"mags, where have you been", "mags, you said you were going to do things", "mags, its been two months since you updated this site", I KNOW. SHUT UP. i could make a lot of excuses, like i was busy with school, and i had other things to worry about, and i just didn't have the time to write reviews of shit but. the real reason is that i was learning how to code shit. like i was learning how to do html and css and all that to make my own layout so i don't have to keep using this one. and while i was doing that my head was like "oh, we can't write blog posts, we haven't finished the layout yet", so i didn't update.
but today we're talking about my top ten video games of 2022. actually i don't know if it's going to be ten. i don't know how many games i've played this year. don't ask questions. this isn't necessarily all going to be games that came out in 2022, though. also later i'll probably make another "hi again" type post talking about other things i've watched and read recently. alright starting with!!
10.) genshin impact
oh genshin. my. abhorred? sometimes liked? listen, i've got a lot of complicated feelings about genshin. but i did also play it a lot this year, which is why it's number 10 on this list. genshin is like. see at times it's really good! like i remember with the lantern rite event this year, i found like, a character standing on an island with a bunch of machinery while i was searching for items. and it turns out that was relevant to the story of the event! that was really cool! there was no prompt to go to the island, i just found it randomly while exploring. and i really like a lot of the characters, like itto and kaeya and ayato! and at times the story is really good and interesting!
but then theres. the orientalism. listen, the vast majority of my problems with genshin start in the sumeru region. there's no getting around it. it's just deeply orientalist and colorist and racist. and the designs for most of the characters just suck. and i'm really uncomfortable with the child characters. for every thing i like there's at least three things i don't like. it just makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable and bad.
overall, i'd give it like. a 6/10.
9.) pokemon legends arceus
i do like legends arceus. i think that the concept is super fun, i liked the outfits and running around. i like the worldbuilding of it all! the characters were also super interesting to me- i really liked figuring out whose ancestors they were and what place they had in the story. i also thought the pokemon designs were cool. the explanations for why they were the way that they were and how they went extinct was fun! i will say that i didn't like the graphics much, but that's kind of to be expected given that in my opinion the graphics peaked with pokemon black and white 2. and as with many recent pokemon games, i wish it got a bit more time to cook. my favorite character was predictably ingo.
8.) splatoon 3
i've been only playing splatoon 3 for like, a month, but so far i do like it. there are some things i miss from 2, like my outfits and off the hook, but there are other things i like, like the new weapons and getting to be an octoling. and i'm also really glad the story mode isn't just "oh no, the octolings stole the zapfish Again". also the hair options this time are great. for a full opinion, i'll probably have to play more, but so far? it's pretty good.
"mags, this isn't a video game" AND DID I SAY TOP TEN VIDEO GAMES? CHECKMATE, LIBERALS! anyways, this year i discovered the joy of solitaire. what a great fucking game. all you have to do is sort things. that's so good. me and my siblings collect fun little card decks, and i finally have a use for them. my favorite is the van gogh deck i have, but i'm also partial to the contellation deck and the national parks decks. i like to play while watching movies. it's great! in addition to classic solitaire, i play golf solitaire and sundial solitaire.
10/10. i love sorting things.
6.) stardew valley expanded
"mags, this one isn't a video game either" shut up. anyways this year i took the plunge and finally started modding stardew valley. and let me tell you, it's been a great experience. all due respect to mr concernedape, but the earthy recolor mod was a fucking blessing. and more importantly, i installed stardew valley expanded, which is a mod that greatly expands the game and adds some new characters. out of these characters, my favorite was surprisingly andy. i thought i wouldn't like him, considering he gave off the vibes of a conservative, but it turns out he was a genuinely really nice and kind person once you get to know him. i also really liked the expansion to the wizard's character, to the point where i started a new save file just so i could marry him. my love of claire motivated me to actually finish the bundles for the first time in order to get her out of her awful job, and then also to finish the missing bundle so that she could get a new job. the mod really reignited my love for stardew, which is why it's on this list!
