some sumptuously open, inventive level design. Then there's the added spin of invasions - think Dark Souls or Deathloop - where other players pop up in your mission and turn you from stalking predator to scarpering prey, and a bursting toybox of new gear. As Rick Lane put it in our review: "Sniper Elite has been dependably entertaining for a while. It just needed a spark of inspiration to make it excellent." Consider it sparked. Read our Sniper Elite 5 review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Sniper Elite 5 - at night, dressed in black, the sniper walks out towards the edge of a platform overlooking a burning city
Sniper Elite.

17. Arcade Paradise

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

This is that rare game that can put arcade games in their proper context - in terms of space and the back room of a dirty laundrette, sure, but also in terms of time, as things you steal moments for, rushing through work and ignoring friends in order to have a few more minutes with the game you love. The idea is simple: you run a laundrette and slowly pump the earnings into buying more arcade games, until you're essentially running an arcade. Within that idea though are a hundred little pieces of playfulness, and a thousand prompts that ask: what do you really value? Read our Arcade Paradise review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Arcade Paradise - a view at an angle of an arcade cabinet screen with a classic game playing
Arcade Paradise.

16. Return to Monkey Island

PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

After years of silence and an April Fools Day tease that turned out to be true, 2022 saw the return of Monkey Island with the aptly named Return to Monkey Island. Series veterans Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, along with Guybrush Threepwood voice actor Dominic Armato, proved they hadn't all shivered their last timber and jumped back on board the pirate ship for this release, providing us with a colourful and playful adventure across the high seas. Why are pirates called pirates? Because they Aaaar. And Guybrush just so happens to be a mighty one, don't you know. Read our Return to Monkey Island review

Victoria Kennedy

2022 best games Return to Monkey Island - inside a small room with a man lit by moonlight through the window
Return to Monkey Island.

15. Strange Horticulture

PC, Nintendo Switch, Mac

2022's most transporting game takes players to a small, dark plant shop - definitely not a florist! - where an endless line of sinister strangers need various herbs and fungi for various mysterious reasons. A puzzle game and an evocative exploration of our interactions with the living world, Strange Horticulture is best enjoyed on a grim winter evening when the wind is blowing hard through the night. There's some absolutely dazzling stuff here, and the map screen alone is a proper classic. Please play this - it's brilliant. Read our Strange Horticulture impressions

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Strange Horticulture - a book of notes on plants and magnifying glass in the foreground, with a shop full of plants in the background
Strange Horticulture.

14. The Excavation of Hob's Barrow

PC, Linux, Mac

The Return to Monkey Island might have been the most high profile adventure game of the year - it depends how you define something like Pentiment - but Hobb's Barrow is arguably the richer experience. This game of archaeology and horror, of the scientific method pitted against folklore, has a gloriously nasty sting in the tale. To tell you about its true theme would be to spoil one of the most intricately constructed traps in all of games. Read our The Excavation of Hob's Barrow review

Christian Donlan

Hob's Barrow - your character approaches a pile of grey stones on a mossy green hill, with a woman playing violin on stood on top of them
The Excavation of Hob's Barrow.

13. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Nintendo Switch

Perhaps the star attraction of Nintendo's quietly stellar year, and a fine example of the low-key brilliance that's defined a lot of the Switch's catalogue in 2022. The third instalment in a series that's always been destined for cult status, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 doesn't have the star pulling power of a Horizon: Forbidden West or Starfield, but it does have hundreds of hours of high concept adventuring and a JRPG that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the greats. An understated masterpiece. Read our Xenoblade Chronicles 3 review

Martin Robinson

2022 best games Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - a battle with a large monster and an extraordinary amount of bright orange UI information on the screen
Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

12. Saturnalia

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Based in a Sardinian town at the end of the 1980s, Saturnalia is a memorably independently minded horror and a reminder that Santa Ragione is one of the best design teams working at the moment. Head out into the night to find your friends. Light bonfires, hoard matches, and keep track of the plot's many threads. Make too many mistakes and the town reassembles itself around you. This is magic. Albeit a very dark kind of magic. Read our Saturnalia review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Saturnalia - in pencil-shaded style, a silhouetted man stands in a dimly lit doorway surrounded by darkness
Saturnalia.

