2022 may have been the most prolific year in history for new video, poker and uptown pokie launches. Not only have new studios opened with their own quality releases but many of the games whose development was stuck in the pipeline by 2020 and 2021 COVID disruptions made it to the market in 2022, giving players dozens of new options from which to choose.
Some of the best of the 2022 new releases include:
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
POKÉMON Legends: Arceus brings the Pokémon franchise to the Hisui region of the Sinnoh continent, an area which was first introduced in Pokémon Generation 4, Diamond and Pearl. Like other Pokémon games, the goal is to “catch them all” but here, gamers attempt to complete the first ever Pokédex.
The setting is feudal-Japanese and the tasks include hunting around biomes for wild Pokémon characters who need to be eliminated. The Pokémon are still frustratingly slow and plodding but the game’s new features more than make up for the plodding pace.
The semi-open world of Hisui divides into five major biomes and each biome has its own Pokémon characters that need to be caught. Tap on the X button to switch between modes – in the first mode you can open up a traditional turn-based battle with Pokémons thrown at wandering monsters who can calm a Pokémon or weaken them while in the second mode you throw Poké Balls to catch wild Pokémon.
This action-centric Pokémon game adds the element of Pokémon individuality as each wild Pokémon behaves differently. There are beaver-like Pokémon who can be brought down by Poké balls, Bidoff that band together, Gyarados who can be somewhat dangerous and Wurmples. Together, the Pokémon make Legends: Arceus a satisfying game of speed and accessibility.
As the name suggests, the NBA 2K23 focuses on basketball. It is probably one of the most immersive sports video games to date. It’s the 24th installment in the NBA 2K franchise and has 10 interactive modes that allow you to rewrite NBA history.
- Michael Jordan mode – includes 15 of Jordan’s greatest moments, depicted as true to the real experience as possible, that you can relieve in-game. Includes modified gameplay and spot-on visuals as well as multiple skill levels
- MyCareer mode – a single-player mode that portrays the experience of an NBA career. You design your character using in-game tools or by doing a face scan. As you start your career you will have sportscasters hounding you at every turn while music and high fashion improve your marketability as you seek out endorsements and receive perks.
- Park mode – single player mode in which you play on the court as the character that you built. Your winning bonuses and team grade determine your Park games wins. Play options include no-squad court or playing against two or three opposing players.
- ProAm mode – you build a squad to play either 3v3 or 5v5. The game will match you to another team and you play to keep your reputation up. You can start to gain your following, draw content or get noticed by the 2K League.
- AnteUp mode — Wager your in-game currency (VC) as you play 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 (no squad needed here). There are different VC wagers on the court that you can see at the top so before you start your game you’ll know how much you’re going to lose or win.
- BlackTop mode – This mode allows for a lot of customization and freedom as you play as 1 to 5 NBA players at a time. This fast-paced mode has you playing against an opponent with no substitutions or time outs. The game can last as long as you want, you control your players and you can create your own roster with players from multiple real-life teams.
- MyTeam mode – Single player fantasy game mode where you acquire players via cards. You can bid on the cards in the auction house, grind for the cards or wait to see if you get lucky. Once you’ve got your team you can play online against another player or offline 3v3 or 5v5 against the AI. The more MT, XP and rewards that you accumulate, the bigger your card collection will grow and the more competitive you’ll stay.
- PlayNow Online mode — is a quick way to get your players’ strengths and weaknesses to the court. This competitive 5v5 mode brings pre-made teams onto the court where they go head-to-head with your opposing player’s team. If you’re playing online the game will match you with an opponent with a similar skill level.
- The W mode – here’s the female version of MyCareer so you can play out your WNBA fantasy by creating a character and choosing your team. Through top gameplay you can dominate both on and off the court, build fans or open up a W Park mode where you compete against friends or random strangers.
- MyGM mode – a user-friendly space for people who aren’t particularly skilled at NBA 2K but are interested in giving it a go. Your goal is to ensure a championship win for your chosen franchise. Options involve playing the games for your team or going the sim route. Here is the sole mode where your loyalty score is relevant.
Dreamlight Valley is a cross between Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley. This Disney release allows the player to replace the townspeople with animated characters who mine, farm and fish as they keep Disney and Pixar characters happy.. It’s rich with quests, engaging activities and exploration. Players will enjoy seeing their favorite characters on the screen including Buzz and Woody from Toy Story and Scar from The Lion King. It’s basically one step removed from Animal Crossing with all of the fun plus more.
The backstory to this hybrid between an adventure game and a life-sim involves how the Forgetting Night Thorns grew across the idyllic Dreamlight Valley and caused characters to forget their memories. The inhabitants of Dreamlight valley closed themselves up behind the doors of the Dream Castle but now you, the player, can unlock those doors as you discover the memories and the stories and bring magic back to the Valley.