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Hidden Game Gems You Missed In 2022

2022 has been an excellent year for video games. "God of War" jumped to PC, and long-awaited titles such as "Horizon Forbidden West" and "Elden Ring" finally released, but the year isn't over yet — and those are just the AAA games that got the most attention and marketing bucks. However, they aren't the only games in town.


Plenty of video games either fly under the radar or are quickly forgotten after launch. One might assume these games don't receive much attention because they aren't great, but in many cases, that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only are numerous non-AAA games fun, polished experiences that belie their smaller budgets and studio sizes, but many of these titles surpass their AAA brethren — not that many people notice. These gems can often remain hidden from the larger gaming community and attract far less attention than they deserve. Does that really sound fair when multi-billion dollar AAA titles such as "Battlefield 2042" get all the ads, only to release in buggy and unplayable states that players hate?


Here are some of the best hidden gems that have been released this year.

Nobody Saves the World

Have you ever thought "The Legend of Zelda" could do with some classes and RPG progression mechanics? For example, did you ever want Link to be able to use a bow, but not his sword (or vice versa)? Nintendo has yet to produce a game like that, but DrinkBox Studios, the team behind "Guacamelee," did.


In "Nobody Saves the World," players control a nobody — literally. The protagonist has no distinguishing features or memories; they're a blank slate. Their only ability is the power to shape-shift into various forms and learn associated skills, and only because they "stole" a wand. "Nobody Saves the World" is filled with the kind of humor gamers have come to expect from DrinkBox Studios, but these forms are the game's main draw.

As players progress through the game's procedurally generated dungeons, they unlock new forms, each with their own quests associated with the new shape's abilities. The game provides a constant feedback loop of earning a new form, acquiring quests, and rewarding players with still more forms and powers. Gamers can even mix and match forms and abilities to create wacky and overpowered builds.


In most games, once a quest is complete, players earn rewards that only stay relevant for a while, but in "Nobody Saves the World," new quests are the rewards, which is more fun than it sounds.

  • Release Date: January 18, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player, local multiplayer, online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 79 (PC), 84 (Nintendo Switch), 79 (Xbox Series X), 76 (PS5)

Shadow Warrior 3

If you were to ask a gamer to name an FPS franchise that's existed since the 90s, most would probably answer "Doom" and "Wolfenstein." However, these aren't the only options. "Shadow Warrior" is also a viable response, and while the original version never received as much attention as the other two, its 2013 reboot ironically has. It even did well enough to greenlight two sequels.


"Shadow Warrior 3" is a fast and furious shooter that stars Lo Wang (yes, that is a double entendre). The game thrusts players into a wide selection of levels where they have to shoot all manner of demons. Mobility is the name of the game, as players have to stay on the move to stay alive. Plus, many arenas are littered with booby traps that can be shot to tear through demonic hordes — or players if they aren't careful.

"Shadow Warrior 3" shares some DNA with "Doom Eternal," but it isn't just an overblown clone. For instance, Lo Wang is the exact opposite of the Doom Slayer; he's cocky, headstrong, and talks more than Deadpool. But at the same time, Wang is an excellent (and relatable) protagonist because he's vulnerable and makes mistakes. Plus, he can rip out demons' innards and use them as weapons.


To put it bluntly, anyone who enjoyed "Doom Eternal" will probably love "Shadow Warrior 3."

  • Release Date: March 1, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, FPS
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 71 (PC), 76 (Xbox Series X), 63 (PS4)


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but what happens when someone imitates a game audiences widely regard as bad? They usually end up improving it. At its core, "Infernax" is everything "Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest" set out to be, but more and better.


"Infernax" is a pixelated metroidvania title that stars the knight Alcedor (or whatever players decide to name him). Like other entries in the genre, players can level up and improve Alcedor's skills, but unlike most metroidvanias, players can make choices that impact the narrative. Depending on what gamers do, Alcedor can end up a martyr, a new duke of hell, or even a time-displaced warrior wielding a holy assault rifle. Yes, the game can get ridiculous as it channels the 90s machismo cheese of its inspirations.

