I’m doing a new format this year for my top 10 list! I didn’t do a lot of blogging this year, so a majority of the games on my list are ones that I’ve yet to write about.

So what does that mean? It means I’m going to do a good old-fashioned countdown! Every day leading up to the new year, starting with later today, I’ll publish a post about one of my favorite games this year. These will be a bit longer form than last year’s list entries, since they don’t need to all be crammed into one article. The structure of each entry is pretty loose. The goal will be to explain what I think is unique, interesting, or just plain enjoyable about each entry (and why I think other folks should play it). At the end, I’ll probably summarize my top 10 in a final recap post.

Format explanations aside, let’s also knock out a bit of meta-top-ten housekeeping while we’re here!

So Many Games, So Little Time

I’m not a professional critic, so I only actually play games that I suspect I’ll like. Sometimes that means sticking to genres I love: last year, I scrambled to pick up Dandara around GOTY season because I love obscure indie Metroidvanias and wanted to give it a chance. Sometimes, it means broadening horizons and trying something I might not typically look for: last year, I took the plunge on Battletech and found myself unexpectedly into it.

Throughout the year, I keep an interest list of games that I’d really like to check out if I have an opportunity. As it turns out, I don’t get to all of them. So here’s a brief list of games that could have been contenders… if I’d found the time to play them:

Disco Elysium

This game seems really cool, but it also seems like a substantial time investment… maybe next year?

Code Vein

Before its release, this game was often referred to as “anime Bloodborne”, which honestly sounds great. But reviews were middling and it came at a busy time, so I never got around to it.

AI: The Somnium Files

A game made by the creative lead behind the beloved Zero Escape series, which is an intriguing prospect. With good reviews so far, I bet I’ll end up talking about this one sometime next year.


The Yakuza series has always been a “maybe someday” for me. Judgment in particular seems like it spins off of the series in an interesting way. I hope to check this out at some point.

Heaven’s Vault

I don’t know much about this game, but it’s a beautiful sci-fi narrative adventure game about archaeology. And that sounds pretty dope.

Knights and Bikes

I backed this game on kickstarter and was really excited to see how it turned out! I played the very beginning with my partner but we just never found a chance to play the rest.

Astral Chain

I tend to like Platinum Games’ titles, but this one seemed kind of bland. I’ve since had people recommend it to me, though, and to them I say: m- my bad, I… had a lot of other stuff to play…

The Sojourn

A game that appears to be a debut release from a new studio. It’s is one of those atmospheric puzzle games (a la Portal, The Talos Principle, etc.). It certainly looks gorgeous, but I’ve heard nothing about it and never got around to seeing how it plays.

Checking In on Last Year

Naturally, this isn’t the only year in which I completely failed to check out all the games I was interested in. In fact, there’s a few interesting 2018 releases that I only got around to this year. They’re worth mentioning here, since they’re not technically contenders for 2019:

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

I never quite finished this one, but enjoyed my time with it nonetheless. It could be best described as a narrative-driven XCOM-like tactics game with a bizarre setting. Playing as mutant anthropomorphic animals in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I fought through some tough encounters on a quest to build a better life for my team’s community. The game opts for a strange tonal mix of grim and quirky, and it unexpectedly nails it.


I’ve always wanted a souls-like with more persistent co-op. I waited on this game till I could play through it with a friend. Despite some of its severe missteps in the multiplayer design, I loved this game! Ashen has a lovely art style, well-executed atmosphere and tone, and a lot of hidden corners to explore. While its soulslike combat was never transcendent, the ability to team up with a friend and actually play through the story together made it well worth my time.

Monster Hunter: World

Perhaps the most approachable in the series, this was the first time I felt a Monster Hunter game working for me. I still fell off when it started to demand some grinding, but I got a solid 30 hours of enjoyment, saw a bunch of biomes, and pulled off some cool moves with my weapon of choice (the insect glaive). All in all, a pretty good time with a series I’ve often bounced off of.

Deltarune: Chapter 1

I didn’t get around to Undertale until a couple of years ago, but it’s one of the most heartwarming games in recent memory. Deltarune continues this legacy with some fun twists on gameplay and another effortlessly charming cast of characters. Like Undertale, Deltarune is a game that loves you, and it isn’t afraid to let you know.

Honorable Mentions

Finally, I’d like to mention a few games that I really enjoyed but couldn’t find space for in my top 10.

Dicey Dungeons

This game came really close to making my list, but was chased out by some other contenders. The main reason it didn’t rank higher is that only the entry-level content is particularly compelling. Once you’ve played through with each different character, you’ve largely seen all the variety it has to offer. Even so, the time I spent getting my first win with each unlocked character was delightful, and I’m glad I played through those runs.

Slay the Spire

Similar to Dicey Dungeons, this is a game that worked unbelievably well for me up to my first victory with each character. Beyond that, though the newly added variations are interesting, too much of it is repetitive and familiar. That said, the game’s core is really entertaining and I expect next year to be playing and loving more TCG roguelikes in similar styles.

Kingdom Hearts III

Oh boy, this game sure did come out this year. Kingdom Hearts III was for the most part a major letdown for me. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a lot of feelings while playing it, especially in the later areas where the game abandons its exhausting Disney shtick. It’s a compromised game that I have complicated feelings about, but probably the most nostalgia I felt this year.

And that’s it for the kickoff! The countdown will begin soon!