11. OlliOlli World

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Roll7's charismatic racing series embraces a new art style - they've all had a different art style - and a fascinating approach to three dimensions in this gloriously sporty platformer. Multiple paths, a delightful overworld map and lovely customisation options make this one of the most satisfying and expressive games of the year. Read our OlliOlli World review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games OlliOlli World - five quirky characters chat on a bright blue platform in front of coral pink buildings and structures
OlliOlli World.

10. Signalis

PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Sries X/S, Nintendo Switch

At first glance a well-polished isometric indie tribute to survival horror of the PS1 era, Signalis ends up being so much more. It adds fun puzzle mechanics and tightens-up the familiar Resident Evil formula of inventory management and exploration, then pulls the bloody rug from under you just when you're getting comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can get going through its David Lynchian story of a Germanic-tinted spacefaring future - which looks gorgeous to boot. Signalis is everything good about survival horror, and then some. Read our Signalis review

Jessica Orr

2022 best games Signalis - close up of a woman's face with sci-fi UI readings either side, like a heads-up display
Signalis.

9. Pentiment

PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

What starts out as a simple riff on The Name of the Rose becomes a wonderfully human exploration of guilt, complicity and regret. That probably doesn't make it sound like much fun, but what's surprising about Pentiment - much like Eco's novel - is how light and enjoyable it is from one moment to the next. A game trapped inside a medieval manuscript, Pentiment is genuinely illuminating - and illuminated. Read our Pentiment review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Pentiment - your character chats with a monk called Gernot outside a chapel, all drawn in medieval illustration style with medieval fonts
Pentiment. | Image credit: Xbox Game Studios

8. Roadwarden

PC, Linux, Mac

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell called this "one of the finest historical fantasies you'll play." Here's an extract from Edwin's review: "The intricacy and imagination of the writing is reflected in the diversity of choices you can make in any given scenario, which, again, typically rely on your local knowledge. Here's a highly non-exhaustive list of questions I've wrestled with: what colour should I choose when using magic to illuminate a cave? Is it worth buying a shield I don't really know how to wield? When gambling with the village youth, do I flirt or focus on the dice? Should I sit next to or across from somebody I've just met? Who do I trust to faithfully translate a wax tablet? Can I work out where a fellow traveller calls home from their accent? A few puzzles see you typing in words yourself - deciding what to focus on when confronted by a giant spider, or who to ask for in a village where nobody volunteers any information upfront. Elsewhere, you'll peel back perilous locations section by section, braving the shadows of a mine shaft or fending off inexplicable nausea as you circle a ruined hamlet." Read our Roadwarden review

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

Roadwarden - on the left, beautiful sepia-coloured pixel art of a watchtower by a road; oni the right, three paragraphs of text with several options for what to do, and some inventory/character info
Roadwarden.

7. Mothmen 1966

PS4, PS5 and PC

Some games show their true qualities over time. This is the case with Mothmen 1966, which we played in July and have been thinking about ever since. With visuals that take players back to the very early 1990s and the birth of PC gaming, and a narrative that explores spooky happenings on a dark night in the middle of nowhere, this is an absolute masterpiece when it comes to creating an atmosphere. It contains a really good Solitaire variant too. Former Eurogamer EIC Oli Welsh would be proud. Read our Mothmen 1966 review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Mothmen 1966 - in CGA style, a bat in turqoise hue with a splat of red blood is displayed, with descriptive text underneath explaining that you get out of your car to find it
Mothmen 1966. | Image credit: LCB Game Studio

6. Rollerdrome

PC, PS4, PS5

Tony Hawk with Tomb Raider pistols was always going to be a winner but Rollerdrome, Roll7's jagged, edgy side project, has something else - this game is cool. Cool fonts (hello again, Pentiment and Swordship), cool music, cool sound, cool action, which has you flipping and twirling in slow-mo, flowing from half-pipe to rail, dodge to kill. It's a game that seems to have been 3D printed out of a Hoxton creative agency, decked out in exposed wood and the crimsons and mustards of mid-century modern. There's a bit of fun, retro-future autocracy going on, with a story that seems to drape itself over the game as casually as your racing suit flung over a dressing room chair - but really the magic is in how little this game offers, rather than how much. A handful of levels and that one magical mechanic: do tricks to get ammo; shoot the bad guys; repeat. And repeat and repeat and repeat. Read our Rollerdrome review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Rollerdrome - the TV studio level, with retro TV camera in the foreground and a hybrid skatepark/TV studio in the background
Rollerdrome.

