And, thus here we conclude the top five games in the year 2021.
11. Before Your Eyes:
PLAYED ON: PC.
Before Your Eyes should not be dismissed as a gimmick. Yes, it’s the blinking game—the one where you physically play by blinking your eyelids in front of a webcam—but there’s a lot more to it than that. It has a touch of Pixar’s Soul combined with the everyday misery of something like Death of a Salesman, with its concentration on a freshly deceased man’s passage into the hereafter. The game looks back on the main character’s reasonably ordinary life and the significant connections that affected it, and the tale is typically well-told enough to avoid the cheap, maudlin sentimentality you might anticipate from it.
The blinking adds more power to the game than you may think, but if you don’t want to use your camera, you can always play it using a mouse instead. Before Your Eyes is a minor, silent game with a big emotional punch. —Martin, Garrett.
12. Loop Hero:
PLAYED ON: PC
Loop Hero is a roguelike, a deck builder and an RPG with the cadence and looks of a tower defence game, wrapped in a grim but simplistic ’90s PC game aesthetic. It’s a mashup that feels like it shouldn’t work because that sentence I just wrote sounds preposterously. Instead, Loop Hero is magnificent. While it may seem unengaging because it effectively plays itself, it prompts the player to look at gameplay from another angle, namely a more systems-driven one. I realized why that is a rewarding aspect of those games for a person like me, who doesn’t craft “builds” in RPGs.
“Now I spend half my time in Loop Hero, making numbers go up and making optimizations I would never have before embarking on another loop.”—Moises Taveras.
13. Genesis Noir:
PLAYED ON: Xbox One, Switch, PC.
Genesis Noir is a cosmic point-and-click mystery about the meaning of existence, the tragedy of death, the birth of the cosmos, and, of course, jazz. Yes, it’s pompous, yet it works in a way that draws you in rather than pushes you away. It has big aims and isn’t hesitant to go all-in on them, with a deftness and forethought that makes even the most obscure choice land with power. It’s also the most visually appealing game of the year, with a noir-ish black-and-white colour scheme punctuated by flashes of colour, fantastic character designs, and an ambient jazz soundscape that matches it wonderfully.
“It’s one of the year’s most gorgeous and fascinating games.” —Martin, Garrett.
14. Monster Hunter Rise:
PLAYED ON: Switch.
Monster Hunter World came close, but Monster Hunter Rise seems like the first game in Capcom’s hit franchise to offer something more than the same old monster hunting. The rise has a natural world with fleshed-out characters, making it enjoyable to visit even if you’re not seeking to fight some creatures. When you do decide to go on the hunt, the well-organized quest system allows it to fit nicely into your hectic schedule—you can pick up the controller and know you’ll be able to complete a task in under a half-hour.
“It’s a role-playing game that doesn’t take up your entire day, which is precisely what we need these days.” —Martin, Garrett.
15.Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart:
PLAYED ON: PlayStation 5.
Rift Apart, the first valid reason to acquire a PlayStation 5 is an improvement on a model that’s worked for 19 years. It’s striking and endearing. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it will discuss trauma and disability and problems of belonging and impostor syndrome in fundamental ways to communicate to children while being honest enough to resonate with adults. And, while being utterly predictable, it manages to be genuinely humorous at moments, weaving stereotype to cliche in a tapestry wrapped in other tropes. It’s a basic game, yet it’s shockingly sincere and sympathetic. This charm and empathy propel this enormous showy sci-fi frolic forward and help elevate the movie beyond a basic comedy.
This charm and empathy propel this enormous showy sci-fi frolic forward and help elevate the movie beyond a basic comedy. Rift Apart has a heart that the Guardians of the Galaxy never had. —Lacina, Dia.