2019 has been a very busy year for games with a great variety of quality experiences we don’t usually see.
I’ve got a major beef with gaming in 2019 and it’s with developers. How dare you keep releasing so many interesting games throughout the year to make it so hard, expensive, and time consuming to play them all? Who do you think you are, making so many games I want to play and not giving me the time to play them? I’m so disgusted by this constant feeling like I’m drowning in awesome games, that I can barely stay afloat to reach this point in 2019 and try to only give you a list of 10 of those great games I think I enjoyed the most. Look at us. Who could’ve guessed? Not me.
That said, this has been a great year and my short list of games I liked a lot was easily almost at 20 games. Making the final cuts for the list below was tough and I’m sure as I put more time into 2019’s games that I’ll see how dumb and arbitrary this list will feel in hindsight. I’ll give a shout out to those games that came close to making this Top 10, but fell short for some reason I can’t really explain. Sayonara Wild Hearts was a fun, poppy ride in a pop music video dream. Death Stranding is a bold, engrossing game I just didn’t get enough time into yet. Super Mario Maker 2 was a better version of last-gen’s game that still suffers from Nintendo’s confusion about the internet. Katana Zero is an cool action game with a bold style and a good story. The Outer Worlds has a great story and made me want to explore every inch of its worlds to find every nugget of story and quest to combat less of a worry. Sparklite‘s one of the few roguelites that I’ve actually beaten and I couldn’t stop playing it until I got to the end. I wish I had more time to get back to Life is Strange 2 because that first episode was quite nice. I’ll also give a shout out to Control that I got a day before writing this and it’s pretty rad so far.
Let’s get to my top 10 games of 2019:
10. PC Building Simulator – PC, PS4, XBox One, Switch
Sometimes the most enjoyable games for me are those that take something rather mundane and focuses on that. The notion of a game about putting together PCs doesn’t sound like amazing, but the real world parts, ease of putting the PCs together, and the absurdity of the people and requests you’re given made for one of the most surprising games of this year for me.
9. Baba Is You – Switch, PC
Baba is Switch and PC. Baba is Puzzle Game is Great. Baba is Tough is Impossible. Me is Win is Genius. Baba is Win.
8. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – PC, PS4, XBox One
Quality Star Wars games over the past 20 years have been fairly rare and over the past ten it’s been even more rare, so giving the director of God of War III and the team at Respawn a chance to make a Star Wars paid off big time despite the rush to get it out before Episode IX, leading to it being unpolished enough to lower my enjoyment just a little bit. The best part of the game is that as you get more abilities and unlock more skills, the action just keeps getting better and the enjoyment increases so much in a way I’ve never seen out of a Star Wars action game before and that’s a special thing to experience here in 2019.
7. MLB The Show 19 – PS4
The team at Sony San Diego really nailed it with this year’s edition of The Show as their Road to the Show career mode is spectacular and Diamond Dynasty is more enjoyable than it’s ever been. The game continues to be the most innovative sports game out there that nobody pays attention to because 2K and EA Sports should’ve stolen their dynamic difficulty and year-to-year saves features long ago to make for a better game that is less hostile to the player every year.
6. Wilmot’s Warehouse – Switch, PC
Remember what I said about mundane games being my thing? Wilmot’s Warehouse is an absurd game about managing and organizing a warehouse full of items with obtuse logos on them that is perfect for people that love organizing inventories in games with none of that pesky hack-and-slash or shooty bang bangs to get in the way of the part of the game that’s actually fun.
5. A Plague Tale: Innocence – PC, PS4, XBox One
The mercenary support studio called Asobo Studio got a big opportunity to do something new and they came up with a weird stealth action-adventure game set in France during the time of the Black Death that is fully of creepy, supernatural rat hordes and a great story that is hard to forget about.
4. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech – PC, Switch
Image & Form takes so many risks with the SteamWorld series that it’s surprisingly how great each game is in this series despite almost always being a completely different kind of game. SteamWorld Quest takes the steampunk robot aesthetic to the medieval ages and makes it a card-battling RPG that somehow produces the best card-battling combat system of this year despite how strong Slay The Spire’s combat is, which somehow turned me from not liking CCG games into being a fan of them and that was a real feat.
3. Concrete Genie – PS4/PSVR
While the first game from the team at Pixelopus (Entwined) was neat but rough around the edges (Hey-Oh! *joke flies over 99.9% of your heads*), they really nailed it with their second game that is about a bullied teen gaining the abilities to create awesome works of art on the walls of an abandoned fishing town and create genies to help him stop and avoid the bullies that hang around on the streets hoping to pummel this nerd because they have nothing better to do. It tells a heartwarming story with an amazing art style and great use of gyro controls to make for a great game that cut through some dark parts of the year where all the news I saw seemed bleak and never-ending, which is a hell of a feat for a game to pull off.
2. Children of Morta – PC, PS4, XBox One, Switch
While there are roguelites that are well known for great gameplay, style, and music, very few have an engaging story that makes sense for the repetitive nature of the genre and Children of Morta combines all of that into a package that is never been seen in the genre before. The story of the Bergson family that is trying to save the world from the corruption with their familial power of surviving death in the procedurally-generated caves they take on makes for great small character moments when you fail and big moments when you succeed while also tying story threads throughout each run in ways that really makes it feel like a cohesive story no matter how well or poorly you do.
1. Outer Wilds – PC, PS4, XBox One
There’s no other game that could’ve been at the top of my list than Outer Wilds, which is such a unique experience that ties together 22 minute bouts of exploration, discoveries, and wonder as you try to piece together the lore of this solar system of weekend space vacation takers figuring out amazing scientific discoveries that literally shake the foundations of reality that causes you to have to relive the same, small period of time over and over again until you’ve figured out how this happened. There’s nothing else like Outer Wilds out there and it’s an amazing feat from such a small team.
It’s been an incredible year for indie games and I hate them all at the same time for flooding this year with so many good games that I had neither the time or money to keep up with them. The one thing I’m most proud of this year is reviving our nearly dead Twitch channel and streaming consistently throughout the year with lots of interesting new and old games to help us reach Affiliate status so that those of you that tune in and enjoy the streams can support us to help keep us going into 2020. I appreciate everyone that tunes in even for a few minutes and hope to keep improving throughout next year with more great content to come. Thanks again!