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Personal Video Game Awards 2022-ish

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.

Best Exploration

  • 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.
  • Subnautica
    Both terrifying and beautiful underwater world to explore with the depth itself being a constant obstacle.
  • Supraland
    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.

Best Puzzles

  • CrossCode
    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.
  • Supraland
    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.
  • Vomitoreum
    A surreal journey through sceneries strongly inspired by the art of Zdzisław Beksiński. Just long enough to not get stale.

Best “Realism”

  • 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 / 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. Receiver 1 feels better for 5-minutes-long sessions while Receiver 2 feels more like a proper game.