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Jan 2, 2022 - 07:26 AM
Games of 2021 + The Qwarky Awards
Response to: Games of 2020 + The Qwarky Awards by map car man words telling me to do things



What a year huh.

It was a strange one for me.

I had several longer bouts of not playing anything for various reasons.

Wrist hurt, palms hurt, tired and apathetic, got back into reading comics etc.

Then a few days before new years my SSD would no longer boot so I had to move to W10 and spent several days trying to recover my stuff.

Because of this I didn't end up finishing a game I'd intended to, and overall it meant I didn't actually play that many 2021 releases as I'd have liked to.

But now it is the time of lists.
I'm gonna go through the games I played through last year and pick the best ones again! And then awards!

Games I started before 2021 and only finished last year:

-

Games I started and finished last year:

Hades (Epilogue)
1001 Spikes
Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story (final ending)
Portal Stories: Mel
Haydee 2
Stasis
Cayne
Saints Row 2 (replay)
Saints Row: The Third (replay) (100%)
Saints Row IV (replay)
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (replay)
Mafia: Definitive Edition
Mafia II
Mafia III
Injustice
Injustice 2
James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire
James Bond 007: Nightfire
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
Second Sight
Say No! More
Tormented Souls
Quake Remastered (campaign)
Quake Remastered - Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon (campaign)
Devotion
Quake Remastered - Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity (campaign)
Quake Remastered - Dimension of the Past (campaign)
Quake Remastered - Dimension of the Machine (campaign)
Sable
Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye (DLC)
Outlast 2
Paradise Lost
Teacup
The Forgotten City (all endings)
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Metroid Dread
AM2R
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
Psychonauts 2
Metroid Dread (Hard mode) (under 4 hours) (replay)
Metroid Dread (Normal mode) (under 4 hours) (replay)
Super Metroid [4:19] (replay)
Super Metroid [1:17] (replay)
Metroid: Zero Mission (replay)
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (replay)
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (best ending) (replay)
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (best ending)
Super Mario Odyssey (Darker Side)
Super Mario Galaxy (120 stars)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (97 stars)
Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery

Games I started last year but didn't or couldn't finish:

Narita Boy
NYKRA
Unsighted



Best games of 2021 I played:

Honorable mentions:

Spoiler:


Quake Remastered - Dimension of the Machine campaign
[Best Quake Campaign] [Best Machine]

Quake got a lovely remaster and MachineGames made a new campaign which was quite fun and had some really impressive level design and visuals.




Castlevania Advance Collection
[Best Castlevania of the Year] [Best GBA collection on Switch]

Three pretty good GBA Castlevania games (and an ehhh SNES one). I enjoyed replaying them.




Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery
[Best visuals] [Best painting]

A nice little mystery. Short and the ending could have revealed something better, but I still enjoyed it and it does look lovely.



*** HONORABLE HONORABLE MENTION ***



Unsighted
[Most didn't finish] [Best Zelda-like] [Best dogs] [Best robots] [Best combat] [Best axe] [Best Raquel] [Best Alma] [Most stressful]

Did not get to finish this before the year's end due to circumstances, but this was standing out as a pretty special game, and I'm certain it
would have been in my top 11 if I'd finished it and it sticks the ending.

A really tight little zelda like with a bit of Souls-like combat and corpse running, but also a whole heap of tricks and features that really
make it its own thing, most importantly the ticking clock element that ties into the narrative, as you race to make progress in the game
and explore and discover things, constantly having to keep in mind taking too long may mean any of the NPCs in the game (including merchants
and blacksmiths) can die and be gone forever. I'm playing it for the story and the atmosphere, but it also looks lovely, controls VERY tightly
and the music is terrific.

Please don't sleep on this game, it's been very overlooked, and even I took too long to get to it.




THE QWARKY TOP 10 BEST GAMES OF 2021


Spoiler:
10.



Say No! More
[Best character customization] [Best artstyle] [No!] [Best voice acting]

A very funny and delightful little game with an important message and gets surprisingly emotional towards the end.



8/10



9.



Teacup
[Cutest game] [Best frogs] [Best tea] [Calmest game] [Best kites]

A lovely, calm, warm little adventure game that's over quickly, but it's comfy, peaceful and very cute.

YouTube Video

8/10



8.



Tormented Souls
[Best tank controls] [Best shotgun] [Best spooky] [Best puzzles] [Best comfy]

This turned out be a really competent classic survival horror experience that I hadn't realized I was missing so much.

Really comfy combination of puzzles, spooky, exploration and combat, with a surprisingly enjoyable story and multiple endings.



8/10



7.



Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye (DLC)
[Best mystery] [Best music] [Best raft] [Timeloop of the year] [Best Outer Wilds DLC of the Year award for the best piece of DLC for Outer Wilds]

I am very torn about this, actually. On one hand, it's a brilliant piece of adventure and mystery and discovery, and just "more" Outer Wilds
which is a surprisingly nice thing. It proved way more engaging than I'd expected and the mysteries to discover are great. On the other hand,
I genuinely feel the base Outer Wilds is so amazing as a whole, this slots a bit awkwardly onto it. I feel like it should be played separate,
after playing the main game, and only then experiencing DLC. The way it's been integrated into the main game will be a bit weird for new
players who won't know it's several hours of contained puzzles and mystery that do not teach you anything about the rest of the solar system.

Either way, for old Outer Wilds players, it's essential. Just play Outer Wilds.

YouTube Video

9/10



6.



Devotion
[Best horror] [Best spooks] [Best audio] [Best 80s] [Most horrifying sequence]

I am counting this as a 2021 release as we can finally legally buy it again. Devotion is a short, heartbreaking little horror game
that really gets under your skin and reveals detail and context layer by layer the more you think about it. It expertly crafts a sense
of place and time, builds on it with an ever-growing sense of unease and melancholy, then proceeds to slowly suffocate you with
an overwhelmingly sad portrait of a tiny corner of late 1980's Taiwan, the unjust social stigma of mental illness, and a family falling apart.

9/10



5.



The Forgotten City
[Best mystery] [Best architecture] [Best multiple endings] [Best snooping] [Timeloop of the year]

A delightful timeloop adventure with a fun mystery to discover, several likeable characters to interact with and a lot of running around
and dialogue options. I didn't expect this to get as emotionally engaging as it did, and all of its several endings are satisfying in
their own ways, with the last one being such a satisfying wrapup.

YouTube Video

9/10


I can't decide the order between the following three, they're all wonderful, so it's a shared 2.-4. place! Huzzah!

2. - 4.



Sable
[Best visuals] [Best music] [Best writing] [Best exploration] [Best climbing] [Best masks] [Best hoverbikes] [Best scifi]

A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, combat free exploration game set on a cool desert scifi planet. Lots of running, lots of climbing,
lots of jumping and scavenging and riding hoverbikes and staring at things in awe. Warm, calm, introspective, with a gorgeous
artstyle and wonderful music, with so much to see and discover on the player's own terms, this was an absolute delight.

YouTube Video

9/10



2. - 4.



Metroid Dread
[Best Metroid] [Best Samus] [Best visuals] [Best shinespark] [Best animation] [Best details]

My first playthrough I didn't actually have as great a time as I'd hoped. The bosses are REALLY punishing when you don't know
what to do beforehand, the map design is very mazelike and its attempt at cutting down on backtracking leads to it feeling way
more linear than it actually is. With a second, and a third, and a fourth playthrough however, knowing what it was doing and
where it was going, I was able to much better appreciate what it achieves.

This is a remarkable game in so many ways, being an actual new real actual legit Metroid, a real sequel to Fusion, a fantastic
metroid-like, with so much wonderful attention to detail, from the lighting to the gorgeous animation, the tight controls,
the moody locations and audio design, the awesome backgrounds, the near-perfect portrayal of Samus: confident, capable,
just all-out done with shit. All great.

I had an absolute blast going through it again for a sub 4 hours run on both Normal and Hard, trying out skips and tricks,
seeing how much better I was doing against bosses that had previously proved infuriatingly tough.
It looks great, it plays great (use a pro controller), it sounds great.

It's great.

YouTube Video

9/10



2. - 4.



Psychonauts 2
[Best visuals] [Best voice acting] [Best writing] [Best powers] [Best musical interlude]

Like Metroid Dread, it's amazing we have a proper sequel to Psychonauts, and it's actually really, really good. An absolutely
delightful 3D platformer full of imagination, endearing characters, trippy visuals, superb voice acting, and surprisingly
emotional storytelling. It's also really, really funny. Wonderful stuff.

YouTube Video

9/10



1.





Chicory: A Colorful Tale
[Game of the Year] [Best Pizza] [Best colours] [Best music] [Best writing] [Best painting] [Best adventure] [Best ending] [Best characters] [Best musical interlude] [The "Made Me Cry Award" for making me cry]

Well it had to be. Chicory is so lovely. It's so sweet, so wise, so funny, so warm, and touching, and clever, and deals with some
very REAL and complicated and difficult subject matter in such an understanding, embracing way, all the while being a wonderful
little adventure that's fun to explore and doodle on every screen. Another absolutely wonderful soundtrack from Lena Raine again.
Play it. Feel things. Cry for a little dog and a bunny and being able to feel so much. Embrace it.

Absolutely the best game of the year.



YouTube Video

9/10



Happy new year!



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