Winner: Chained Echoes
Year after year, we fantasize about finding an RPG that scratches that nostalgia itch — a new game with a retro look and feel that takes us back to those halcyon days of the SNES and PS1, before AAA games became the be-all, end-all, and microtransactions were commonplace. Well, 2022 is the year this fantasy finally became a reality, because Chained Echoes is the retro-inspired RPG we’ve all been waiting for. Beautiful pixel art, political intrigue, strategic combat, mechs, amazing music — this game has it all! And at less than half the cost of a typical new game these days, this excellent, solo-developed RPG love letter is an absolute steal!
by Caitlin Argyros
Don’t let Tunic‘s pastel-colored aesthetic and cute li’l fox protagonist mislead you — this is a brutal action game that throws you to the proverbial wolves instead of holding your hand through its forests and ruins. There isn’t any dialog or writing to help you either, as all of the written and spoken language present are in unintelligible runes. But the more hidden paths, clues, fairies, and game manual pages you find, and the more new mechanics and secrets you discover, the more Tunic takes shape as a truly remarkable action RPG experience. And without a single word.
by Michael Sollosi