Trash aka Trashlevania on Twitter has been a long-time mutual on the site. I love seeing his tweets about obscure horror games and blast from the past gaming nostalgia gifs. Check out his favorite games of 2022!

My favorite game that didn’t release in 2022: Stardew Valley.

When life became incredibly stressful and depressing I finally gave Stardew a shot and fell in love. I’m the type of person that becomes overwhelmed quickly in these open-ended games (analysis paralysis), but thankfully my wife has poured hundreds of hours into the farming life sim and guided me along its opening hours. It’s just a special game that I happened to play at just the right time and now sits in my all-time top 10.

Infernax

I *love* Castlevania, especially the trio of NES titles, so I knew from the jump that Infernax was going to be extremely “my shit.” It did not disappoint. I’d sum it up as “Simon’s Quest with branching paths and loads of gore,” with tight, responsive gameplay and some pretty great stage and boss designs.

Ghostwire Tokyo

I had zero interest in this whenever gameplay was first shown off, which was super disappointing since I’m such a fan of The Evil Within games. I hesitated at launch for that very reason, but also because it wasn’t getting the warmest reception from the horror community. I was absolutely starved for horror, though, and eventually caved. I’m glad I did. The combat is fast and fluid, the world is a blast to explore, and I’m a sucker for anything centered around Japanese folklore and yokai.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

This game is ugly as hell and runs like garbage on the Switch, but for whatever reason, I got sucked into it from beginning to end. It was such a blast to explore, catch new pokemon, and see the story through. I’m still surprised by just how much I adored Arceus and I’d love a new game in the series that uses the same formula. Maybe put a little effort into performance, though?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

The Xeno- titles as a whole make up my favorite RPG franchise of all time. It was a no-brainer that I’d enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles 3 as the previous entry was my favorite Nintendo Switch game, but I didn’t expect it to surpass Rex and co. The class-based skill system, the combat mechanics, the world design, the characters and story, and GOD DAMN the soundtrack… it’s all superb. Like so many other Switch games, it didn’t run too well at times, but I was always eager to return day after day until the credits rolled. Not a single second of the 125+ hours it took to finish felt wasted.

Vampire Survivors

If Castlevania became a reverse bullet-hell shmup it’d be Vampire Survivors. The gameplay hook of unlocking new heroes, weapons, perks, and stages drip-fed some serious dopamine that kept me coming back every. Single. Day. The only game I put more time into this year was Xenoblade Chronicles 3 if that tells you anything. The developer also updates the game frequently so there’s a consistent stream of new content to check out. Everything about this game just rules and I can’t believe it’s only $5. No bullshit, Vampire Survivors isn’t just my Game of the Year, but one of the best games I’ve *ever* played.

Honorable Mentions

Madison, The Night of the Scissors, Night at the Gates of Hell, Stay Out of the House, FAITH: Unholy Trinity, Triangle Strategy, Norco, and Beacon Pines. 2022 was a fantastic year for video games.