Surprise! I’m doing a 2022 best of list!
Making these kind of lists is really hard for me; hard enough that last year I just ended up not doing it at all. Ultimately it’s a totally subjective thing – I played lots of freeware games this year, and the games I ended up picking are the ones that I found myself thinking about the most afterwards. Or, in some cases, just the ones that I remember having a lot of fun playing. Your mileage may vary! I dunno! Look, the site literally has my name in it.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my top 10 freeware games from 2022:
by Sirius Lemaitre and Léonard Lemaitre.
The only way out of the vast, brutalist city of BABBDI is by train – if you can get hold of a ticket.
Exploring Babbdi is a delight. It pulls off this amazing feat of feeling like a tightly designed videogame, but at the same time, like a real place that doesn’t care that you’re there. It’s packed with carefully placed secrets, progression enabling items in the exact right place, every building carefully planned out. But also; like nothing was planned, like this city was always here, and you just happened to come along.
Absolutely floored by this – one of the most inspiring things I’ve played this year.
[Download for Windows (Steam)]
(via FreeGamePlanet. Thanks, as always!)
Ho ho ho! It’s a new holiday themed Celeste Classic mod, from the creator of last year’s Forever Red!
It’s fairly common for Celeste mods to be implausibly difficult, so I think the most important thing to tell you about Noelle is that it isn’t – I completed this one in my first try, in about 15 minutes, getting all the strawberries that I could see along the way. Reading the comments, it seems like there’s maybe some more difficult optional content buried here, but the main route is fun, well designed, and, refreshingly, pitched at an average player!
[Play online (Lexaloffle BBS)]
by Effy Elden.
A playable version of genders.wtf, a collection of real gender questions from online forms across the internet. Take the gauntlet!
[Play online (genders.wtf)]
You’re a little snek, exploring a broken computer program, searching for delicious fragments of data.
This combination of “big explorable world” + “controls like snake” is really good. And not something I think I’ve seen before!
[Play online (itch.io)]
[Play online (newgrounds.com)]
“Level” is the game behind the first panel of the 2022 Confounding Calendar, an advent calender of tiny puzzle games, one for each day of December. Last year’s selection was great, so I’m excited to keep up with this year’s presents!
I really like the opening game this year – simple, novel, and perfectly constructed. An elegant start to the puzzling season!
[Play Online (itch.io)]