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.
[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.
[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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
[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.
2. - 4.
[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.
2. - 4.
[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.
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.