You could say that 2022 has been a slower year for video games, with the impact of the COVID pandemic continuing to push back release dates for several titles. In addition, more mindful and healthier working conditions at studios are having a similar effect – though that’s a good thing, let’s be clear. But there will always be new video games, and many of them will be very good. Now that we’re past the midpoint of 2022, let’s take a look back at the best video games of 2022 so far. At least, according to us.
In this article, you’ll find a chunky list of the personal favourite games of 2022 for GameHub staff so far. Did we miss your favourite? Tell us on Twitter!
That being said, 2022 isn’t over yet! We still have titles like God of War: Ragnarok, Bayonetta 3, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Splatoon 3, and Into The Breach: Advanced Edition slated for 2022, which are all games we’ve got very high hopes for.
Of course, we’ll be revisiting our favourites for our eventual Game of the Year celebrations in December (you might also be curious to see which games made the cut for our GamesHub Game of the Year in 2021!)
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are our picks for the best games of 2022 so far:
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Neon White
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
- Vampire Survivors
- Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
- Pokemon Legends: Arceus
- OlliOlli World
- Kirby and the Forgotten Land
- Elden Ring
If you’re after some console-specific specific lists with a few more options, head over to one of the following articles:
- The Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best PlayStation Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best Xbox Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best PC Games of 2022 (So Far)
Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is a game that makes you forget the real world; one that involves you so fully in its tale of post-apocalyptic wastelands and the birth of a new world that takes breaks between story beats feels like leaving friends behind. Not only is the game a technical marvel – snow-capped peaks glimmer with frost, skin glistens, oceans ripple – it also features phenomenal character work, with Aloy, Varl and Erend feeling like well-rounded, realistic humans.
While the story does occasionally go off the rails in the best way – the climax is particularly shocking, and leans heavily into high-concept sci-fi themes – the dialogue and plot work well to weave a well-paced, intriguing tale of high fantasy at the end of the world. Aloy also makes for a thoughtful, endearing protagonist, and guides every moment of this narrative to its satisfying, gorgeous conclusion. Whether you’re looking for a cinematic epic to devour, or a game that’ll let you wander off to explore shady trees, changing sunsets and palm oases, this is a game you’ll want to return to often. It’s a beautiful world, and one worth experiencing for yourself as one of the best games of 2022. – Leah J. Williams
If you want a game that can get your heart pumping in less than a minute, look no further than Neon White. From the mind behind the very chill Donut County comes… a very different game. It’s an intense speedrunning game that focuses on pushing you to race through levels, gun down demons, and perform wild acrobatic feats in the quickest time possible. It’s utterly exhilarating and incredibly moreish.
The game also features online leaderboards, and that whole vector of competing with your friends is very powerful in Neon White. Literal milliseconds matter, and that’s a huge encouragement for you to go back and replay stages again, and again, and again as you try to optimise your route. After all, it’s just a couple of milliseconds, right? Easy. Neon White is one of those games that distorts your sense of time and priorities.
Coupled with a very strong, early-2000s anime aesthetic, a thumping drum n’ bass soundtrack, and a social aspect with characters that definitely grow on you, Neon White is definitely one of the best games of 2022, a standout title that I just keep wanting to go back to – if only to maintain my pride on the leaderboard. – Edmond Tran
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands isn’t just a cartoonish narrative adventure inspired by the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, it’s also an exploration of creativity and imagination in dire circumstances, with the action of the title helmed by Tiny Tina, a young girl who uses fantasy to escape her reality – living in the post-apocalypse and dealing with the death of close friends. But even when you look past this deeply emotional metanarrative, you’ll still find a game rich with humour, adventure and wonder. This game brims with confidence and bright, shiny hope, making it one of the best and most endearing games of 2022.
Each world in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is also lovingly crafted, from the high beanstalks of Tangledrift to the shores of Wargtooth Shallows. Between each realm, you’ll be casually entertained by the banter of Andy Samberg (Valentine), Wanda Sykes (Frette) and Ashly Burch (Tiny Tina) while the narrative plot deepens, and the threats you face amp up in difficulty and reward. Whether you’re battling land sharks or learning more about the intricacies of Tina’s scattered mind, there’s always something beautiful to discover on this fantastical journey. Being able to take a few friends along for the ride makes the entire game that much sweeter. – Leah J. Williams
Vampire Survivors really doesn’t look like much at first glance. It’s got that incredibly lo-fi key art of Dracula, and sprites that look like they were torn straight out of the 2D Castlevania games, giving it the air of someone’s first experiments with game development. But give it 15 minutes of your time, and it’ll more than likely dig its claws right into you, and it’ll be hard to stop your entire day getting completely bled dry by its dangerously moreish gameplay loop.
