Alice Clarke’s Top 10 Games Of 2022

Alice Clarke’s Top 10 Games Of 2022

Game of the Year season is hard, because January was 1000 years ago. This year has been 5 minutes and also never-ending. Remember the federal election? That was this year. Did you know Kirby and the Forgotten Land was released this year? Because I (ironically) forgot that until I went back to look at my list of good games of the year.

However, favourites must be picked, sacrifices must be made, and so here is my list of the best games of the 2022 calendar year (plus a couple of honourable mentions that I’m super into but haven’t finished enough to officially add them to the list yet).

This list is mostly in no particular order, but also some of them are in a particular order, and I’ll let you enjoy unravelling that mystery.

Hot Wheels car with the race track in the distance

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels

There is an expected cadence to Forza Horizon expansion releases. The first is normally a technically brilliant, weather-themed adventure that you quickly and easily play to the end and then never touch again. The second, announced with great fanfare at E3, is the licenced toy one with more complicated challenges that you spend ages in until the next shiny Horizon game comes out. Forza Horizon 5 broke a lot of those conventions in that the first expansion was a licenced, toy-themed world without any particular weather conditions. However, it was still easy to finish in a weekend, and I haven’t really gone back there much since. But boy howdy, what a weekend. This expansion looked and felt the way I imagined my Hot Wheels cars as a kid, even though I never did get any of the orange tracks.

Being able to finish it in a weekend also isn’t a bad thing. There should be more games that are quick and easy to finish, and the rest of Forza Horizon 5 turning into an endless grind is a rant about subscription services for another day.

Anyway, I loved the Hot Wheels expansion and you should play it if you like car games or the unbridled joy of playing with toys like a child.


Game pieces of Azul Queens Garden

Azul Queen’s Garden

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, this is a board game, but it was my favourite board game released this year, and this is a “games of the year” list, rather than a straight video game list [insert lazy “I can’t do anything straight” joke here].

If you’ve played the original Azul board game, then you’ll be familiar with the mechanic of collecting and arranging tiles. But Queen’s Garden took it to a new level by getting you to collect the game board as you played, too. This keeps it even fresher when constantly replaying it, as my family does. It’s easy to pick up and play and will be a good game to play with the family over the summer break. Plus, it’s pretty, which is always a nice bonus.

If you haven’t played the regular version of Azul, they also released a chocolate-themed version that you can’t eat. It plays the same as the original, but there are a couple of variations you can make with the factories that add a bit to the replay value.


The Quarry characters in its key art.

The Quarry

These types of narrative games often end up being a bit too slow for my taste, and I don’t enjoy jump scares. However, playing The Quarry with my wife was one of my favourite gaming highlights of the year. It really did feel like watching a cheesy, early 2000s horror movie where the dumb kids at the otherwise empty summer camp mostly listened to me yelling at the TV as they made poor choices.

The cast of actors you know from that thing, the recognisable tropes occasionally being lightly subverted, and the decent pace really made The Quarry stand out.


Taking care of farm animals in Wylde Flowers

Wylde Flowers

While Wylde Flowers is an incredibly slow game (its pace is perfect for people who found Stardew Valley a bit too much), it is utterl delightful. It’s also Australian, and queer AF, and just so charming that it’s perfect for when you’re on a plane, watching TV, or just want to chill. It has nice vibes.


Cover of Nintendo Switch Sports Game

Nintendo Switch Sports

I will admit that Nintendo Switch Sports wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. But it is also just so much fun that I don’t really care. Special Bowling is the best, and Tennis takes me back to my youth. It’s a fine party game and great to get a little movement at lunchtime after hunching over a laptop


Cult of the Lamb cover art

Cult of the Lamb

As you can tell, I like farming games. I also like games with adorable animals, blood sacrifices and demon cults, so it’s nice to finally see a game that incorporates all those interests. If they could include casual car racing and basketball as well somehow, this would be my perfect game. Melbourne studio Massive Monster crushed the Stardew, but evil” brief to make a game that is utterly delightful with animals, but would be completely horrifying with people.


Kirby And The Forgotten Land screenshot

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby is one of those franchises that just doesn’t miss when it comes to making good games, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land walks that fine line of honouring fans who have loved the character for 30 years while making something new, and a cute game with dark implications if you think too hard. I don’t normally like 3D versions of previously 2D franchises, because it often doesn’t work, but it does here. Plus, this game gave us the gift of “mouthful mode”, and honestly that’s enough to make this list.


The dystopian paradise of Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West

Truly, all the PS5 exclusives deserve to be on this list, because they’re all technically brilliant and have some of the deepest narratives in games. They’re a great example of what happens when you give storytellers the money and time they need to make their ideas work. However, if I have to choose my favourite PlayStation exclusive in 2022 (and I do), it is Horizon Forbidden West. Aloy’s story is just so deep and creative, and this world is so beautiful and begging to be explored. It’s not perfect, there are some pacing issues, and sometimes parts of the world feel like beautiful filler, but that doesn’t really matter when the writing makes me feel this invested. Great game. If this list was in order (which it’s not), this would be somewhere near the top.

Special mentions

There are two games that I’m pretty sure would be in my top ten if I’d been able to dedicate enough time to them. I haven’t finished them yet, so they’re not officially on the list. But I’ve had such a good time with them that it feels remiss of me to leave them out of the list just because one came out too late, and the other I gave too much time to be patched properly and then ran out of time to finish.

Need for speed colourful car game screenshot

Need For Speed Unbound

I grew up playing the Need For Speed games that came on demo discs with PC gaming magazines. They’re how I fell in love with driving games and why I still love driving Lamborghinis in games (even though they’re pretty uncomfortable to drive in real life). NFS Unbound has so far lived up to the hype of those memories. I love the dialogue, the races are good (even if they’re occasionally a little unforgiving because my reflexes are too tuned to Forza Horizon controls) and the art style is really interesting. The only thing I don’t really like about it is that there are so many strobe effects that it limits how much I can play at night. Anyway, it’s good, and hopefully there isn’t a bit at the end that ruins it for me.


The main characters in Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights

Now, here me out: it’s fun. Is it perfect? No. But many of the bugs are fixed, the co-op is good, and the best modern Batman stories are the ones he’s not really in. The Batfamily is far superior to Batman because they don’t have to carry 75 years of history and expectations on their shoulders, and basing a game around them was a great idea. Not everything is about nuanced combat, sometimes it’s just about seeing Barbara Gordon punch people in the face.


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