While "Infernax" doesn't do anything new, everything it does is polished. Combat is challenging and rewarding, and platforming sections test players' skills without testing their patience. Plus, the game is a treat for the eyes and ears thanks to its appealing faux 8-bit pixel artstyle, earworm soundtrack, and disgusting-yet-tasteful gore and body horror. "Infernax" might homage the retro games many people grew up with, but it more than earns its "M" rating.

  • Release Date: February 14, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 84 (PC), 84 (Nintendo Switch), 81 (Xbox Series X), 83 (PS4)

Dawn of the Monsters

On one hand, movies about kaiju (aka. giant, city-destroying monsters) are more popular than ever. Fans have received more "Godzilla" movies in the past five years than the franchise saw in the decade prior. But on the other hand, kaiju video games are experiencing a drought. Where are all the kaiju brawlers like "Rampage" or "Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee?" Well, one released earlier this year.


"Dawn of the Monsters" is a throwback to old school beat 'em ups with a manga flair. However, instead of fighting the evil gang members and punks from titles such as "Streets of Rage," "Dawn of the Monsters" draws from the deep well of kaiju media. While every character and monster design is original, they all take clear inspiration from properties such as "Ultraman" and "Godzilla."

Much of the game's appeal comes from the simple pleasure of watching (or in this case, controlling) the giant fighting monsters. "Dawn of the Monsters" boils down to walking from left to right, beating up opponents, and destroying the environment in the process. The combat system, while seemingly simple, has plenty of depth and encourages players to fight strategically (with just a tinge of reckless abandon).


"Dawn of the Monsters" is a complete experience that speaks to the caveman portion of our brains that just loves flashy destruction.

  • Release Date: March 15, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure Beat 'em Up
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (Nintendo Switch), 76 (PS5)


Kung-fu films are pure power fantasy. Deep down, everyone wishes they could take on armies of faceless goons as an untouchable flurry of fists and feet. But how does a studio properly translate that feeling into video game form? "Sifu" found a way.


"Sifu" is a gorgeous beat 'em up that stars a nameless martial artist on a quest for revenge against the people who killed his sifu, or mentor. During his journey, the main character busts drug rings, beats up powerful bosses with supernatural powers, and looks cool while doing so.

The main appeal of "Sifu" lies in its presentation and roguelike nature. Thanks to beautiful animations and fight choreography that nail the kung-fu flick feel, the game is a masterpiece in motion. However, animations are nothing without engrossing gameplay, and critics found that "Sifu" delivers on that front, too. The game utilizes a novel death mechanic where each time the main character is defeated, they resurrect and grow older, trading some health for stronger attacks. Resurrect too many times, and the protagonist truly dies and has to start the level over. This system challenges players to memorize enemy attacks and unlock shortcuts in order to remain as young as possible, which is as challenging as it is fun.


"Sifu" is a must for kung-fu lovers and roguelike fanatics alike.

  • Release Date: February 8, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Fighting
  • Game modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 79 (PC), 71 (PS4), 81 (PS5)


"Pokemon Snap" is a beloved classic title that lets players shoot Pokemon...with a camera. The game inspired a generation of shutterbugs who desired more opportunities to film the daily lives of digital animals. Gamers got a second chance with 2021's "New Pokemon Snap," and a third chance with 2022's "Pupperazzi."


"Pupperazzi" has one of the simplest game premises of all time: photograph cute dogs. That's it. Well, players can also take requests from NPCs and snap specific photos, as well as interact with the puppers in a myriad of ways, from feeding them to tossing frisbees. And yes, gamers can pet the dogs, because that might as well be a law at this point.

At its core, "Pupperazzi" is a relaxing experience. You aren't trying to rescue a litter of puppies from an evil dressmaker or save the world or anything. You're just here to take pictures of puppies, nothing more. Of course, you have to line up the shots and time them perfectly, but the process of doing so is just so wholesome and calming. The experience provides a zen you don't get in most games, aside from the "Pokemon Snap" titles — but those are Nintendo exclusives. Meanwhile, "Pupperazzi" is available on Xbox and PC.

