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2021 Games of the Year

The ultimate celebration of 2021’s best video games

SUPERJUMP is a place to share the wonder of video games with you, and each other.


We have very deliberately titled this feature 2021 Games of the Year. The plural matters. As per our tradition, SUPERJUMP does not award an overall “Game of the Year” trophy to any single game.

  • Games that released in a previous year but saw massive content updates this year that radically changed or improved the experience (e.g. new seasons for Apex Legends or Destiny).


Last year we invited several special guests to join us. It was such a great experience that we decided to do it again! This time around, you’ll see both new and returning faces. These are folks who we greatly respect and admire, and we’re delighted they joined us.


Age of Empires IV

Created by Relic Entertainment and World’s Edge

Antony Terence

The Chinese wheelbarrow paradox.
The Mongol scout rush.
The Rus’ relic-bearing warrior monks.

Apex Legends

Created by Respawn Entertainment

Daniel Vuckovic

I didn’t play a whole tonne of games in 2021. Sure I reviewed more than a few, but there was only one that I played daily (well, almost daily anyway), and that was Apex Legends. Now I’m not a massive shooter player, and I’m usually not good at them, but it was different. The various characters and their abilities, playing as Lifeline, gave me flashbacks to being a medic in Battlefield 2, playing as Loba to steal the best loot to provide me with half a chance. Then the character Valkyrie dropped, and I found my spirit shooter.

The Ascent

Created by Neon Giant

Bryan Finck

It certainly wasn’t the most talked-about cyberpunk game to come out in the last few years, but there’s an argument to make that The Ascent might be the best of them. Developer Neon Giant really nailed the look and feel of the world, arguably the most important part of making a game in this genre. Neon lights, dirty narrow alleys, augmented humans, and alien races are on full display, making the game as compelling to look at as it is to play.

The Ascent. Source: GamerInfo.

Boomerang X

Created by DANG!

Lucas Di Quinzio

This year, a remastered version of Quake was released and everyone who played it was promptly reminded that Quake still rules. Quake and Doom hold up so well because they remain great at — and sorry if I’m getting technical here — letting you go fast and wreck shit real good. Boomerang X delivers on both fronts. It has a way of making you feel like a balletic, gravity-defying genius.

Deep Rock Galactic

Created by Ghost Ship Games

Rory Norris/1-UP

“Sometimes I wonder if mining is all there is to life… Then I punch myself in the nose!”

Deep Rock Galactic. Source: Destructoid.

Destiny 2

Created by Bungie

Ron Soak

The road to being a Destiny fan has been rough and I’ve gone on record as having doubts about the game’s future. However, despite being sold, plans for a sequel scrapped, poorly received design decisions, and even the COVID pandemic, Bungie has delivered us its strongest year. I’m not speaking specifically of just Destiny or for Looter-Shooters, but for all story-driven live-service games.


Created by Toukana Interactive

Kyle Solomon

Like a zen garden, Dorfromantik from Toukana Interactive is as deceptively intricate as it is meditative. Dorfromantik is an exquisite hand-drawn single-player puzzle game about fitting tiny townlet hexes together and assembling an ever-growing village.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

Created by Square Enix Business Unit III

Alex Anyfantis

There’s not much that can be said about the new expansion of Square Enix’s widely popular MMO that hasn’t already been written. Endwalker is a brilliant last chapter to a tale that began over seven years ago in the hopes that it would be even half as successful as it is today. The story, which can seem to drag its heels in order to help players reach that new level 90 milestone, will leave fans both old and new at the edge of their seats.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. Source: Square Enix.

Michael Morisi

Final Fantasy XIV has cemented itself as a landmark game, not only among MMOs but in narrative experiences. Gorgeous new areas, amazing new jobs, and an elegant conclusion to a decade-long story arc makes Endwalker a lovely bow on top of the gigantic package that is FFXIV.

The Forgotten City

Created by Modern Storyteller

Lucas Di Quinzio

In a year that has seen a surprising amount of time-loop-based games and an abundance of world-class Australian games, The Forgotten City is, for my money, the best of both. It’s an intricate and absorbing puzzle box that makes the most out of its premise. The titular city is an impressive feat — an Ancient Roman city dense with engaging characters, intertwining storylines, and secrets lurking underneath.

The Forgotten City. Source: PC Gamer.

Jared McCarty

This one came as a bit of a surprise for me. A few months prior to its full console release, I read a small article exclaiming that a critically acclaimed Skyrim mod was about to be released under its original name: The Forgotten City. I was tangentially interested and put it on the backburner of games I had to learn more about. Something about the promotional material gripped me, however, and forced the IP to the forefront of my brain.

