2022 was long and tumultuous for video games. The year where countless major blockbuster games had their releases pushed out into 2023 was the same one where we somehow got two open-world Pokemon games. Yes, Pokemon Legends: Arceus was a 2022 game.
At several points throughout the year, it was easy to think there were absolutely no big games coming out but looking back, it’s the year that gave us Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, and God of War Ragnarok. More importantly, the void left by AAA games gave several incredible, smaller games the spotlight they rightly deserved.
The strategy and adventure game genres got a chance to really make their mark in this absence. Sharp, stylish, and innovative games from tiny teams got all the attention. 2022 was the year where the game with the lowest-fidelity visuals could make the biggest cultural impact on the industry, and even spawn a whole new genre.
With all of that in mind, here is GamesHub’s ranked list of the Top 20 games of 2022.
How does GamesHub pick its Game of the Year list?
GamesHub’s Game of the Year picks are selected collectively by tenured staff. Each member puts together a ranked personal list of their favourite games released in 2022, and titles are given a score according to their rank, with 10 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. The scores are collated, and the games are resorted in rank by their collective score, with staff members then deliberating over individual placements, and adjusting where necessary, before locking in the final list.
20. Wylde Flowers
Wylde Flowers is an Australian-developed farm simulator-adventure game hybrid with a strong narrative, great style, and a wonderful message of inclusion. While it focuses on magical witches and the fantasy of moving to a quiet country town, at the heart of Wylde Flowers is a tale about overcoming prejudice and learning to belong in a harsh world. Protagonist Tara embodies this in multiple ways – she’s an outsider yearning for deeper meaning after a bad breakup, and attempting to find welcome in the quiet town of Fairhaven.
Read: Wylde Flowers review – Perfect escapism for a busy world
As she later discovers, she’s also a witch – and witches are subject to rumours and fear-mongering in the town. When the existence of Tara’s new coven spills into the ‘real world’, conflict brews between townsfolk, leading to major clashes that must be resolved through good communication and problem solving.
Between these story beats, you can spend your time in a wonderful world getting to know everyone in what is an excellent life simulator, planting seeds, selling crops, fishing, and foraging – all delightful activities that feed into the game’s wild and magical storyline, and make it one of the best games of 2022. – Leah J. Williams
19. Two Point Campus
Two Point Campus combines hearty management simulation with a wacky sense of fun, for a game that never takes itself too seriously. If you’ve played Two Point Hospital, you know what to expect here. If you don’t, know that Two Point Campus is a wild ride, one where students can fail magic classes thanks to wanton curses roaming campuses, and clown class teaches students how to throw pies into their own faces.
Read: Two Point Campus review – Extremely cool for school
In other realms of your campus multiverse, medieval knights learn to joust for survival, while maths nerds learn about computer science and quantum whatnots. It’s an eclectic mix in Two Point Campus, and players are tasked with controlling every aspect of this wonderful world – from placing decorations in campus corridors to setting up yearly class schedules, mixers, and concerts. You can live out your dreams of crafting the perfect university, or go hog wild: kick out students you don’t like, and ruin the dreams of others. It’s your campus, your rules. It’s a total blast, and one of the best games of 2022. – Leah J. Williams
18. Vampire Survivors
If you’ve played Vampire Survivors, you understand why Vampire Survivors is so compelling. If you haven’t played Vampire Survivors, then trust me – I know it looks like a bad Castlevania fan game, but just throw yourself in for 30 minutes, and you’ll get it.
Vampire Survivors has created a whole new genre, and that’s not something you can say about many games released in 2022. It’s a game that takes the idea of ‘bullet hell’ – a term for shoot-em-up games that involve dodging a ridiculous amount of projectiles – and applying it to your player character, which creates an incredibly satisfying power curve that you can experience in 10-minute runs. Start with a throwing knife. End with an indecipherable monsoon of blades, projectiles, and a devastating garlic aura.
Read: Vampire Survivors’ East Asian-inspired DLC expansion is out now
The game does all the hard work – attacking – for you. All you need to do is keep moving to avoid the creep of enemies, and keep the right distance to have your weapons stay effective. You’ll strategically build your loadout from a variety of different options (many of them secret combinations) as you mow down more and more enemies. Things get very intense, and the stakes get high very quickly as hundreds of enemies fill the screen. Being able to harness that insane amount of destruction, even for a small moment, is intoxicating.