5.) sakura taisen/sakura wars
now this one is technically TWO games, both the original sakura wars and the new one released in 2019. i've been playing both simultaneously, which experts agree is the best way to experience a video game series. sakura wars is this delightful soup of genres. it's a dating sim, it's a tactical rpg, it's an action game, it's divided into "episodes". as always, i get strangely attached to the main characters of these types of games, and ojiro and kamiyama are great from what bits of their personality we can see. i also really love the sakuras- in rpgs, i tend to go for the most thematically appropiate romance option (with the exception of persona 5, where i just genuinely liked makoto), so my first run is going for romancing the sakuras. there's something really fun and strangely heartaching to see the grand imperial theater in both 2d and 3d, and the growth of sumire from a haughty mean girl to the commander of the division. i also surprisingly liked jean and azami's story- i know i said earlier that genshin's child characters gave me really bad vibes, but with jean and azami i feel more like they're little sisters to the protagonist. the "date" in jean's section felt more like she was playing being a grown up, and had a baby crush on ojiro, the innocent kind you get when you're that age. azami's outfit is very ??, but i honestly kind of like it- the weird mishmash of the yellows, the high heels, the. the fishnets (i actually don't like the fishnets, they feel really out of place, especially on a girl her age and in this time era), all sort of come together to seem like she's a little kid playing dress up in the theater's costumes, which makes sense- she IS! i'm really excited to finish both games, and then also to play the rest of the series. (despite my hatred for new york, i am really excited to play the new york game, because all of the characters seem so delightfully batshit). would be great if they stopped giving me opportunites to perv on the girls, though. i just don't go to the bathhouse anymore i don't want to violate anyone's privacy. i do still wish that the 2019 game was still a tactical rpg, but we can't win them all, i guess. other than that, though, it's great.
4.) cult of the lamb
now, cult of the lamb was one of my most anticipated games of this year. it is exactly my shit. i love roguelites. i love base building. i love- ok i don't love cults, to be clear, but i am interested in them in a non-creepy, non-true-crime-podcast-industral-complex, not weird way. and i also love stories about small woodland creatures doing incredible violence. one of my favorite book series as a kid was redwall, which should tell you a lot about me. and cult of the lamb fulfills all of those hopes! i am nearly to the end of the game- i'm at the final boss, but i have to frequently take breaks from the game because there's something about roguelites that just activates the carpal tunnel in my hand. i do, however, find myself wishing that there was more to the game. more quests, more minigames, more followers- just more. in the later stages of the game it just starts to feel a bit repetitive. that's my only real criticism of the game. my favorite part was undoubtedly playing knucklebones with my boy ratau!
3.) summon night: swordcraft story
i really wish we got the rest of the summon night games in america, because i had an amazing time playing summon night: swordcraft story. it's just such an interesting and fun little game. i really loved the characters and the worldbuilding- the whole game is set on a tower in the middle of the sea where the lower levels go deep below the waves. sometimes when you talk to npcs, they talk about how in a few years, they'll have to move up to the upper levels as the one they're on will sink below the waves. you can ride on the water on your little jetski, and sometimes you sail to other villages to run errands. my favorite characters were varil, your rival from another guild, and one of the guardian beasts, sugar. (sugar will talk about being engaged to the player character regardless of their gender, which is super cool- bi sugar rights! this game was released in 2003 originally, which suprised me. it's about as old as i am, and yet there's this openly bi character in it!) the mechanic of making your own weapons was super cool too. i liked the gameplay loop of grinding for materials, making weapons, advancing the plot, and then repeating. just an overall really charming and cozy game.
2.) twisted wonderland
this is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. for a game about anime boys based on disney characters, it has genuinely compelling writing and character relationships. i think jamil and kalim are going to haunt me until i die. i watched fan translations of it before it came out in english, and i've never felt more joy than when the english localization was complete. i've loved getting to play this game properly. every character is infinitely fucked up and weird and yet appealing in some way. even with characters that i don't personally think about that much, like cater or silver, they've always got these little traits that make them really interesting to consider. i think people are a little harsh on the localization- there are only a couple mistakes, and what was cut from the story was only done for copyright reasons, and in my opinion wasn't really a censorship thing. my favorite characters are riddle, floyd, azul, vil, idia, and grim. i can't wait for the next updates to come out.
there's something so infinitely charming about bugsnax. the snax designs, the muppet-esqe characters, the contrast between the graphic and the surprisingly dark story. the creature design is off the fucking charts- my personal favorites are scoopy banoopy and snaquiri. each snax is it's own self contained puzzle as you use the tools available to you and the environment to figure out how to catch it. the characters are very compelling; each one is a genuinely fucked up person, and all of them have the funniest possible names. beffica is a snitch who can't understand that her dedication to exposing the truth is what's losing her friends, wiggle is a one hit wonder trying desperately to regain fame, cromdo is a shitty salesman who wants to get rich quick- those are just three examples, but going through everyone's quest gives you a great idea of who they are and how they ended up on this island in the first place. even the person you chase throughout the entire game, elizabert, isn't exempt- you find out slowly her thirst for fame and glory, and how it drove her to fuck around and find out with bugsnax in the first place. i was obsessed with this game for a good two months- it's the first game i've ever 100% completed, which is why its my number one game of the year!
10/10. you should absolutely play this.
now that school's over for the semester, i'll hopefully have enough time to write more now. and also fix up the website. anyways, i had fun writing this! see you soon!