  • Release Date: January 20, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Casual
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 70 (PC), 66 (Xbox One)

Neon White

Many gamers love to give themselves an extra challenge by speedrunning. It's nice to stop and smell the flowers, but it's also fun to see how quickly you can finish a title through skill and by taking advantage of cracks in the game's code. This fascination with speeding through adventures has resulted in many studios producing titles based around the concept, the latest of which is "Neon White."


In this game, players control the assassin known only as Neon White. He may be dead and burning in hell, but heaven needs him to deal with a demonic infestation. However, Neon White isn't the only one on extermination duty. Heaven also enlisted several other assassins to participate in an contest to see who can wipe out the most demons, with the grand prize winner receiving an all-expense paid stay in heaven. Not a bad motivation, all things considered.

Gameplay combines speedrunning and on-the-fly deckbuilding. As players dash through levels, they pick up cards that represent various firearms. Gamers can use these guns as, well, guns, but they can also discard the items for different movement boosts, such as a double jump and dash. "Neon White" levels are short, blazingly-fast puzzles that force players to strategize when to shoot a firearm and when to discard it for some speed. Plus, leaderboards and in-game rewards tempt gamers to perfect their runs and shave milliseconds off their records.


Simply put, "Neon White" is speedrunner heaven.

  • Release Date: June 16, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, FPS
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 88 (PC), 87 (Nintendo Switch)

Weird West

The Wild West is a popular setting, since many consider the time and region to be a tough place where one took the law into their own hands. The oft-forgotten flipside to this backdrop is the Weird West, which is just the Wild West but with witches, werewolves, and other supernatural phenomenon. The most famous example of this mash-up is probably "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare," but 2022 saw a new contender..


Unlike most video games, "Weird West" follows several protagonists, each with their own dedicated chapter. Players get to control a bounty hunter, a werewolf, a witch, a pigman (a cursed man with a pig's head), and a Native American. Each character has their own abilities, and depending on the choices players make, gamers can bump into these characters in later chapters as either allies or enemies.

Even though "Weird West" isn't an open-world game, it sure feels like one. The genre's simulation aspect is in full effect thanks to various in-game systems. For instance, if enemies run away while in combat, they might never return or can come back with a posse, seeking revenge. On that same token, the NPCs players save could show up randomly to save the day. These mechanics, in addition to the aforementioned morality system, make the world of "Weird West" feel just as lived-in as any robust open-world title.

  • Release Date: March 31, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Simulation, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 76 (PC), 81 (Xbox One), 73 (PS4)

Anno: Mutionem

"Cyberpunk 2077" was touted as the open-ended cyberpunk action RPG, but upon release, the game failed to live up to hype — or the standards of contemporary titles. You wouldn't expect an indie game to do what "Cyberpunk 2077" could not, but "Anno: Mutationem" is all about defying expectations.


"Anno: Mutationem" is the story of Ann, a "lone wolf" on a mission to find her missing brother. On her quest, Ann is aided by her hacker friend Ayane as they explore an anime-fueled dystopian megacity populated by all sorts of weird and wild denizens.

Freedom and openness are the lifeblood of "Anno: Mutationem." The game gives players an end goal, but how they go about reaching it is up to them. Do they eavesdrop on bar patrons or beat the answers out of criminals? The world of "Anno: Mutationem" feels alive and is full of side activities and alleyways begging to be explored. While the standard cyberpunk tropes of corporate corruption, mutants, and rogue AI hide around every corner, the game is also full of more unusual concepts, such as cat-shaped car ads and cyber corgis. The main content and side missions weave together into a living world that draws players in and encourages them to learn more about the dystopian city and how it came to be.


In a nutshell "Anno: Mutationem" is everything "Cyberpunk 2077" wanted to be but more and better, complete with an attractive anime aesthetic.

