About Judy

As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2021 - Countdown, 10-1

by Judy on Jan. 4, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions and the countdown of games 11-20. Today, we're wrapping up the countdown of the top 20 titles, including what WP considers to be the best game of 2021. Read more for the results!

10. TIE - Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PS5/PS4/PC) / Twelve Minutes (Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC)

I found Kena: Bridge of Spirits to be one of the best treats of the year, both for the eyes and for the soul. Not only does it show elaborate craftsmanship, but it also feels like it was infused with joy and awareness. I'm happy it's here, and I look forward to seeing where Kena's bridge can lead.

Twelve Minutes had me on a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. The game seemed too simple. Then I got frustrated because I got stuck uncovering its hidden complexities. Finally, I can't and don't want to put it down until I'd turned everything over thrice. It executes the time loop mechanic meticulously, its story is twisting and turning constantly, and the excellent voice cast, environmental art, and music work together to create a new type of adventure game. It is not perfect, and you see some cut corners, but what it sacrifices, it makes up for with a satisfying payoff as you delve deeper into its time loop to unravel the mystery at the core.

9. Halo Infinite (XSX/PC)

No matter what your focus is, Halo Infinite is a blast. For multiplayer fans, the gameplay is rock solid. The back-to-basics approach works well to keep longtime fans engaged, and the game is easy to pick up and play to hook newer fans. Campaign fans will enjoy that mode despite a few issues, since the open-world setting allows for some breadth in approach while retaining the familiar mission structure and flow. Infinite should be on your Christmas list, despite the lack of other big features at launch, like co-op, Forge, and local play.

8. Psychonauts 2 (PS4/XSX/XOne/PC)

In pretty much every possible way, Psychonauts 2 is a direct sequel to the first game. It's perhaps prettier and more polished than it would have been had it come out a decade ago, but the feel and tone are spot-on. It probably won't change your mind if the original Psychonauts didn't capture your heart. If it did, though, Psychonauts 2 is a charming, funny and incredibly welcome visit with some old friends. The gameplay is sometimes too straightforward for its own good, but everything else more than makes up for it. If you're looking for a charming platformer with its own style and sense of humor, Psychonauts 2 delivers in spades. Here's hoping it won't be another decade before we see another entry in the series.

7. Deathloop (PS5/PC)

As much of an odyssey as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Deathloop. It's one of the more thoughtful and well-crafted games out there and one of the best things you can play on the PS5. In addition to everything else, I liked the game's sexy, graphic-novelish cartoon vibe in its visuals that made every area burst to life and fun to explore. It's a true piece of art and is definitely worth your time … over and over.

6. Hitman III (Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC)

The 2016 Hitman was one of my favorite games of the year, and the same could be said for the follow-up. As I said before, it truly made assassination a game, and an extremely replayable one at that. If you're a fan of the series, Hitman 3 is a very competent end to the trilogy that provides a massive and deep Hitman experience that is easy to recommend. The new VR mode adds further value for those who own a PSVR headset, and that alone may warrant a purchase.

5. Metroid Dread (Switch)

Metroid Dread is a fantastic return to form for the 2D Metroid titles. Building upon the lessons of Samus Returns, it captures the feel of Metroid nearly perfectly. It's incredibly fun to play, balances the story and gameplay in the way a Metroid game should, and in general, it's just excellent. Its few flaws stood out more in retrospect than while I was playing the game. It's easily one of the best 2D Metroid titles, and it's a fantastic way to close out the ongoing storyline.

4. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart could be one of the first true all-encompassing showcases for the PS5. Every time I sat down to play it, I felt like I was about to start a really long episode of a good show. If there's one small nitpick, it's that I felt that some of the larger confrontations got slightly repetitive — I mean, how many versions of "juggernauts" am I supposed to fight? Also, one might get the sense that not enough risks were taken and that the game's design, as cool as it is, feels comfortable and safe. That feels like a discussion for the artists among us, and this doesn't feel like the time for a literary salon. I am on my third playthrough of Rift Apart, and I'm enjoying it as much as the first time I went through it. Sometimes, all a game has to be is fun.

3. Returnal (PS5)

If there's a sticking point to Returnal, it's that it's a big PS5 exclusive that is most definitely not for everyone. It's next-gen beautiful all the way, but if you've never played a game like this before, even all that beauty and amazing design might not be worth the sense of dejection you might feel as the body count starts mounting. Returnal and other games like it will force newer players to ask questions about what kind of games they want to experience. It takes a little bit of weird thinking to relish the prospect of repeated punishment. I recommend it, just for the experience of it. If you're part of that wider audience who wants to give a next-gen roguelike a shot, then be prepared for an awakening. And another one. And … another one.

2. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC)

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is an extremely fun little romp that is genuinely funny and heartfelt. It's fun to play, and combat maintains the feel of a team working together despite being technically only a single-player game. It is a linear game, so the replay value depends on how much you enjoy seeing alternate outcomes to various cut scenes. If you're a fan of the franchise and don't mind that this doesn't matching the MCU version, then there's a whole lot to like in MGotG.

1. Forza Horizon 5 (XSX/XOne/PC)

Forza Horizon 5 absolutely lives up to the pedigree established by its predecessors. By using almost everything that worked in FH4, the game would've been a strong contender even if all it did was change its locale. The few changes in FH5 work heavily in its favor and contribute positively to the idea that the game is difficult to put down because it's fun and there's so much to do. For those who have played previous entries in the series, jump on this one immediately. For series newcomers, FH5 is a perfect place to start.

Editor's Note: Don't miss our prior Top Games of 2021 coverage:

blog comments powered by Disqus