20. Horizon: Forbidden West
One of the few true AAA blockbusters to release since the pandemic disrupted development schedules and working conditions, this much-hyped sequel took the best parts of the first game – robot dinosaurs, exploration, sci-fi hokum – and added much, much more than it. Size isn’t always everything, of course, but there’s no denying the show. Read the full review
19. Kirby and the Forgotten Land Nintendo’s roundest, cutest, pinkest mascot has made his way into the third dimension for the first time for the most adorable adventure of the year. A classic 3D platformer for the ages with Kirby’s newfound power to absorb entire cars or giant light bulbs adding some welcome new twists to his usual energy-stealing formula. Read the full review
18. As dusk falls
The former developers of Quantic Dream break away to create their own intriguing interactive narrative. A unique hand-drawn style illustrates a branching storyline of two families meeting under tense circumstances at a roadside diner. What you choose along the way for your characters will have an effect on far-reaching consequences.
17. Tokyo ghost thread
Brilliantly crafted and abandoned Tokyo takes center stage in Tango Gameworks’ latest horror. A deep debt to Japanese folklore and yokai is also a strong point, as Ghostwire delivers her gripping ghost stories with a unique twist on martial arts magic. Read the full review
16. Granturismo 7
Polyphony’s popular driving sim comes to PS5 with a bootload of charm and an infectious love of cars. It’s also great on the road, with a handling model boosted by DualSense controller feedback. Read the full review
15. Traffic warden
It’s a pleasure to know that in an age of time-wasting triple-A supergames, the humble text adventure can have just as much impact when done right. And the Roadwarden boy does it right. A gripping historical fantasy illustrated with otherworldly pixel art, you are a humble handyman, tending villages, managing inventory, and doing your best to help the people of the local peninsula as the game’s clock ticks down.
14. Marvel: Midnight Suns
Years Other The card-based Marvel tie-in combined strategic team combat with Fire Emblem-style relationship management to equally compelling effect. Since XCOM developers Firaxis had the wheel, the quality of the turn-based battles was never in doubt, but the unexpected joys of birding with Doctor Strange or starting a book club with Blade, and the hours and accompanying hours of smart-written dialogue, made Midnight Suns the surprise superhero life simulator you didn’t know you needed.
13. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The best game in the Lego series, taking players to a galaxy far, far away for nine adventure movies in one package. Two player couch co-op is an absolute blast and unlike other recent Lego games you can turn off the voice acting in favor of ‘mumble mode’ which lets you enjoy the classic slapstick humor that made this series famous . Silly fun for the whole family.
12. Strange horticulture
There aren’t many video games that cast players as an occult florist (or any kind of florist, come on) but weirdness is just the shtick of Strange Horticulture. The occult mystery choose your own adventure that propels its central narrative is engaging enough, but the real joy of the game lies in its Papers Please-style tactility, which sees you rummaging through drawers, flipping through reference books and using arcane tools to, yeah , identify the plants. Trust us, it will definitely grow on you…
11. Worship of the Lamb
The massive hit from indie studio Massive Monster deftly combines two of the scene’s newest tropes – rogue dungeon crawling and gooey social simulations – with lashings of black humor and satirical jabs at organized religion. Like Stardew Valley, but with all the wholesome life experiences and relaxing Farmville vibes replaced by ritualistic sacrifices and extremely stressful resource management mechanics, Cult of the Lamb is a fiendishly masochistic delight.
Gorgeous Zelda-inspired adventure developed by Andrew Shouldice. Guiding your fox in green in a bucolic fantasy world full of dangers and clever puzzles is a pleasure.
9. Pokémon Arceus legends
The ambitious evolution of the Pokémon formula takes the pocket monster hunter into a vast 3D open world. Inspired by the Nintendo Legend of Zelda stablemate Breath of the Wild, Arceus is a successful and extremely entertaining adventure. Read the full review
8. Gorgeous shot
In retrospect, a free-to-play mobile card game created by a trio of key Hearthstone developers that harnesses the full licensing power of Marvel’s character catalog should have been the surefire hit, but many were taken by surprise by the success of Snap. Don’t let his superficial simplicity fool you, though. The decks are small and the games are short, but an intricate web of synergistic systems allows for plenty of tactical depth, while large and occasionally unfair amounts of randomness keep everyone on their toes.
Beautifully hand-drawn and ingeniously constructed, Obsidian’s historic whodunnit certainly doesn’t tread the usual video game groove. You play a 16th-century artist working in a Bavarian abbey whose friend is accused of murder. What happens next is a sprawling mystery shrouded in deep theology, impactful player choice, and a brilliantly written script delivered with typographical flair.
6. Bayonet 3
The welcome return of Platinum’s salacious hair-throwing witch comes with crazier action than we expected. And we expected a lot. Riding on the back of a giant lizard that sails across Tokyo Bay on boats for skis? Yes. A portable weapon that transforms into a fully armored train. Of course! Amidst all the obvious craziness, Bayonetta is still arguably the best melee combat system ever made. The fact that it was built without restrictions and still beautifully blends together is nothing short of magical. Read the full review
5. Vampire survivors
Vampire Survivors sells a powerful power fantasy where you can upgrade your character into an indestructible killing machine if you can overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds initially stacked against you. Rogue-like random elements and a catalog of unlockables provide the impetus for repeated plays, but it’s the serotonin shot of that impeccably balanced turning point that will really keep you coming back for more.
4. Neon white
Madcap anime FPS that makes you exterminate demons in heaven through lightning fast precision paths. The twist is to find the perfect “racing line” to get through each bite size level in the least amount of time. A variety of weapons and special abilities all fuel a perfectly crafted action game that has a feel and flow like few others.
An exquisitely constructed and deeply disturbing slice of interactive narrative, Sam Barlow’s latest clip-gathering mystery has you piece together the fate of missing Hollywood star Marissa Marcel. Fantastic performances are the focus of an eerie peek behind the curtain of film making. Read the full review
2. God of War: Ragnarok
The sequel to the brilliant adventures of Kratos and son has the former Greek god continuing his unsettling struggle with the oppressive deities of Asgard. It’s a huge undertaking, but every inch of his journey from one realm to another is filled with spectacle and mishaps. The combat is thunderous and refined, while the relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus remains the driving force. But they’re not the only stars, their allies are quite a bunch, but it’s the seemingly evil Aesir who steals the show; the calm but cruel Odin, the drunken Thor, the insufferable Heimdall. That Ragnarok allows for such character and reflection in an adventure that would otherwise be the blockbuster game’s bombastic pinnacle is quite an accomplishment. Read the full review
1. Elden ring
Hidetaka Miyazaki’s latest dark fantasy is an amazing work. He’s haunting exploration, tense combat, and baffling bestiary suck you into his beautifully gloomy world. Punitive, as all From Software games are, but endlessly rewarding. Read the full review