Ruby Innes’ Top 10 Games of 2022

Ruby Innes’ Top 10 Games of 2022

You guys are not going to believe this. You are going to say, “Ruby, that’s crazy talk! Are you FurReal right now?” Despite the disbelief that I know you will have, I’m going to say it anyway: Video games were released this year.

Please, please! Lower your pitchforks! I’m not a witch, please believe me! 2022 was a year when video games were, in fact, released. Sure, not every video game was released this year, even the ones that were supposed to be released this year. Sometimes, that’s just how life works. Despite delays, 2022 still had a whole lot of great releases.

If you’re somebody that has solely looked to the AAA studios this year for new releases, you might be coming out of 2022 feeling like the video game watering hole was shockingly dry. Sure, there were some big girthy hits this year, but not a lot. I’m gonna nip this right in the bud now: Elden Ring isn’t here. I’m not so blind that I can’t see it for the work of gaming art that it is, but it simply wasn’t for me. Sowwy!

That being said, the indie world shone ‘bright like a diamond’ this year, as the philosopher Rihanna would say. To me, 2022 was the year of indie games demanding the spotlight and using it brilliantly. Especially the Australian indie game world, which released banger after banger like it was no big deal.

When I started in this position in November of 2021, my end-of-year games list was limited considering it was mainly a year of catching up on older games. This year, I had the opportunity to play so many new games that completely blew me away, making the process of creating this list extremely difficult.

As I mentioned last year, this is not a list of “THE BEST” video games of 2022. While I personally consider them The Freakin’ Best, this list is simply a reflection of my personal tastes and how they align with the video game releases of this year. While I didn’t get to write at length about all of them, they have appeared on the website in other ways and they all hold a very special place in my heart.

Anyway, enough of that. Shut da hell up, me. In no particular order, here are my top 10 games of this year, with some honourable mentions in there too for good measure.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Image: Ruby Innes / Kotaku Australia

Yes, I prefer Pokémon Legends: Arceus to Scarlet and Violet. Sue me! (Please don’t actually sue me, I cannot afford that)

I had a really good time with Arceus. I’ve always found myself to be drawn to the Pokémon offshoots like Pokémon Colosseum for the GameCube and the Mystery Dungeon games. Arceus took a different approach to the Pokémon format, aligning more with the task of learning more about Pokémon to create the world’s first Pokédex and I really loved that concept. Watching Pokémon fart around in the wild was fun as hell.

While not fully open-world, I appreciated what Arceus did with the world that it had, making sure to have clear differences between biomes, and having Pokémon that suited those biomes exist in them. The character customisation also was a big win for me, as well as the side quests that told the stories of people that existed in a world that did not yet entirely consider Pokémon to be companions. I mean, it makes sense that there was once a point where people saw a Mr Mime and thought, “Jesus Christ What The Fuck,” right?


Image: Annapurna Interactive

Stray is one of the many games on this list that I felt was made with a lot of love.

In this job, I’ve come to appreciate a game that doesn’t stick around longer than it needs to, and that’s something I really liked about Stray. Another thing I loved about Stray is just how good it feels to be a cat. I loved knocking shit over, meowing at robots and having them smile back at me, and jumping onto structures I would not be able to as a human person.

But what I loved most about Stray? It told a beautiful story of love, survival, and humanity. Sure, there aren’t any humans present in the game, but that’s what made Stray’s ability to question what it means to be human so fascinating. The way that the robots interacted with one another, the way they went about their lives in a clear class divide… It was truly engaging. And to watch all of that happen in a carefully constructed world, through the lens of an adorable little ginger cat? Magnificent.


Image: Ruby Innes / Kotaku Australia

Tinykin is a Frankenstein’s Monster of a game in the sense that it feels like many already-existing games all in one, but its execution of these ideas is fantastic.

