Happy New Year! 2022 was my first full year with a Nintendo Switch which meant I had a lot more easy access to games that I wanted to pick up on the fly via the eShop. Despite a couple busy semesters of teaching, I was able to complete quite a few games! Here’s a recap of what I finished over the course of the year.
(Various, 2019. Originally released 1997)
I was in the mood for an RPG when the Grandia HD Collection went on sale at the end of 2021. I knew nothing at all about the game but everywhere I looked, people had major nostalgia for the title. So, I decided to go ahead and grab it to start playing the first game.
What do I remember? Well, I honestly remember very little about the plot except that Justin wants to go out and explore the world just like his father. And, every time he wins a battle, it sounds like he’s saying “What a b*tch!” Toward the end of the game, some crazy stuff starts happening and a giant plant starts strangling the world or something? Perhaps it’s harder for me as an adult to fully take in the scope of an RPG when I know my time can be so limited.
One thing I really liked about the game, however, is its turn-based battle system. Your characters and enemies roam freely around the screen and there’s a gauge that tells you the turn order. So, if you play your cards right, you can disrupt which enemies attack first and gain a huge advantage.
Perhaps I’ll have to watch a proper review of this game so I can remember exactly what happened in this epic! Still debating whether or not I should move on to its sequel. Were you a fan of it?
They finally did it! This Sonic game is exactly what the world was waiting for. I had a blast playing through this game, and it offered a surprisingly huge amount of content for what I had been expecting. While I didn’t get all the chaos emeralds (I never do. I suck at the mini games), I enjoyed all the fresh levels, unique boss designs, and frantic gameplay. I’ll definitely come back to this one someday to try it again with Tails or Knuckles.
Super Mario Odyssey
My girlfriend bought this game for me for Christmas, and it is a masterpiece. Somehow I was able to avoid watching any gameplay since it was released in 2017. I’m glad I waited to experience it on my own with no preconceptions. A highlight for me was playing through the 2D portions of New Donk City while Mayor Pauline put on the concert of a lifetime. I loved all the throwbacks to the original games.
Blaster Master Zero
I owned the original Blaster Master for the NES as a kid, and it was borderline impossible. First of all, the game spans 8 or 9 “zones” that are these huge open Metroidvania type levels. And, there’s no password or save system. So, if you wanted to beat the game, you had spend several hours finding the correct path, fighting through a constant onslaught of enemies, and taking on some majorly difficult bosses.
I am beyond thankful that this game got a proper remaster because it is absolutely perfect. Checkpoints, an option to save, and a map! It’s Christmas! I had such a good time with this game that I decided to beat it to 100% completion, and I was rewarded with a very satisfying ending that definitely made me want to play its sequels. To be continued…!
Having been a fan of Limbo from 2010, I was attracted to the similar gameplay of Inside. And, of course, when it went on sale for less than $10, it was a no brainer to purchase it.
While relatively short, this game had me on edge nearly the entirety of my play-through. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll say that there’s so much more to its story than meets the eye. One major word of advice: avoid the man-eating mermaids.
Blaster Master Zero 2
Staying true to my word, I moved right on to Blaster Master Zero 2 (after it went on sale, obviously). The sequel delivers in every way possible. Upgraded tank, upgraded controls scheme, upgraded map, upgraded everything. I, again, liked the game so much that I was compelled to achieve 100%. Naturally, I purchased the 3rd game (as soon as it went on sale, no doubt) and…haven’t touched it in awhile. It’s a good game, but much more challenging. So far, the first two BMZ games have my full votes of confidence.
Double Dragon IV
So, this game exists. It…. it’s a game. It’s…. ugh. I really didn’t think a Double Dragon game could get worse after Double Dragon 3, but the fourth entry is absolute garbage. I thought for sure we’d see some improvements and a healthy collection of new characters to try out like in the third game. Well, at least we have multiple lives again. All in all, this game felt like a slog, and the only reason I was able to finish it was because you can choose which level to continue from on the title screen. Still waiting for Double Dragon Neon to go on sale, and I’m hoping that one will prove to be much better.
Kirby and The Forgotten Land
Yeeeeeee Kirby! I had sort of given up on Kirby games after the original Game Boy games (I played the NES and SNES games and not much after that). I always thought they ended up being kind of repetitive with little challenge. Well, Kirby and The Forgotten Land adds just the right amount of massive level design to make you want to explore every nook and cranny. I especially liked all of the new upgrades that could be leveled up for massive damage. Furthermore, these boss battles had me hooked ever since facing off against a giant gorilla in the first world.
