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Team Ukieís Top Games of 2022


2022 has been a year like no other for Team Ukie Ė and you can read about everything we got up to in our end-of-year round up. But what have our team been playing in the meantime? Take a look at Team Ukieís favourite games of 2022.

Dr Jo Twist OBE: Stray

A high quality but shorter game in which I get to play a cat in a dystopian future is the game I have waited for all my life.

Colm Seeley: Outriders

When I play games with friends, Iím just looking for something fun. Outriders (whose Worldslayers DLC released in June this year) is certainly that. Itís also chaotic, cringey, clichťd, obtuse, genuinely surprising and very difficult. But most of all, the game is generous; powers are big, cooldowns are short and the game is respectful of its playersí time. Thereís no live service FOMO, no shifting meta, abilities and cosmetics can be freely swapped and the RNG has been light so far. There is a grind here, but a pleasant one that feels satisfying for the two nights a month myself and two buddies are actually free at the same time.

Iím picking Outriders because itís the game that has made me laugh the most all year, cackling as a time-slowed, frozen, neon blue skeletonified man is cut in half with a rock storm and no-one can remember whoís responsible for which part. Then it happens again three seconds later. The game has some very rough edges, but a mechanically thoughtful and solid core that has delighted me every time Iíve played.

Sian Mayhall-Purvis: Cult of the Lamb

My favourite game this year is Cult of the Lamb, a mash-up between a village sim and a rogue lite - think Animal Crossing meets Hades. You play as an adorable Lamb leading a flock of followers, who support you in your quest to slay the false gods who rule the surrounding woodlands.

It has a seriously cool and catchy soundtrack and a gorgeously twee hand drawn art style. Your followers are sweet little creatures, from cats to zebras to cthulhus. Their big, round anime eyes have forced me to be as kind of a leader as the game will allow. My followers forge friendships rather than ask me to feed their peers a bowl of poop (or worse, sacrifice them), and will happily eat a simple meal of grass rather than a hearty dish of ex-follower meat.

As your cult increases in size and loyalty, your Lamb gets stronger and more formidable when out dungeon-crawling through the woods. This makes the mix of genres very satisfying... to a point. I maxed out my cultís skill trees before Iíd even beat two of the five bosses, leaving me with no further progression to explore while I face the remaining enemies. But that hasnít stopped me from wanting to spend many hours with this darkly comic game, having a blast being this abominable Lamb.

Louisa Keight: The Closing Shift

Chilla Arts apparently make a lot of these low-poly, oppressively dark, claustrophobic games about the sheer terror of everyday life Ė but Iíve only played The Closing Shift, and it blew me away.

You are a young woman, living alone in a one-room apartment. Whilst your flatís stark white walls are almost oppressively bright, the second you leave your home you must navigate the foreboding brutalist corridors of the apartment complex you live on and walk over to your car in the dimly lit, deserted car park.

Why is everything so dark all the time? You work the night shift at a clinically furnished Starbucks-alike (Chillaís Coffee). And not one sandwiched in by the hustle and bustle of a city street Ė this is the suburbs, and your workplace is surrounded by a similarly dark, gaping car park.

Much of the gameplay is ostensibly that of a coffee shop simulator. You prepare drinks repetitively for customers (and they donít leave, and the story wonít progress until you get it right.) But, as the days go by and new clues come to the surface, you start to realise that your character is being stalked by a mysterious milk-drinking admirer.

Comments on YouTube streams of this game will joke ďThis is a horror game about being a woman.Ē But itís true, and a woman under capitalism no less. A close encounter leaves you late for work and youíre admonished by your boss Ė itís clear your job security is hanging by a thread. When you tell him that you think someone is stalking you, he scoffs. ďWho would be interested in you? Youíre far too ugly for that.Ē At the revelation of yet more spine-chilling evidence of your stalker, the game wonít let you run out of the door, wonít even let you leave the car park. ďI canít just leave work!Ē the on-screen text insists. In a world where women are daily forced to prioritise their own personal safety below their financial stability, this game packs a powerful punch.

Helen Johnson: Pokťmon Shining Pearl

Why not funnel more hours into a franchise Iím too scared to ponder how much of my life Iíve invested in since 1999? I love the chibi style this game went for and itís nice to revisit an old favourite as a remake.

An alternative choice, if it counts, was the Tiktok cat dabloons Ė I was solidly invested for a good weekÖyes I also had a spreadsheet donít judgeÖ

Amen Tesfay and Daniele Fischer-Schmitt: God of War Ragnarok

Amenís perspective:

Iím gonna do the obvious pick and say God of War: Ragnarok. The gameplay was intense and action-packed without it being overwhelming and the game built on the emotional and epic storytelling, which is probably one of the best Iíve seen in a game for a while. Christopher Judge is obviously great as Kratos, but the expanded cast really came to itís own here and played their part in a awesome conclusion to the Norse Saga.

Iíll also cheat here and give an honourable mention to Sifu. A challenging and unforgiving beat-em-up, but extremely satisfying where it all clicks together and you become an ultimate kung-fu master!

Danieleís perspective:

I bought a PlayStation 4 Pro just to play the 2018 iteration of God of War and took 3 days of my precious annual leave to play the sequel, so this game was predestined to be my game of the year 2022. Yet it still surpassed my astronomical expectations. In addition to the almighty achievement in storytelling, performance, gameplay, and score, there is the recalling of the Leviathan Axe, which, to this day, remains the most satisfying action in entertainment history. I am just so happy to see how far the industry has come and I canít wait to find out what it does next.

Sam Collins: Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap on mobile is my game of the year. A brilliantly weighted card battler with iconic characters and plenty of replay value. I have also really enjoyed the updates and enhancements to Hello Gamesí No Manís Sky and Microsoftís Age of Empire franchise.

George Osborn: Pentiment

Pentiment is the most interesting role playing games Iíve played in years. Set in early reformation Germany, Pentiment tasks your character, an artist called Andreas Maler, with solving a series of murders in the village of Tassing over the course of a twenty year period.

So far, so intriguing. But what really makes Pentiment stand out is how it gives you the authority to make major decisions, while consistently making them difficult and uncomfortable to choose.

You never have enough time to follow all the leads available to you, leaving you with a sense that you might have missed something. Every suspect has deep ties with the villagers who you literally break bread with to interview them, meaning your decisions carry personal weight. And even when you accuse someone of a crime and send them to a grisly demise for their actions, youíre forced to live with the decision youíve made without any closure about whether it was correct or not.

There have been many games that have allowed for player choice before, of course. But there have been very few, if any, that have been brave enough to make decisions feel educated, impactful and yet somewhat imperfect in the way that the choices we make in life often do so.

Pentiment, through masterful story-telling, historically convincing world building and subtle game mechanic choices, does so Ė creating a uniquely emotional narrative experience that carries you through to its gripping conclusion in the process.

Yiren Ye: Elden Ring

I like Elden Ring not only because it is a combination of dark souls gameplay + George R.R. Martinís character and world design, but also I can literally marry a legendary four handed blue skin witch waifu! Nothing beats that!

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