In a matter of days, we will be welcoming 2022. This has been an intense year, in which we have seen the arrival of numerous video games. Recently we were able to enjoy The Game Awards 2021, the ceremony hosted by Geoff Keighley in which the award for game of the year (GOTY) went to none other than It Takes Two, the cooperative proposal by Josef Fares. As it happens in every awards ceremony, only a few can win and many titles fall into oblivion; dozens of them are released every month and not all of them receive the recognition they surely deserve.
Luckily, we can use the last few hours of the year to fix this, so we can't think of anything better than to take a look at the best surprises of 2021. The list does not follow any order based on ratings or anything similar. Simply, they are games that we consider to provide an interesting proposal, with enough quality levels to be deserving of a chance. Titles that, without needing to stand out too much, have managed to convince those who trusted them.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
A Metroidvania of Japanese origin with a slight soulslike touch and a fascinating art direction. The game excels due to the large amount of final bosses that we have to face, as well as its complex level design and the complex narrative, centered on the last priestess that maintains the life. Only she can become the remedy for a strange disease that is born from the eternal rain that falls on the kingdom.
One of the great surprises of the final stretch of the year. Witch Beam's game is a very peculiar title thanks to its relaxing proposal: to undo a move. Probably, in real life this is something that often leads to stress. However, in Unpacking it is not only an enjoyable puzzle experience accessible to any player; it is also a moment in which memories, nostalgia, and other emotions of something that always involves changes and sacrifices come to the surface.
The Forgotten City
The story behind Modern Storyteller's title leaves no one indifferent: originally it was a mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but it was finally transformed into a complete videogame. It is a role-playing adventure much more limited than Bethesda's, but it is no less complex for that. The main attraction is the plot, developed in a subterranean city in ancient Rome, where a strange curse turns its inhabitants into golden statues, and where time is whimsical, as there is no lack of time loops.
Astalon: Tears of the Earth
Another metroidvania that can't be missing in the list. In this one, it's a game that mixes the basic rules of the genre with classic elements from the action platformers of the 90s. Finding all the secrets of the Tower of Snakes is a challenge, although at least we have the possibility to play with several different characters and make use of their abilities. The powerful narrative is surprising, something that we do not always see easily in one of the most popular formulas among video game fans. The merit of LABS Works is twofold, since we are talking about the studio's first work.
A roguelike of terror and cards, why not? Inscryption is in our compilation of surprises because it was just that, a surprise for those who trusted Daniel Mullins Games' proposal. With an eerie atmosphere, a strange sense of humor and even the presence of puzzles that we must solve beyond the card games, this is one of those games that is worth trying, even once in a lifetime.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Greb Lobanov, the creator of Wandersong, has won a place in the hearts of the players who bet on his most personal project. Chicoy: A Colorful Tale is an authentic hymn to life; a colorful and relaxing journey through all those emotions that define what it means to be human. It does not invent anything at the controls, but it is enough to offer a most enjoyable adventure. Special mention to the soundtrack by Lena Raine, whom you may know for her superb work in Celeste.
Humans have been debating life and death since time immemorial. And Death's Door proposes an intense journey through both. An adventure like those of yesteryear, full of puzzles, secrets to find and enemies of all kinds. The game is divided into several dungeons that we must overcome using the objects and skills we get along the way; we can freely explore the world and is also full of winks to classic sagas like The Legend of Zelda.
The "idle game" has more and more followers every day, and the Four Quarters game is one of the most popular at the moment. Because this type of proposal has shown that you can play a lot, without having to get too involved. Loop Hero is a demanding title, full of possible combinations and capable of frustrating even the most patient player. For this reason, and for elements such as its atmosphere and story, among others, it has become a real phenomenon.
The Artful Escape
Beethoven &: Dinosaur is a recently founded Australian independent studio. And we can't think of a better way to debut than with a journey through multiple galaxies to the rhythm of an electric guitar. With an accentuated musical theme, the title poses a journey through self-improvement, friendship, and other everyday elements that we all experience during our day-to-day lives. It is an experience lacking in challenges and in which we do not interact too much, but it is worth trying it just for its premise, as well as for its spectacular audiovisual component.
Resident Evil 4 VR
Although the revelation of its existence was already a surprise in itself, the final result only confirmed it. We always come back to Resident Evil 4; we have done it in practically all the generations and platforms we have seen since its original release on the GameCube, but we never imagined that we would get to see it adapted to virtual reality. This version offers the best combat, an immersion rarely seen, and, definitively, a very original way to enjoy the classic once again. It is not the most complete edition, but it is the most fun.