Your games of the year: Royal Match, Love & Pies, Beatstar and – surprise! – Marvel Snap


To wrap up the year, we asked a few readers to pick their personal game of the year, regardless of platform or release date. This is the final, bumper batch of selections to see you through Christmas.

The first part is here, and features Chris Petrovic, Sonja Ängeslevä, Ratko Bozovic, Anette Staloy, Alexandra Takei, Phillip Black and more.

Part two has Kristian Segerstrale, Annelie Biernat, Ville Rauma, Maria Maunula, Sophie Vo and Matej Lančarič’s games of the year, among others.

Magic Eden chief gaming officer Chris Akhavan:
This year I reconnected with the tried and true Counter-Strike: Global Offensive while also playing a good amount of Valorant (which heavily drew its inspiration from CS:GO). Counter-Strike is one of the most evergreen games in the history of gaming and continues to be at the center of esports. It’s also the game that has most solidly proven the value of a secondary marketplace where gamers can buy & sell CS skins. Being a longtime fan of CS:GO is actually what got me excited about the potential for web3 technology to enable true digital asset ownership and marketplaces in games in a much bigger way.

Hutch senior product manager and Naavik podcast host Maria Gillies:
My game of the year is a board game! ISS Vanguard published by Awaken Realms. It’s the first co-op legacy game I’ve played since Gloomhaven where the group needs to coordinate tactics, and the balance is down to a ‘do or die’ last turn. The narrative is a captivating mash-up of Star Trek and Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past. The split of gameplay between a ship management phase that’s akin to an idle RPG (my favourite mobile genre), and a planet exploration phase to uncover the universe’s secrets is my definition of a dream game.

FunPlus VP of business development Bob Slinn:
My game of the year:  I’m clearly not alone in my choice but I would have to vote for Royal Match as the game I have played and enjoyed the most in 2022. There is something incredibly therapeutic about the rhythm of the levels and the sense of constant progression that makes this game a pleasure to play and a great escape at any time.  The richness of the graphics, the quality of the core match-3 experience and the constantly evolving event and live op activities make this game very difficult to put down.

Fein Games cofounder Lea Schönfelder:
This year I really enjoyed playing Love & Pies. Seeing a relatable female character in a welcoming and inclusive world feels inspiring. Merging was sometimes almost annoyingly addictive. Getting a lightweight mystery drama around a single mum as a reward made it always worth it!

Kwalee head of casual games Callum Godfrey:
It would be really tempting to go for Elden Ring because it is a phenomenal game, and I’ve sunk over 300 hours into it in 2022, but… for sheer family entertainment and nostalgia power I have to go for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. It ticks all the right boxes in my house as a game I can play with my two sons, both of whom are diagnosed autistic and so its not always easy to find things we can all do together, but this game always makes all three of us smile and laugh together.

Lumi CEO and Co-founder Lauren Clinnick:
My surprise GOTY would be Peridot by Niantic – it’s in early access in Australia and a few other key regions. I love the blend of pet care with the incentive to get up and explore your environment a little more, and can’t wait for more breeding features. Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom fans will want to keep an eye out for the global launch.

Flexion CEO Jens Lauritzson:
My game of the year would have to be Stumble Guys. I love watching the kids getting together with friends and enjoying this game.

Exient product director Christa Agius:
The one game I always enjoy whenever I go back to it is Beatstar. Space Ape has managed to create an experience which is always entertaining, no matter how many times you play a particular song. This is due to the social competitive element of the game and the amount of content that is available to unlock as a reward for playing. Beatstar also has a good balance of content that is available to both paying and non-paying users, and the fact that new features are always being added to the game, make it always worth going back to.

Naavik cofounder Abhimanyu Kumar:
I have two games of the year. First – Overcooked: All You Can Eat, developed by Ghost Town Games, published by Team17 and available on PC/Console. Currently, this is the only game my wife and I can authentically enjoy together. Yet, it still shocks me that neither Team17 nor any mobile F2P game developer has tried to adapt this highly social, time management game for mobile. Or maybe they have, and I just haven’t come across it.

Second – Apex Legends Mobile. This was a breath of fresh air in a sea of new mobile game launches that are increasingly becoming indistinguishable. I’ve never been able to get into any tactical shooter/battle royale in a big way, but Apex Legends Mobile really did it for me – massive kudos to the teams at Respawn and Lightspeed & Quantum! However, it was sad to see that the game couldn’t steal significant market share from the genre incumbents, and I sincerely hope the team can turn the game’s fortunes around.

Hook Up: The Game developer Sophie Artemigi:
My nomination is Rusty Lake’s The Past Within. Rusty Lake’s absurdist escape games are consistent in their well-crafted puzzles and their eerie Twin Peaks vibes. For me, what pushes The Past Within into GOTY territory is the beautifully implemented co-op gameplay and time jump mechanics which take the immersive Rusty Lake universe to the next level.

World’s Fastest Drummer developer Boo Mcafee:
My all-time, personal favourite game is Whac-A-Mole! I’ve been a huge fan of this game dating back to the mechanical coin operated arcade versions of late 70s…but seriously being raised in Nashville Tennessee and a drummer all my life, I have to go with Beatstar by Space Ape as my favourite for 2022. and Dubit founder Matthew Warneford:
It has to be Doors on Roblox. It’s been played nearly 700 million times this year, becoming one of the most popular Roblox games with over one billion plays since launching in 2021. Remarkable!

I love this game because no mainstream studio would have ever commissioned it. Imagine running around the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, but without Jack Nicholson… It’s part story and part game, like being in a scary movie with your friends, and I love it!


Trailmix CEO and co-founder Carolin Krenzer:
Royal Match is just such a beautiful and well executed game. Making a really good match3 game is incredibly difficult and I think they succeeded by focusing on simplicity, clear feedback loops and, most importantly, really good level design. It replaced my 10 year long Candy Crush Saga obsession and is now my go to match3 game.

Song of Bloom developer Philipp Stollenmayer:
After 15 years, Jelly Car is back. Not only has it aged gracefully, Jelly Car Worlds adds so much to its predecessor that it brings the game to a whole new level – you can even record your own sound effects. Every bit sparks joy, and you can feel the developer’s love in in every swoosh and boing.

Bidstack gaming SVP Justin Welter:
Supernatural, a VR game made by a startup out of LA that was recently acquired by Meta, is my pick for game of the year. The company, Within, creates apps for Meta’s Oculus VR platform, and its games are subscription-oriented fitness apps featuring real-life trainers. This unique intersection of fitness and gaming has been described as the ‘Peloton of VR,’ and has proven to be a successful and engaging experience for players.

GameRefinery chief game analyst Erno Kiiski:
My personal game of the year is Marvel Snap. Absolutely beautiful execution of a modern CCG:

  • Super high production values
  • Quick/snappy mobile-friendly matches that hook you in and are much more approachable than most of the CCG genre
  • Great utilisation of the IP and clever new gameplay mechanics for the genre such as the ‘Snap-betting’ system and  the changing locations that bring twists to each match
  • Interesting and innovative take on monetising a CCG game without direct gachas. This is especially interesting to follow how it can sustain its performance in the long run
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