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Best Surprise of 2022

Best Surprise of 2022 - Article

by Chinh Tran , posted on 22 January 2023 / 2,877 Views

Every year gamers are treated to a wide assortment of games from different genres. From small indie darlings to large tentpole releases, there’s just about something for everyone. And yet, every year, we’re still caught unawares by games that both surprise and delight us. 2022 saw the release of several key surprises, as the shortlisted candidates demonstrate.

Chained Echoes by lone developer Matthias Linda took everything fans love about 16-bit JRPGs while modernising them in several innovative ways. Neon White by Angel Matrix had players speed-running through levels while slaying demons with Soul Cards. Tribute Games masterfully took the Ninja Turtles back in time to the age of arcade beat 'em ups with Shredder’s Revenge. Andrew Shouldice almost single-handedly channelled the essence of classic Legend of Zelda games through Tunic. And finally Luca Galante had countless gamers addicted to Vampire Survivors, as they battled endless hordes of monsters in an action roguelike shoot 'em up of sorts.


The Shortlist:


Chained Echoes


Neon White


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge




Vampire Survivors





The Runner-Up:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

The heroes in a half shell were back in 2022 with Shredder’s Revenge and they brought all their friends - and enemies - with them! Tribute Games proved that there’s still an audience for classic beat 'em ups like the Ninja Turtles games of the early 90s that hearken back to the cartoon from the late 80s. With stylistic pixel graphics, classic but modernised gameplay systems, and non-stop cooperative action, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge took us by surprise and is a must play for gamers wanting a Turtle Power-fuelled trip down memory lane.




The Winner:

Vampire Survivors

There’s something oddly satisfying about Vampire Survivors’ basic gameplay loop. It has you move a character around to collect weapons and upgrades while combat is done automatically. Still, mowing down countless enemies with increasingly powerful weapons while numbers representing damage flash around the screen is surprisingly addictive and engaging. That simple premise is exactly why Vampire Survivors is so effective. However, add on the catchy old-school tunes, a variety of playable characters, a dearth of weapons to unlock and experiment with, and graphics that capture the essence of classic Castlevania and you have the Best Surprise of 2022.

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Kakadu18 (on 23 January 2023)

Voted for Chained Echoes. Really came out of nowhere.

  • +6
2zosteven Kakadu18 (on 24 January 2023)

same here

  • 0
Leynos (on 22 January 2023)

Soulstice for me.

  • +3
LivncA_Dis3 (on 23 January 2023)

Best surprise should've been signalis

  • +1
Jaicee (on 22 January 2023)

I think I voted for Never Alone in this category. However, now that I really sit here and think about it, I don't know why I didn't pick my GOTY choice, Perfect Tides. Maybe it wasn't nominated as an option in the Best Surprise category? Don't remember anymore. But anyway, those were both total shock discoveries for me! Whereas other faves of mine this year were a little better-known (obviously including Shredder's Revenge), by contrast I discovered the super obscure Perfect Tides by way of friend recommendation and Never Alone by scrounging around the more highly-scored entries on Metacritic for a while late in the summer. I just want to give those two games a shout-out here and strong recommendations.

I'm just starting Chained Echoes and have Neon White lined up as my next play after that. Can't wait to see what they've got to offer since I've not met a single person so far who seems to have been disappointed with them!

  • +1
coolbeans (on 22 January 2023)

I think this is the only winner that matches my personal winner.

  • +1
Bandorr (on 22 January 2023)

Actually my best surprise? How good Marvel midnight suns is. I had little faith in it. Even with all the rave reviews I wasn't sure.

But wow the combat/turn based structure is off the charts. This game seriously pops off.

That said I've watched a lot of people play Vampire survivor and really enjoy it. So good for it.

  • +1
axumblade (on 23 January 2023)

I’ve been playing so much Vampire Survivors since I voted (I voted for tmnt). So I’m happy with this result

  • 0
smroadkill15 (on 23 January 2023)

TMNT, Vampire Survivor, and Tunic were all great games. Tunic was probably my favorite out of those 3 with Vampire right behind it. I do feel like Vampire survivor was the bigger surprise. Tunic wasn't really a surprise and always looked good. Vampire Survivor came out of nowhere. TMNT was surprisingly great. Chained Echoes is on my list of games to play.

  • 0