Vampire Survivors takes elements of an idle game (auto-attacking and selective progression system) and gives you just that little bit of agency (the ability to move) which keeps your eyes trained on the screen at all times. As countless enemies swarm on your location, you need to maintain the spacing needed to allow your chosen weapons the time to cool down and fire in order to keep them at bay.
Writing this down, it really doesn’t sound like much, but the gradual power curve that occurs as you gain experience points and slowly unlock a stack of different weapons that fire at will in different ways is incredibly engaging. 10 minutes in, and you’ll likely be a walking wheel of destruction that chews up dozens of enemies every second as whips crack, books fly, and fireballs tunnel through the masses. But just a few mistakes could see it all tumbling down very quickly, and balancing on that knife edge is an incredible high you’ll want to chase again and again.
The Vampire Survivors take on action survival games has only gotten better as it’s progressed through its Early Access phase, and spawned a number of imitators since. But this is the original and the best, and perhaps the Castlevania spinoff we didn’t know we needed. – Edmond Tran
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
If you’re looking for dynamic gameplay and high-speed combat and a captivating storyline, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the game for you. Omega Force has reimagined a much-loved instalment in the Fire Emblem franchise and breathed new life into it. A familiar roster of characters is revisited in a whole new light, and the game is all the better for it.
If the alternate reality of Fódlan wasn’t enough of a draw card, mowing down waves upon waves of enemies in combat alongside your allies might be. The team have taken the tried and tested Musou playstyle and turned it up a notch – every combat encounter feels like one for the history books with the stakes getting higher as each new enemy enters the fray.
For the button masher enthusiasts among us, as well as those who prefer to take a more strategic approach in battle, the hack-and-slash adventure delivers hours of enjoyable gameplay that manages to surprise and intrigue at every turn.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has something for even the staunchest of turn-based combat fans (myself included), a feat I never thought possible. For a masterclass in taking a well-established world and story and bringing something entirely different and refreshing to the table, look no further. – Emily Spindler
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon: Legends Arceus was something entirely new – a Pokemon game that adopts a semi-open world model and allows you to seamlessly jump into Pokemon battles and captures as active participants, rather than simply observers. While there’s great risk in trying something new, Game Freak succeeded with Arceus, effectively creating a new niche for the Pokemon franchise. By breaking away from the modern mainline formula, the company found new ways to explore glimmering lands, and to better connect you with your Pokemon teams.
This game should rightfully get a sequel – whether in spirit, or as a fully-fledged spin-off. It deserves that much for its innovation, and for how it made the entire Pokemon universe seem more engaging, and bigger than ever. While some worlds were lacklustre (the final snow-themed world is particularly boring), for huge swathes, this game is eye-opening, gorgeous, and a perfect translation of what makes Pokemon so endearing. More of this one, please. – Leah J. Williams
OlliOlli World is a perfect slice of chill vibes, wrapped up in pastel, cartoonish artwork and a plot that involves skateboarding, semi-omnipotent gods, and plenty of buzzing bees. The premise is a little bit zany – you’re a skateboarder looking to become the next Skate God by pulling off high-speed ollies and other tricks – but that just adds to the game’s charm. Pair this loose story with wickedly sharp gameplay, courses that take you into colourful and surreal worlds, and a cast of chilled-out characters, and you’ve got one gnarly package.
There’s an extreme joy to be had in perfecting every quirk of this adventure, and nailing your best landing. You’ll fall and stumble your way through tougher courses, but when you finally get what OlliOlli World has to teach, you’ll reach a real point of inner satisfaction. The game can be deceptively complex – tougher moves will take significant time to learn and master – but with endless replayability and no real consequences for failure, you’ll find every challenge in this game more exciting than the last. OlliOlli World is pure and wholesome, and there’s no other game out there that gives you quite the same buzz. – Leah J. Williams
From the creator of the excellent Downwell, a game where you endlessly tumble into a pit, shoot guns from your feet, and do your best not to ever touch the ground, comes Poinpy. It’s a game where you have to have to collect fruit with your juice maker and feed it to a giant cat.