We had the year of battle royales. We had the year of Among Us. Now we have the year of Vampire Survivors, and it absolutely deserves its place as one of the best and most iconic games of 2022. It’s on Xbox Game Pass. The mobile version is free. You have no excuse. – Edmond Tran
17. Neon White
There’s a pretty iconic episode of The Simpsons where Milhouse sits in front of a
Read: Neon White review – Don’t stop, never give up
A first-person platformer and shooter, Neon White’s primary point of excellence is its heart-pounding, hand-twitching potency. Short-burst levels, most of which can be completed in less than a minute, challenge you to speed-run through gauntlets that require zippy movement, fast reflexes, and pin-point accuracy to succeed. There’s a leaderboard aspect, of course, and when sizing yourself up against your friends, shaving milliseconds off your run could mean the difference between first place or fiftieth.
Even when it’s divorced from friendly competition and bragging rights, the feeling of propelling yourself through these levels, performing death-defying leaps, and dispatching demons as quickly as you can gives Neon White an exhilarating feel – much like the high-octane 2000’s anime that inspires its look, feel, and narrative. Sharp, punchy, and packed with almost 100 challenges that are thrilling to try and perfect, Neon White is a real rush, and certainly one of the best games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
16. Pokemon Legends Arceus
Pokemon Legends Arceus is a bold step forward for the Pokemon franchise, into a new open world unbound by traditional gameplay. Without gyms and intensive trainer battles, Arceus lets you sit back and enjoy the crux of the series – discovering new Pokemon, catching them, and roaming lovely fantasy environments. While the game does struggle with technical performance in some regions, its sense of adventure and wild plot is enthralling. Its tale is certainly a weird one, but everyone you meet along the way (including Pokemon) makes the journey far more colourful, intriguing and fun.
Read: Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review – Breath of fresh air
Arceus is an essential Pokemon story that shines brightly, in every facet – and its stray away from the traditional formula should be replicated in future titles. While the mainline Pokemon games remain fantastic, new and experimental adventures like Arceus make for very welcome breaks. With clever tweaks to catching mechanics and a refocus on the Pokemon world, Arceus is a great reinvention of a long-running franchise, and one of the best games of 2022. – Leah J. Williams
15. God of War Ragnarok
It’s very easy to dismiss blockbuster games for treading old ground. Sony Santa Monica’s God of War reboot, despite certainly making its own unique mark on the world, has been played and dissected by so many people now that in some circles, it’s been boiled down to its tropes – the overprotective dad, the repentant warrior, the streamlined combat mechanics, the side-shuffling through tight spaces. But God of War Ragnarok seems so keenly aware of all of this, and by golly, it just decides to go all in regardless. It’s a game so sure of itself, so confident of its direction, that it doubles down on the things it knows make God of War games really great.
Read: God of War Ragnarok Review – A captivating epic filled with heart
The utter commitment to its cinematic style is one thing. The game is so utterly refined in its method of storytelling and dedication to ‘the bit’ – a single, continuous camera shot that gives its mode of storytelling a flair that somehow still feels unmatched in games. But it does it so well, and even plays with it somewhat, at times subverting your expectations, other times, surpassing them. The approachable combat system is a key element – a series of moves and abilities that are easy to execute, and allow for a comfortable level of complexity if you want it. But most importantly, the combat focuses on making sure each hit has heft, and feels so good to perform.
Beyond this, the real highlight of God of War Ragnarok is the game’s devotion to doubling down on its highly personal, character-driven narrative, which pulls out all stops in activating your emotions in the heightened ways that only a blockbuster can. That’s not to say it’s manipulative – Ragnarok does a lot of work to really make you care about its characters, and revels in hours of quiet, seemingly insignificant moments that help forge an even stronger attachment to the story
Sure, it’s a beautiful game about an angry man that hits things really good. But it’s also a deeply felt drama about love, loss, and family that has the capacity to make you shed tears (no matter how tough you think you are) and one of the best games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
14. Elden Ring
Nobody can deny the incredible impact Elden Ring has had on the year, or dispute that it’s one of the best games of 2022, even if March 2022 feels like it was actually several years ago. Devoted FromSoftware fans may argue otherwise, but the studio that created the Souls-like genre with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls has seemingly perfected its approach with Elden Ring, and has been rewarded with a staggeringly huge uptake by a devout community of players, many of whom have never played a game like this before, and are now changed by it.
Maybe it’s a much-advertised George R.R. Martin connection that got Elden Ring its newfound attention, with the Game of Thrones director adding some attractive flavour to the lore of the world. But it’s most certainly Elden Ring’s approach to its worldbuilding, the freedom-focussed, self-driven game structure, and challenging combat that kept people on-board, and talking about the game all year.
