Cary’s Best Games of 2022 SO FAR Awards Show!

Around this time of year, I like to make a list of my best games SO FAR, because usually the AAA titles are released later in the year during the holiday season, and the titles that came out earlier tend to be forgotten.  So here’s when those games get their due.  Keep in mind that this is my list only and no other outside opinions contributed.  And if a game isn’t on this list, it either just didn’t appeal to me as much or I haven’t had a chance to play it yet.  Ok with that out of the way, let’s begin!


Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)

This one’s a big deal because this is Kirby’s first full 3-D game!  And even though it’s probably still not my favorite Kirby game, and didn’t even get my best of 2022 SO FAR award (though it’s probably second place), HAL Laboratory really blew it out of the park with this one.  If anything, the quality of this first 3-D outing makes Kirby’s future in this genre VERY promising!  I also love how most Kirby games, including this one, start out all cute and colorful, but by the end of the game they get pretty dark!  Not to spoil this game too much, but by the end you get into some Half Life territory!  But you can still put this one in the pile of great Kirby games the whole family can enjoy.  Is there really such a thing as a bad Kirby game?  Not yet!

Runner Up:

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PS4)

It’s your typical LEGO game.  A friend of mine once said that LEGO games aren’t very good, but they are very fun.


TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge (PS4)

When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out in the late 80s, I was a little too old by then to get into it fully.  I didn’t get any of the toys, and I only watched the cartoon casually, and in secret, or else I wouldn’t look cool in front of the other guys.  Of course I still probably wasn’t cool so it wouldn’t have mattered.  Glad those days are over.  But there was one aspect of TMNT that I could really get into and not have to hide it.  And that was the video games, especially the four player arcade ones.  EVERYONE was playing them, and aside from Pac-Man, I probably put more quarters into the TMNT arcade game than anything else.  Years later when my little brothers were born, they got into the TMNT games, too.  In fact, my brother Ben owns one of those TMNT Arcade1up cabinets.  And my brother Jeff and I still joke about how when he was little and would whine to our mom every time I accidentally got the pizza in Turtles in Time.  That story is also how we named our podcast.  So with all those great memories of the TMNT games with me, I was super excited to have the opportunity to review TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge.  Over the years, many have tried to emulate the feel of the classic arcade games and failed.  But does Shredder’s Revenge do it right?  SPOILER ALERT: HECK YEAH IT DOES!!!

Runners Up:

Cotton Fantasy (PS4)

“Cotton” is a series of 2-D horizontally scrolling shooters that were very popular in the 90’s during the 16- and 32-bit eras.  They star a candy-obsessed witch girl named Cotton who flies on her broom as she shoots down foes in spooky yet silly settings.  It’s an example of the “Cute ‘Em Up” subgenre of shooters similar to titles like Twinbee, Parodius, Fantasy Zone, or Ordyne.  Last year was Cotton’s 30th Anniversary and we got a few games and re-releases out of that.  There was a reboot of the original game, which I reviewed here, as well as re-releases of some of the 16-bit titles, which I also reviewed.  And now Cotton is in a brand new 2-D shooter named Cotton Fantasy!

River City Girls Zero (Switch)

In Japan there is a popular series of games starring Kunio-kun.  Kunio is a hot-blooded high school student who sometimes gets into fights and trouble, but he always stands up for his friends and against bullies.  And when he’s not doing that, he competes in sports.  Some of these games were brought to the US under name and graphical changes, so if you’ve ever played Renegade, River City Ransom, or Super Dodge Ball, you’ve played a Kunio game and may not have even known it!  A few years ago, game maker WayForward came out with River City Girls, a game that played like River City Ransom, but starred Kunio’s and his pal Riki’s girlfriends as they fought to save their guys!  And now they’ve ported over a River City Ransom sequel that came out on the Super Famicom but never in the US.  In the game, Kunio and Riki have been framed and sent to prison, but they break out and team up with their girlfriends to fight the gang that caused all this.  Supposedly this was the game that inspired WayForward to make River City Girls.  Huh, that’s interesting, I didn’t even know that!  Anyway, WayForward added an intro, cutscenes, and an English translation to the Super Famicom game and called it River City Girls Zero.  It’ll be available on more consoles later, but as of this writing, it’s only available on Switch.

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined (Switch)

One of the Super Nintendo’s many hidden gems was Pocky and Rocky.  It was a two player co—operative 2-D shooter with a unique theme.  The game had a Japanese myths and folklore motif.  Player one was Pocky, a Japanese shrine maiden who threw cards, and player two was Rocky, a leaf throwing tanuki.  It’s actually a sequel to a Japan only arcade game from Taito called Kiki Kaikai, and has spawned a couple of sequels and many cameos over the years.  And now they’re back in a whole new game!


The King of Fighters XV (PS4)

The thing I liked about this game is that usually in KOF games, the last boss (or bosses) are super cheap and I can’t defeat them.  But in this one I could!  At least on the easy difficulty selection anyway.  And as an SNK fan, this one has a lot of characters I like.  Leona, Shermie, Vanessa, the Ikari Warriors, etc.  And the cool thing is that the Ikari Warriors team stage has Metal Slug stuff in the background!

There’s another fighting game coming out later that looks interesting and might be feature here by the end of the year if I get to play it.  And that’s Multiversus.  It’s a Smash clone with characters from WB and DC Comics franchises.  Batman, Superman, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Wonder Woman, Adventure Time, Scooby Doo, etc.


Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch)

I don’t really play the mainline Pokémon games anymore because they’re kind of all the same.  That’s not a bad thing, because why fix what isn’t broken.  But they’ve just gotten a bit stale for me.  I wanted a Pokémon game with a bit more action, like a Tales game.  And while Pokémon Legends isn’t quite that, it’s definitely a step in the right direction as far as what kind of Pokémon game I’d like to play.  If Kirby and the Forgotten Land would win second place in my Best Game of the Year SO FAR, then this would definitely be third place.  Anyway, a lot of people have described this game as Pokémon meets Breath of the Wild, and that’s a pretty good description.  The game is set in the past, when people were still afraid of Pokémon (hey I’d be afraid too if a mouse could electrocute me).  So instead of Pokémon hiding in the tall grass, YOU’RE the one hiding in the grass, trying to sneak up on Pokémon to catch them.  This is where the more action oriented gameplay comes in, and it’s a lot of fun.  If you have to battle Pokémon, that’s when it’s more like a traditional Pokémon game with turn based actions and such.  So that’s why I’m classifying it as an RPG.  If you like Pokémon but want something different to tide you over until Scarlet and Violet come out, then I definitely recommend this one.

I’ll probably skip out on Pokémon Violet and Scarlet since they are mainline games, but there is another RPG I’m looking forward to later this year.  And that’s Live A Live, a remake of a 16-bit RPG from Square that never made it out of Japan until now.  I’ve already played the demo and liked what I saw, so it’ll probably make this list at the end of the year.


Chocobo GP (Switch)

Back during the PSOne days, Square released a mascot kart racing game featuring cute versions of their Final Fantasy staple characters.  You know, chocobo, moogle, white and black mages, etc.  It was called Chocobo Racing.  I wanted to get this game when it came out, but I was poor college student at the time and couldn’t afford to get it at full price.  Plus I heard it was getting a lot of bad reviews, so I decided to wait for a while.  Shortly after I graduated college, I found a new copy of Chocobo Racing at a flea market and it was only 20 bucks.  And since I had a bit more disposable income by then, I decided to get it.  And you know what?  Despite it having such bad reviews, I really liked it!  Sure it was no where near as good as Mario Kart or other mascot racers at the time such as Diddy Kong Racing and Crash Team Racing.  But I really liked how they implemented Final Fantasy themes and tropes into the gameplay and presentation.  So when Square-Enix showed a sequel of sorts last year coming to the Switch called Chocobo GP, I was really excited and wanted to get it. The new game isn’t quite as good as the first, and I can understand why people wouldn’t like it.  But I still enjoyed it somewhat and you can play as Terra from FF6 in her Esper form riding Magitek Armor, so that won me over right there.

I don’t know how much competition Chocobo GP will get in the racing category by the end of the year.  I think there’s a free-to-play Disney kart racer coming out later, but I’m not sure if I’ll play that or not.


Nintendo Switch Sports (Switch)

Wii Sports is my number one favorite sports video game of all time, and while Nintendo Switch Sports is nowhere near as good, it’s still fun.  This time you play sports in a giant rec center complex called Spocco Square (kind of reminds me of those touristy sporting good stores that have been cropping up around where I live lately, like Scheel’s).  I do wish there wasn’t such a focus on online play this time, but at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with motion control bowling.

Runner Up:

Mario Strikers: Battle League (Switch)

This one is a bit more online centric than I would’ve liked, but the angry Mario characters gets a laugh out of me every time!


Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness (Switch)

One of the reasons why I really liked the Xbox 360 was it was one of the first consoles to really support little indie titles.  One of those was Protect Me Knight, a fun NES styled tower defense game for four players.  It had awesome music, too, which is understandable since it was made by Ancient, a company headed by Yuzo Koshiro, one of my favorite music composers.  That game later got a sequel on the 3DS called Gotta Protectors, which added some Gauntlet style gameplay to the mix.  And this new one, Cart of Darkness, is on the Switch!  This one brings back some of the simplicity of the original game, but adds a castle that runs on a cart, so you have to protect it and the princess on board until the end of the track.  I don’t know if it’s any better than the other titles in the series, but it’s still a lot of fun.

And now it’s time for my Best Game of the Year SO FAR!  Taiko drum roll please…


Pac-Man Museum+ (PS4)

Probably not a big surprise to anyone.  Is Pokémon Legend: Arceus and Kirby and the Forgotten Land better games?  Yeah, probably.  But you know what?  I really like Pac-Man and this collection has pretty much all my favorites.  I love how you can build your own arcade and I have the PS4 physical version so no input lag problems for me!  Sometimes I pick wild cards for my winners, so this is one of those times!

Will Pac-Man be able to retain the award by the end of the year?  Maybe.  I know that Nintendo and others can always announce new games after this blog, but as of right now, the rest of the year feels a little ‘blah’ to me.  Sure we have the Klonoa collection, Pac-Man World Re-Pac, and Splatoon 3, but since Breath of the Wild 2 has been delayed into next year, there’s really not much else I’m looking forward to.  I’m not really interested in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 or Bayonetta 3.  So who knows?  Pac-Man Museum+ may still win by the end of the year, or maybe I’ll come to my senses and give the award to a more deserving game.  But for now, this is my list.  Let me know in the comments section what you think of it, and tell me your favorite games of the year SO FAR!  Later!  –Cary

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