5. Citizen Sleeper

PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Mac

Has a place that is ostensibly out to kill you ever felt more like home? Citizen Sleeper's hubworld space station, a drifting mechanical carcass known as the Eye, is billed as hostile and dangerous - and for much of your time there it is, filled with mercenaries and assassins, underground gangs and ghostly AIs, all hoping to hunt you down. But over time the Eye becomes home, and Citizen Sleeper shifts from a game of scrambling for survival to one of community and belonging, and then one of purpose and, eventually, hope. It's a wondrous, kind-hearted RPG, with a keen political edge, thematic depth to plunge, and a thick cyberpunk-and-sci-fi atmosphere to wade through. And all of it built from a dice roll - and a creator, in Gareth Damien Martin, who's now surely one of the most exciting indie talents around. This one's a real gem. Read our Citizen Sleeper review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Citizen Sleeper - a character called Sabine talks to you, with their comic-style character art central, and dialogue to the right, space station background to the left
Citizen Sleeper.

4. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Nintendo Switch

In a first for Kirby, the Forgotten Land takes our beloved spherical hero to the realms of 3D platforming. This charming adventure sees Kirby embrace a new ability known as 'Mouthful Mode', which allows Nintendo's pink ball to swallow and embody an array of items from vending machines to cars. In turn, this lets Kirby traverse the game's worlds in a myriad of really rather unusual ways. To borrow from Martin (because, if you are going to borrow from anyone, why not make it your EIC), Kirby and The Forgotten Land is an absolute hug of a game, and one that the whole family can, and I thoroughly recommend should, enjoy together. Read our Kirby and the Forgotten Land review

Victoria Kennedy

2022 best games Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Kirby on a yellow right in a very bright land of green grass, pink flowers and blue skies
Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

3. Norco

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Mac

Arguably the greatest sense of place created this year, Norco, an adventure game set in a sci-fi future version of a real Louisiana town of the same name, is a work of sumptuous atmosphere. The writing can push the limits at times, occasionally getting a little purple, but that works as much in Norco's favour as it does against it, stirring a bleak, muddy streak into the haze of its murky pixel art and audio fuzz. There are a handful of micro-games within Norco - including rhythm-memory games for its brief and often comical combat, and a kind of ASCII-art boat mission - but it's the human mystery at the heart of Norco that sucks you in, a story of personal and collective pain in the shadow of a local chemical plant. In an all-timer of a year for beautiful narrative adventures, from The Case of the Golden Idol, to Mothmen 1966, to The Excavation of Hob's Barrow, to Pentiment, Citizen Sleeper and Monkey Island, Norco's captivating, grimly poetic take on a region's future still manages to stand out. Read our Norco review

Chris Tapsell

2022 best games Norco - in murky pixel art, two characters ride away towards dusk on an empty highway, against a blue-brown sky and distant background of chemical plant lights
Norco.

2. Tunic

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Mac

Like Fez, Tunic is a work of nostalgia that's never happy to settle for nostalgia alone. A spin on the classic top-down Zeldas, the game's fox cub hero sets off on a dangerous quest through a world that is actually one gigantic puzzle. The best thing about Tunic should not be spoiled - if you've got to December without hearing about it, good on you - but even without it, this is a game to be savoured. Strange, familiar, intricate and built with love. Read our Tunic review

Christian Donlan

2022 best games Tunic - a floating island with a rocky mountain and tiny outcrop of grass, amongst a pink, orange and blue sky and fluffly clouds
Tunic.

1. Elden Ring

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

FromSoftware's open world epic has dominated the conversation this year. The Elden Ring hype had begun long before 2022, but once released it became the game everyone was playing and talking about. Have you defeated Malenia yet? Which of the Ashes of War is most overpowered? Have you seen the underground yet? And just how many times do you need to hit that illusory wall in Volcano Manor?

But Elden Ring is a game that warrants such conversation. Its vast open world is a natural extension of Miyazaki's Soulsborne formula, its enticing narrative riddles and teases on the horizon daring you to take on its challenges. You creep into every dingey cave, gallop across lakes awaiting the screech of a dragon, and tentatively open each chest for surprises. Making those discoveries and sharing stories with others has been half the fun of Elden Ring, with lore videos, speedrun strategies, and tiny details still being unearthed long after release. No other game this year has generated such fervent discussion. Read our Elden Ring review

Ed Nightingale

2022 best games Elden Ring - a portrait image of an imperious knight with battleaxe in front of a white lion creature with flowing mane
Elden Ring is our 2022 Game of the Year.