But it might as well be called ‘Upwell’, since Poinpy shares the same kind of excellent and compulsive action-platforming principles of trying to chart a course through the stage by bouncing off walls and enemies in an effort to never touch the ground – which rewards you with the high of earning big score multipliers.
An always satisfying ‘pull-back and launch’-style touchscreen control schemes make it a joy to interact with, as does Poiny’s squishy nature, as well as a number of different stage mechanics that help you overcome gravity to achieve constant upward momentum. It feels so giddying to achieve a great run, because of the quick thinking required to do so, and because of how quickly you can be stopped in your tracks.
Its announcement and sudden release were a delightful surprise, and Poinpy is certainly one of the best mobile phone games of 2022. The fact that it’s an exclusive game to Netflix subscribers makes it even more surprising, and it’s certainly the first real winner in the video streamer’s new mobile game strategy. Best mobile game of the year so far? I say yes. – Edmond Tran
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
It’s a real mystery why there’s never been a 3D Kirby game before Kirby and the Forgotten Land – a mystery that’s amplified by the excellence on show in this game. As the titular Kirby travels through stunning post-apocalyptic worlds, swallowing enemies and solving puzzles, it’s easy to think developer HAL Laboratory had already mastered the 3D platforming genre prior to the game’s release.
While that’s not the case, this game is as polished and dazzling as they come, thanks to excellent world design and Kirby’s noble mission to stomp through enemies and rescue cute Waddle Dees from danger. As a collect-a-thon, it’s a fairly standard homage to classic platformers, but it’s brimming with enough charm that its lack of innovation scarcely matters. Every trip through the game’s world brings new surprises, from haunted amusement parks to time-based challenges.
There are cutesy dream lands and terrifying hell scapes, all wrapped up in one adorable journey. It’s not always easy – the final stages of the game are particularly grating, and include a number of genuinely terrifying bosses, as is Kirby tradition – but for the most part, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a delightful trip and one of the best games of 2022. With just a hint of eldritch horror waiting in the wings, this game is an enchanting piece of Kirby pie. – Leah J. Williams
Forget Wordle. Forget it! It’s just not the same since the New York Times purchased it, says the word-game hipster. Instead, focus your energy on the absolute best new mobile (and PC) word game this year, Knotwords from Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, both of which have worked on incredibly-designed mobile games like Good Sudoku and Spelltower, among many others.
Simple, elegant, and incredibly clever, you can think of playing Knotwords like solving a crossword, only it’s cut up into segments of a variety of sizes, each with its own small pool of letters that must be used. Kind of like a sudoku puzzle, but with letters.
The fact that it’s not a straightforward anagram solve makes the feeling of accomplishment all the sweeter – often you’ll have to piece the word from across multiple pools of letters. With the difficulty of the standard set of puzzles gradually escalating over the course of the week, it’s an incredibly satisfying game to keep up with. Overcoming the absolutely massive Sunday puzzle will make you feel like a genius.
Kudos must also be given to the game’s generous approach to daily streaks. If you forget to play one day, not all is lost – simply start and maintain another 7-day streak and you’ll retrieve your old streak and stack that new one on top. It’s a very friendly and welcome approach that makes Knotwords all the more delightful to return to. – Edmond Tran
Where to start with the incredible Elden Ring? FromSoftware has long been making great games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro, and definitely garnered a very vocal and devout following. But even the most fanatic Souls fans could not have possibly predicted how enormously popular and well-received Elden Ring would become in 2022. And for good reason, too.
It took the studio’s unwavering ideas about ideas about challenge and player-driven discovery, both of which have made the Souls games exceptionally special, and dressed them up into a more approachable and enjoyable game without feeling compromised. This includes the major decision to build the game around an open world, which allows for non-linear progression and lets you feel in control of how you progress through the game’s beats and escalation in challenge. It also makes for incredibly dramatic moments of awe, seemingly around every corner.
Together with a community who is always more than willing to assist you via the integrated co-op functionality, and so many different ways to play it, it’s no wonder there has been nothing but excellent chatter about Elden Ring, a conversation that has extended long past its initial launch back in March 2022.
Here’s hoping the success of it encourages a trend of imitators, because it’s clear that there are millions of people who have learned to appreciate FromSoftware’s decidedly antithetical school of game design. There’s no question that Elden Ring is one of the best games of 2022. – Edmond Tran