Neon White was one of those multiplatform games best experienced on PC.
It’s been a massive year for PC gaming, with hits of all shapes and sizes hitting the platform weekly. From attention-grabbing sim and management games to all-out action-adventures and wild cinematic mysteries, there was plenty to keep keen PC players clacking keys. The best PC games of 2022 were an eclectic mix, with each inspiring wild adventures, and more wily tactics. Bottle Shrink Seal Cap
Whether you dove deep into the supernatural realms of Marvel’s Midnight Suns, took your time in the floating hospital of Wayward Strand, visited the medieval illustrated manuscripts of Pentiment, or perfected your rolls in The Lands Between in Elden Ring, this year brought countless surprises and an array of intriguing hits.
Here are our favourite PC games of 2022:
One of the fantastic things about video games is the kind of powerful experience you get when you feel you’re in control – as an active participant, when you’re charting your own destiny, creating your own goals, putting together the pieces of the puzzle with your own volition. It’s one of the most gratifying things in the world. In the same respect, one of the most powerful things games can do is to suddenly rip all that power away from you. Make you feel utterly helpless. Uneasy. Afraid to keep going.
Read: Immortality review – Picture perfect
A narrative mystery game from Sam Barlow (Her Story) and the team at Half Mermaid, Immortality asks you to be the first-hand protagonist. Your job is to sift through reels of raw camera footage, filmed for three separate movies that were never released, to find out what happened to missing actress Marissa Marcel.
And it’s so, so incredibly captivating. At a certain point, Immortality will strike you with fear, shake your whole world, and make you afraid to go on. But it will also pique your morbid curiosity so severely, it will be impossible to resist seeing it through. You’ll stay up late, being sucked right into the lives of these characters in an intense parasocial relationship. You’ll explore and ponder themes of artmaking, exploitation, and the creative spirit. The performances from everyone involved are nuanced, multi-faceted, and completely enthralling. Immortality is vital, and utterly unforgettable. – Edmond Tran
Marvel’s Midnight Suns was the biggest surprise of the year; a game that almost flew under the radar. Maybe it was because of Marvel fatigue, or a lack of interest in the ‘supernatural’ side of this expansive universe, but regardless of being the underdog, Marvel’s Midnight Suns managed to eclipse all expectations. This hybrid team-building social simulator and top-tier strategy combat game has charm in spades. It’s a little bit weird at times – particularly when you’re lounging with your ultra-powered teammates in your swimmers – but its quirks are charming in every way.
Read: Marvel’s Midnight Suns review – Friendship triumphs over evil
Even if you’re not a fan of Marvel, the game’s sweeping narrative, brilliant and relatable character arcs, and engaging turn-based combat was quick to win us over. The talent at Firaxis shines through in every facet of this game, making it a fascinating, wonderful, and worthy contender for game of the year. – Leah J. Williams
Nobody can deny the incredible impact Elden Ring has had on the year, even if March 2022 feels like it was actually several years ago. Devoted FromSoftware fans may argue otherwise, but the studio that created the Souls-like genre with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls has seemingly perfected its approach with Elden Ring, and has been rewarded with a staggeringly huge uptake by a devout community of players, many of whom have never played a game like this before, and are now changed by it.
Maybe it’s a much-advertised George R.R. Martin connection that got Elden Ring its newfound attention, with the Game of Thrones director adding some attractive flavour to the lore of the world. But it’s most certainly Elden Ring’s approach to its worldbuilding, the freedom-focussed, self-driven game structure, and challenging combat that kept people on-board, and talking about the game all year.
Read: Elden Ring review – stay a while, stay forever
The setting of The Lands Between is an absolutely vast and terrifying place, with new dangers everywhere you go. There are so many times where you see something that strikes fear into you – a towering behemoth, a horrifying beast, or another seemingly impossible challenge, and you’ll think ‘how on earth am I going to conquer this’?
But the advantage of an unrestricted open-world, one that Elden Ring cleverly uses to the fullest, is in your ability to follow your desire and curiosity, go at your own pace, and slowly find that confidence within you. Go somewhere with enemies that seem more manageable, level up your character, find new tools to help you, and build your own innate proficiency. Then, go back and overcome what was once a tough ask. Slowly but surely, across several dozen hours, you’ll feel yourself forging an intimate relationship with the land and its inhabitants, gradually finding yourself able to finally take a firm hold of every challenge within it. This world becomes yours.
The satisfaction that comes from eventually finding it in yourself to overcome such incredible odds has always been a key part of FromSoftware games. But what Elden Ring has done is make those odds feel so much greater, while giving you the capacity to do more to help yourself, at your own pace – which makes those eventual victories much sweeter. When you look back on how far you’ve come in Elden Ring, the feeling is sublime. – Edmond Tran
With the perfect mix of sinister and adorable, Cult of the Lamb burst onto the scene as an instant success. The Australian genre-blending rogue-like and cult management sim is filled to the brim with innovative riffs on existing mechanics, creepy eldritch horror-esque enemies to battle, and just plain absurd humour. Rescue an adorable little animal and recruit them into your flock, but should they begin to stray, a few days in a stockade while you ‘re-educate’ them will have them singing your praises again.
