This is my personal list of the most notable/memorable games I’ve played in the last few years (not necessarily released then!). Separated into categories that matter to me, games sorted alphabetically. Most of them perfectly playable on GNU/Linux.
- A Short Hike
- The whole game boils down to exploring a small island. The developers clearly knew exactly what they wanted the game to be, no more and no less, and it shows.
- Dark Souls (the whole series) / Bloodborne / Elden Ring
- In terms of just throwing the player into a mysterious world to explore with no guidance, very few games do it as well as the FromSoftware creations.
- Outer Wilds
- A small planetary system to explore with pieces of a great underlying story hidden behind every corner.
- Both terrifying and beautiful underwater world to explore with the depth itself being a constant obstacle.
- Can be summarized with a single sentence: “Wait, am I even meant to be here?!” (the answer is usually “yes” and there is a chest around a corner to confirm that). Lots of post-game content.
- Both the combat and the levels are essentially elaborate puzzles. Some environmental puzzles are spanning so many areas it’s ridiculous. Reminiscent of the Golden Sun games.
- Lots of environmental puzzles utilizing relatively non-standard abilities for the genre.
Best Player Agency
- Cruelty Squad
- The game as good as it’s ridiculous at the first glance. Don’t sleep on this one! Hitman meets Deus Ex, and probably some LSD.
- Prey (2017)
- A semi-open level structure with every nook and cranny being an opportunity for smart utilization of the tools and environment at hand. Arkane Studios at its best.
Best Visual Style
- Amid Evil
- And old-school shooter with gorgeous levels, separated into seven worlds/episodes. The last world on its own deserves a place on this list.
- A surreal journey through sceneries strongly inspired by the art of Zdzisław Beksiński. Just long enough to not get stale.
- ΔV: Rings of Saturn
- A down to earth (ironically…) space excavation “simulator”. A great game to unwind and just chill. Bonus points for the changelogs being written in an in-universe manner.
- Receiver 2
- A shooter in which shooting is the easy part. 90% of the game (and the control scheme) is about handling and reloading guns in a quasi-realistic manner.