Read: Elden Ring review – stay a while, stay forever
The setting of The Lands Between is an absolutely vast and terrifying place, with new dangers everywhere you go. There are so many times where you see something that strikes fear into you – a towering behemoth, a horrifying beast, or another seemingly impossible challenge, and you’ll think ‘how on earth am I going to conquer this’?
But the advantage of an unrestricted open-world, one that Elden Ring cleverly uses to the fullest, is in your ability to follow your desire and curiosity, go at your own pace, and slowly find that confidence within you. Go somewhere with enemies that seem more manageable, level up your character, find new tools to help you, and build your own innate proficiency. Then, go back and overcome what was once a tough ask. Slowly but surely, across several dozen hours, you’ll feel yourself forging an intimate relationship with the land and its inhabitants, gradually finding yourself able to finally take a firm hold of every challenge within it. This world becomes yours.
The satisfaction that comes from eventually finding it in yourself to overcome such incredible odds has always been a key part of FromSoftware games. But what Elden Ring has done is make those odds feel so much greater, while giving you the capacity to do more to help yourself, at your own pace – which makes those eventual victories much sweeter. When you look back on how far you’ve come in Elden Ring, the feeling is sublime. – Edmond Tran
It may not seem like it, but the 16th-century Bavarian town of Tassing, as portrayed in Pentiment, is one of the most well-realised
Read: Pentiment review – Making history
On its face, Pentiment is a historial murder mystery with a striking medieval art style. But its heart is in the detailed, intimate moments you spend with the people of Tassing – breaking bread together, mediating their issues, and forging your own unique relationships with them.
It’s also a game that makes you think deeply about how the way we live our own lives – how our relationships to our home and our neighbours can drastically change.Deep, complex, thoughtful, and not to mention beautiful, Pentiment will stay with you. It’s one of the best games of 2022, and one of the most notable games and stories to grace the year. – Edmond Tran
12. Return to Monkey Island
In the era of constant series reboots and long-awaited sequels, it’s easy to be cynical when something long gone decides to suddenly return, especially when it hopes to address everything that happened an eon ago.
But Return to Monkey Island, a direct sequel to the Monkey Island series as specifically envisioned by creator Ron Gilbert, follows up on the threads left in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991). Together with one of his original partners in crime, Dave Grossman, they created something great – and I don’t think anyone could have predicted how utterly brilliant this sequel would be.
Read: Return to Monkey Island Review – Sail away home
On the surface, it’s a great modern refinement of the point-and-click adventure game, and despite revisiting several of the iconic locales of the series, the strength of Return to Monkey Island is not that it’s a nostalgia trip.
Narrative-wise, it’s poignant, reflective, and heartwarming, as protagonist Guybrush Threepwood looks back on life as he encounters characters both new and old. He’s a perfect foil for those who grew up on the series coming back into it, and the approach, the connections, and the loose ends that are tied feel simply perfect.
For those who grew up on Monkey Island and Lucasarts adventure games, there’s no denying how powerful this comedic adventure game is. – Edmond Tran
Every time you touch the screen in Poinpy, you are blessed with an incredible sense of tactile satisfaction. A game that revolves around slingshotting a cute little dinosaur into the air, each touch and pull of the invisible slingshot will slow down time, come with a tactile ratchet sound and feel (which you use to assess tension and trajectory) and send Poinpy flying in a satisfying way. With each tap, you’ll stop Poinpy in his tracks and slam him down on enemies, using them as a squishy trampoline to bounce upward again.
There’s more to it, though. Poinpy is a game where the goal is to continually propel yourself upward, and try to never touch the ground. You’ll be continually launching Poinpy into the sky, ricocheting him off walls, slamming Poinpy down into enemies, bouncing off them, and watching Poinpy get squished around like a cute little stressball. It never gets old.
Aside from the inherent satisfaction from those motions, Poinpy is also a score-chasing game, meaning the stakes behind those actions are always high – the more time you spend off the ground, the greater your reward, and so each pull-and-launch, each slam, each concerted move has the potential to be your last. It’s so giddying when you manage to defy gravity for just a few more seconds, and when you inevitably do touch the ground, you always want to try your luck once more.
