Top 2021 games
Last year was an interesting one for gaming, with much excitement for titles by large and small developers alike. Check out our favorites below and let us know in the comments which video games you enjoyed.
Eastward makes nostalgic calls to a simpler time — a time when The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Earthbound were scattered across every kid’s shag carpeted bedroom in America. With the game’s beautiful art style and dark yet light-hearted post-apocalyptic setting, we follow John, the strong but silent protagonist, and Sam, a wide-eyed, white-haired, ready-for-adventure young girl. Soon after the prologue, the dynamic duo is exiled up to the cursed surface of the Earth to deal with numerous groups of settlers struggling with the Miasma. Millennials who grew up in the 16-bit era will find a comfortable 30 hours of gametime full of ups, downs, nooks, crannies, heartbreak, laughs, and adventure in this top indie hit of 2021.
— Cameron Buster
In a year with a barrage of FPS gems released during the holiday season, some decent open-world action games throughout the year, and a stellar open-world racing game, the single best game of 2021 comes in the form of a 2-D game that was first announced a mere four months before its October release. That game is Metroid Dread. Nintendo’s beloved Metroid franchise got revitalized with its first new 2-D release (not counting ports/remakes) in 15 years. And what a gem this game is. Dread excels at all the basics you’d expect from a Metroid game: puzzle platforming, combat, traversal through gorgeous environments (with beautiful, diorama-like, 3-D backgrounds). But Dread’s challenging boss battles and shocking story moments elevate this game close to the level of Super Metroid, not to mention the plethora of sequence breaks and outstanding Shinespark puzzles. This is the game that keeps on giving core players new discoveries to make.
— Jeremy Costello
2021 has been a great year for video games, but I would have to say my favorite was House of Ashes. The gameplay was a perfect blend of decision-making and quick-time events, with the intermittent shooter scene. The characters were relatable and likable. Even those that initially weren’t as easy to like ended up with redemption arcs. The game’s variety of potential endings gives it some serious replay value. In my opinion, House of Ashes is by far the best game in the Dark Pictures Anthology.
— Ainsley Cotherman
Forza Horizon 5
Beautiful graphics, a physics engine that has that perfect feel between arcade and simulation, a map so large that it holds a track that takes 10-15 minutes to drive around once, and a selection of cars that is diverse and each of which has its own unique style. These are but a few of the reasons that this game takes the top spot for last year. Racing games have always held a special place in my heart, and this one has definitely found its own.
— Patrick Madden