  • Release Date: March 16, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 71 (PC), 71 (PS5)


Many puzzle games are designed to challenge pattern recognition and critical thinking centers of players' brains. Others, like "LumbearJack," just want to give gamers a fun, easy time that tickles the logic centers of their brains without straining them.


"LumbearJack" is a pretty on-the-nose title since the game stars a bear lumberjack. But instead of cutting down trees, he cuts down the buildings of an evil corporation that wants to bulldoze his forest. Throughout the game, players can save all manner of friendly forest critters and upgrade (and occasionally replace) LumbearJack's axe, which is used to smash objects and solve puzzles. While games such as "Dark Souls" demonstrate the benefits of intense difficulty, "LumbearJack" displays the advantages of the opposite. The game's puzzles, combined with its simple art-style, deliver a laid-back experience that lets audiences unwind. "LumbearJack" is designed as a fun, relaxing experience that also gives its players a sense of accomplishment, because who doesn't love freeing cute animals from cages?


"LumbearJack" might not be a long game, but it's fun for all ages, as well as the perfect digital palette cleanser.

  • Release Date: June 11, 2022
  • Genre: Casual, Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: N/A

Trek to Yomi

"Ghost of Tsushima" is a beloved samurai epic inspired by the real Mongol invasion of the Isle of Tsushima, as well as the works of film director Akira Kurosawa. The game even sports a "Kurosawa Mode" that washes the world in a grainy, black and white color filter that mimics his films. However, "Ghost of Tsushima" isn't the only game that pays homage to the filmmaker and his seminal samurai flicks.


"Trek to Yomi" is a 2D sidescroller that stars Hiroki, a samurai on a quest to avenge his dead master, which he does through a simple combat system that focuses on proper timing and positioning. The combat is not flashy, but it isn't underwhelming, either, as death comes fast and frequently to players who button-mash their way through levels. The system gets the job done, since the focus of "Trek to Yomi" is on the narrative.

"Trek to Yomi" looks the part of a Kurosawa film, but it also plays out like one. Storytelling is the game's biggest strength, as the dialogue is well-written and the narrative keeps audiences guessing. What seems like a straightforward story about revenge twists and turns around numerous corners, and nothing is ever as it seems. "Trek to Yomi" successfully tricks players into thinking it is something it is not up until the very end.

  • Release Date: May 5, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 71 (PC), 72 (Xbox Series X), 69 (PS5)


Games such as "Limbo" and "Inside" demonstrated the power of minimalism. Who needs a big, open (and possibly empty) world to draw in players in when all you need is a small, 2D landscape stuffed full of detail and monochrome terrors? "Silt" continues that tradition, along with a large helping of thalassophobia.


In "Silt," players control a scuba diver — or do they control some entity possessing the scuba diver? The game is intentionally unclear (which is part of its charm), but whatever force animates the diver can also possess nearby sea creatures to solve puzzles. Players can use piranhas to chew through vines and chains, electric eels to power up long-dead machines, and stingrays to...teleport through objects?

"Silt" is a fairly easy experience. Puzzles only require players to make use of their immediate environments, and death sends gamers back a few minutes at most. However, the atmosphere more than makes up for that and slams audiences with an underwater horror landscape. Every level is overgrown and full of terrifying (and terrifyingly large) bioluminescent creatures that emit an unearthly glow. The world expertly makes gamers think they are encroaching on unwelcoming, hostile caverns best left forgotten.


Even if you don't suffer from thalassophobia, "Silt" might give you some.

OlliOlli World

The skateboarding genre was arguably at its height during the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" era, but as time went on, audiences lost interest. While "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2" temporarily revitalized the genre, that return to form was short-lived. If it weren't for the "OlliOlli" franchise and its latest entry, quality skateboarding video games might have grinded their last rail.


"OlliOlli World" is the third entry in the "OlliOlli" series. The game keeps the level-based progression of its predecessors while adopting a more cartoonish art-style and narrative. However, this new attitude is mostly skin deep. Players still need to chain together tricks, grinds, and kickflips to complete challenges and proceed through levels, but this time around boarding arenas that are more colorful and in 2.5D. Most levels have an alternate "gnarly route" that dials the difficulty up to 11, but you know what they say: No guts, no glory.