Poinpy was incredibly hard to put down this year, and I didn’t, until I had squeezed every last achievement out of it, beaten every friend who challenged me to a score competition. So very moreish, with one of the best-feeling game mechanics in 2022, Poinpy is pure joy. – Edmond Tran
10. Wayward Strand
Wayward Strand transports you to an aged care ward in a floating hospital, set in a 70s coastal Australian town. You play Casey, a young girl brimming with curiosity as she spends three days helping her mum out by keeping the residents company.
On the surface, Wayward Strand is a game where you get to know the residents and pepper them with a million questions about their lives. But dig a bit deeper, and listen a little harder as you wander the halls of the airship, and the game provides a wealth of commentary on past (and current) treatment and care of the elderly, as well as facing difficult topics like mortality.
Read: Wayward Strand review – The clock keeps ticking
Residents talk about their rich lives, both before they ended up on the ship, as well as their time in aged care. Some patients are nonverbal, however, through patience and earnest interest in them, you can learn about their rich interior worlds and past adventures. As the clock ticks on each day, you must decide who to talk to and how to spend your time. There are plenty of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moments, and Wayward Strand warrants multiple playthroughs to experience everything it has to offer, from heartfelt and gut-wrenching moments, through to absurd and silly anecdotes from the vibrant cast of characters you encounter.
I cried, laughed, and sat quietly, taking it all in, all in the space of one playthrough of this game. For a rich story, and gorgeous art style to boot, this Australian-made gem is well worth playing, and one of the best games of 2022. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
9. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Mario + Rabbids is a franchise that has thrived against all odds – against a world with a pure hatred for the ‘annoying’ Rabbids, and a mainstream audience that shies away from tactical, turn-based combat. Despite this opposition, Sparks of Hope, the first major sequel to the surprise hit Kingdom Battle, proved to be an absolute triumph. It might even be a rare better sequel that improves on the grounds of its predecessor in every way.
Read: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope review – Shiny and glorious
Sparks of Hope is colourful, adventurous, cute, and genuinely funny. Its cast of characters is purely delightful, and personality shines through in every gorgeous world of this adventure. Whether you’re travelling through vine-infested kingdoms, or terrifying, chaos-filled battlefields, there’s a sparkle in every twist and turn that makes Sparks of Hope come alive. It’s a joy by every definition of the word, and one of the best games of 2022. – Leah J. Williams
8. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a lofty legacy to live up to, and I can confidently confirm that it well and truly surpassed all expectations. From the gorgeous environmental design to the heart-wrenching storyline and world building, this game is a masterpiece. Each character has their own interesting tale to tell, and even the smallest details add to the overall feeling that you truly inhabit this harsh world, where artificially created soldiers wage a seemingly never-ending war within a limited, 10-year lifespan.
Read: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 review – a grand-scale adventure
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 makes you feel like a small cog in a colossal machine, and all aspects of the game remind you of this. But despite the constant feeling of being so small in the grand scheme of things, your actions make a big impact on the world of Aionios.=
With an extensive class system, combat trees, and battle tactics, fighting the (often gargantuan) creatures that roam the world doesn’t grow tiring, despite the massive runtime. Every moment holds the opportunity for an intimate look into each character’s lives and motivations, and the bonds formed even as you meet new allies along the way feel so real that saying goodbye at the end of the game is like seeing off old friends. If you’ve got over a hundred hours to spare and need a new Japanese-style RPG in your life, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the perfect choice. It’s one of the best games of 2022. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
7. Marvel Snap
Marvel Snap has made the collectible card game faster and more exciting, without losing any of the nail-biting strategic decisions that make them great. And you don’t need to be a Marvel fan to appreciate how focussed and cleverly designed the game is.
Fashioned around the battle to build up the most power at two of three locations across just six turns, taken simultaneously by both players, there’s never a dull moment in Marvel Snap. After all, there’s only seconds before you start having to carefully consider your next move in each match.
Read: Marvel Snap designer Kent-Erik Hagman talks smart card game design
With the element of randomisation harnessed as a weapon of surprise, the game keeps you on your toes with each new game. It feels like no two matches will ever be the same, as the slow reveal of each new location and card dramatically shifts your strategy as you scramble to take advantage of boons, and salvage what you can from debuffs and destruction.
