Games of the Year 2021 - Guilty Pleasure

Moving on from our disappointments for 2021 we now move into a category that is always an interesting one as while we do tend to cover a lot, sometimes there are titles that just make us keep wanting to go back for more. Welcome to our guilty pleasure category for the year!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Pierre-Yves: Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

I mean come on, do I even have to say why for this one? The latest entry was not only a pleasure, and a guilty pleasure at that, to sit down to in order to cover but it was just an overall pleasure between the smooth farming simulation and the adorable graphics as you got to raise your moomoos. Yes. Moomoos.

Check out our full review of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town by developer Marvelous Interactive Inc. and publishers XSEED Games, Marvelous for the Nintendo Switch.

Pierre-Yves (Bonus): Resident Evil Village

Ok I realize that this is cheating a bit but I did put everything together so that's my excuse to add another guilty pleasure as looking at my list I was thinking to myself, something's missing. It's not that my entire list is just about Indie based titles for this year, but there was one title that just blew me away in a fun and guilty fashion. That title would be the latest in the Resident Evil series that I was ecstatic to cover even if it meant plowing through Resident Evil 7: Biohazard which scared the living hell out of me.

So with that, I'm also adding in the wicked well paced and designed Resident Evil Village as my second guilty pleasure which once again stars Ethan Winters as he hunts down those that supernaturally split his daughter into multiple pieces. Also staring long time veteran Chris Redfield, things go everywhere from the depths of a a mad genius' lair to the soaring heights of the internet's favorite super tall lady that will shred you in two if she catches up to you.

Check out our full review of Resident Evil Village by developer and publisher Capcom for the Sony PlayStation 5.

Richard: Neptunia Virtual Stars

It's a Neptunia game featuring some of my favorite VTubers. Yes, I'm a kaigainikki. Yes, I support my Hololive and Indie VTuber scene. Shut up, go away. I mean, it also helps that the gameplay was a pretty fun 3rd person shooter style with some cool mechanics, and was pretty much ragging on egotistical social media users. Actually though, while not the best in gameplay or presentation, it was legitimately really fun, and it was great seeing some of my favorite VTubers getting more traction here in the West.

Check out our full review of Neptunia Virtual Stars by developer Compile Heart and publisher Idea Factory International Inc. for the Sony PlayStation 4.

Susan N.: Timberborn

I’m all for colony management simulators, especially against games like Banished (a challenging game even for the seasoned veteran in the genre). Add Canada’s national animals to the mix, and I’m immediately sold on it. After watching some of the gameplay of a prominent YouTuber, I decided I wanted a bite at the game. Once I streamed the game a few times, I found that Timberborn is a game I enjoy playing both on stream and off. I have a save for both instances, yet somehow I managed to survive through the second drought - but only barely! I had two beavers left and needed to recolonize. It was a long process, but somehow I managed to save my colony of beavers. Now, if that doesn’t tell you how difficult Timberborn can be when players fail spectacularly, I don’t know what does. Needless to say, I really enjoy this game way more than other management sim games - even the coveted Cities: Skylines. Am I guilty for enjoying chomping down trees without a care in the world? Absolutely. It’s something I can sink my teeth into!

Nick: NBA 2K22

I almost could have put Genshin Impact in here as well. Sure, it released last year, but I didn’t get my review for it written until this year ( ), and it’s a large, ‘living game’ that is still seeing major content updates and probably will for years. That being said, NBA 2K22 gets the slight nod from me this year, as it and Genshin are both games I log into pretty much daily. I have ground out all but a few of the trophies in NBA 2K22, still hop online to compete against others (or with online friends) and alternate between my 3-and-D point guard and athletic, bruising center just depending on my mood that day. NBA 2K still has plenty of room to improve on the new console generation, but despite its flaws – I keep coming back for more.

Check out our full review of NBA 2K22 by developer Visual Concepts and publisher 2K for the Sony PlayStation 5.

Robert: Star Citizen

Few games can sell a dream and really nail it- some, like No Man’s Sky can start way too big for it’s britches, only to then grow into a fine game, to others like The Ascent or Tales of Arise just hit the ground running and nail it out of the park from the get-go.

My 2021 Guilty Pleasure is something of a juggernaut in the independent game development world, with upwards of 500 employees and a massive project underway, Cloud Imperium Games’ Star Citizen managed to do both- be too big for its britches while nailing it right out of the park. Few games can give the sense of scale and awe that Star Citizen brings to the forefront- stunning visuals, interesting locations, a supportive and impassioned community, and on top of it all … pure, unadulterated joy.

From the moment you first step out of your hab (your apartment/bedroom), Star Citizen is shown in excruciating detail- from working lighting modes for your hab to beautiful vistas overlooking the frost-covered domes of New Babbage on Microtech, to a cave system deep within Daymar’s crust, Star Citizen is brimming with detail, and in turn, with life. I have spent more time (and money) on Star Citizen than I have in many, many years- the closest likely being World of Warcraft back from about 2004 to 2007, and I still have not experienced all that this supposed “tech demo” has to offer.

My advice? Take a minute to hop into the game during one of its regular Free Fly events (where you don’t even have to pay for the game in order to experience 100% of what’s currently offered), or if you’re an old backer that’s not been around in a while? Spend a couple hours one night and dig into the Verse- it’s surprisingly vibrant, rich in character, and an absolute bounty in detail.



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