Josh’s Favorite Games of 2022 – Best Shooters

For this entry in my best-of-series, I’m talking about my favorite shooters and what games had the best gunplay this year. There were so many games this time that I had to double up the awards.

Honorable Mentions: Shadow Warrior 3

A game I feel a lot of people have forgotten that came out in 2022, Shadow Warrior 3 may not stand out as much as the second game, but this is a solid game that apes the push forward combat of Doom Eternal with the low brow humor that the series is known for. The gun play was fantastic, and I liked the use of environmental hazards to be used against enemies.

What hurts the game is the shorten campaign and just the lack of variety as the game went on. It was a fun time, but one that wasn’t that memorable.

3: Hedon and Vomitoreum

The GZdoom modding scene has continued to grow over the past 30 years, and the mods have only gotten bigger and more ambitious. For my #3, I actually picked two different games built off of GZdoom. Hedon is a massive open-styled FPS with each level feeling like a combination of several FPS levels put into one. There is a lot to explore in this game, along with some hard combat if you play on the higher difficulties.

Vomitoreum does one better, and is a metroidvania open world shooter. Taking place in a world long since destroyed thanks to a plague and alien force. It’s up to us to save what’s left in the world by exploring and shooting a lot of mutants. The metroidvania upgrades work to give you a lot of options as the game goes on, with numerous secrets and bonus weapons to find. The game is on the short side if you’re not going for all the secrets, but this is a great game if you don’t mind some body horror to see just how far modders have gone in terms of transforming Doom.

2: Metal Hellsinger and Neon White

The second place also goes with a tie this year. Metal Hellsinger combines the rhythm-based design of a music game, with the combat and feel of a push forward FPS…along with plenty of metal. While you can turn down a lot of the beat-detection, this is first and foremost a game about music. A really solid first concept, and if you’re a metal head and a shooter lover, this is a must play.

Neon White continues the trend of speedrunning-based FPS with a very stylish and anime inspired game. Each level plays out more like a puzzle of you trying to figure out how to get through it as fast as possible using the different weapons and their secondary abilities to skip huge chunks of the stage. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the story, as it leans heavily into anime tropes, but the gameplay and gunplay are fantastic.

#1 Cultic Episode 1

This may be considered a cheat, but with the Cultic episodes being released as standalone, and the first one is completely done, I’m adding it to the list. Cultic honors its inspiration from Blood. The game has a stylized look with some of the largest levels I’ve seen from a boomer shooter. While the individual elements we’ve seen countless times, the complete package, even in just this first episode, is fantastic. There is a great sense of growth and evolution over the episode, as enemies and encounters escalate and so do your available weapons. If the ending is any indication, the remaining chapters are only going to get even better from here.

Josh’s Favorite Games of 2022 – Most Original Games

3: I was a Teenage Exocolonist

A game I played while doing IGF judging, this was a visual novel choose your own adventure mixed with some deck building. You play a child heading to humanity’s first colony, over the course of 10 years, you’re going to see a lot, experience a lot, and have a role to play in who lives or dies. There is a lot of variance going on here in terms of what endings and routes you can go down. Every life experience you get will earn you cards, and your deck is literally made up of all the good and bad things that shape your life.

While not for everyone, if you’re a fan of visual novel/RPG games, this is a must play for you.

2: Last Command

What happens when bullet hell and snake team up? We get Last Command. This game has you exploring the digital space in the future where there are no more humans left to figure out what is causing malfunctions. All combat is based on you controlling a snake that has to gather data in order to use it against enemies. Meanwhile, enemies attack you with a variety of bullets and patterns that would be right at home in a bullet hell shmup.

This is not an easy game to play, and I ran into some issues with some of the advanced challenges. This is a great game if you’re looking for something different and challenging.

1: The Case of the Golden Idol

After Return of the Obra Dinn I was hoping we would see more investigation-styled games, and The Case of the Golden Idol fits that category with multiple challenges to your critical thinking skills. Each vignette involves the golden idol and a murder, and it’s up to you piece together how it all happened by examining the scene and putting the clues together one dialogue box at a time.

While the game starts off easy enough, soon it grows to multiple screens of people and situations to parse thru and the complexity of the cases grows fast. This is the perfect game for someone wanting to flex their critical thinking skills and I hope between it and Obra Dinn we start seeing more of this style.

An Open Discussion on Open World Design

For this Perceptive Podcast, I sat down with Konstantinos Dimopoulos for another chat about open-world design and creating meaningful spaces for the player to explore in a game. We spoke about how open-world gameplay has evolved and the push and pull between environmental and level design.