Beautiful card art, a great array of Marvel characters, and cool visual effects aside, what Marvel Snap excels at is creating an incredibly approachable and endlessly compelling strategy game. It’s so easy to pick up, satisfying to play, and there are so many nuances to learn and appreciate. With matches lasting for minutes at most, it’s so incredibly easy to keep playing Marvel Snap again and again. Every day. For five months and counting. I can’t stop. It’s one of the best games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
6. Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Marvel’s Midnight Suns was the biggest surprise of the year; a game that almost flew under the radar. Maybe it was because of Marvel fatigue, or a lack of interest in the ‘supernatural’ side of this expansive universe, but regardless of being the underdog, Marvel’s Midnight Suns managed to eclipse all expectations. This hybrid team-building social simulator and top-tier strategy combat game has charm in spades. It’s a little bit weird at times – particularly when you’re lounging with your ultra-powered teammates in your swimmers – but its quirks are charming in every way.
Read: Marvel’s Midnight Suns review – Friendship triumphs over evil
Even if you’re not a fan of Marvel, the game’s sweeping narrative, brilliant and relatable character arcs, and engaging turn-based combat was quick to win us over. The talent at Firaxis shines through in every facet of this game, making it a fascinating, wonderful, and worthy contender for one of the best games fo 2022. – Leah J. Williams
You’re a little cat in a big, post-apocalyptic world. What more could you want from a game?
Robots inhabit the cyberpunk-esque land you travel through in Stray, but despite their mechanical makeup, manage to provide scores of heartfelt moments throughout the game. Find sheet music for a musician and curl up next to them while they serenade you, or find materials for a grandma-like robot to knit you a garment. All the while, learn more about the circumstances that led to the world around you becoming this way, and do what you can to reunite with your other cat friends (and maybe have a cry in the first ten minutes when you get separated from them).
Read: Stray Review – So Exquisitely, Believably Cat-like
The mechanics make Stray all the more cat-like, and your exploration of the world is made through calculated jumps, high-rise catwalks (no pun intended) and tight squeezes to get to your destination. The art direction and mix of overgrown urban ruins, mixed with dingy, neon-lit cityscapes makes the game as beautiful to play as it is fun.
Despite the game being about an adorable cat trying to find their way back home, and plenty of opportunity to cause cat-induced mayhem (think scratching up carpet and knocking things over), Stray manages to induce some heart-stopping thriller moments too. For cat lovers and solo story game fans alike, Stray is a dystopian hit, all viewed from the perspective of a cute orange tabby. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
One of the fantastic things about video games is the kind of powerful experience you get when you feel you’re in control – as an active participant, when you’re charting your own destiny, creating your own goals, putting together the pieces of the puzzle with your own volition. It’s one of the most gratifying things in the world. In the same respect, one of the most powerful things games can do is to suddenly rip all that power away from you. Make you feel utterly helpless. Uneasy. Afraid to keep going. That experience could apply to a game like Elden Ring this year. But for me, the more memorable and impactful example of this was Immortality.
Read: Immortality review – Picture perfect
A narrative mystery game from Sam Barlow (Her Story) and the team at Half Mermaid, Immortality asks you to be the first-hand protagonist. Your job is to sift through reels of raw camera footage, filmed for three separate movies that were never released, to find out what happened to missing actress Marissa Marcel.
And it’s so, so incredibly captivating. For long stretches you’re a voyeur, using your own initiative peeking behind the curtain of the creative process, and discovering intimate details about the people involved. Before the director calls ‘action’ and after he calls ‘cut’, you’ll discover subplots, motivations, relationships, and piece together several overarching, interconnected narratives. You’ll start putting the bigger picture together in your head, and feel like a genius detective the whole time. Well, almost.
At a certain point, Immortality will strike you with fear, shake your whole world, and make you afraid to go on. But it will also pique your morbid curiosity so severely, it will be impossible to resist seeing it through. You’ll stay up late, being sucked right into the lives of these characters in an intense parasocial relationship. You’ll explore and ponder themes of artmaking, exploitation, and the creative spirit. The performances from everyone involved are nuanced, multi-faceted, and completely enthralling.
Immortality is vital, and utterly unforgettable. It is hands down, one of the best games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
3. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Like fellow game Arceus, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet tried something new with the Pokemon formula – to resounding success. Yes, the game suffered from major performance issues, but in our eyes, this shouldn’t take away from just how brilliant the adventure underneath really is. In implementing an open world structure and multiple story strands alongside traditional Pokemon gameplay, Scarlet and Violet strike a perfect balance between freedom and hand-holding. Players aren’t always given clear instructions about where to go – and this opens up the possibility of exploration, finding new corners of the game’s world, meeting new people, and discovering new Pokemon.
