Indie Game of the Year Awards 2022 thumbnail

Indie Game of the Year Awards 2022

A year of phenomenal indies

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for GOTY Awards on 🏆

2022 was a jaw-dropping year for indie games and although we picked a whopping 15 to win awards, that still doesn't feel like enough.

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2023. 🐻

Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- Metroidvania of the Year

Releasing late-2021 after our awards cut-off date, Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- is a wonderful Metroidvania that looks a lot like my favourite game of all time: Symphony of the Night. However, it sets itself apart beautifully thanks to the push-and-pull of its Spirit Level mechanic, clever puzzles, and delightfully disorienting narrative. I highly recommend it to any fellow Metroidvania fan. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- Review Award image →
Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- screenshot
And here I thought Elden Ring's dragons were epic

Grapple Dog 2D Platformer of the Year

Some indies release just begging to be made into a franchise and one such title is Grapple Dog as it's a superb 2D platformer with a Bionic Commando-like grappling system that's intuitive to use as you traverse its expansive stages. It's also a super-cute game and Pablo the dog is a wonderful little hero so I can't wait for a sequel. In the meantime, I think I'll try to reduce my level completion times. ⏱️

Grapple Dog Review Award image →
Grapple Dog screenshot
Pablo reaches for the sky in his lovely little adventure

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 2D Action Game of the Year

If you've been to Video Chums before then you might know what a huge fan of Gunvolt I am and this year, Luminous Avenger iX 2 completely blew me away. In fact, it's probably the best-looking and sounding game that Inti Creates has made so far with its flashy effects, superb soundtrack, and well-animated sprites. Of course, it plays excellently, too, with familiar fast-paced action and a rewarding scoring system to boot. If you enjoy this, be sure to play Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 as well which also released this year and is great fun.

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 Review Award image →
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 screenshot
I'd hate to be on the receiving end of this attack

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge Beat 'em Up of the Year

Along with a fantastic retro compilation, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came back full-throttle in 2022 yet the most notable entry in the franchise was Shredder's Revenge which brings the classic brawler gameplay to modern audiences. Developed by retro masters Tribute and featuring a wide variety of enjoyable stages to master, long-time beat 'em up fans will have a blast with this jam-packed pizza-filled adventure. Thankfully, the gameplay is intuitive so even genre newbies can easily appreciate the fun to be had, especially in co-op.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge Review Award image →
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge screenshot
The fight's over here, Bebop!

Slap City Fighting Game of the Year

Our Fighting Game of the Year usually goes to a AAA title but this year, it's an indie and for good reason. Slap City is one of those games that was clearly inspired by Super Smash Bros. yet it's the only one I've played that completely nails what makes Nintendo's franchise as fun as it is. Not only is it great for challenging your friends locally and taking the fight online, there's also a ton of single player content; mostly via character-based campaigns that are filled with variety and fun mini-games. Plus, the cast is downright adorable and hilarious!

Slap City Review Award image →
Slap City screenshot
Ittle and Princess Remedy get thirsty in their desert battle

Vagante Roguelike of the Year

I'll admit; deciding on 2022's Roguelike of the Year was a difficult challenge seeing as there were many incredible titles to choose from. However, I don't think any game has as much of a rewarding difficulty curve as Vagante so that pushed it over the edge. Specifically, it's the sort of game that opens up and grows on you the more you play it so if you stick with it, the amount of fun you'll end up having will be impressive. The brutal 2D action may be daunting at first but once it starts to click, you'll be slaying dragons like it's nobody's business. For another top-notch roguelike which almost won, definitely check out the very fun Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes.

Vagante Review Award image →
Vagante screenshot
Time to chill at the hub before my next excursion

Stray Adventure Game of the Year

Stray is an indie that managed to break through to the mainstream thanks to its adorable feline protagonist but more importantly than that, it's actually a great game that has you helping robotic chums in a post-apocalyptic underground city. From its large and memorable world to its unique gameplay scenarios, there's certainly a lot to love about this furry adventure.

Stray Review Award image →
Stray screenshot
Nothing like a good old cat nap after checking off a few quests

Autonauts Simulation Game of the Year

Autonauts is an indie game that I didn't quite know what to expect of it before playing. Once things started to ramp up and I began to realise the scope of what it's capable of, I became hooked. You essentially program robots to do work by configuring their logic while taking care of human-like cardboard creatures and it's highly entertaining stuff, especially when you get a large-scale project going and see your little civilisation expand to an unthinkable size. You can do a lot of funny things, too; the sky's the limit! 🤖

Autonauts Review Award image →
Autonauts screenshot
Who knew simple code could power a whole foresting industry?