You’ve got the little guys and ship-building aspects of Pikmin, the collect-a-thon aspect of Banjo Kazooie, and the 2D-guys-in-a-3D-world aspect of Paper Mario, all joining hands and singing kumbaya to make this game up. That being said, the way that Tinykin makes every single one of these aspects unique to it makes for a whole new experience. Plus, the hand-drawn character art style and animations were simply delightful.

Tinykin is a refreshing new take on pre-existing ideas that also doesn’t take itself too seriously… until it does. You go from having a funny old time, throwing exploding little guys at trash and making an army of little guys carry a big thing until suddenly there’s a building class war. Oh, and then you’re faced with an incredibly sad twist. This game took my emotions on a train ride, stopping at every stop it could, before ending up at a sweet, serene destination. I loved every second of the journey.

Beacon Pines

Image: Fellow Traveller

Beacon Pines is not only visually stunning, but it holds an incredible story that takes as many turns as you want it to, as it is up to you where the narrative goes.

Crisp, hyperrealistic graphics can be a big thing for people. They aren’t overly important to me, but I can appreciate it when a game looks good. The visuals in Beacon Pines are not only a picturesque sight I’ve yet to see in any other game I’ve played, but they felt so perfect for exactly what Hiding Spot was going for when it came to the game. It’s a storybook where you are the writer, and it’s bundled with an aesthetic that one would find in a detailed fairytale. Whenever a new character would appear, my eyes would bulge out of their sockets. It’s just stunning.

The gameplay mechanic of finding words throughout your gameplay that you would then use to write the story as it unfolded was also something I found to be so unique and interesting. Choose-your-own-adventure books have existed for eons, but I had yet to find a game that had truly mimicked the experience of a choose-your-own-adventure book and brought the actual book with it. But it’s not just the mechanics that make you want to follow each branch of the tale, it’s also the tale itself. Following protagonist Luca as he uncovers the mysteries of a town that he calls home despite feeling so alien to him is enthralling from start to finish. Yes, I cried.

Justice Sucks

Image: Ruby Innes / Kotaku Australia

It’s always nice to see a sequel that improves upon its predecessor, and Justice Sucks does just that and more.

Out of all the games released this year, I feel like Justice Sucks was one of the games that got overlooked the most. Of course, that was due to no fault of its own, but rather the result of it being released on the same day Ol’ Lizzie kicked the bucket. A hilarious story nonetheless, which fits considering it’s a hilarious game.

There’s so much to love about Justice Sucks. The heartwarming tale of a Roomba caring deeply for the family that owns it, the absolute carnage that goes into a Roomba sucking up an entire human man, the muscular form that the Roomba takes when it goes Sicko Mode… Perfection. This was a must-play.

Wayward Strand

Image: Ghost Pattern

Wayward Strand is a thing of beauty in many ways, especially in the way that it makes you wish you talked to your grandparents more. I’ve never played a game that made me emotionally call my Baba directly after playing it.

I won’t lie, I struggled to get into Wayward Strand at first because it started off a little slow. That being said, it’s the sort of game that once you let yourself sink into the daily lives of these sweet old people that have lived such colourful lives prior to their time in the flying hospital, you can’t help but do whatever you can to learn more about them.

Wayward Strand‘s stellar voice acting, uniquely beautiful art style, true-to-life Australiana vibe, and in-depth attention to detail when it comes to each patient’s story all come together to create one of the video game industry’s most heartfelt and touching experiences. To quote Luke’s yarn on the game, “These aren’t old people. They’re people who have grown old.”

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Image: Bethesda

Out of everything on this list, I think Ghostwire Tokyo is probably my hottest take of the lot if the opinions I’ve seen about it are anything to go by.

As somebody that has never been to Japan before, one of my favourite parts of Ghostwire: Tokyo was just walking (and parkouring) around and just looking at everything. This game felt like there was so much love put into its world as well as its atmosphere, as while I loved taking the time to peruse, I also found myself tensing up at the sight of all the creepy beasties.