Forza Horizon 5

Created by Playground Games

James Burns

Way back in 2019, I wrote about how Forza Horizon is food for the car enthusiast soul. To some extent, I was mourning the death of franchises like The Need for Speed; at least in terms of what they used to be in their earlier incarnations. I pointed out that the early Need for Speed games (particularly the first three) were not about ‘street cred’ or pimping your ride to the point where it looks like a Pentagon committee designed it. Rather, they sought to encapsulate the beauty of exotic cars and the experience of driving them. Yes, you were racing against others. But this was also the pre-Burnout era, so you weren’t awarded points for ‘near misses’ or for pulling off spectacular crashes. The early association with Road & Track magazine certainly underscored the ‘car culture’ feel of the series.

Forza Horizon 5. Source: Playground Games.

Kyle Solomon

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I log into Forza Horizon 5, drive around in my Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, blare the techno from the Initial D soundtrack, and pretend to be the main character in an anime. You know what? I’m not ashamed. Something is thrilling yet relaxing about driving. There is a satisfaction of going fast, hitting a corner perfectly, and feeling your heart, the engine, and music pump as one. Is that oil in my blood?

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

Created by Capcom

James O’Connor

I have never seriously considered an Ace Attorney game for the top slot in a GOTY list, even though, when I really think about it, this is surely one of my favourite game series of all time. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles brings over two Japanese 3DS games that looked like they would never get an official translation and bundled them into one package. As it turns out, this is the ideal way to play.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Created by Eidos-Montréal

Anselmo Jason

Marvel’s most recent foray into AAA gaming has flaws — glaringly obvious flaws — but I would be lying if I said it did not win me over in the end.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Source: pcgamesn.

Ron Soak

I genuinely believed that there was nothing anyone could do to make me like Marvel anymore.

Halo Infinite

Created by 343 Industries


Halo Infinite is something that I didn’t anticipate playing by the end of the year, as someone who began 2021 with little to no experience with the Halo franchise. Being able to play every entry in the weeks leading up to Infinite made me feel like I was on the edge of my seat for Infinite’s story. I just wanted to see how the culmination of these games unfolded. Even Halo Wars 2 had a role to play!

Halo Infinite. Source: Microsoft.

Antony Terence

After Halo 5: Guardians’ disastrous campaign, Halo Infinite restored my faith in the Master Chief.


Developed by Daniel Mullins Games

Edmond Tran

At this point, you’ve probably already played or heard a lot about what Inscryption does. But if you haven’t, what are you doing?! Go play it!

It Takes Two

Created by Hazelight Studios

Bryan Finck

Despite coming from Hazelight Studios, the Swedish developer known for making unique co-op-only adventures like A Way Out and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, I wasn’t sure what to expect from It Takes Two. Of course, it was getting incredible reviews, but co-op isn’t exactly easy to do well. Could Hazelight continue to make magic with their third title? The answer is resoundingly, emphatically, yes.

It Takes Two. Source: PC Gamer.

Shannon Grixti

2021 was a bit of a flat year for me, whether that be due to the ongoing pandemic or an underwhelming slate of releases, I’m not sure, but one of the high points of the year was definitely It Takes Two.

James O’Connor

I played It Takes Two all the way through on the couch with my partner, and was wildly impressed by how many “oh wow, this is clever” moments it had. The real genius of It Takes Two is that it’s equally engaging regardless of whether you have played a lot of 3D action games or very few — I am not sure how they pulled that off as well as they did. A gorgeous and absorbing experience, and one all the better for committing so fully to being a co-op-only experience. In its best moments, it has that Nintendo magic that very few games made outside Nintendo have.

Jared McCarty

To my (and many others) utter dismay, couch co-op is quickly dying, replaced instead with online multiplayer. There’s one studio, however, that has been doing everything it can to keep couch co-op alive: Hazelight Studios. Their last two games have not only encouraged cooperative play, they demand it. A Way Out sees the players embroiled in a scheme to escape a prison, with the narrative full of twists and turns.

It Takes Two. Source: GamesRadar.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Created by Ember Lab

Alex Anyfantis

Ember Lab is only a small indie studio, following in the footsteps of many others before them such as Supergiant Games, Matt Makes Games, etc. It demonstrates that you don’t need a huge team of over 300 people to create something wonderful. Reminiscent of a Pixar film, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a visually captivating tale. The only difference is, here you get an active role in the story as you jump in the shoes of the titular character, helping her solve the mysteries of the dying forest.