At first, getting a handle on "OlliOlli World" and its systems seems challenging, but the longer you play, the more in-tune you become. The game elicits a "one more try" mentality that sees players improving their scores, nailing tricks they couldn't earlier, and grinding on rails they previously missed. Inevitably, gamers find themselves in a zen-like state of focus and tranquility, chaining together tricks in skateboard nirvana.


Total War: Warhammer 3

The "Total War" franchise is an acclaimed series of strategy games that let players channel their inner general and control vast historical armies. However, the franchise is at its best when it ditches historical accuracy and lets gamers run rampant as the commander of vampires, dwarves, and Aztec dinosaurs.


The name "Total War: Warhammer 3" is a bit of a misnomer, since the game isn't so much a sequel as it is an expansion that adds to the preexisting "Total War: Warhammer" experience. The previous entry, "Total War: Warhammer 2," added story campaigns for each army, as well as additional factions such as the High Elves and Skaven (rat people that overwhelm enemies with sheer numbers and guns). "Warhammer 3" does the same, as it includes a long-awaited tutorial, game system reworks, and most importantly more new armies. At long last, players can finally control fan-favorite factions, most notably four flavors of Chaos Daemons. And, each army plays differently and features their own campaign mechanics.


Unfortunately, "Total War: Warhammer 3" is a bit rough around the edges. When the game works, it works brilliantly, and players can witness bloody, large-scale battles. When it doesn't, visual glitches and AI pathing mistakes abound. That's not to say you shouldn't buy the game, though. "Total War: Warhammer 1" and "2" both released broken, but the developers patched bugs and provided quality of life improvements. Now those games are fantastic, and history will most assuredly repeat itself with the latest edition.

  • Release Date: February 17, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Strategy
  • Game Modes: Single-player, online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 86 (PC)


From "MultiVersus" to "Rumbleverse," it was a bit difficult to keep up with the number of arena brawlers being released in 2022. The 3D fighting game offshoot genre inspired by "Super Smash Bros" is certainly saturated, which is a shame, because one of its best entries of the year went overlooked. 


"GigaBash" is a 3D arena fighter inspired by the kaiju of classic Japanese cinema, like Godzilla and Ultraman. Putting players in control of giant monsters and the larger-than-life heroes who fight them, "GigaBash" offers multiplayer battle modes and single-player arcade options. The sheer scale of action and destruction make "GigaBash" stand out in a busy genre. Plus, the designers have given each character a distinct (and adorable) look, meaning the game surprisingly appeals to players of all ages.

Since its full release in 2022, "GigaBash" has dropped four DLC packs, including a crossover with Godzilla in December. Now that more classic Toho monsters like Gigan, Destoroyah and Mechagodzilla are playable in the game, the future is looking brighter than ever for "GigaBash."

  • Release Date: Aug 4, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Fighting
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 73 (PS5)

Ghost Song

"Ghost Song" is one of 2022's most interesting and atmospheric Metroidvania releases. Available on just about every platform (including Game Pass), this sci-fi side scrolling adventure features a striking art style that pops with fluorescent greens and purples, giving the setting of the lone moon of Lorian an alien feel that compliments the game's methodical action.


Suddenly awakened from slumber, Deadsuit — a non-human battlesuit that can be upgraded as the game goes on — becomes the protagonist of "Ghost Song." As players explore the gorgeous world, they will uncover Deadsuit's purpose and meet the other characters who inhabit Lorian. The combat has a unique twist that encourages players to use ranged and melee attacks in tandem to boost Deadsuit's power. There is a danger and unpredictability to the world of "Ghost Song" that will stick with players for a while, even if they're very familiar with Metroidvania tropes.