Ghostwire: Tokyo‘s also thrived in its ability to make a world where you are the only person left and somehow feel not lonely thanks to the spirit man that exists inside you talking through the controller. I know it sounds silly, but I loved it. I love being a magic man, and I love being able to read cats’ and dogs’ minds. Sure, it’s not The Evil Within like everybody thought it would be, but that’s not a bad thing to me.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Image: Ruby Innes / Kotaku Australia

Pink puffy power, baby! Kirby and the Forgotten Land rocked my fucking world!

I played a lot of games that moved me to tears, made my eyes bulge out of my head at their beauty, or made me “tee hee” and “ha ha”. However, the one game that had me smiling all the way throughout had to be Kirby and the Forgotten Land. This is a game that lives and breathes fun and isn’t afraid to be exceptionally weird when it needs to be.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land covered a lot of new ground when it came to the Kirby series as a whole, and I feel like it all paid off to be a new classic in the Nintendo library. Not only was this Kirby’s first foray into a fully 3D world, but it was also the first time that Kirby could become a car and shoot a gun. Magnifique. Astounding. Life-changing.

God of War Ragnarök

Image: SIE

I came into God of War: Ragnarök having never played a single game in the series before. I came out of it crying and wishing I could get a Men In Black-style memory wipe so I could play it for the first time all over again.

It’s rare for a game to not only deliver a second masterpiece to fans of the first game but also find a way to accommodate new players for the ride. God of War: Ragnarök managed to do just that, and more. It’s also one of the most accessible games I’ve ever played, with its recent Game Award for Innovation & Accessibility being well deserved. It is truly a game made for everyone.

There’s an abundance of good things I can say about this game. Every piece of it looks absolutely stunning, the continued development of Kratos and Atreus’ story is beautifully done, the music is *chef’s kiss*, and there is truly no better feeling than smashing skulls as a big buff fella. That being said, I also LOVED playing as Atreus. This shit rocked.

Cult of the Lamb

Image: Ruby Innes / Kotaku Australia

Unlike God of War: RagnarökI wouldn’t need to have my memory wiped to play Cult of the Lamb again. Every time I go back to it, I find a new way to have a great time.

It’s hard to do anything truly new these days when it comes to video games. Due to this, you see a lot of games that will take leaves out of many different game genre books in an attempt to create something new. Cult of the Lamb did this with two genres that usually wouldn’t interact with one another (roguelike dungeon-crawling and farming-management sim), took two elements that also usually wouldn’t work with one another (cute animals and underworld cults), and made them all work together to create a unique experience.

I also have to specifically talk about the soundtrack for Cult of the Lamb, because how could I not? River Boy’s Cult of the Lamb soundtrack has proved to be a personal earwig for me all throughout this year, and will probably stand as one of my favourite video game soundtracks of all time. A 42-song no-skip soundtrack that perfectly suits every moment of the game it’s in? Incredible.

As I said in my review of Cult of the Lamb, it is a “masterful convergence of the multiple genres it plays with, done in ways that make it a unique and special experience”, and I stand by that to this day. I’ve replayed it a number of times now, creating new cults and smashing my way through Da Big Evil Boise. It’s a visual treat with a killer soundtrack, and takes on the difficult task of juggling multiple gameplay ideas in an impressively balanced way. Praise be the lamb.

Honourable Mentions

  • Lil Gator Game – A game all about having fun with your friends that also made me cry about sibling love.
  • Trombone Champ – Non-stop laughs with this one, flawless trombone gameplay.
  • Cursed to Golf – Excruciatingly difficult, but worth the pain for the cute art style and rewarding feeling after finally beating a killer of a level.
  • One Dreamer – I know I’ve talked about crying a lot in this list, but Oh Brother. Talk about a next-level soul crusher.
  • The 2022 Knuckle Sandwich Demo – Fuck it. It counts. I love WarioWare Earthbound set in Centrelink.

And that’s my list! There are many others like it, but this one is mine!

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