Nevertheless, I had to go for 100% and am glad I could get my full money’s worth for this one.
This year, I decided to purchase a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and I had a wonderful time revisiting the old NES and SNES games that were offered. One game I’ve always wanted to come back to was Spanky’s Quest, a quirky little adventure where you control a monkey who bounces balls on his head that eventually turn into sports balls to defeat enemies. Yeah, it’s weird.
Anyway, I owned this game as a kid and had traded it in after I thought it was too challenging. It’s possible I beat it way back then, but I don’t remember. And, more importantly, I had to figure out if this game was actually bad or if I just sucked. As it turns out, the game is quite enjoyable. It’s incredibly more playable on the Switch where I can drop a save state (instead of entering a password). Don’t worry, I only saved between stages and didn’t do anything sketchy to help me finish. I will maintain to this day that Spanky’s Quest has one of the best soundtracks of early SNES games. Check it out!
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
Cowabunga, dude! I am a huge Ninja Turtles fan going back all the way to second grade when my friends and I beat the original arcade game at a local arcade for my birthday party. When they announced a “classic” Turtle beat-em-up was coming out, I knew it would be mine. Oh yes, it would be mine.
No surprise at all, this game was a smash. I loved all the callbacks to the original cartoon, and it was a true joy to be able to finally play as Splinter, April, and Casey. I’m just now trying to get my friends into this game so we can have a full-on online fiesta playing through it. After all, you can have up to SIX PLAYERS online! Shell shock!
Another Sonic game! I had been looking forward to this game since they first announced it back at….was it E3? I can’t remember. Does E3 still happen? To see a Sonic game in the style of Breath of the Wild had me very intrigued, and I thought they could maybe pull it off.
Well, I bought it the week it came out, and for a time, I was totally into it. The world was indeed incredibly huge, and I got those same BotW feels that I had from before where I constantly wanted to explore everything. Three zones in and this started to wear off. Slowly, the “zones” got worse and worse as the perspective shifted from 3D to 2D. There were also these “cyberspace” levels that played more like classic 3D Sonic games. The controls during these stages were abysmal, and they only got worse as the challenge increased. Lastly, the gameplay just became repetitive. Yeah, the zones were huge, but I didn’t feel that twinge of discovery that I had when I first started.
I think Sega could make a good game if they stuck with this formula. But, they need to do some major tweaking. Do you think you can do it, Sega??
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
(Switch, 2019. Originally released on Game Boy, 1993)
A childhood favorite of mine that was a delight from beginning to end. Link’s Awakening was a big part of my youth when a friend let me borrow his copy for Game Boy. I remember sitting out on our porch and trying to navigate the river rafting section over and over again to pick up those extra hard-to-get items.
When I came back to the remaster this past December, it was like seeing an old friend. Although it was many years since I last played it, I still knew the gist of everything and found myself automatically walking to each new section of the game. The graphical touch up is lovely, and all of the game’s original charm is still there. So thankful this one went on sale before Thanksgiving (are you noticing a trend with my buying habits?).
Thanks for stopping by to check out my article! What were some of your gaming highlights of the year? Let me know in a reply below. Also, if you enjoy my content, be sure to follow my blog or subscribe via e-mail to have posts delivered directly to your inbox.
Making all of this content takes a lot of energy and work! If you’re feeling generous and would like to support my projects, consider “buying me a coffee” or two or ten from the following website:
Visit my Linktree to see more of my stuff!
6 thoughts on “My Gaming Year in Review (2022)”
I loved watching you play these over the year. Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store!
LikeLiked by 1 person
We should do our Board Gaming Year in Review!
I played through Blaster Master Zero 2 & 3 earlier this year and will say that BMZ 3 is well worth playing. Like the first two, there is a qualifier to get the “proper/full” ending. It’s not intuitive at all, so if/when you get back to it, it could be worth while to check for a spoiler free tip. The endgame is very fun and truly resolves the story.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I definitely want to go back to it someday. My backlog is quietly filling up and Zelda has been a main priority as of late. I really enjoyed the story of the BMZ games, so I want that conclusion!!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m putting Zelda off until I finish up the XC3 DLC. I know Zelda will essentially take up the entire summer, and possibly more. So I’m clearing my gaming calendar for it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sounds like you’re getting your money’s worth of XC3!
LikeLiked by 1 person