SwitchRPG Awards 2022 – Rich’s Picks
As Ben mentioned in his Awards post, 2022 has been a great year for Switch RPG fans. We have seen a plethora of RPGs old and new, big and small, hit the platform. Regardless of which games you picked up this year – maybe you are still working your way through your backlog, Persona 5 Royal (I know I am), or even Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – it has been a great one! And out of everything this year, here’s what resonated with me the most:
Honorable Mention #3 & 2: Transiruby & Islets
I play a lot of Metroidvanias, and while these two games didn’t make my top 5, I think both of them deserve some recognition. First, Transiruby is a game where you take control of a cyborg named Siruby who has been transported to an unknown land. You must travel the land and as you do, you get various abilities and upgrades to aid in your journey. What really stood out to me was the amazing pixel art and cool mechanics when it comes to both traversing on foot and via ship to conquer the biomes, various puzzles, and bosses.
Building on that theme is Islets, another metroidvania where you also adventure through the world via multiple avenues. In addition to having an airship and engaging in shoot’em-up boss battles, this game layers on an interesting map mechanic. The game’s world, or island, is fragmented, and you must explore each of the areas and uncover the magnet on each piece to return the island back to its proper form. And doing so opens up new areas to explore! I really liked this twist as it added another layer of backtracking and exploration based on upgrades you have acquired and how much of the island you have restored.
If you are a fan of Metroidvanias, both of these are definitely worth a look.
Honorable Mention #1: Blossom Tales 2
Sadly, we didn’t get a new Zelda entry this year. I was hoping for a port of Wind Waker or a remake of one of the older top-down games, especially those from the GBA or DS. While none of this came to be, Blossom Tales 2 arrived and was able to fill the void. This sequel brings back all the charm from the first game with Grandpa telling another tale, building upon the original’s foundation and more or less perfecting it.
5: Dungeons of Dreadrock
Dungeons of Dredrock is an indie gem that totally surprised me. I knew nothing about the game prior to covering it here, and then I just couldn’t put it down. In Dungeons of Dreadrock, you have to go through 100 floors of a dungeon, but the puzzles and ways the floors interconnect really stood out for me and ultimately made this one of my favorite games of this year.
Tunic is an excellent Zelda-like game that suffers a bit in the performance department, but remains an enjoyable experience on the handheld hybrid console. It emphasizes a mystery that is explained over time as you find and collect pages to the in-game instruction manual. Tunic is not for the faint of heart, however. It takes some time to understand the combat system and even if it’s not for you, I recommend using one of the game’s difficulty or accessibility options to more easily experience the game and story. It’s well worth it.
Both Blossom Tales 2 and Tunic really filled the Zelda void Nintendo left this year and while I wanted to put both games in my top list, Tunic was the better of the two. It does a lot of good things to capture the Zelda-like mechanics while also doing enough to make the game feel unique and stand on its own. If you can, play both 😉
3: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was and is still one of my favorite games on the Nintendo Switch. I also really enjoyed its sequel and shared my feelings here. While I did enjoy it, I don’t think it lived up to the hype of the first game and maybe even took a few steps back from it. Hopefully the game sees enough success to greenlight a third entry, where we can see them resolve some of my complaints here. Regardless, the sequel is still fun, especially the improvements that were made to the combat system and it totally warrants your time.
2: Live A Live
If it wasn’t for the next game in my list, this one would have easily been my overall GOTY. Live A Live nailed everything I wanted from Octopath – interesting characters and stories with an overall great presentation. I adore the HD-2D engine and the improvements they made to it from Octopath to Live A Live are great. Live A Live, while an old game, never released outside of Japan so it is new to me and I feel it deserves everyone’s attention. If you liked Octopath Traveler, but felt let down by the overarching story (or lack thereof), Live A Live handles it much better. If you are looking for a great game to play while you wait for Octopath Traveler 2 next year, give Live a Live a shot. It technically may be old, but it feels new in 2022.
1: Persona 5 Royal
I originally put off playing Persona 5 like I put off playing most large RPGs, as a handheld device fits my lifestyle the best these days. I am both mad and glad that I waited to play it, though. At the time of writing this, I am over 40 hours into Persona 5 Royal and it’s been an amazing experience thus far. It works great on the Nintendo Switch, but there are things that this game does so well that I do regret not playing it sooner.
Persona 5 Royal so far has lived up to all the hype I have heard about it for so long. The writing, characters, story, music, quality-of-life changes and respecting the players time all just work and are done so well. I wasn’t sure I was going to be into the “high school drama” type game, but I am really enjoying it. I think my enjoyment with that theme has a lot to do with world building and the way the story is presented, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I could go on for hours talking about Persona 5 Royal. I know the game has been out for a long time, going back to the PS3, but it’s new to me and I am enjoying it so much. I have been playing other games in between and when I am doing so I am thinking about when I can go back to Persona. You better believe it, Persona 5 Royal lives up to the hype and is just that good.
That’s it for my list! What did you think about my picks, and what are some of your own favorites from this year? Let us know!