Read: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet review – A shiny, Terastallized gem
It’s a bold new world that greets you in Pokemon Violet and Scarlet – bright, innovative, and also deeply emotional. While the modern Pokemon games have started to feel rather stale, these dual games injected the franchise with a new sense of life. Between the warm narrative, breakout characters, new gameplay mechanics, and sense of surprise, both Violet and Scarlet proved the franchise still has plenty of life left in it. Long live Pokemon. – Leah J. Williams
2. Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is astonishing from its opening moments, which re-introduce players to Aloy and her merry band of post-apocalyptic survivors. It’s not just the impressive foliage you wander through, or the way Aloy’s skin seems to sweat realistically – every part of this game absolutely sings. From wild quests across desert landscapes, to walks through dense green jungle, there’s a sense of beauty in every lovingly-placed pixel, and in every well-crafted narrative tale.
Read: Horizon Forbidden West review – a breathtaking journey
Quests are heart-felt and sweeping. Characters feel real. The heartbreak, triumph, and anguish that accompanies each story beat is always harshly felt, as the game absorbs you into its tale of struggle at the end of the world. While its apex is fairly surreal, it never loses its clear sense of identity. Aloy, played by Ashly Burch, is also a loveable, complex protagonist – and she remains the beating heart of this adventure, throughout every wild twist. – Leah J. Williams
Though we restricted ourselves to just a Top 20 list of the best games of 2022 (and this list is already so long), we wanted to give a special shoutout to a few games that particularly resonated with various GamesHub staff.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is one such game, a title that took the Borderlands franchise and made it both more ridiculous and somehow more heartfelt, with excellent tongue-in-cheek humour led by a great cast featuring Ashley Burch, Andy Samberg, and Wanda Sykes.
The Case of the Golden Idol is another – a very clever detective game that asks you to really put your thinking cap on and deduce the culprits of a series of murders, simply by analysing frozen snapshots in time. It cribs a lot of ideas from The Return of the Obra Dinn, but that can only be a good thing, in our opinion.
There’s been quite a mixed response to the rocky launch of Overwatch 2, but as longtime devotees of the series, it’s hard to deny the fact that we still enjoy the exhilarating gameplay that has always been there, and now been refined in excellent ways. (The new characters are great, too!)
And finally, Gotham Knights has been another contentious game this year. But as big fans of the DC Comics characters, and devotees of the Batman Arkham style of gameplay, we personally found a lot to love in this interpretation of Batman’s world.
Now, without further ado, please welcome our Game of the Year…
1. Cult of the Lamb
With the perfect mix of sinister and adorable gameplay, Cult of the Lamb burst onto the scene as an instant success. The Australian genre-blending rogue-like / cult management sim is filled to the brim with innovative riffs on existing mechanics, creepy eldritch horror-esque enemies to battle, and just plain absurd humour. Rescue an adorable little animal and recruit them into your flock, but should they begin to stray, a few days in a stockade while you ‘re-educate’ them will have them singing your praises again.
The mix of genres also keeps things fresh for hours on end. Tired of managing your cult and its varied needs? Head out to battle beasts beyond comprehension in a fast-paced dungeon!
Combat and resource-gathering aside, the strength of the cohesive art direction and the game’s musical score are also the keys to Cult of the Lamb’s excellence – and why it’s one of the best games of 2022. The paper cutout style of sweet animals being sacrificed to an all-seeing god works so well, and the music makes you feel as though something untoward is always lurking around the corner, even when wholesome-sounding marimba tones ring through the speakers as your cult happily cuts wood and worships you as the Chosen One. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
Cult of the Lamb combines so many great things about video games into a bloody, eldritch package. With elements of life and management simulators, as well as roguelike dungeon crawlers, there’s plenty to love here – including the titular Lamb, which guides the action as a scion of terrible beasts. While you can get stuck with an awful cult in the early stages, as animals eat their own poop and get sick, the further you travel down dark forest paths, the better your flock will become.
Read: Cult of the Lamb review – The flower of the flock
Eventually, they’ll stop eating their own poop and transform into the faithful herd you deserve, helping you farm religious points that aid your quest to defeat the old gods, and reclaim a piece of your long-dead soul. All of this, and plenty more, hides behind a whimsical and cute facade so well-designed by Melbourne’s Massive Monster. As a hybrid cultist simulator, it’s an absolute triumph. It gets its hooks in early, and has you praying at its altar for grim and delightful hours. – Leah J. Williams
For more on the best games of 2022, explore the rest of our game of the year coverage:
Stay tuned for more curated lists from GamesHub staff and special games industry guests.
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