Created by Gamious

Ron Soak

I’d argue that what Death Stranding did wrong was an attempt to match a mail delivery sim (which is usually meant to be stress-free) against a depressing backdrop and apocalyptic story. Thankfully, Lake creates an enjoyable mail delivery sim experience you can relax to.

Library of Ruina

Created by Project Moon

Josh Bycer

Library of Ruina is the second game from studio Project Moon, who in a short time has made a name for itself with unique game mechanics, disturbing stories, and having very little care to adhere to genre conventions. To wit, Library of Ruina is an RPG visual novel deck builder. The challenge doesn’t come from leveling up, but from figuring out how to fight an ever escalating series of battles with new rules and cards.

Little Nightmares II

Created by Tarsier Studios and Supermassive Games

James Burns

I almost forgot that Little Nightmares II came out in 2021. The moment it was available, I downloaded and played all the way through with my sister (who is something of a Little Nightmares expert — she’s particularly into the bizarre lore behind the series, and has enhanced my appreciation for it). While I thoroughly enjoyed the first game, Little Nightmares II is nothing short of a horror masterpiece.

Little Nightmares II. Source: IGN.

Loop Hero

Created by Four Quarters

Gemma Driscoll

In a year where our collective existence could be boiled down to repetition and anguish, you wouldn’t think there would be any enjoyment found in a game about surviving a world thrown into an endlessly looping nightmare. Yet here Loop Hero stands among my favourite games this year. Initially, I thought little of the retro roguelike. Though its story was intriguing, the lack of hands-on character control took me aback. I found myself making the same mistakes over and over with a less than solid grasp of how to course-correct.

Lost in Random

Created by Zoink Games and Thunderful Group

Rory Norris/1-UP

Lost in Random was a sleeper-hit of 2021 (surprising given that EA published it, one of the largest names in gaming). It may not be perfect, but it certainly tries to be unique and mostly succeeds. In a time where we are surrounded by duplicate, cookie-cutter open-world RPGs and first-person shooters, this game stands out. It’s one reason I want to highlight this gem, hoping we’ll see more games that break the mold with brave genre mashups.

Lost in Random. Source: selphiegaming.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Created by BioWare

Gemma Driscoll

Few games have a vice grip on my heart as tight as the Mass Effect trilogy. The series changed the trajectory of my life and showed me just how powerful video games could be as a medium for telling captivating and emotionally rich stories.

Metroid Dread

Created by Mercury Steam and Nintendo EPD

James Burns

I have a confession: I’ve never been a huge Metroid fan. I tend to struggle to enjoy ‘metroidvania’ experiences in general, actually. I just don’t find puzzle-like worlds very appealing. Getting lost and trying to figure out my next move just never struck me as particularly entertaining. I know I’m probably in the minority there, but it’s the truth.

Metroid Dread. Source: Washingtonpost.

Brandon Johnson

Earlier this year, I raved over how Metroid Dread was the first Metroid game I’ve ever completed sans-walkthrough. My willingness to return over and over to my original save file was certainly spurred along by Samus Aran’s stellar controls, which allowed me to skirt countless near-death experiences with veteran savvy.


Created by Nintendo EPD

M.R. Clark

Originally released in Japan in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS, Miitopia has made its return May 2021 remastered and ready for Nintendo Switch users to dig into. Miitopia allows players to create their own characters within the game and for a multitude of roles. It’s not just your main character you can tweak and customize, but every single character around you. It’s how Miitopia delivers in offering players the ultimate, personalized world. No two games will look exactly alike.

New Pokémon Snap

Created by Bandai Namco

Daniel Vuckovic

It took them a while, but we finally got another Pokémon Snap, and it was just the perfect game at the perfect time. I got the game to review just before we went into one of our lockdowns, and I played it for a week straight. Sure I had to review it, but I spent hours playing this before writing. I finished it, went back, boosted my scores, and tried to find even more and more interactions with all the Pokémon. This game has some depth. For a couple of days, I was world number one in this game on the leader board, then it was released, and I quickly realised how much better other people were at the game than me. Still, who could have thought a game taking pictures of Pokémon could be so competitive. A throwback to 20 years ago, it felt good to have that Pokémon Snap experience once again.

