2021 was an interesting year in the world of gaming, with a number of indie darlings standing toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters. No matter if one went big or small, it’s gamers that came ahead in a year that brought us milk crate challenges, Squid Game, and fights with people named Josh.
Gamers Heroes’ five best games of 2021 managed to stand out in a crowd of next-generation hits and marketing blitzes, winning us over with strong storytelling, immersive atmosphere, and that ever-so-addictive gameplay.
Here are Gamers Heroes’ 2021 Game of the Year winners, in no particular order…
Resident Evil Village
The tale of Ethan Winters continues with Capcom’s Resident Evil Village.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard was a much-welcome shake-up of the established formula, and Village carries the torch. Set in an ominous Eastern European village, the ever-present threat of Mother Miranda and the Four Lords kept us at the edge of our seat (and lovestruck, in the case of the elegant Lady Dimitrescu).
Of course, this entry knew just what to take from previous entries to make it sparkle. Village is far more action-focused, with some much-needed help from The Duke and his shop. Players can also organize their inventory with the briefcase feature, collect treasure that can be sold for a high price, and can even cook up the perfect dish to give themselves an edge. The trademark puzzles make their return as well, causing us to think things through while fighting for our lives.
Whether you’re a fan of the series or a survival horror fan in general, be sure to pick this one up.
You can read our review of Resident Evil Village here.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Put simply, Eidos-Montreal and Square Enix’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is flarkin’ fantastic.
Those acquainted with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Mary Poppins will feel right at home with this release. The trademark humor from the Marvel Studios’ films is alive and well here, many times eclipsing these releases. From the moment players enter the Quarantine Zone to the constant run-ins with the Nova Corps, there is always something happening story-wise to keep players captivated (and laughing) along the way.
Of course, the gameplay in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is up to the task as well. Players can issue commands to their AI teammates during content, and Star-Lord’s trademark jet boots are just begging to be used. When the going gets tough, a team huddle feature can bring players together, sometimes to mixed (if not hilarious) results.
Take it from our Editor-in-Chief Blaine Smith:
“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is what happens when you give a passionate studio that know their craft free reign to work on such fantastic source material.”Blaine Smith
You can read our review of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy here.
Monster Hunter Rise
With roots dating back to the PlayStation 2, Capcom gave Hunters a new challenge with the release of Monster Hunter Rise this year.
Players are still hunting down monstrous beasts with weapons, tools, and the environment, but a new Palamute now joins your site. This animal companion can be used to ride across the map or even into battle. When that gets tiresome, there’s also the wirebug mechanic, a handy tool that allows players to traverse the world and mount monsters. The game prides itself on its freedom of movement, and its verticality only makes things better from there.
Kamura Village serves as the hub for all of your activity, providing a plot that has players contending with a mysterious calamity that is known only as “The Rampage.” There are countless monsters players will come across, both newcomers and those hailing from previous entries in the series.
If you’ve got 300 hours on your hands and a longing for adventure, this is the game for you.
You can read our review of Monster Hunter Rise here.
Roguelikes are all the rage these days, but Abrakam and Nacon’s deck builder Roguebook manages to lead the pack.
Richard Garfield, the original creator of Magic: The Gathering, helped out with this title – and it shows. Trapped within the Book of Lore of Faeria, each page serves as a blank canvas that represents a fresh new challenge for players to overcome. Six hero pairs, 50 cards, and strategic battles all await, providing both depth and complexity.
While combat is similar to that of Slay the Spire, it also features a Darkest Dungeon-style team setup with two heroes in combat at any given time. When paired with the different deck builds, the possibilities are endless.
From our Editor-in-Chief Blaine Smith
“…[it is] a gorgeous visual feast, [with] combat as deep and challenging as any CCG, rewarding roguelike mechanics – it has it all.”Blaine Smith
You can read our review of Roguebook here.
Russian studio Four Quarters and Devolver Digital knock it out of the park with this year’s endless RPG Loop Hero.
Things are thrown on their head from the offset, with players controlling its world instead of the player. With each playthrough featuring an empty landscape in a pre-generated path, one’s deck of cards quickly changes that. As players collect cards from vanquished foes, they receive landscape cards like mountains, meadows, forests, and buildings that features different results.
However, there’s a catch – you have no idea what card is coming next. This provides an air of unpredictability to proceedings, keeping things fresh and challenging in turn. If you’re looking for a roguelike that shakes up the formula, this is your game.
You can read our review of Loop Hero here.
Narrowing it down to five titles was no easy task; there were a number of under-the-radar indies and dark horses well worth the time of any gamer. However, if you think we missed anything, let us know your 2021 Game of the Year in the comments below.