My game of the year for 2022 is Signalis. A survival horror title that I feel absolutely deserves a space among the genre’s best like Silent Hill 2. It is a 10/10 game, I have very few complaints and all of them are gripes and nitpicks. It is well worth playing.
Created by a Germany-based duo Rose Engine, Signalis provides an experience that somehow both submerges itself in its inspiration, and produces something fresh and juicy. Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion. DNA from all of those and a deluge of horror material bleed into Signalis. The result? An indie game unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Maybe it’s because I write often on live service titles as part of my job that a tight, 6-8 hour experience with no fluff, no needless exposition or grinding, was so refreshing. A game that knows what it wants to do and wraps up neatly by its conclusion. Funnily enough,that’s what made me play it six times to completion by the time of this article’s publication. Signals respects your time, and strikes words like slog and needless from my mind when I play it.
I hold Signlalis aloft alongside other modern indie games of exceptional quality like Hollow Knight, Hades, Papers Please and Super Meat Boy. I would recommend it to literally everyone, and have no doubt I will annoy someone in the future by continuously doing exactly that. Signalis stands out as a champion of both the always growing, creating, and astounding indie horror game dev community, as well as those artists striving to recapture and enhance the aesthetic of early PlayStation titles.
I hold both the minds at Rose Engine and Signalis itself in the highest esteem. It’s my GOTy for 2022, and will have a permanent place in my head and heart for years to come.
Runner Up: DNF Duel
I am nothing if not predictable, and as such I couldn't’ get away without slapping a fighting game as a runner up. DNF Duel sadly no longer has the community support it once had. It’s time as a busy game at a fighting game local or tournament show floor is likely over. I would, not recommend people buy the game now if they are looking to experience the DNF Duel that captured me in the Summer of this year. That DNF Duel is likely very much dead.
But wow, what a ridiculous and hilarious life it had. In a world where every competitive game wants to keep things low key for the sake of balance, DNF Duel was a mess of vastly different fighters with wildly different levels of power compared to each other. Not in years has the best character in a game been so far above the rest of the cast as Swiftmaster. Disgusting monster.
But, it was very fun to play. I travelled to Birmingham to play DNF Duel at Versus Fighting and it was wonderful both to compete in and spectate. Here’s to you, DNF Duel. Rest in peace.