  • Release Date: June 2, 2022
  • Genre: Action-Adventure, Metroidvania
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (Xbox Series X), 79 (PC)

Trombone Champ

Holy Wow's oddly brilliant "Trombone Champ" is by far the funniest release of the year. This hilarious rhythm game features over 20 Trombone covers and renditions of classical and contemporary tunes. Victorious players also collect Tromboner Cards that feature fun (and possibly falsified) facts about famous and real trombone players. Between the derpy character customization and the sounds reminiscent of a wounded animal coming from your instrument, "Trombone Champ" is frequently an exercise in chaos. Sure, players can master the tracks, nail the note charts and become the true Trombone Champ, but the failures faced on the way are much funnier than actually getting "good" at it.


You might not spend hundreds of hours playing "Trombone Champ", but the handful you get out of it will be a blast. And if you're hungry for more, then modders have you covered. Despite not having any multiplayer component, one has to admit "Trombone Champ" was one of the best games to play with friends in 2022.

  • Release Date: Sept 15, 2022
  • Genre: Music, Rhythm, Indie
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 80 (PC)

Evil West

Some of the most mindless fun you can have with a 2022 game comes from this throwback to the PS2 era of mid-budget action games. "Evil West" is a linear, level-based, third-person shooter that makes a campy premise a joy to blast through. Set in a pastiche of the wild west in a world where vampires are invading, you play as a vampire-hunting cowboy. Equipping players with magical melee powers and a selection of old-timey weapons like revolvers, "Evil West" is a visceral title where the fun is all about getting up close and personal before beating your enemies to a pulp.


"Evil West" is a game of simple pleasures and one of the most successful throwback titles of the year. As Cultured Vultures put it, "'Evil West' isn't the most complicated game ever made, but it doesn't need to be, offering a good few hours of overpowered fun."

  • Release Date: Nov 22, 2022
  • Genre: Action-adventure, Shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 73 (PS5 & PC), 75 (Xbox Series X)


The debut from indie development duo rose-engine is one of the best horror games of 2022. "Signalis" is a throwback survival horror game that takes both aesthetic and mechanical influences from the PlayStation 1 era of "Resident Evil" and "Silent HIll" games. "Signalis" quite literally elevates this type of gameplay by taking it to space in a tragic sci-fi romance.


In a dystopian future you play as a robot, or Replikant, who is searching for their Gestalt (human) counterpart. As you navigate your way through hallways with limited ammo, healing items, and only six inventory slots, the protagonist uncovers more of their haunted past through dream-like storytelling. The game's combat and inventory management recalls "Resident Evil," while its nightmarish visuals and monster designs evoke "Silent Hill." In short, "Signalis" is a must play for fans of these classic survival horror titles.

The gameplay in "Signalis" takes many of the concepts that make those old games so terrifying and tunes them to today's standards, but "Signalis" winds up being much more than an homage. Layering new ideas onto an old template, "Signalis" is a standout among the rapidly growing subgenre of PS1-inspired horror games.

  • Release Date: October 27, 2022
  • Genre: Horror, Sci-fi, Survival
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (PC), 84 (Switch), 80 (PS4)


2022 might have been dominated by the likes of big budget shooters like "Modern Warfare 2" and the No-Build update to "Fortnite," but that doesn't mean that's all the year had to offer FPS fans. In fact, throwback actioner "Prodeus" was one of the best shooters to release in 2022. "Prodeus" finally received a console release and 1.0 launch simultaneously in September 2022, after having been in early access since 2020. The game utilizes modern rendering techniques to achieve a look that is retro, yet bursting with modern visual flair with every glorious frag.


"Prodeus" offers a lengthy campaign filled to the brim with secrets and collectibles. You will need to play these "Doom"-inspired levels multiple times over in order to see all the content and unlock every weapon in "Prodeus." Speaking of the arsenal, that's the best part: Each of the guns in "Prodeus" has two fire modes that complement one another. Most importantly, each weapon feels satisfying to use against hordes of enemies. 

If single-player "Doom" or "Wolfenstein" was never your thing, but you appreciate the speed and style of "Prodeus," you might be happy to know that the game also offers traditional online multiplayer options.

