Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2022: Best Sleeper Hit

GOTY 2022 Best Sleeper Hit Chained Echoes

Winner: Chained Echoes

I don’t think anyone expected Chained Echoes to be such a hit so quickly, even with the positive buzz before its release. After watching my partner play it for five minutes, though, I knew its status as an immediate hit was completely earned. I just had to play it. Like many retro-inspired indie RPGs, Chained Echoes wears its influences on its sleeve: anyone who has played all my old favorites, including Suikoden, Final Fantasy Tactics, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, and even Xenoblade Chronicles, will see them. But here’s the thing: none of it feels derivative. Instead, the (solo, mostly) developer, Matthias Linda, expertly picks up different ideas from those games, puts them in a blender, and finds something wholly new that is an absolute blast to play, even if you’re not as familiar with the classics as Linda and I are. 

by Zach Wilkerson

Runner-Up: Shadows Over Loathing

Some like it when a game has an announced-long-in-advance release date, building anticipation until the day they can finally play it. Me? I prefer a shadow drop. I love when a game I didn’t even know I wanted is suddenly released without warning! That’s what happened with Asymmetric’s surprise follow-up to their 2017 turn-based, stick-figure RPG, West of Loathing. In Shadows Over Loathing, we return to the world of Loathing, this time in the roaring ’20s. If you are a fan of absurd humor, time travel puzzles, and silly walks, then it will surprise and delight you the same way it did me. Don’t let the deceptively simple art style fool you; this game is the sleeper hit you should add to your backlog ASAP!

by Jonathan Logan

Readers’ Choice: Best Sleeper Hit

Winner: Chained Echoes

Runner-Up: Citizen Sleeper

Zach Wilkerson

Zach Wilkerson

After avidly following RPGFan for years, Zach joined as a Reviews Editor in 2018, and somehow finds himself helping manage the Features department now. When he's not educating the youth of America, he can often be heard loudly clamoring for Lunar 3 and Suikoden VI.