The mix of genres also keeps things fresh for hours upon end. Tired of managing your cult’s every need? Head out to battle beasts beyond comprehension in a fast-paced dungeon!
Read: Cult of the Lamb review – The flower of the flock
Dungeons and resource-gathering aside, the strength of the cohesive art direction and game’s musical score are also the keys to Cult of the Lamb’s excellence, and why it has my vote as one of 2022’s best games. The paper cutout style of sweet animals being sacrificed to an all-seeing god works so well, and the music makes you feel as though something untoward is always lurking around the corner, even when wholesome-sounding marimba tones ring through the speakers as your cult happily cuts wood and worships you as the Chosen One. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
Wayward Strand transports you to an aged care ward in a floating hospital, set in a 70s coastal Australian town. You play Casey, a young girl brimming with curiosity as she spends three days helping her mum out by keeping the residents company.
On the surface, Wayward Strand is a game where you get to know the residents and pepper them with a million questions about their lives. But dig a bit deeper, and listen a little harder as you wander the halls of the airship, and the game provides a wealth of commentary on past (and current) treatment and care of the elderly, as well as facing difficult topics like mortality.
Read: Wayward Strand review – The clock keeps ticking
Residents talk about their rich lives, both before they ended up on the ship, as well as their time in aged care. Some patients are nonverbal, however through patience and earnest interest in them, you can learn about their rich interior worlds and past adventures. As the clock ticks on each day, you must decide who to talk to and how to spend your time. There’s plenty of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moments, and Wayward Strand warrants multiple playthroughs to experience everything it has to offer, from heartfelt and gut-wrenching moments, through to absurd and silly anecdotes from the vibrant cast of characters you encounter.
I cried, laughed, and sat quietly, taking it all in, all in the space of one playthrough of this game. For a rich story, and gorgeous art style to boot, this Australian-made gem is well worth playing. – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
It may not seem like it, but the 16th century Bavarian town of Tassing, as portrayed in Pentiment, is one of the most well-realised video game settings of 2022. As a narrative adventure game where you play a resident artist originally from elsewhere, the people you talk to, the way you treat them, and the meaningful choices you make will completely reshape the overall narrative and history of the town over a period of two decades. You leave deep marks on Tassing, and the town will leave deep marks on you, too.
Read: Pentiment review – Making history
On its face, Pentiment is a historial murder mystery with a striking medieval art style. But its heart is in the detailed, intimate moments you spend with the people of Tassing – breaking bread together, mediating their issues, and forging your own unique relationships with them.
It’s also a game that makes you think deeply about how the way we live our own lives – how our relationships to our home and our neighbours can drastically change.Deep, complex, thoughtful, and not to mention beautiful, Pentiment will stay with you. It’s one of the most notable games and stories to grace 2022. – Edmond Tran
In the era of constant series reboots and long-awaited sequels, it’s easy to be cynical when something long gone decides to suddenly return, especially when it hopes to address everything that happened an aeon ago. But Return to Monkey Island, a direct sequel to the Monkey Island series as specifically envisioned by creator Ron Gilbert, follows up on the threads left in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991). Together with one of his original partners in crime, Dave Grossman, they created something great – and I don’t think anyone could have predicted how utterly brilliant this sequel would be.
Read: Return to Monkey Island Review – Sail away home
On the surface, it’s a great modern refinement of the point-and-click adventure game, and despite revisiting several of the iconic locales of the series, the strength of Return to Monkey Island is not that it’s a nostalgia trip.
Narrative-wise, it’s poignant, reflective, and heartwarming, as protagonist Guybrush Threepwood looks back on life as he encounters characters both new and old. He’s a perfect foil for those who grew up on the series coming back into it, and the approach, the connections, and the loose ends that are tied feel simply perfect. For those who grew up on Monkey Island and Lucasarts adventure games, there’s no denying how powerful this comedic adventure game is. Really, it’s one of the best PC games of the last several years. – Edmond Tran
If you’ve played Vampire Survivors, you understand why Vampire Survivors is so compelling. If you haven’t played Vampire Survivors, then trust me – I know it looks like a bad Castlevania fan game, but just throw yourself in for 30 minutes, and you’ll get it.
Vampire Survivors has created a whole new genre, and that’s not something you can say about many games released in 2022. It’s a game that takes the idea of ‘bullet hell’ – a term for shoot-em-up games that involve dodging a ridiculous amount of projectiles – and applying it to your player character, which creates an incredibly satisfying power curve that you can experience in 10-minute runs. Start with a throwing knife. End with an indecipherable monsoon of blades, projectiles, and a devastating garlic aura.
The game does all the hard work – attacking – for you. All you need to do is keep moving to avoid the creep of enemies, and keep the right distance to have your weapons stay effective. You’ll strategically build your loadout from a variety of different options (many of them secret combinations) as you mow down more and more enemies. Things get very intense, and the stakes get high very quickly as hundreds of enemies fill the screen. Being able to harness that insane amount of destruction, even for a small moment, is intoxicating.
