What Video Games Are Worth Playing This Year?


Molly Hill

2021 and 2022 have been great years for video games. While there aren’t too many bad ones, these are some of my personal favorites.

The past year has been a great one for video games of any genre. I’ve been playing a lot across all consoles, but these are the ones I’ve played this year that have stuck out in my mind as the best.


Splatoon 3 came out recently and I have been having a blast with it. Both the story and online mode have been drastically improved from the previous 2 games and are extremely addicting. In online mode you can either play regular turf war, the more vigorous ranked mode, or take a shift in Salmon Run, putting you through 3 waves where you must defeat enemies with your team in order to collect “golden eggs” and appease your strict boss. As stated before, the mechanics of these modes are bettered tremendously compared to the first 2 games and play much easier and tend to be more chaotic and fun. However, something holding the online mode back from being phenomenal is connection errors that completely stop your match and leave you without the points you usually get from winning and losing. At least for me these errors have been few and far between, but it is still worth mentioning for a system that makes you pay for your online. The story mode, on the other hand, is almost without flaws and left me incredibly impressed. The first two games were criticized for having a way-too-easy story mode that felt more like an elongated tutorial than a campaign. Nintendo took these criticisms to heart and made campaign mode that is accessible to everyone, but also offers a challenge for veterans. Almost every level in the mode allows you to pick one of three weapons to complete it with, usually ordered from easiest to hardest. You are only required to complete each level with one weapon but you can go back and complete with one more or all 3 to amp up the difficulty of the game. I have been playing Splatoon since the first game came out in 2015 and I was still pleasantly surprised by challenges that had a difficulty that made them very fun. My one problem with story mode is completely subjective, and it is that the lore behind the mode is wildly different from anyone else we’ve ever seen and somewhat contradicts the previous established lore. However, if you are only in it for the great gameplay and don’t care about the story, this is a great game that is absolutely worth 60 dollars, and still continues to consistently update, allowing it to remain fresh.


Deltarune is a game created by Toby Fox that is a successor to the legendary and groundbreaking game Undertale. Chapters of the game are released separately instead of releasing one big game on its own. The first one came out in October of 2018 and the second just September of last year; chapters 3 and 4 have no release date as of yet but are speculated to come out some time next year. At first I was very speculative of this game and wondered how it could compare or even come close to Undertale at all. But once playing the two very graciously free chapters, I was greeted with a beautiful experience that keeps the charm and heartfelt tone of Undertale. Both chapters follow Kris Dreemurr, a child who travels to different “dark worlds” with their school friend Susie, and acts as a knight to save these worlds from eternal darkness. The first chapter serves as a “free demo” and only took me about 3 hours altogether to complete. In this chapter, Kris and Susie and their new “darkner” friends Ralsei and Lancer must travel across the first dark world in order to convince the Spades King to have mercy on his subjects and allow them to be the salvation of the world. A lot of people are turned off by the length of the chapter and criticize it for how short it is, but I have always compared it to the pilot episode of the show: The plot doesn’t have to be heavy, but it has to establish the world they’re in and the characters, which Chapter 1 does a magnificent job doing. The atmosphere of the first dark world is almost whimsical and shrouded in enough mystery to keep the player thinking. The characters are incredibly memorable, Susie especially in this chapter for me, and develop and change as real people do. Chapter 1 also introduces the gameplay style, which is very fun and expands on the unique bullet hell x RPG battles that Undertale had as well. The addition of more party members that have strong attacks and healing spells make the game feel more balanced than Undertale was. Chapter 2 was a step-up from the first one, being longer in length and introducing more characters (Berdly has a starring role in this chapter and he is among one of my favorite characters of all time) that are just as memorable as the cast in chapter 1. A criticism for chapter 1 that chapter 2 ended up clearing up is that chapter 1 seemed too happy-go-lucky compared to Undertale, notorious for being dark and having depressing arcs for all characters. Chapter 2 gives the player the option to complete the game happily and normally or go through the effort to enact the Snowgrave route, an ending of the game that gives trauma particularly to the character Noelle Holiday. I won’t give away too much, but Toby Fox knows exactly how to provoke fear and guilt into the conscience of the player. The game is also worth playing for the soundtrack. Undertale’s was amazing, but in my opinion, Deltarune kicks it up a notch and no song within the 2 chapters misses. You are not required to play Undertale before Deltarune and can still have a great time with it, but visiting Undertale first will familiarize you with a major portion of Deltarune’s cast and the lore around it. All in all, Deltarune has something for everyone and I highly suggest you check it out. You can get updates on the game and its chapters here: https://deltarune.com/lancer/


Night in the Woods is less of a standard video game and more of a character study of people living in a decaying town and trying to get by. The game stars Mae Borowski, an anthropomorphic cat who dropped out of college and attempts to live her life as normal. She has not been in town to stay for a couple years, and acts as though everything is the same as it was before college. The main conflict of the game is she has to deal with people developing and changing. She attempts to reconnect with her friends: Bea Santello, a dismissive, cold, and passive aggressive girl stuck in the past as well, but in different ways, Gregg Lee, a hyper crime-committing anarchist and the only one of her friends who still hangs onto the childhood spirit, and Angus Delaney, a reclusive bookworm who has trouble opening up to people. This game is definitely for a very limited audience as for the majority of it it isn’t very exciting. It plays more as a visual novel with a few minigames here and there than a game with levels of progressing difficulty. What keeps the game fresh and interesting, for one thing, is the setting. When you think of video games you think of fantastical and unrealistic settings that tap into your wildest fantasies and are expanded upon as the game goes on. However, this setting is unique by being completely down-to-earth. It takes place in a mining town akin to those found in Pennsylvania, run-down and still leaning on public transportation like trains, or subways but slowly being drained of its originality by the revolution of less walkable cities more reliant on cars and individual transportation. Within the game you can not only see the characters going through the conflict of the unforeseeable future but also the town as an entity as well. Speaking of the characters, they’re great and much like Deltarune act and grow like real people. I haven’t played since quarantine and the cast still positively sticks in my mind. Gregg and Mae have such a fun chemistry, Bea and Mae’s story reconnecting with each other is tragically beautiful and Gregg and Angus are adorable. The relationship between Gregg and Angus is very admirable. It seems like a lot of the time when gay representation is put into media it’s done for “brownie points” and just so companies can say something like “Hey guys, look at what we did, now give me your money.” In Night in the Woods Gregg and Angus are never made a huge deal out of and just treated as normal people. In my opinion, this is the exact way to put LGBT characters in your works. The characters act and feel like a real friend group that you stumble upon and begin to know. It’s a great game if you don’t want to be stressed and exhiliaterated by a traditional game and instead want to relax and ease into a town not unlike your own. My only downside of this game, as spoiler-free as I can possibly make it, is that in the latter half some fantasy elements are introduced that kind of take away the realistic charm and flip the vibe of the game on its head. It was a jarring change but did not take away from my enjoyment, just threw me off. Night in the Woods is an emotional, slow yet satisfying game that is worth a shot if you’re into good conflict and characters.