Josh’s Best of 2022 Awards — Best Executed Games

I’ve created a new category to give more spotlights to games. For this one, I’m honoring the games that didn’t blow up as a revolutionary take on the genre but were all around great games that did what they set out to do.

Honorable Mention: Drainus

Drainus was a great shmup that was released to little fanfare as the latest game from Team Ladybug. I really like the pixel art and the ability to modify your ship and shots on the fly. What keeps it from scoring higher is that while it was a good game, it didn’t really stick around as a memorable one. I would love for someone to take this concept of ship modification further in a future game.

#3: Shadows over Loathing

The latest game from the king of dry wit and humor is Shadows over Loathing. We’re trading the wild west and horse-related puns for Lovecraftian mysteries…and puns. This not-so-spooky sequel to West continues the series’ design of puzzle, adventure, and wacky RPG hijinks. At this point, you are either all in or all out for a Loathing game, and I enjoyed my time slinging cheese at fish people.

#2: Infernax

What if we take a traditional 2D action-adventure and cover it with all the blood? We get Infernax. This challenging modern retro game had some of the most shocking NES-styled cutscene around with meat on the bone in the form of multiple endings. As with the other games on this list, while the game doesn’t stand out among the modern retro classics I’ve played, it’s still a solid game for action fans.

#1: Swordship

Swordship is one of those games that I feel deserves more praise than what it has gotten. A smartly designed arcade-style game. The hook is that while you must dodge and fight against drones trying to stop you from delivering contraband, you are never able to directly attack. You need to maneuver around to get enemies to take out each other.

Josh’s Favorite Games of 2022 – Puzzle

For this entry in my best of 2022 series, my favorite puzzle games, which is separate from adventure.

Josh’s Favorite Games of 2022:Adventure

It’s time to talk about my favorite games that made me ponder while I was pointing (and clicking).

Honorable Mention Sucker For Love

I’m pretty sure everyone forgot that this game even came out this year. What started as a project for a Dread X Collection, transformed into its own visual/novel meets adventure game. The premise alone is enough to turn heads — as you try to romance three very eligible women who just so happen to be elder gods who can tear apart the fabric of reality.

This is a game that fully commits to its premise, and while it’s not the hardest game in the genre, the complete package stands out as one of the most strangely charming games I’ve played. I don’t know if we’ll get a sequel to it, but it’s an overall great title.

#3 Lucy Dreaming

Lucy Dreaming harkens back to the golden age of Lucasarts-styled adventure games, with its own verb list and wacky logic. Combining the waking and dream world sections did lead to some interesting puzzles. While it can be on the harder side due to its structure and logic, it is definitely a must-play for any fan of old-school adventure games.

#2: The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

Adventure games oftentimes either land on the side of challenging puzzles or focus more on the story and mood. With the Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, we have one that does both — a gothic horror point and click adventure with some very striking cutscenes. The game, at times, feels like an episode to one of the many anthology horror shows in the past, as the player explores a mysterious village, has creepy visions and dreams, all leading up to the surprising ending. The puzzle difficulty stays on the easier side until the very end, with the final chapter being the most puzzle-filled out of anything else.

I really like the charm and the story of this one, with the world feeling both familiar and alien at the same time. If you slept on this one, and in the mood for a mysterious adventure, then don’t miss this game.

#1: Brok the Investigator

Brok the Investigator manages to combine beat-em-up gameplay with point and click adventuring and puzzle solving to deliver one of the most original takes on the adventure genre. You are free to approach your problems by using your brain or your fists, with the story and ending changing based on your process.

The story itself is also very well done, and despite featuring a goofy talking alligator, there is a lot of heart to this game. Brok is trying to do right by his adoptive son, earn a living, and the push and pull between doing the right thing, and to keep going is an interesting one. This is one of those games I know a lot of people slept on, but this one gets my recommendation as a game worth playing.

Josh’s Favorite Games of 2022 – Action Games

I’m doing my best of 2022 series over on Game-Wisdom and I’ll be posting the videos over here, starting with my favorite action games.

Turnbased Fest Mega Showcase

The massive showcase highlighting all my favorites from the turn-based festival on steam. Games played were either demos or developer submissions.

Grid Force Mask of the Goddess Interview

For this Perceptive Podcast, I spoke with Dan Bernado of Dreamnaut Studios to talk about the release of the game Grid Force Mask of the Goddess, creating the story and art, and more.

Indie Game Showcase 12/16/22

The indie showcases highlight all the indie games we play here on stream, if you would like to submit a game for a future piece, please reach out. All games shown are either demos or press key submissions.