Last week, I revealed my list of the games I beat in 2021. There were eighteen games in total, but there were also so many games that I played and didn’t have the chance to reach the end yet.
According to my Nintendo End of the Year Wrap-up email I played 82 games in 2021 — and that was only on the Nintendo Switch. That doesn’t count the games I played on PlayStation, PC, mobile or anywhere else. So, I definitely played over 100 games last year, which is why I have put together this list of my TOP FIVE games from 2021.
Since I have already written reviews, summaries, previews or some form of post about many of these games I instead wanted to showcase what’s special about each game. The list is partially made up of some of my “Games Beat in 2021” entries.
Death’s Door (PlayStation 5)
What is it?
Death’s Door is an action-adventure indie RPG (role-playing game).
[Check out our Death’s Door review]
Death’s Door is one of two games on this list that I had received a review code before release (the other being Loop Hero). I ended up playing a few hours to get an idea of what this game was, and to be able to write about it on time for it’s release. I thought that was it for me, due to time constraints, but then I found myself playing more each night.
There are many things that drew me to continue playing Death’s Door. For one, I love the animation style. The world is also beautiful with it’s mix of a dark yet colorful world and the black-and-white office setting. I also fell in love with the combat in this game. Each enemy had their specific weaknesses, and after facing them a few times you begin to learn their specific movesets.
Learning each enemy’s moveset and hit points made it easier to fight them (along with leveling up your bird character). However, there were many times where giant waves of enemies would show up. Although each of them weren’t too hard to face on their own, when mixed together it became more of a strategic battle, dodging attacks and wielding magic.
While the game deals with death and the souls of the dead (some very serious topics), it also features a great deal of silly humor. The writing of the game was fantastic. Although I beat Death’s Door without collecting all of the artifacts, weapons and other collectables, I did really enjoy this game. I sort of placed a deadline for myself to finish before the end of the year, which is why I went straight onto the final bosses, instead of continuing to search this beautiful world.
Deathloop (PlayStation 5)
What is it?
Deathloop is a rogue-lite FPS (first-person shooter) game.
I’ve been excited about Deathloop since the very first announcement trailer. There was just something special about the art direction and graphic design within the game. The music is an added bonus. There’s something about this era, and I don’t even know if it takes place in a particular year, or mixes inspiration from different years or decades altogether.
Since the release of Deathloop I have found myself jumping in and out of the game. I love that the game features the rogue-lite mechanics of playing the same “loop” over and over. Like in most rogue-lites you continue to level up, gain abilities and learn new info as you play.
As you play you reveal new secrets, you end up changing your strategy. It wasn’t until a couple of hours into the game that I learned about upgrading weapons and abilities and more with residium.
The Julianna mechanic, where any player can invade your loop and try to ruin it, is such a clever mechanic although I found myself annoyed in the beginning until I finally started killing her. As of now I don’t see myself ever killing all eight of the visionaries in a single loop. I do see myself putting a whole lot more hours into Deathloop as I attempt to figure it out though.
Loop Hero (Nintendo Switch)
What is it?
Loop Hero is an endless indie roguelike strategy deck-building RPG.
(Check out our Loop Hero review)
Seeing Loop Hero gameplay early on I didn’t think this looked like a game for me. It just looked like a lot of planning while the game sort of plays itself.
Even after I got the chance to review Loop Hero it wasn’t until I came back to the game that I started to learn how the game really works. In my original review I wrote a little about the three stages of the game, pre-loop, the loop and post-loop.
In my first couple of hours (pre-review), I was playing to “beat the loop” but it wasn’t until later on that I realized you can’t really “beat the loop.” Instead, you have to play to build your camp and resources up.
If you try to “beat the loop” you will instead die and continue losing most of your items. The game’s goal is actually to “escape the loop” at the right moment and build your camp. Next, you come back to the loop and continue playing and escaping with more and more resources. After those first couple of hours of gameplay (for review) I put so many more hours in and will continue to do so.
Boyfriend Dungeon (Nintendo Switch)
What is it?
Boyfriend Dungeon is a dungeon-crawling dating sim.
Boyfriend Dungeon may be my first dating sim, and I really like that it isn’t just a dating sim. It also features dungeon crawling and combat. The dating sim to me is sort of the outside world to this dungeon crawling adventure.
Anytime I have the ability to romance characters in any game I have mostly thought of which character would I choose as a partner, not which character is best for my in-game character. It wasn’t until Boyfriend Dungeon where I created my character (elsie) that I’ve been trying to find the right partner for her.
Most of the time when a dungeon crawler has some outside world elements “tacked on,” I don’t really pay attention to my choices. I quickly make my decisions and go back into the dungeon.
In Boyfriend Dungeon, the outside element (dating sim) is not tacked on at all. In fact, it’s very well-made and feels like a second, separate part of the game. And, because you are using these possible suitors as your weapons it’s important to level each one up and find the one that fits best.
I also love the anime-style intros to each “boyfriend.” I will share that in my future Boyfriend Dungeon post, once I beat this game.
It Takes Two (PlayStation 5)
What is it?
It Takes Two is a co-op action-adventure platform game.
(Check out our It Takes Two review)
I included It Takes Two on my TOP FIVE list because it truly was one of my favorite gaming experiences of 2021. Although I have played a bunch of Rocket League, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and other games with my girlfriend over the past two years, It Takes Two was our first big story, co-op adventure game.
The games I usually look forward to playing the most are ones with great big stories. There are many repetitive games, online games and others that I end up playing for years, but a good story is what keeps a game on your mind when you’re at work and thinking about getting back into that world.
It Takes Two not only has a fun, heartfelt story (also a bit sad at times), it’s also just a great fun time to play. The best part about It Takes Two though was how it gives you a taste of so many different game genres. The game features short areas of dungeon crawling, dance rhythm games, fighting games, shooters and so much more. It’s a great game for a gamer to play with their non-gamer friends (or partner) to find out what other kinds of games they would possibly enjoy.
Plus, it’s co-op gameplay is implemented so well. Throughout the game the two players work together, either mirroring each other performing the same mechanic or working together to help each other to complete the same task. The game is full of charm and silliness, and my girlfriend and I still quote the game every time we say, “Co-dy!”
Honorable Mention Games
I wanted to mention a few more games I have really, really enjoyed in 2021.
First, Ghost of Tsushima (PS4/PS5) which I beat most of in 2020, but I did play the expansion in 2021. The Iki Island expansion was great in adding more of the same familiar gameplay with a different story, and some added new features.
I plan to beat Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch) in 2022, I just keep jumping in and out of that one. I’ve always been a big fan of metroidvanias, especially since the release of the Switch. I did realize that I’ve barely played any true Metroid games so that’s why I definitely needed to play this one.
Both Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5) and Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5) were my two first big AAA PS5 games that showcased just how powerful my new PlayStation 5 was, and how stunning the visuals can look.
Astro’s Playroom (PS5) taught me all about the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and was also a very well made game. I can’t wait to see what the team is working on next.
I started Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PS5) during the finals days of 2021, and I’m so in love with this game. It’s kind of amazing that this is Ember Lab’s first foray into making video games. And if this game is that amazing looking, I can’t imagine what they will bring us next after all they have learned with the release of their first game.
That’s it for my End of Year 2021 coverage and we’ll get back to our regular coverage this week — Happy 2022 everyone!