NieR Replicant ver. 122474487139

Created by Toylogic and Square Enix

Alex Anyfantis

It’s difficult to talk about NieR Replicant without going into spoilers, but I’ll do my best. Initially, I think it needs to be said that I didn’t have the chance to play the original when it was first released. So, to me, this was a brand-new experience. And how glad am I that it was! Because this version, with the fully updated graphics and gorgeously renditioned audio tracks, carried me on an emotional journey that can only be expected from a Yoko Taro title.

Nier Replicant. Source: WCCFtech.


In 2021, Western audiences saw their first opportunity to play as Brother Nier, in NieR Replicant ver 1.22. The original NieR was presented with a grittier Father Nier protagonist, while the Japanese audience received the original NieR Replicant with a much younger protagonist instead. While this half-remake, half-remaster of the original game keeps many of the flaws of the original, the game is an excellent romp overall. Despite a year of new releases, Replicant somehow still shines above many of them by having the best soundtrack I’ve heard all year. Yosuke Saito and Emi Evans deliver on the remastered OST here, proving to us yet again that NieR expertly blends music with gameplay and cutscenes in a way that no other franchise really is capable of doing with the same gravitas.

Michael Morisi

The original NieR Replicant was a game ahead of its time and the remaster does wonders to bring it to modern-day standards. The haunting soundtrack, genre-blending gameplay, and deeply unsettling narrative haven’t aged a day. The modern graphical overhaul further enhances the game’s supremely effective atmosphere.

Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye

Developed by Mobius Digital

Edmond Tran

Plenty of people have given me dismissive looks when I tell them that a DLC expansion pack is my game of the year, but those people clearly have not played or experienced the magic that is Outer Wilds, let alone Echoes of the Eye.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl

Created by ILCA

Aaron Moy

In contrast to 2020, Nintendo was more focused on giving players what they wanted this year. While the conclusive updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate were significant, there was no better example of this than Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Fans waited for these games for 15 years, long enough for an entire generation to grow up playing Nintendo titles.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Source: Gamesradar.


Created by Colorgrave

Josh Bycer

Since several of my top games are going to be what people are going to be choosing, I wanted to give some space to an amazing game I played that I know most people did not. Prodigal by developer Colorgrave is a love letter to the GBA Zelda games released last year. While it may not look it from the outside, this is a very robust, emotional, and amazing game.

Psychonauts 2

Created by Double Fine

Lucas Di Quinzio

Psychonauts 2 is the most joyful game to come out this year. Everything about the game radiates joy. The fact it was even released at all and is a success, with Tim Schafer and Double Fine joining Microsoft’s ever-expanding stable of developers, is a happy ending for one of gaming’s genuine good guys. The fact I’m talking about a huge corporation buying an independent studio in glowing terms is saying something.

Psychonauts 2. Source: mixnmojo.

Rory Norris/1-UP

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but Psychonauts 2 is awesome! You may see the ‘2’ in the title and turn away thinking, ‘How can I play the second game if I haven’t ever played the first?’ The original Psychonauts came out way back in 2005 and Double Fine doesn’t expect you to know of its original to play its second installment. A thorough recap of events aims to help newcomers and act as a refresher for veterans. The studio even takes the story in a direction that stands on its own.

Antony Terence

I met my second panic attack in Psychonauts 2.

Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart

Created by Insomniac Games

Gemma Driscoll

I’ve always been a sucker for alternate and parallel universes, mostly because I’m still hoping I can swap places with a version of me that became a famous actor/forensic scientist/vet at 16 like kid me had planned. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart didn’t fulfill that fantasy, but it provided me with 15 straight hours of addictive action, phenomenal visuals and one of my favourite Jennifer Hale performances to date. That’s right, this is a Rivet-stan account. Deal with it.

Bryan Finck

Across 17 games in the franchise, Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank series has always delivered the action with an arsenal of crazy weapons and gadgets. The duo’s maiden voyage on the PS5 continues that heritage with a heartfelt story and a heaping dose of technical wizardry. The development team didn’t stray too far from the tried-and-true formula with Rift Apart, but there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart. Source: Insomniac Games.

Shannon Grixti

Ratchet & Clank stands out as a franchise that I remember playing to death in my childhood years and although Rift Apart didn’t do anything super out of the box, it did really expand on a series that I love so much.

Resident Evil Village

Created by Capcom

Shannon Grixti

I would say that compared to others on our team, my love for Resident Evil is definitely limited (my knowledge of the franchise is nowhere near as substantial), and yet, Resident Evil Village was still an experience that I enjoyed more than most this year.