  • Release Date: September 23 2022
  • Genre: Action, Shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Online Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 84 (PC), 83 (Switch), 75 (PS5)


2022 was an awesome year for games where the sole focus was on unique narrative design. "Citizen Sleeper" and "Pentiment" became end-of-the-year darlings, but another great adventure game hasn't received quite as much love — and "Norco" just might feature the most specific and entrancing video game story of 2022.


Here, Norco is the name of a Louisiana town residing in the shadow of the New Orleans Refining Company. Set in an alternate near future, you play as Kay, who returns to Norco after her mother's death. By digging into her late mother's life, Kay unravels a conspiracy that takes her (and the player) on a journey through an unforgettable sci-fi gothic point-and-click experience.

Like "Kentucky Route Zero" before it, "Norco" is an adventure game invested in rural American life. The forces of industry have shaped the city and its residents before the story begins, but Kay's journey is wrapped up in a compelling occult mystery that will haunt your dreams.

  • Release Date: March 24, 2022
  • Genre: Adventure, Indie
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 89 (PC)

Card Shark

Card-based video games are very much in fashion right now. While the engrossing collectible card game "Marvel Snap" has made waves, other games like "Card Shark" opted for new and novel approaches to the genre. In fact, despite the name, "Card Shark” isn't strictly a digital card game at all; it's more a game of sleight of hand and deception. Players must memorize strategies and master timing and rhythm-based mini-games in order to trick a ruling class of aristocrats into handing over their money in this historical swindling simulator.


In "Card Shark," you play as an apprentice grifter learning the trade in Enlightenment Era France. As the game progresses, you will learn dozens of tricks that must be executed in increasingly complicated strings of combos in order to fool targets. "Card Shark" is a delightful indie adventure that knows how to keep things entertaining. From the charming writing to the increasingly fiendish tricks, "Card Shark" offers a one-of-a-kind card game.

  • Release Date: Jun 2, 2022
  • Genre: Puzzle, Card/Board, Indie
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 80 (Switch & PC)

The Case of the Golden Idol

In recent years, video games have offered some truly creative takes on the mystery and detective genre, including titles like "Return of the Obra Dinn," "Paradise Killer," and 2022's "Case of the Golden Idol." The debut from indie duo Color Gray Games is an old school-looking puzzle game in which players investigate and attempt to solve 12 interwoven cases of murder.


"The Case of the Golden Idol" is a captivating and novel take on the mystery game that harkens back to point-and-click adventures of old. As you explore the various crime scenes, you will discover clues in the form of words. You can then use this collection of nouns, adjectives, and names to solve puzzles that will ultimately reveal the identity of the killer. Each mystery acts as a bite-sized adventure game, but they mesh together into one grand conspiracy that must be unraveled over the course of the game.

  • Release Date: October 13, 2022
  • Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Mystery
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 85 (PC)


"Rollerdrome" was another one of 2022's best shooters that somehow went under the radar. The second game to release from British developers roll7 after "OlliOlli World," this arcade shooter takes as much influence from "Max Payne" as it does "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater." In "Rollerdrome," you must roller skate your way through deadly arenas in an attempt to survive and climb the leaderboard. Meshing third-person shooting with the score-chasing of an extreme sports game, "Rollerdrome" is a satisfying mash-up of genres you didn't know you needed. The cell-shaded retro style of "Rollerdrome" gives it a unique vibe as well, making it a show-stopping and underrated PS5 exclusive.


Roll7 has made one of the best score-chasing games of the year — and in a year where "Neon White" also came out, mind you. "Rollerdrome" isn't just an exercise in style, even though it is one of the most stylish games of the year; it's also a fluid action game that makes all the cool-looking stuff feel great.

  • Release Date: August 16, 2022
  • Genre: Action, Shooter, Arcade
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (PC), 79 (PS5)


"Immortality" is the latest hybrid of cinema and gaming from the mind of designer Sam Barlow. The team at the newly formed Half Mermaid studio have crafted a self-aware culmination of the type of experimental storytelling Barlow previously employed in "Her Story." As you investigate the mystery of what happened to actress Marissa Marcel (played by Manon Gage), you will scan through clips and BTS footage from her three films, each of which was left unfinished under mysterious circumstances.