We had the year of battle royales. We had the year of Among Us. Now we have the year of Vampire Survivors, and it absolutely deserves its place as one of the most iconic games of 2022. It’s on Xbox Game Pass. The mobile version is free. You have no excuse. – Edmond Tran
There’s a pretty iconic episode of The Simpsons where Milhouse sits in front of a video game, and the intensity of what’s happening on the screen is enough to assault him with an intense gust of wind that blows back his hair. If there was a game that could hypothetically reach those same levels of intensity, it would be Neon White.
Read: Neon White review – Don’t stop, never give up
A first-person platformer and shooter, Neon White’s primary point of excellence is its heart-pounding, hand-twitching potency. Short-burst levels, most of which can be completed in less than a minute, challenge you to speed-run through gauntlets that require zippy movement, fast reflexes, and pin-point accuracy to succeed.
There’s a leaderboard aspect, of course, and when sizing yourself up against your friends, shaving milliseconds off your run could mean the difference between first place or fiftieth. Even when it’s divorced from friendly competition and bragging rights, the feeling of propelling yourself through these levels, performing death-defying leaps, and dispatching demons as quickly as you can gives Neon White an exhilarating feel – much like the high-octane 2000’s anime that inspires its look, feel, and narrative. Sharp, punchy, and packed with almost 100 challenges that are thrilling to try and perfect, Neon White is a real rush. – Edmond Tran
Two Point Campus combines hearty management simulation with a wacky sense of fun, for a game that never takes itself too seriously. If you’ve played Two Point Hospital, you know what to expect here. If you don’t, know that Two Point Campus is a wild ride, one where students can fail magic classes thanks to wanton curses roaming campuses, and clown class teaches students how to throw pies into their own faces.
Read: Two Point Campus review – Extremely cool for school
In other realms of your campus multiverse, medieval knights learn to joust for survival, while maths nerds learn about computer science and quantum whatnots. It’s an eclectic mix in Two Point Campus, and players are tasked with controlling every aspect of this wonderful world – from placing decorations in campus corridors to setting up yearly class schedules, mixers, and concerts. You can live out your dreams of crafting the perfect university, or go hog wild: kick out students you don’t like, and ruin the dreams of others. It’s your campus, your rules – and it’s a total blast. – Leah J. Williams
As with any list, there’ll always be some subjects that don’t quite make the cut. This year, we loved a lot of PC games – and not all of them managed to squeeze into our top ten. That doesn’t make them any less worth shouting about.
First, we’d love to pay homage to Overwatch 2 – ‘I’ve always been a big fan of Overwatch since it was in beta, and it continues to deliver and provide the same exhilarating gameplay, albeit with a fresh coat of paint and improvements to the user experience that really make the game continue to shine for both competitive and casual players.’ – Emily Spindler-Carruthers
Then, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – ‘In this wild and colourful fantasy adventure, fan-favourite character Tiny Tina returns to her roots, guiding a new batch of players through a Dungeons & Dragons-like romp. In odd narrative beats, players are sent through wild beanstalk forests, dragon-infested mountains, strange rocky paths, goblin tunnels, and more wild worlds – all with their own wacky, Borderlands-inspired twist.’ – Leah J. Williams
Wylde Flowers – ‘An Australian-developed farm simulator-adventure game hybrid with a strong narrative, great style, and a wonderful message of inclusion … Between story beats, you can spend your time in a wonderful world getting to know everyone in what is an excellent life simulator, planting seeds, selling crops, fishing, and foraging – all delightful activities that feed into the game’s wild and magical storyline.’ – Leah J. Williams
The Case of the Golden Idol – ‘A very clever detective game that asks you to really put your thinking cap on and deduce the culprits of a series of murders, simply by analysing frozen snapshots in time. It cribs a lot of ideas from The Return of the Obra Dinn, but that can only be a good thing, in our opinion.’ – Edmond Tran
Goat Simulator 3 – ‘A game that celebrates the wild and uncanny wrath of goats, in all its glory … a game where you can pull off a ridiculous array of stunts, even though you are (or perhaps because you are) saddled with an unwieldy and physics-defying goat body.’ – Leah J. Williams
And finally, Marvel Snap – ‘Beautiful card art, a great array of Marvel characters, and cool visual effects aside, what Marvel Snap excels at is creating an incredibly approachable and endlessly compelling strategy game. It’s so easy to pick up, satisfying to play, and there are so many nuances to learn and appreciate.’ – Edmond Tran
How does GamesHub pick its Game of the Year categories?
GamesHub’s Game of the Year picks are selected collectively by tenured staff. Each member puts together a ranked personal list of their favourite games released in 2022, and titles are given a score according to their rank, with 10 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. The scores are collated, and the games are resorted in rank by their collective score, with staff members then deliberating over individual placements and adjusting where necessary, before locking in the final list.
For more on the best games of 2022, explore the rest of our game of the year coverage:
Stay tuned for more lists, including personal lists from GamesHub staff and special games industry guests.
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Games critic Nicholas Kennedy shares his personal picks for the Top 3 games of 2022.
The team at Massive Monster, developers of Cult of the Lamb, share three of their favourite games from 2022.
GamesHub Staff Writer Emily Spindler shares her Top 10 games of the last twelve months.
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