Rubber Bandits Competitive Game of the Year

As another game that released late last year, Rubber Bandits is simply one of the best indie party games that I've ever played. The fact that you're rewarded for being a criminal while doing your friends dirty in order to claim the loot for yourself before escaping is a blast. On top of that, the goofy rubbery cast of characters are hilarious so it adds up to one fun-filled crime-fest. 💰

Rubber Bandits Review Award image →
Rubber Bandits screenshot
There sure are a lot of promising-looking things to steal here

Fueled Up Co-op Game of the Year

If you're looking to cooperate with friends instead of compete then there are few games better than Fueled Up. In fact, it may just be one of the most underrated games of 2022. With a frantic sense of tension, rescuing ships from the depths of space as all sorts of dangers are thrown your way makes for a stressful formula but in the best sense of the word; exciting stuff for sure. 🚀

Fueled Up Review Award image →
Fueled Up screenshot
You patch things up while I grab a fuel crystal!

DYSMANTLE Sandbox Game of the Year

Releasing near the beginning of 2022, DYSMANTLE has you try to survive a zombie apocalypse which is nothing new. What is new is the fact that its gameplay involves smashing everything in sight in order to gather materials that you can use to create gear and weapons. Doing so will grant you access to more of the world such as crafting a heater so you can explore the icy mountains and it all comes together to create an engaging formula that's hard to put down. If you'll excuse me; I have to make some post-apocalyptic soup. 🍲

DYSMANTLE Review Award image →
DYSMANTLE screenshot
My farm may look pathetic but I can at least make some barely edible soup

Ooblets Casual Game of the Year

What can you say about a game as unique and special as Ooblets? Well, it's one of the funniest games of the year and it features super-charming visuals, a lighthearted battle system that's best described as Pokemon dance battles, and an impressive story that'll stay with you for a very long time. Whether you're collecting Ooblets, exploring the town, or completing a mission; you're in for a great time.

Ooblets Review Award image →
Ooblets screenshot
More games need to have card-based dance battles

Neon White Genre-blender of the Year

Neon White is simply a speedrunner's dream. I don't usually enjoy first-person games but this indie gem got its hooks in me by offering super-fast platforming, light combat, and a card-based action system that forces you to strategise as you think on your feet. There's no game that combined genres as well as this in recent years and it does that so incredibly well that it may as well be its own genre. Oh, and I didn't even mention its visual novel element where you meet a cast of psychopaths that you exchange gifts with. 🎁

Neon White Review Award image →
Neon White screenshot
Should I speedrun or do a little exploring?

Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island DLC of the Year

If you've been gaming for long enough then you know that DLC can be of extremely varying levels of quality. I'm happy to say that Escape From Anti-Escape Island is top-tier stuff as it's the opposite of fluff. In fact, it presents its very own unique campaign of 5 incredibly elaborate escape room scenarios filled with logic puzzles that'll have your brain in overdrive as you try to solve each and every intricate puzzle before the time runs out. It may be challenging stuff but playing with a chum will certainly take some pressure off.

Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island Review Award image →
Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island screenshot
Why are we trying to escape this cool tiki bar anyway?

Rogue Legacy 2 Indie Game of the Year

Finally, the very best indie game of 2022 is Rogue Legacy 2. The original established a formula of playing as descendants of a long family tree that all have strengths and weaknesses and Rogue Legacy 2 carries on that tradition beautifully while offering a much larger campaign complete with epic boss fights, cool traversal gadgets, and an astounding assortment of character traits and classes. Needless to say, mastering what each kind of character is capable of is a thrill and making it further on each attempt is a supremely rewarding feat. If you enjoy your Metroidvanias with roguelike randomness and plenty of charm, consider Rogue Legacy 2 a must-play. 🏆

Rogue Legacy 2 Review Award image →
Rogue Legacy 2 screenshot
This descendant sure looks happy to win our Indie Game of the Year award
Gameplay video playlist for Indie Game of the Year Awards 2022 thumbnail
Gameplay video playlist for Indie Game of the Year Awards 2022
Which Super Smash Bros. Character Are You?

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