It’s the Games of the Year 2021 Awards!
I forgot to do this last year to be honest, but it was 2020. Was 2020 even a real year for people? I feel like we all just took a mulligan on 2020.
Not that 2021 was a lot better from a global perspective, or really from an online one, but I at least tried to keep track of what day it was in 2021. I also played some video games. This list will contain no real surprises because it turns out I’m very basic in my old age and mostly liked the things everybody else liked. That said, hit the jump.
Best Indie Game – Light Mode: Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Look not to name drop-
Haha, just kidding, it’s one of my annoying traits and I do it constantly, I’m sorry-
But Greg Lobanov used to be part of the Philly Game Dev scene and hang out with us in the Philly game collective before he got cool and moved to Canada and directed the best game of 2021. Just sayin. Of course I backed the Kickstarter. I know what’s good.
What I liked about Chicory was that it’s a game which is about something, and that something is very specific and from the heart. Too often games are about the same things — commentary on violence, commentary on fatherhood — and that’s fine, but how do you make a game about art? Like this.
Best Indie Game – Dark Mode: Inscryption
I can’t say too much about this game because it would just amount to random flailing and the word “spoiler” a lot. Inscryption successfully made a pretty deep game out of those old creepypastas about “finding a weird game.” I think it starts stronger than it finishes but it’s definitely worth a go and then some.
Best Metroidvania that’s a Metroid: Metroid Dread
I’m on the fence about the term “Metroidvania” these days, but Metroid Dread was a Metroid! It also had a lot of really hard boss fights, so it was kind of the Cuphead of Metroids.
Metroid Dread has the best Samus portrayal I’ve seen since Super Metroid, even if the vibe of the level design is really different. Hail to the Queen. My oldest girlcrush.
Best Metroidvania that’s a Vania: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth was a Vania! It’s based on the old anime Record of Lodoss War which was in turn based on a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I liked it a lot. This is in spite of never having played Symphony of the Night, the game that Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth basically, exactly, is. (So. I played Symphony of the Night! For the first time this year! Weird game, ya’ll.)
Best Metroidvania that I can beat in 20 minutes: Axiom Verge 2
I liked it better than the first one because: A) female protagonist B) super easy to break sequence and destroy.
This was the year I tried learning speed-running, you see, and it’s … uh, it’s going okay, but I sure do cuss a lot. Please come by my Twitch and watch me hate Super Metroid some time.
Oh hey all the platformer games I listed this year starred ladies. Is that weird? It’s pretty cool!
Game I Actually Played the Most: Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
You can’t put Final Fantasy XIV on a list again!! Hey, it’s a new game now. They added more stuff. And I do what I want. This is also for real the game I’ve played and streamed the most. Its breaking of the entire internet was a year-defining moment for me and many gamers. I guess being into this game now is what being into WoW used to be like. I dunno. I’ve never been into WoW.
Looking back at my old writeup, I talked a lot about how the ARR cutscenes are boring. They are. A few Endwalker cutscenes are too. But for the most part, they’re really good now. The boring stuff is setup for good stuff that happens later, and so you must suffer the boring stuff for the good stuff. Everyone told me it would be worth it, and they were right.
Still can’t flirt enough with the characters, though. SquareEnix please patch.
Runner-Up Award for Game I Should’ve Written up in 2020 but I actually played it 2021 so it counts: Umurangi Generation
Sorry, I forgot to mention last year that a really important cyberpunk game came out in late 2020.
Game I would definitely put on this list for real if I had played more of it but I need beefier hardware and will buy it just to play this game: Deathloop
I played Deathloop for a couple hours, and thought:
Oh, fuck. I reeeeeallly like this, but I’m only seeing a small percent of it with my current graphics card. Gotta hold out for a PS5. Will report back.
I haven’t played Resident Evil at all yet I’m sorry but big mommy is indeed very hot.
Trend of the Year: Vtubing
In late 2020 I, like many, decided to abandon this sinful world of flesh and bone and become an anime.
Let’s all become animes.
Thing I Noticed About My Past Self Being Stupid, of the Year
Looking back at my 2016 roundup I made a joke that it was shocking to my old brain to see a game ask me for my “pronouns” instead of my “gender” but I guess I have in fact gotten used to it. Also I said good things about Overwatch that year so I really got egg on my face huh. It was good at the time! We all loved it! We didn’t knoooowwwwww
Josie, a mystery lovin cat named after a cartoon rockstar, and who only paid attention to the most avant garde adventure games, passed this year at the age of 18. Love you forever, sweetie.
Email the author of this post at aj@Tap-Repeatedly.com.