Each of these films is an homage to a different era and style of art house cinema. Whether it be the stylish 1960s arthouse vibes of "Ambrosio" or the gritty 1970s noir of "Minsky," it is easy to see how much love and effort went into recreating movie history.

Call it a mystery game, a horror game, or an FMV experience; all those apply here — but at the same time, none of them feel quite right. "Immortality" is a love letter to movies, but it's also one of the most impressive games of 2022, packing in a ton of surprises. It uses hours of filmed footage to tell a mature story that will have you dying to talk to someone about what you just played.

  • Release Date: August 30, 2022
  • Genre: Adventure, FMV, Mystery
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 88 (PC & Xbox Series X)

Iron Lung

"Iron Lung" is a self-published horror game from indie developer David Szymanski. Best known for his work under New Blood Interactive — like the throwback FPS "DUSK" or the stealth-action immersive sim "Gloomwood" — Szymanski's latest title is certainly an overlooked gem. "Iron Lung" is a short, simple, and utterly terrifying video game.


In this claustrophobic horror experience, you play the lone operator of the eponymous submarine deep underneath a blood ocean. Yes, that's right: an ocean of blood. In the treacherous sea of an alien planet, you must work through the real-time dread of not knowing what surrounds you. Using the Iron Lung's tools, you can see snapshots of the ocean and its contents around you, but you can never see outside in real time. Over the 90 minutes or so it takes to complete "Iron Lung," the dread ratchets up to a mind-numbingly scary conclusion. If you're a horror fan, you won't want to miss out on this inexpensive tone piece.

  • Release Date: March 10, 2022
  • Genre: Horror, Simulation
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: N/A

Hyper Demon

"Devil Daggers" was one of the best hidden gem games of 2016. The trippy, frenetic arena shooter had players scrambling for their lives against the waves of nearly indecipherable monsters the game sent out at light speed. Six years later, developer Sorath finally released a sequel with a visual style just as gloriously mind-melting as "Devil Daggers." Move over, boomer shooters of 2022, and make way for "Hyper Demon."


This FPS takes the foundation of Sorath's previous game and doubles down on the frantic shooting. This time around, you'll need to pay close attention if you want to survive the gauntlet. PC Gamer noted, "Each dazzling visual effect or grizzly audio cue is specific, an explosion only caused by one kind of pick-up or the wail only that of a particular enemy dying. Learn them and you can grasp control from the abyss." 

Remarkably, the art style in "Hyper Demon" is even more delicious than the one used in "Devil Daggers." While eldritch horrors attack you, light reflects off every surface and creates a surreal, reflective arena that makes you feel like you are blasting away in a kaleidoscope. After just a few minutes of "Hyper Demon," it's easy to get lost in the audio-visual trance of this manically difficult shooter.

  • Release Date: Sept 19, 2022
  • Genre: Shooter, Arcade, Action
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 89 (PC)

Midnight Fight Express

"Midnight Fight Express" takes the framework of a retro beat-em-up and plants it firmly in conversation with modern action movies like "John Wick." "Midnight Fight Express" has you playing as an ex-con who gets dragged back in for one last job. The catch? You only have until sunrise to stop a criminal operation that will doom the city. As you rampage your way through one encounter after another, you engage in challenging and technical fistfights that will test your reflexes and strength.


The fight sequences in "Midnight Fight Express" were created using motion capture technology. Using a stunt team, the developers choreographed the fights down to the smallest movement and brought those moves into the game. The result is a fluid and cinematic feel that gives "Midnight Fight Express" a distinct stylistic edge over a run-of-the-mill arcade fighter.

  • Release Date: Aug 23, 2022
  • Genre: Arcade, Action, Beat-em-up
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 78 (Xbox One), 75 (PC), 74 (PS4)