Anthony Wright

RE: Village is a game that is as electric as it is downright terrifying. It answers some of the biggest complaints that were thrown at its predecessor, in particular with its large ensemble of wickedly fun and brutal characters and enemies. Lady Dimitrescu may have won the internet’s humorously strange attention, but it was Angie, a sick and very twisted doll, that really stole the show for me. Her “P.T.” inspired section of Village showcased some of the best horror that the series has seen in years.

Resident Evil Village. Source: Capcom.

Jared McCarty

Resident Evil is a franchise that’s been on a rampage over the last few years. Resident Evil 7, the Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Resident Evil 4 VR have all been released to critical and commercial success, and that trend continues on with Resident Evil: Village.


Created by Housemarque

Brandon Johnson

Scary games are not my cup of tea. When I picked up Batman: Arkham Knight, the first thing I did was Google whether there were any jump scares to be aware of (there are, thanks, Man-Bat). Lucky for me, despite Returnal’s haunting setting, it’s far from a horror game, instead relying on an unending sense of isolation to drive its incredibly challenging third-person shooting gameplay.

Scarlet Nexus

Created by Tose and Bandai Namco Studios

Brandon Johnson

The satisfying crunch of mind-breaking an enemy in Scarlet Nexus is reward enough to learn the game’s mechanics. The sound design here is phenomenal, with a techno-jazz-infused soundtrack enhancing areas beyond the descriptor of a hyper futuristic metropolis. While Scarlet Nexus also offered a glimpse into what a cyberpunk world might look like without devastatingly crippling bugs (cough, Cyberpunk 2077, cough), its knack for snappy action-RPG gameplay in a new property by genre veterans Bandai Namco elevated it to GOTY status.

Scarlet Nexus. Source: Gamingbolt.

B. M. Gonzalez

I felt my heart lurch in my throat the moment the main menu song played, ignoring the prompt below asking me to press any button to start. I didn’t know Kasane and Yuito yet — two young faces looking away from the camera — but their story was already budding into fruition as musical notes. A song with equal measures of heartbreak and revelation, to which I couldn’t stop listening.

Scarlet Nexus. Source: IGN.

Sea of Thieves

Created by Rare

Kyle Solomon

Although Sea of Thieves initially launched in 2018, it’s blasting its way onto my 2021 list. After a series of significant updates in 2020, Rare dropped a cannonball on the community. They announced that 2021 would be the start of a seasonal update calendar and a plunder pass for extra loot. After the initial skepticism, I think it’s safe to say the community is more than satisfied with the seasonal updates.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Created by Nintendo EPD

Daniel Vuckovic

While Super Mario 3D World is a pretty fun game and worthy of coming to the Switch for those who didn’t own a Wii U (and there are just a few out there), the bonus Bowser’s Fury provided a window into the future of Mario, and I can’t wait for it. While the next Mario game isn’t likely to have the gigantic Bowser battles, we got to see within it that Nintendo has made a Mario game that’s “open world” and can scale. A game that you can go anywhere, complete things in any order, and use the verticality of the world. Sounds like another Wild video game. Super Mario Odyssey was tremendous, but it still had worlds sectioned off, loading times, and all that old 3D Mario-ness. Bowser’s Fury felt utterly fresh. Nintendo will need more ideas and hooks to let the game last a little longer, but I’m ready for it whatever they do.


Created by Witch Beam

Edmond Tran

I am so glad to see Unpacking getting so much kudos around the place. We crowned it Game of the Year over at GamesHub, and it’s been getting healthy representation in all the 2022 award nominations popping up. It should win all the awards.

James O’Connor

Unpacking had been on my radar for years, and every time I saw it or played a preview build I was amazed by the simplicity of its slam-dunk premise: you unpack across a bunch of house moves, and it’s nice, and that’s enough.


Created by Sbug Games

Josh Bycer

With only having three spots to showcase games here on SUPERJUMP, I wanted to talk about Webbed and how it was one of the most entertaining games I had a chance to control this year. The game’s concept is that you’re a spider: that’s it. You can create webs, swing around, shoot laser beams from your eyes, and dance, just like all spiders can.


Created by Worldwalker Games

Michael Morisi

For a game with procedurally generated characters and stories, it’s amazing how engrossed I became in the game’s various campaigns. A must-play for any table top RPG fan, this game lets you build a legacy using characters of your own making, even allowing them to appear in multiple campaigns. A masterwork that allows players to build their own mythology!


I want to close this piece by thanking our incredible contributors and special guests for coming together to celebrate our favourite games from the last year.



Celebrating video games and their creators

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