Dear Santa, I know I’ve been bad this year.
But only a little bad. I’m still on your distribution list, right?
I came up with ten gift ideas. Mostly 2022 products, so you won’t have trouble finding them. I arranged them in pairs, jusssst in case you wanted to give me two gifts. ‘Cos if you were feeling generous, I always have space on my backlog shelf.
They’re all digital, you know, so they won’t add any weight to your sled. I know the reindeer haven’t been feeling well these past three years. Please take care of yourself too.
Hope to visit with you soon. Like, on December 24th. Best wishes from little old me.
A Square Pair
This year, Square Enix published some fifteen games that are RPGs or related genres. But the two that caught my eye aren’t exactly new.
The first is a remake of 1994 RPG Live A Live. Imagine you couldn’t decide whether to play a game with ninjas, Wild West gunslingers, knights, cavemen, or whatever. Well, you can play them all through Live A Live‘s seven diverse scenarios. Each is short, so the overall game clocking in at 25 hours. Nintendo eShop offers a demo.
The second is a remaster of a remake. After Triangle Strategy refreshed my appetite for strategy RPGs, I’m keen to try Tactics Ogre: Reborn. I’m attracted to the mature story, multiple endings, and ability to rewind to earlier plot junctures. Changes introduced by this 2022 title have been controversial among fans, but ignorance is bliss since I haven’t played the previous Tactics Ogres.
A Little Puzzle, A Little Adventure
Now, something for the brain but lighthearted and funny:
They say Lego Bricktales is a decent game, even an improvement over previous attempts to simulate the magic of building Lego. Compared to most titles in the Lego video game franchise, this one focuses on construction instead of action-adventuring. Here, you can assemble a beautiful diorama without forking out $200. Check out Paula’s review.
While I’ve been craving a Lego fix, I’m just as excited about the point-and-click adventure Return to Monkey Island. It’s the sixth title in the comedic Monkey Island series, which dates back to 1990. It’s been a decade since the last game, so hurrah for a return to wholesome pirate silliness!
Cute Sims Coming Soon
These days you can’t ask Santa for a cute simulation game because, well, which one?
Life sim Kynseed caught my eye with its brightly coloured 2D pixel art. On top of the usual Farming, Fishing, Fighting, and Friending, this sandbox RPG allows you to run a business (blacksmith, apothecary, or general store), age and die (upon which you’ll play as your offspring)!
More RPGs, More!
RPGs come in all shapes and sizes. Here are two that launched this year:
What interests me about Gordian Quest is that it’s a deck builder too. It features D&D-inspired heroes and mechanics, an adjustable rogue-lite element, and a lovely art style.
And there’s Roadwarden, a text-based game. Like this year’s excellent Citizen Sleeper, it’s RPG-cum-interactive fiction set in a grim world and undergirded by survival elements and some time management. More than ever, I’m keen to discover games with great writing and bonus points if they have meaningful choices. You can try the demo of Roadwarden on Steam.
In Early Access
Some Steam games are very much works-in-progress but worth keeping an eye on, if not sampling early. Here are two on my watchlist:
Travellers Rest, which entered Early Access in 2020, has you run a fantasy inn. Think Graveyard Keeper or Stardew Valley, except you’re running a tavern with rooms, which means cooking, brewing, serving, and cleaning up after customers. (And less time for real-life chores.)
Songs of Conquest has fired up childhood memories of the HoMM series (Heroes of Might and Magic). Inspired by HoMM’s gameplay and visual style, Songs of Conquest is a turn-based strategy game with kingdom management and grid-based battles against different factions of fantasy creatures. Like its inspiration, it offers a level editor for creating your own lavish maps sparkling with goodies to harvest, plus a multiplayer mode.
If you’ve got a Christmas wishlist to share, let us know in the comments below!